Sunday September 23rd Sermon-The questions we’re afraid of, the questions we ask instead, and the questions we’re invited to live

Sermon Audio

 

Mark 9:30-37 New International Version (NIV)

Jesus Predicts His Death a Second Time

30 They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, 31 because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.”32 But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it.

33 They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” 34 But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.

35 Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”

36 He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”

Sunday September 16th Sermon-On Mark 8:27-38: who God is; who we are

Sermon Audio

 

Mark 8:27-38 New International Version (NIV)

Peter Declares That Jesus Is the Messiah

27 Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”

28 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.”

29 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.”

30 Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.

Jesus Predicts His Death

31 He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.32 He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.

33 But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

The Way of the Cross

34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life[a] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

Sunday September 9th Sermon-On James 2:1-17 Christ in Bright Yellow: S, M, L, XL, and XXL.

My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,”[a] you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,”[b] also said, “You shall not murder.”[c] If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.

12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Faith and Deeds

14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

The Sermon Text:

Inger B. Hanson

Year B / Pentecost 16

Shepherd of the Mountains, Jackson, WY

September 9, 2018

On James 2:1-17  Christ in Bright Yellow: S, M, L, XL, and XXL.

 

When it comes to matters of dress,

I don’t think the community James lived in

was quite like Jackson Hole.

 

While our county has the dubious distinction

of having the highest income inequality in the United States,

with the 1% earning 132 times more than everyone else,[1]

it isn’t always expressed in fine clothes.

A billionaire here might be found in worn jeans and a flannel.

Or yesterday, sporting an Old Bill’s running shirt and shorts.

 

There’s a beauty to our style, or lack thereof,

that I think James would have approved of.

While here in Jackson we certainly have other status indicators,

this major one is muted.

We have to get to know someone

in order to make the distinctions we might want to make,

to put a person in whatever box.

And when we get to know someone,

when we build a relationship with a person,

we are far more likely to see a neighbor instead of a type.

 

The formal clothing we use in worship wants to do something similar.

Albs, the lovely roomy robe the assisting minister and I

usually wear at the second service,

were not originally intended to set us apart from the assembly.

They cover the leaders’ normal wardrobes,

be they high priced or threadbare,

focusing attention on worship

rather than what the leaders can afford or how trendy they are.

Further, albs are worn in solidarity and unity:

they are a simple derivative of the long linen tunic used by Romans.  Rather than something only for special occasions,

back in the day they were rather ordinary first-century clothing.[2]

The color has gained significance:

the white is meant to remind you of your own white garment traditionally presented or worn at your baptism.

 

But, it must be admitted, albs aren’t a staple in the JH wardrobe.

Thank goodness.

Because while you might envy me a little for the extra layer in winter, they’re a bit stifling mid-summer.

And as an everyday garment?

I imagine there’s a bit too much fabric for biking,

and a bit too much airflow for skiing.

However impractical, and however much I love the historical richness

of the alb, I feel the loss of that visible connection to everyday life.

Theologian David Lose once reflected that rather than being

the big event or game day of a Christian’s week,

worship should be the locker room gathering

before going out to live the Christian life.

For first-century believers, albs used to be a reminder of that.

So what would the alb of the 21st century be?

 

I think a front runner would be a t-shirt –

something you can wear outside of these walls

as you go about this Christian life.

Maybe not a white one:

on a practical level, white really doesn’t seem to stay white very long,

and we have way cooler dyes now than the Romans did.

 

 

Maybe a yellow one, because after all,

according to one color psychology website,

“it’s a truly joyous and radiant color,

exuding warmth, inspiration and vitality.”

It carries with it a looking “forward to the future,”

a “cheerful spirit and an expectation of greater happiness.”[3]

Appropriate associations, I think,

for the new life gifted to us in baptism.

Appropriate sentiments for those

who look for the resurrection of the dead

and the life of the world to come.

 

So this Sunday, Christ comes in bright yellow – S, M, L, XL, or XXL.

 

 

And this yellow shirt, even as it comes in different sizes,

expresses our unity:

visibly bonding us together, like our baptisms, as a congregation.

It also bonds us to congregations all over the country today

as we celebrate being the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America – “one church, freed in Christ to serve and love our neighbor …

a church that boldly does God’s work

of restoring and reconciling our communities.”[4]

 

And not just on this one Sunday.

This is a shirt for any day.

Showing God’s love to your neighbors and helping make your community a better place is work you do, in your own way, every day, as part of exploring and doing faith.

 

Ultimately, it’s not about white linen or bright yellow cotton.

We put on this clothing to remind ourselves that in baptism,

as Paul says, we put on Christ (Romans 13:14, Galatians 3:27).  Distinctions like Gentile or Jew, slave or free, male or female –

or whatever our modern distinctions might be – fall away.

We are all one in Christ Jesus.

Colossians gets more specific

about what this putting on Christ might mean:

we clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, forgiveness and love (Colossians 3:12-14).

These are active words.

They need relationship to be real, to be true.

 

So today we put on bright yellow.

May this shirt remind you that every day we put on Christ,

lifting our voices and our hands for our neighbor’s needs.

 

And every day, signaled by yellow shirt or not,

may we be open to hearing Christ in our neighbor’s voices

and seeing Christ in their hands.

 

Amen.

 

[1] https://www.cnbc.com/2018/07/26/the-most-unequal-place-in-america-is-jackson-wyoming-idaho.html

[2] Wikipedia

[3] https://www.colorpsychology.org/yellow/

[4] From God’s Work Our Hands 2018 Toolkit blurbs.

Sunday September 2nd Sermon-On James 1:17-27 Doing the word as a way of getting to know the Word

Sermon Audio

James 1:17-27 New International Version (NIV)

17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

Listening and Doing

19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Sunday August 26th Sermon-On John 6:56-71 (NRSV) Where we go, where God finds us, and finding fine in abiding relationship instead of independent definitive

Sermon Audio

John 6:56-71 New International Version (NIV)

56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

Many Disciples Desert Jesus

60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”

61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you see the Son of Manascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit[a]and life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”

66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.

68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”

70 Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” 71 (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.)

Footnotes:

  1. John 6:63 Or are Spirit; or are spirit

Sunday August 12th Sermon-On John 6:35; 41-51 Bread from heaven instead of bread in heaven: our Down-to-earth God and Eternal life.

Sermon Audio

John 6:35 New International Version (NIV)

35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

John 6:41-51 New International Version (NIV)

41 At this the Jews there began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”

43 “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. 44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’[a] Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. 46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47 Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

Sunday August 5th Sermon-On John 6:24-35 Title: I saw the sign (and need to see it again: daily signs and staying present tense with Christ)

Sermon Audio

John 6:24-35 New International Version (NIV)

24 Once the crowd realized that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus.

Jesus the Bread of Life

25 When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”

26 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”

28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”

29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

30 So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’[a]

32 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”

35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.