Pastor Sarah's Sermons

  • October 22, 2017:  Prayer can be so difficult and so meaningful. Prayer can be talking, and prayer can be silence. Prayer is being still, and knowing that God is God. This sermon explores the practice of prayer, a gift given to the faithful that ultimately invites us into deeper communion with God and God’s love for us.

    Read the transcript HERE.

  • September 17, 2017 – It’s hard. It is messy/unpredictable. It is understood in so many different ways. This thing called forgiveness. Just because it’s foundational to our Christian faith doesn’t mean it’s something easily understood or practiced.

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    September 3, 2017 – Labor Day Sunday.  Have you ever thought about the kind of imagination you have access to because of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus? Ever thought about what it means for God’s way of seeing the world to literally change the way you see the world? This sermon draws upon Peter’s struggle to embrace the kind of Messiah that Jesus is; Jesus stretches Peter’s imagination just as he stretches ours, too.

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    August 6, 2017. A lot of things get in the way of us seeing and responding to hunger and homelessness in our area. This sermon engages those obstacles and lifts up the call and responsibility that is fundamental to who we are as Christian people: feeding the hungry, giving shelter to those who have no home, seeing the humanity and belovedness in every brother and sister.

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    July 30, 2017. Jesus uses ordinary, everyday things of life to teach about the kingdom of heaven, and in the very same sentence, Jesus tells us that the kingdom of heaven is hidden. There’s an element of intentional surprise and unpredictability in how God works in this world. That can be delightful, and it can be downright frustrating. When have you been surprised by God?

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    July 16, 2017.  The foolishness of the Sower in this well-known parable makes us scratch our heads and furrow our brows. Why does the Sower waste such good seed on soil that’s going to kill the seed? This sermon wrestles with God’s boundless, even reckless love and ponders what it means to live our lives in light of that love.

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    June 25, 2017.  When we think of “God moments,” we tend to think of the mountain-top moments of joy, connection, and clarity. But Jesus’ tough words about discipleship convict us with the truth that moments of discomfort, resistance, even conflict can also be “God moments” in our lives.

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    June 4, 2017. Today the church celebrates Pentecost, a celebration of the Holy Spirit’s fiery arrival long ago, and a celebration of all the ways that Spirit continues to guide, comfort, disrupt, and strengthen us today. Sometimes it’s hard to make sense of the Holy Spirit and to identify her work in our lives. This sermon identifies three things that, according to Scripture, tend to happen when the Holy Spirit shows up. May this help you identify the Pentecost moments in your life!

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    May 14, 2017. Jesus’ farewell discourse, the words that he shares with his disciples just a few days before his death, are words that give guidance and hope to us as a congregation as we move into a time of transition and change. Goodbyes are difficult; they mark the ending of what we’ve known, and the beginning of what we do not yet know. In times of being in-between, God is faithful, trustworthy, and always a few steps ahead of us.

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    April 30, 2017.  The journey to Emmaus is the journey of dashed hopes. The disciples were utterly devastated after Jesus’ death; the future they had hoped for is no longer possible. Their hopes were so fixed on what they wanted Jesus to do and be that they are unable to recognize the risen Jesus when he joins them on the road. Sometimes our hopes are so fixed and determined that we are kept from recognizing Jesus, too. This sermon explores the disappointment and devastation that comes with letting go of that for which we hope, as it also looks to Jesus as the One who continually helps us place our hope in God and God’s power to bring new life.

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    March 19, 2017.  This sermon focused on the human impulse inside us to tell single stories about other people, especially people who are different than us. But every human being is more  complex, more beautiful, more capable of change and transformation than a single story would ever tell. Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well shows us a God whose love crosses boundaries, breaks down walls, and blows open the stories people tell about us (and we tell about ourselves) in order to show us who we are in God’s eyes. That’s the love that’s reached us, and it’s the love that calls us to encounter people we’d otherwise choose to ignore or bypass.

     

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    March 5, 2017. This is the first sermon in our Lenten series, “Called to Community.” This sermon explores the fears and desires that tempt us to stay on the fringes of community along with the call from Jesus in our baptism that draws us into community. We all share the call from Christ to be church to each other, for the church is not a building we go to, or an event that we attend, the church is us!

     

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    February 19, 2017. In the last part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, He piles on seemingly more impossible instructions: “Love your enemies” and “Be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect.” This sermon explores both of these commands and reminds us that God’s ways are foolish. Because of that, they have within them the power to change us and the world in which we live.

     

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  • February 12, 2017. Jesus’ difficult interpretations of the commandments about murder, divorce, and adultery make us all aware of our need for God’s mercy and forgiveness. They also call us to pay attention to our interior lives—to the part of us that no one can see, yet the part of us that has incredible influence on how we act, speak, live, and love. God cares about what’s going on in our hearts and wants us to be truthful about the brokenness and vitality that each of our hearts hold.

     

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    To view/download a transcript of this sermon, click HERE.

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Bethlehem Lutheran Church