Trinity News and Sermons

08/17/14 Sermon Bullets

  • On our front landing of the steps at 31st Avenue there is a bench with a beautiful mosaic on it, conceived, designed and created by several of our Trinity family members. On it, you will find in the middle, an ancient symbol of the Trinity. To the right of that is the Cross of Christ. To the left of the Trinity symbol you will find a Star of David, symbol of the Jewish faith, and to the left of that, you will find the star and crescent, symbol of Islam.
  • These symbols represent the three monotheistic faiths, the three faiths that claim Abraham as their father.
  •  It is appropriate that we have these three in such a prominent place, as it represents our tag line of All Are Welcome and shares that our Trinity family includes those who are Jewish and those who are Muslim, as well as the many of us who are Christians. In fact, Jewish and Muslim persons participate in our life together in various ways. On this bench, we share that All Are Welcome.
  • There have been various reactions to this bench, from many who marvel that we are able to share our love with each other in this way to comments like “That is an evil place” and “Christ does not dwell in that place.”
  • Nothing could be further from the truth!
  • One of the things that makes me most proud of our congregation is our great diversity. We have life-long Lutheran Christians (myself being one of them); persons new to the Christian faith; those who are faithful Christians and also practice Buddhist meditation; Jewish and Muslim persons; those who are pretty certain of what they believe; those who have doubts; and those who just aren’t sure, but want to be a part of our loving fellowship. As I say in on our website, my job is to walk with each of you on this journey, helping you to explore what God wants you to be and do. NOT to judge you.
  • Let me be clear: You are going to hear a Lutheran Christian proclamation of the gospel of God’s unconditional love in sermons, bible study and counseling from me. That is who I am and what I am called to represent. This is a Lutheran Christian congregation. But ALL ARE WELCOME!
  • In today’s gospel lesson, Jesus teaches that it is things that come OUT of us that can be evil: murder, slander, theft, false witness, etc. Sometimes in our desire to be totally “right” we can say things that are not true.
  • Later in the gospel lesson we have this strange story of Jesus seeming to withhold God’s love – totally different from the way he acts at other times: “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” 26He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” This seems so harsh! Why would he exclude someone from the gifts of healing that he can share? (Perhaps to teach us a lesson?) But then, who would want to have a relationship with THAT kind of God? What if the woman went away empty?
  • But she did NOT go away empty. She persisted: 27She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” She would NOT take no for an answer. She KNEW that Jesus could heal her daughter of the demon. She did not give up. And Jesus gave her that for which she asked. Great is your faith, oh woman. Your daughter is healed!
  • Sometimes in our Christian lives we may respond the way Jesus did in this story initially: They don’t deserve God’s love. They have not shown the right kind of faith. Let’s exclude them from the fellowship. This gift of grace is too precious to be wasted on those who will not appreciate it for what it is.
  • We do this sometimes when we exclude people from baptism, from the table, from worship. How many have been a part of churches where absolute RIGHT BELIEF was required before one was allowed to receive the Body and Blood of Jesus?
  • People, even religious leaders, do this with the right intention – wanting to be faithful and not water down our theology. They do not mean harm. But harm can and is done.
  • The very first sermon in my very first parish began with these words: You win more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. For me, our task is not to be sitting in judgment of persons, excluding them or kicking them off the path of discovery about our loving God, the One who raised Jesus from the dead! For me, our task is to woe people into a deep abiding relationship with this God found in Jesus – to show in the way we treat others, even those who believe differently from us, that God loves them and claims them. For me, this expression of God’s love is found completely in Jesus of Nazareth, crucified and risen. Our task is to share this love with everyone!