Star Words - Sermon on the Epiphany - January 7, 2018

January 8, 2018

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How the Grinch Learned the Magnificat — December 10, 2017

December 16, 2017

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Full text here: http://gracenempls.org/grinch-magnificat/ Congregations and other religious organizations are free to use this parody, with attribution to Rev. Kegler.

Music is from the original How the Grinch Stole Christmas. 

Give to our Christmas Match drive at http://gracenempls.org/donate.

 

 

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One Little Light — The Books of Ezra and 1 Maccabees — November 26, 2017

December 16, 2017

Hebrew Scripture: Ezra 1:1-4, 1 Maccabees 1:1-10, 29-35; 2:19-22, 4:30-33, 52-58; 8:1, 11-16

In the first year of King Cyrus of Persia, in order that the word of the Lord by the mouth of the prophet Jeremiah might be accomplished, the Lord stirred up the spirit of King Cyrus of Persia. He sent a herald throughout all his kingdom, and also in a written edict declared:

“Thus says King Cyrus of Persia: The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem in Judah. Any of those among you who are of his people—may their God be with them!—are now permitted to go up to Jerusalem in Judah, and rebuild the house of the Lord, the God of Israel.” And so the people returned to Jerusalem, and began to rebuild.

Two hundred years later, Alexander the Great defeated King Darius of the Persians, and he succeeded him as king. Alexander fought many battles, conquered strongholds, and put to death the kings of the earth. When he grew old, he summoned his most honored officers, and divided his kingdom among them. His officers took up crowns after his death, and so did their descendants after them; and they caused many evils on the earth.

From them came forth a sinful root, Antiochus Epiphanes, son of King Antiochus. This king sent a tribute collector to the cities in the country of Judah, and he himself came to Jerusalem with a large army. He fell upon the city, and destroyed many people of Israel. He plundered the city, burned it with fire, and tore down its houses and its surrounding walls. On every side of the sanctuary they shed innocent blood; they even defiled the sanctuary.

Antiochus Epiphanes demanded that all inhabitants of the land give up their own customs and offer sacrifice to idols. When this decree was given by the king’s officers, Mattathias, a priest, answered: “Even if all the nations under the rule of the king obey him, I and my sons and my brothers will continue to live by the covenant of our ancestors. We will not obey the king’s words.”

Mattathias’ sons rebelled against the Greeks, led by their brother Judas Maccabeus. When Judas saw that their army was strong, he prayed to God, saying, “Blessed are you, O Savior of Israel, who crushed the attack of the mighty warrior by the hand of your servant David, and gave the camp of the Philistines into the hands of Jonathan son of Saul. Now hem in this army by the hand of your people Israel. Let them be ashamed of their troops and their cavalry. Fill them with cowardice; melt the boldness of their strength; let them tremble in their destruction. Strike them down with the sword, and let all who know your name praise you with hymns.” And they defeated the Greek army, all five thousand.

When they had defeated the army, the priests of Israel rose and offered sacrifice in the temple on a new altar they had built. The temple was rededicated with songs and harps and lutes and cymbals. All the people fell on their faces and worshiped and blessed Heaven. They celebrated the dedication of the altar for eight days, and joyfully made sacrifices of well-being and a thanksgiving offering. There was very great joy among the people, and the disgrace brought by the Gentiles was removed.

Now Judas heard of the fame of the Romans, that they were very strong and pledged friendship to those who came to them. They have subdued kings far and near, and as many as have heard of their fame have feared them. Yet for all this not one of them has put on a crown or worn purple as a mark of pride, but they have built for themselves a senate chamber, and every day three hundred twenty senators constantly deliberate concerning the people, to govern them well. They trust one man each year to rule over them and to control all their land; they all heed the one man, and there is no envy or jealousy among them.

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Why?: the sermon with all the answers — The Book of Job — November 19, 2017

November 21, 2017

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Job 1:13-21, 25:1-26:4, 27:1-6

There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job. One day a messenger came to Job and said, “Your oxen were plowing and the donkeys were feeding, and the Sabean raiders fell on them and carried them off, and killed the servants with the sword; I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up your sheep and your servants, and consumed them; I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was still speaking, a third messenger came and said, “The Chaldean milita formed three columns, made a raid on your camels, and carried them off, and killed your servants with the edge of the sword; I alone have escaped to tell you.” And while he was still speaking, a fourth messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in your eldest son’s house, and suddenly a great wind came across the desert, struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on them, and they are dead; I alone have escaped to tell you.”

Then Job arose, tore his robe, shaved his head, and fell on the ground and worshiped. He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

After seven days of silent mourning, Job’s friends spoke to him and said:
“Dominion and fear are with God; he makes peace in his high heaven.
Is there any number to his armies? Upon whom does his light not arise?
How then can any human be righteous before God?
How can one born of woman be pure?
If even the moon is not bright enough
and the stars are not pure in his sight,
how much less a mortal, who is a maggot,
and a human being, who is a worm!”

Then Job answered bitterly:
“How you have helped one who has no power!
How you have assisted the arm that has no strength!
How you have counseled one who has no wisdom,
and given much good advice!
With whose help have you uttered words,
and whose spirit has come forth from you?

As God lives, who has taken away my right,
and the Almighty, who has made my soul bitter,
as long as my breath is in me
and the spirit of God is in my lungs,
my lips will not speak lies,
and my tongue will not utter deceit.
Far be it from me to say that you are right;
until I die I will not put away my integrity from me.
I hold fast my righteousness, and will not let it go;
my heart does not reproach me for any of my days.”

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Down to the Bone — Ezekiel 34:1-17 — November 12, 2017

November 14, 2017

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Ezekiel 37:1-14

After twelve years in exile, the prophet Ezekiel wrote down his vision:

The hand of the Lord rested upon me, and I was brought out by the spirit of the Lord and set down in the middle of a valley; it was full of human bones. The Lord led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. The Lord said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” Then the Lord said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. I will lay muscles on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord.”

So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. I looked, and there were muscles on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them. Then the Lord said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” I prophesied as the Lord commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.

Then the Lord said to me, “Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.’ Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act, says the Lord.”

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For All The Saints, Three Questions — Acts 9:36-42 — November 5, 2017

November 8, 2017

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Acts 9:36-42

Now in Joppa there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha, which in Greek is Dorcas. She was devoted to good works and acts of charity. At that time she became ill and died. When her friends had prepared her body, they laid her in a room upstairs. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, who heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the request, “Please come visit us immediately.” So Peter got up and went with them; and when he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs. All the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing tunics and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was with them. Peter put all of them outside, and then he knelt down and prayed. He turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, get up.” Then she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter, she sat up. He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he showed her to be alive. This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.

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