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Sermon on 1 Corinthians 12:12-26, for Life Sunday 2021, "From Invisible to Indispensable"

  Life Sunday Sermon 2021 1 Corinthians 12:12-26 “From Invisible to Indispensable” Rev. Michael W. Salemink, Lutherans For Life   (lightly revised by Pastor Joshua Schneider for use on 1/17/21)   So, you have these two tiny organs in your ears. Sort of a sixth sense. The utricle senses your head’s horizontal motion, and the saccule detects its vertical movement. They live inside the mystical semicircular canals of the vestibular labyrinth. The magic happens using otoliths—literally ear stones—microscopic crystals of calcium carbonate, the stuff that makes up chalk, stalagmites, seashells, and Tums. Curious, because when the otoliths act up, you can get quite queasy. When your cranium moves, the otoliths lag a little behind for a minute and tickle miniature hairs. Your brain interprets these signals as a shift in position and compares the input from both ears with the data from your eyes to define direction and orientation. Experts call it proprioception or kinesthesia, the bo

Sermon on Romans 6:1-11, for the Baptism of our Lord 2020 (B), "Identified with Christ!"

  In the Name of the Father who is “well pleased” with His Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit who rested upon Jesus in His baptism. Amen. Questions of identity are inevitable in life. Knowing our identity steers and guides our life for better or worse. Without a clear identity we stumble and stagger without direction and get lost. If our identity is intertwined with our sin, then it will steer us down the wrong path. We can surrender our God-given identity to a self-created identity which we choose to define by our sins. On the other hand, with a clear identity of who we are in Christ Jesus, we walk with direction and purpose, with joy and peace. It’s not enough to simply define identity on paper or in words…but we need to live out our identity in Christ Jesus. If we know who we are in Christ Jesus, He will keep us on the narrow path that leads to eternal life. Today, our readings point us to questions of identity—who are we? How can we live in that identity? Knowing who we are in Chri

Sermon on Luke 2:40-52, for the 2nd Sunday after Christmas 2020 (B), "Submission to God"

  In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. The four Gospels only share this one episode between His infancy and His adult ministry—the child Jesus in the Temple. While God obviously did not consider the rest of the “middle years” as essential knowledge about Christ, the Son of God (John 20:31), this one episode frames some important themes in His family life. As the Christmas hymn sings, Jesus is our “childhood pattern, day by day like us He grew” ( Once in Royal David’s City). Some of the themes framed by this window into Jesus’ childhood are the responsibility and trust that Mary and Joseph had for young Jesus. 12 years old was the age of “ bar mitzvah” a “son of the law”, who was responsible to God’s commandments. He was given unsupervised time and was trusted to be responsible. We also see the importance of the community surrounding the children and relatives of Jesus, and the centrality of worship in their lives. But here’s a theme that I want to

Sermon on Luke 2:22-40, the 1st Sunday after Christmas 2020 (B), "Ready to Go!"

  “ To us a child is born, to us a son is given—Christ our Lord!” Amen. “Is everyone ready to go? Piling into the car to leave the house is always a test of readiness. Do you have your mask? Your lunch? Your backpack? Your water bottles? Your shoes? More than once, the answer was an irritated “YES!!”, and we drove away, only to find out 10 or 15 minutes later that the true answer was “NO!” You can multiply the example in a thousand different ways, with your own “ready to go?” moments, and the worry before a trip whether you packed everything before heading to the airport, or the stress after you left and realized what you forgot. “Ready to go” can mean you have everything with you, or your state of mind where you’re mentally ready to leave without delay. Today in our Gospel we face elderly Simeon, who joyfully, truthfully, and sincerely announces he’s “ready to go!” He had long waited for God’s redemption to draw near. Faithful in his watching and prayer, God specially revealed to h

Christmas Day Carols and Meditations on the words of prophecy and John 1:14

  O Come All Ye Faithful Adore Him is the repeated refrain. We come this Christmas adoring the Christ child. To adore this child is to place all your loving affection on Him. Cherish Him as precious. Fall on your knees before the Christ child and pour out your loving affection on Him. He is precious and dear to us. The Holy Spirit supplies this holy devotion and focused love; the Spirit who continually spotlights Jesus for us to trust and believe.   Genesis 3:14–15 (ESV) 14 The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. 15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”   Isaiah 7:10–14 (ESV) 10 Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, 11 “Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.”