Holy Trinity Sunday

Holy Trinity Sunday 2010

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Plover, WI

An audio version will be available at www.eflock.org/sermons

Grace and Peace to you in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

From Advent and Christmas, to Lent, Easter, and Pentecost – the life of the community of faith moves along quickly. The high festival days come all together as we walk through the life of Christ from birth to death to life. Here we are at the end, post-Easter, post-Pentecost. After all these great stories of God’s movement in the life of the church, we come today to Holy Trinity Sunday.

Holy Trinity Sunday is the only Sunday of the church year that is dedicated to a doctrine of the church. All the rest are focused on seasons, events in the life of Christ, and festivals. There are no iconic stories today. The word Trinity is never used in the bible. It wasn’t until the year 325 that the doctrine of the Trinity was finally agreed upon. The early church was trying to comprehend the incomprehensible. To put into words what is beyond words. They were attempting to explain their experience of God in Scripture and in life. And so rather than try to tell you something about God as Trinity today, we’re going to tell each other something about who God is – our God sightings. So – turn to a neighbor and share with them a time you have experienced God.
When and where in your life have you most clearly seen God? Continue reading Holy Trinity Sunday

Resurrected Change: Discipleship Break Boundaries

Resurrected Change: Discipleship Breaks Boundaries

Easter 5C Acts 11:1-18, Psalm 147

Pastor Ben Sheets – Good Shepherd Lutheran Church – 2010

The audio of this sermon will be available at www.eflock.org/sermons

Grace and Peace to you in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

It seems somewhat appropriate that on the day we welcome new members and have a potluck that our lesson from Acts deals with eating and the welcoming of outsiders into a community. Today who we are changes once again.  Our identity is altered as the community broadens to include more people.  The question, then, is: Who will we be?

The identity of 1st century Jews was wrapped up in being different from the rest of the world.  Their strict dietary, Sabbath, and ethical laws distinguished them from outsiders.  It kept them separated from idol worshipers, it kept them connected to their history of deliverance, and it kept them worshipping God alone.  From birth to death they were to be different – beginning with circumcision 8 days after being born to the years of holy eating and living they were claimed as God’s holy people.  God’s set apart people.  So it was an absolute scandal that Peter, the leader of this community of Jews following the way of Jesus would eat with gentiles.  Those who are not set apart.  Those who are not holy.  Those who do not have a special relationship with God, like Israel does.  Even Peter is so wrapped up in his Jewish identity, that he fails to see the new thing God is doing at first.  One writer says, “[Peter] almost missed this incredible, unforeseen, astounding opening up of the gospel of Jesus Christ because he sneered at those pigs in a blanket.”[1] Continue reading Resurrected Change: Discipleship Break Boundaries

Sermon: Resurrected Power – Discipleship with Power

Resurrection Power: Discipleship with Power

Acts 5:17-42

GSLC – Easter 2C 2010

An audio version of this sermon can be found at www.eflock.org

Christ is Risen!  Christ is Risen Indeed!  Alleluia!

“What’s in a name?  That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”  Juliet recites these words as she contemplates the forbidden family name of her lover, Romeo.  That name, Montegue,  means something as it keeps their love secret and (spoiler alert) leads to their death.  Throughout the Bible, names are powerful and important. Names are often given and changed in response to important changes in life and to share a truth about who that person is and what they will do.   Adam named the animals of the earth at creation, Abram and Sarai’s names were changed as they heard God’s promise to be a blessing to the nations.  Jacob was called Israel (which means wrestles with God) after wrestling with God, the disciple Simon was called Peter (which means rock), Saul became Paul after his conversion, and the name Jesus means “God saves.”  And while names in our culture may not carry the weight they did in the Scriptures, they still are tied to identity, it’s why we say of a newborn “he looks like an Cletus” or why some women choose not to change their name at marriage, and why Rachel and I will probably not name any of our children Poly Esther.  Names means something Continue reading Sermon: Resurrected Power – Discipleship with Power