Sermons

In Suspension – Pastoral Letters for These Times Letter #3 April 3, 2020

 

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was an earthquake, so violent that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. 27 When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, since he supposed that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted in a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29 The jailer called for lights, and rushing in, he fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them outside and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 They spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 At the same hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds; then he and his entire family were baptized without delay. 34 He brought them up into the house and set food before them; and he and his entire household rejoiced that he had become a believer in God. Acts 16:25-34

 

Celebrate we are all gathered here! Where is “here” you may ask? It is not in your pew place with pastor in the pulpit. Physically we are not all here in the church sanctuary, fellowship hall, or my office. Sometimes I like to sit alone in the sanctuary when no else is in the building. It is a place of refuge, of sensing one on one time with God. What great comfort and peace.

 

But lately my time of refuge here in the sanctuary competes with an invasion of restlessness from our world. Something is missing. Without Sunday and Lenten services here it is not the same place of joy and fellowship and worship. What came to mind was the bumper sticker and signs that read: The chrch is not the church without u!

 

Of course, the building, even the sanctuary, is not “The Church” but you and all believers are the Body of Christ and are sent everywhere throughout the world to be the church. So, take comfort and let the Lord be our refuge and strength. Wherever your physical place is at this moment sing with David his Song of Thanksgiving from 2 Samuel 22:1-4: 22 David spoke to the Lord the words of this song on the day when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. 2 He said: The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, 3my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my

salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; you save me from violence. 4 I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.

 

We read in Acts 16 of Paul and Silas in prison. A place you never want to be and we certainly do not associate with joyful singing worship and praises, yet that is what they did. Their witness of joy while yet in prison got the attention of others in prison and witnessed the love and glory of the Lord to them. When threatened by various ‘enemies,’ wherever you are even if it is in a prison of some sort, wherever whatever place you are pressured to shelter within we know we will gather in the true shelter, the true sanctuary which is the love of God and our Savior. The LORD God is worthy to be praised everywhere and always.

While absolutely agreeing with praising God everywhere and always I also have an unsettling restlessness and feeling of something is missing. Maybe my feeling is a little bit like what Jewish people of God felt with even greater grief during their years of exile and captivity such as in Egypt and Babylonia. At the end of the Passover Seder meal they express their yearning hope that they could celebrate this meal ‘next year in Jerusalem.’ It will be much sooner than next year, I do not yet know just when but we will gather here within the sanctuary walls of Christ by the Lake. I look forward to when we can gather here in the church building to praise our true shelter and sanctuary which is God our Savior and Lord. Here we gather together to adore him, confess to him and one another, hear and reflect on His Word, give thanks, share the peace, acknowledge our needs to God, and from where we are then sent back into the world as ambassadors of Christ. “U” are the church wherever you are. The church is in the praises of God’s people. Your heart is where God in Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit chooses to dwell. Until we gather here at church and at this moment wherever your ‘shelter in place’ is, the LORD is worthy to be acknowledge with worship hearing from our hearts and minds and souls PRAISE THE LORD!

U” are the church continuing in the love and grace of our Lord. Amen.

Pastor Sherman

 

See page 3 for some other notes.

In Suspension – Pastoral Letters for These Times #3, page 3 April 3, 2020

 

Some other notes:

Sunday morning, I will send an email of a modify service of the Word for Palm – Passion Sunday which you may further modify for your home use.

Earlier today(Friday), Secretary Elaine sent an email with our prayer list.

I have seen sites and emails from other churches with ideas of how to celebrate Palm Sunday. On our Synod site is an invitation from Comunidad de Esperanza, a Lutheran congregation in our Synod. I would guess since we are few and spread out in our two counties it may not be as visually effective when driving around nevertheless I invite you to have some sort of ‘palm’ branch when you worship at the computer and if you can then to hang it in front of your home. This as part of your worship expression and partly as a witness to someone whose curiosity may be peaked and you may have stimulated an ‘open door’ email/telephone call to answer them!

Branching Out – Palm Sunday at Home

Join with the members of Comunidad de Esperanza and Christians all over the world as we celebrate Palm Sunday, this Sunday - April 5.

This year, Pastor Alvaro Nova-Ochoa, is asking all his members to find a branch from their yard or even a plastic one from inside. Each person will bring their branch to an online worship on Sunday.

After blessing the branches, people are encouraged to hang their branches outside their doors to celebrate and to publicly witness to their faith. Some members are putting red ribbons on their branches for Palm Sunday.

Wouldn’t it be great to go for a drive or take a walk in the neighborhood and see Palm Sunday branches hanging on the doors of our neighbors!

 

 Sermon June 21,2020

 Sermon 6/14/2020

 Service May 24. 2020

 National Day of Prayer May 7, 2020

 Sermon May 3, 2020

 Pastoral Letter April 21, 2020

 Palm Sunday

 Service and Sermon 3/29/20

 Sermon March 22, 2020

 Pastoral Letter March 21, 2020

 
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