SERMONS

“What are human beings that you are mindful of them, or mortals, that you care for them?”Hebrews 2:6

God’s value of human beings is far greater than the value we sometimes give to one another. If we would learn to serve God, then we need to allow God through Christ to reset our value systems so that we can better see the world through God’s steadfastly loving and compassionate eyes.

A recent NPR headline read, “They Give To Others Even Though They Barely Have Enough To Feed Their Family,” and the accompanying story profiled people around the world who have fallen on hard times during the pandemic, yet still give to help others.

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There is so much hyperbole – exaggerated metaphors – in the warnings Jesus gives as part of his dialogue today, that our modern ears risk getting tangled in the metaphors and missing the meaning.

The disciples come to Jesus, like tattle-tale kids to a school teacher, to tell him about how they saw someone casting out demons in Jesus’ name and they tried to stop them, because they weren’t officially a Jesus follower.

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Humility and Wisdom. These can seem to be in kind of short supply these days. And they seem to have been in short supply even in Jesus’ day. Even amidst the disciples.

You might have noticed in our gospel lesson that while Jesus was telling the disciples about how he would humble himself to the point of letting himself be put to death, they weren’t even listening because they were so busy arguing over who was going to be the greatest among them.

So much for humility among the disciples! So much for wisdom.

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Stories of healing and hope, a glimpse of eternity here and now, and the work of Jesus to secure eternity, well, forever:

A father, Jairus, longing for his daughter to be made well, comes to beg the help of Jesus. A woman, believing that she will be made whole, touches the hem of Jesus’ robe.

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My dad’s grandparents met at the Finnish Lutheran Seaman’s Mission in New York City in 1896, where my great grandmother was one of the relief workers welcoming people like my great grandfather, fresh off the boat. The arms of God stretched wide through the Finnish Lutheran Seaman’s Mission, like the branches of the mustard shrub, to provide welcome and shelter and support to my immigrant great grandfather and so many, many more. The Finnish Lutheran Seaman’s Mission eventually became Seafarer’s International House, which continues this work of providing shelter and support to immigrants and refugees and even amidst the pandemic, asylum seekers, some of whose only visitors are the Seafarer’s folk.

This is the kind of work made possible by God’s persistent planting, the scattering of seed talked about by Jesus in today’s gospel lesson.

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