Who told you that you were naked?

This sermon was preached by Pastor Kyle Seibert at Our Savior Lutheran Church and Campus Ministry in Hanover, New Hampshire on Sunday, June 10, 2018. The readings for the day were Genesis 3:8-15, Psalm 130, 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1, and Mark 3:20-35. Pastor Kyle is available for pastoral conversation, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Grace and peace to you from the Triune God.

38,000. 38,000 people die by suicide in the United States every year. This means that every 12 minutes, somebody will die by suicide. During this worship service, we will lose 5 people in our country. It is the 10th leading cause of death for all ages, is the 3rd leading cause of death among 15 to 24 year olds and is the 2nd leading cause of death for 24 to 35 year olds. LGBTQ children are four times more likely to make a medically serious suicide attempt than their cis-straight allies. Just this past week, we have seen suicide in the news, but suicide is hard to talk about. There is often shame associated with talking about it. It is often taboo. Maybe, just maybe, you are already uncomfortable sitting in your seats right now- and maybe for good reason. But folks, we can’t continue to ignore it. We must join our voices with the psalmist, who we echoed just a few minutes ago: “Out of the depths we cry to you, O Lord. O Lord, hear our voices. Let your ears be attentive to the voices of our supplication.”

Because we are talking about life and death, it makes sense to start at the beginning- the very beginning, when God first created life. We go back to the Garden of Eden, when the Triune God was busy hovering over the chaos, calling forth life in which God took delight. Think back to your Sunday school days, I’m sure you know the story. God created humankind – we call them Adam and Eve. And Genesis 2:25 says that right after God created them, they “were both naked, and they were not ashamed.” God’s creation of bodies was good. And Adam and Eve enjoyed a brief period of life in the garden, before eating of the forbidden fruit- what we often refer to as “the fall.” And it is right after this moment that our reading from Genesis starts today.

This might be one of my favorite passages in all of scripture. It has fed me and sustained me during hard times, and yet it is also kind of strange. We hear that Adam and Eve heard God walking in the garden and went to hide themselves from God. So they ran and hid behind some bushes. Surely the creator of the whole universe would never be able to find them there! So Adam and Eve are hiding in the bushes, and God is walking around looking for them, and calls out, “Where are you?” Now, in my head, I don’t think this is really a question of God’s- I think God already knew the answer.

Continue reading Who told you that you were naked?

Knowing Faith, Experiencing Faith

This sermon was delivered by the Rev. Kyle Seibert at Our Savior Lutheran Church & Campus Ministry on Sunday, May 27,2018, Holy Trinity Sunday. The readings and Psalm were Isaiah 6:1-8, Psalm 29, Romans 8:12-17, John 3:1-17.

Grace and peace to you from the Triune God.

When I was in college, I was introduced to the concept of a spiritual director. These are people who specialize in walking with another person as they grow in their own spirituality. A spiritual director helps their directee identify and listen to the activity of God in their life, and then helps their directee respond to God’s presence in their life. Those seeking spiritual direction often meet with their director regularly to talk, discern, pray, and be challenged to grow in their faith. I’m not sure if a spiritual director would like me to say this, but I often categorize spiritual direction as a sort of “spiritual therapy.” Spiritual direction is often a strong presence in Roman Catholic communities, so it is no surprise that I found myself engaged with my first spiritual director when I was a student at Boston College, a Jesuit Roman Catholic institution.

When I moved to Chicago, I knew that I wanted to find a spiritual director for myself. I knew that it was important to my spiritual health and it held me accountable to be aware of the presence of God in my life. I did my research, shot off a few emails, and made a few phone calls. Eventually, I was speaking on the phone with a woman who would be my spiritual director for my three years in Chicago. Sister Jane was a Dominican nun and we chatted on the phone about myself, about her style, and tried to see if we might be a good match for one another. It felt oddly like a first date over the phone. But then, Sister Jane said something to me that sticks with me to this day, and cuts like a knife. She said, “It sounds like you know quite an awful lot about God, but maybe what you really need is to know God.”… Continue reading Knowing Faith, Experiencing Faith

“Abide in love.” A Sermon by the Rev. Kyle Seibert, May 6, 2018

This sermon was delivered by the Rev. Kyle Seibert at Our Savior Lutheran Church & Campus Ministry on Sunday, May 6, the Sixth Sunday of Easter.  The readings and Psalm were Acts 10:44-48, Psalm 98, 1 John 5:1-6, John 15:9-17

 

Grace and peace to you from the Triune God.

Finally! I’m not sure about you all, but in some ways, it feels as if this call process has been in progress for a very long time. For you all, it has been about 26 months since you first learned that you would need to call a new pastor. About 10 months after that, you welcomed Nancy Vogele among you to lead during your time of transition and then bid her goodbye before calling Bob Wohlfort from among you to step into pastoral leadership. These 26 months were filled with countless consultations, decisions, forms, paperwork, conversations, and I hope, most of all, prayer. You see, the call committee assembled to work on behalf on the congregation was not merely a head-hunter team. Instead, at each and every step of the way, this congregation was asked to invite the Holy Spirit into the process (as if she needed an invitation), and then to listen. Continue reading “Abide in love.” A Sermon by the Rev. Kyle Seibert, May 6, 2018