“Repentance and the One Big Hug” a sermon on Luke 13:1-9

3/24/2019
Lent 3

Sermon on Luke 13:1-9
“Repentance and the One Big Hug”

St. Paul Lutheran Church
Old Saybrook, CT

Posted in Lent/Easter, Lent/Easter Posts, Lent/Easter Sermons, on Gospel of Luke, Sermons | Leave a comment

Sunday is coming! “Repentance as a way of life” Luke 13:1-9, Lent 3C

“No, I tell you, unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.” (Luke 13:5)

After a horrible event happens, there is often a call to re-evaluate our lives. In religious circles we talk about that introspection as prayer and repentance.  In this passage, Jesus calls people to repentance after the massacre of innocents by Pilate in the Temple and after an accident killing eighteen people when the Tower of Siloam fell on them (Luke 13:1-4). There is a time in the wake of tragedy (in our time as much as Jesus’) that a careful investigation of what happened, why, who was responsible, how can the course be corrected or prevented in the future is warranted.

The word “repentance” literally means to change one’s vision or direction. It is a turning around or seeing a new way forward, that was previously unavailable. To put repentance into practice starts by acknowledging that we are not God and we don’t have a clear view of the big picture or ourselves. It is admitting we do not know everything. It is acknowledging honestly that we often act without knowing the consequences; or that we do know the implications and do it anyway. It is confessing that we have done harm to others out of our self-interest. It is hoping to live, think and act better. Repentance often leads to the hard work of forgiveness, making amends where we can and restoring relationships when possible after we have hurt people. Repentance also includes the change of heart to accompany different actions and way of being.

Jesus calls us to a way of repentance that guides our entire lives. Paul called it the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:11-21). Repentance leads us to be more and more self-reflective, honest, and dependent on God’s mercy and peace. By looking inward, repentance causes us to begin looking outward to the needs of others in self-giving love. This ongoing way of repentance helps us be responsive when tragedy strikes, rather than look for who to blame for it. It calls us into compassion to help when people are in need. It looks beyond our often selfish, self-interested concerns. It looks to love as we are loved. It takes root in us as a new way to be in the world. It helps us grow. It bears fruit.

Hence the parable of fig tree.  Our lives are not just about getting better at growing figs. Fig trees grow figs or there is something wrong. The plant might need better nourishment. We do too. Growing fruit is what a fig tree does, just as loving others is what a follower of Jesus does. God’s word, the sacraments, prayer and community with others nourish our faith. Living into ongoing repentance will naturally grow fruit, or we might not begetting enough nourishment.  It is not a measuring stick to condemn us.  It is fruit to share. Looking beyond ourselves to God and others shows us a new life. In it we may find a joy that we may have never known before or maybe have long forgotten. It is a joy found beyond ourselves that reaches back and gives us a strength that is not our own to meet whatever challenges are coming.

Be nourished in a life of repentance to grow and thrive. Come and be nourished by God’s grace again.

PGS

What do you think of when you hear the word “repent”?

How does changing direction/vision change that definition?

Are you ready to make repentance a way of life? Why or why not?

http://2baldpastors.com/sunday-is-coming-repentance-as-a-way-of-life-luke-131-9-lent-3c/

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“Foxes, Hens & Christchurch” a sermon in Luke 13:31-35

3/17/2019
Lent 2

After the Christchuch Shooting

Sermon on Luke 13:31-35
“Foxes, Hens & Christchurch”

St. Paul Lutheran Church
Old Saybrook, CT

Posted in Lent/Easter, Lent/Easter Posts, Lent/Easter Sermons, on Gospel of Luke, Sermons | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Sunday is Coming! “Focus beyond that fox…” Luke 13:31-35, Lent 2C

“Herod wants to kill you” (Luke 13:31b)

Jesus has already “set his face toward Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51) but he won’t get there until Luke 19. He is clear in his mission on the way. “I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow and on the third day I finish my work.” (Luke 13:32). On this long road, Jesus is clear on what he is doing, and what the implications will be. The powers of this world are threatened by him. Soon, those powers will crash around Jesus – but not yet.

While Herod is referred to as “a fox” who threatens to kill him (Luke 13:31-32), it is Pilate, not Herod, who will condemn Jesus to the cross to die (Luke 23:13-35). Jesus’ death looms on the way to Jerusalem as its logical conclusion, of which Jesus seems painfully aware: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills prophets...” (Luke 13:34). Herod’s power is meaningless. Only the mission matters.

How often do we shy away from doing or saying what we know is right, not realizing those who threaten us are often powerless?

Jesus does not back down. While the opposition against him is growing, his focus is narrowing. He looks to Jerusalem and his rejection as the climax of where is life is headed, not as the threat of others. He laments the city’s faithlessness. He hopes to gather God’s people like a hen gathers its chicks for protection, but they would rather scatter by their own devices. In the weeks that come they will gather with shouts of, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord” (Luke 19:38) only to scatter and turn on him with shouts to crucify (Luke 23:21).  We often abandon the mission and scatter without focus too.

Jerusalem and the cross are coming. So is the third day. Keep focused.

We are those Jesus hopes to shelter us by his very presence. We are not immune from the dangers of this world but are covered by his enduring faithfulness and grace to face anything that comes at us. This is a time for courage and boldness. Jesus calls us to join him in casting out the demonic and bringing healing to those around us. There is still road to travel ahead. Jerusalem awaits. With Jesus we are on the way.

With Jesus beside you, why should you care what foxes want to do?

PGS

http://2baldpastors.com/sunday-is-coming-focus-beyond-that-fox-luke-1331-35-lent-2c/

 

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“40 Days, Sent by the Spirit to the Wilderness” a sermon on Luke 4:1-13

3/10/2019
Lent 1

Sermon on Luke 4:1-13
“40 Days, Sent by the Spirit to the Wilderness”

St. Paul Lutheran Church
Old Saybrook, CT

Posted in Lent/Easter, Lent/Easter Posts, Lent/Easter Sermons, on Gospel of Luke, Sermons | Tagged , , ,

M.O.D. Podcast – DIE HARD

I was a guest on the Masters of Divinity Podcast with two friends Brian Scott and Justin Boeding, who are 2 Divinity Masters talking about Theology and Culture. This season they discuss movies from the 1980s. In this episode the three of us discussed one of my favorite movies, Die Hard, arguable the best Christmas movie ever made.

The description from their website (http://mastersofdivinity.libsyn.com) reads:

“This week we welcome Pastor Geoff Sinibaldo to the (virtual) studio to talk about Die Hard. We all three talk about the surprising vulnerability of John McClane. And we each reflected on how we see that vulnerability in the church, in ourselves – and in Jesus.”

Check it out by clicking here.  Enjoy!

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2 BALD PASTORS / Episode 66: Amanda Gerken-Nelson, Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries

Click here for Episode 66

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