Sermons

Sermons

Pentecost Sunday

“When [Jesus] had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” (John 20:22) Christ’s statement stands in sharp contrast to what we’ve heard this week. The world does not echo Christ’s vision, but rather, we heard the pleas, the gasps, and the belabored words saying, “I can’t breathe.” Parker J. Palmer reminds us that these words are the words that give voice to the terror that has haunted black Americans since the founding of this country. “I can’t breathe” were the dying words of George Floyd as a police officer kept a knee on his neck until his body lay lifeless. “I can’t breathe” might have been the dying words of over 100,000 victims of COVID-19 in America. Yet, into a gasping world, Jesus breathed on them and said “receive the Holy Spirit…”

Seventh Sunday of Easter

Today we hear the words of the High Priestly Prayer. The prayer that is the end of Jesus’ Farewell Discourse that we’ve been exploring the last couple of weeks. Directly after this chapter, Jesus will be betrayed by Judas, he will be crucified, and he will rise. We know this because we are still in the Easter season and on this day we continue to boldly proclaim “Alleluia! Christ is Risen” “Christ is Risen indeed! Alleluia!” The repetition of this Easter Proclamation has been, for me, balm for the journey as I have navigated these last couple of months. A time where we haven’t been able to be in our church building, decorated in white paraments and Easter lilies. A time where we haven’t been able to do Wicker Park Lutheran’s favorite thing – to welcome those into the Body of Christ through the Sacrament of Baptism. And so today, I am grateful for these resurrection words that begin our service and for Jesus’ prayer on the disciple’s behalf – on our behalf – in today’s Gospel…

Sixth Sunday of Easter

There is a problem with today’s gospel reading. Where it starts doesn’t build the scene, and so, it’s easy for us to lose the meaning. So, let’s re-create the scene. It was the night before the Passover. Jesus had become like a servant and washed his followers’ feet. Gathered at the table, Jesus told his disciples that Judas would betray him and that Jesus would be leaving them. Jesus told the disciples that he loved them and that all his disciples should love one another. It is at that moment that Jesus consoled the disciples with a few promises. Last week, we were reminded that Jesus promised the disciples a place with him. And, today, we picked up where the conversation ended last week…