Showing posts from January, 2021

Sermon on Mark 1:14-20, for the 3rd Sunday after Epiphany 2020 (B), "Out of the Water"

  In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Looking around I see that you are all land-dwellers…no fish here…but in the Gospel Jesus invites us to imagine catching fish out of the water. Jesus called His disciples “fishers of men.” Enter Jesus’ metaphor for a minute; imagine ourselves as fish happily swimming in our familiar home, an ocean or lake, like the Sea of Galilee. If we put the Sea of Galilee here on Maui, I estimate it would stretch roughly from the base of West Maui mountains up to Makawao, and from Kahului Harbor to Maalaea Harbor—13 miles by 8 miles. Small, but big enough to get caught in a storm. Imagine happily swimming in your watery home when a net encircles you and pulls you out of the water. Panic fills your gills as you gasp and gawk at the frightening fisherman looming over you! I’m dead meat! This guy’s gonna make poke outta me! Peter tasted this fear once or twice in his fishing boat on the Sea of Galilee, looking up at Jesus. Kno

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