Being Saved by Grace is Just the Beginning! A Sermon by the Rev. Nancy Vogele, delivered on the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation

This sermon was delivered on Sunday, October 29, 2017, the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, by the Rev. Nancy Vogele at Our Savior Lutheran Church and Campus Ministry – Hanover, NH.  The gospel reading was John 8:31-36

Let me begin with a few preliminary notes:

First, a HUGE “thank you” to all of you who made this celebration possible.  Who practiced and practiced and practiced so our music is glorious. Who organized our luncheon and all who have brought food to share – and bread … and beer.  A huge “thank you” to all who helped organize our numerous Reformation events, too.  All of it brings us to this day. It is all God’s work and God needs our hands to make it visible.  Thank you for making God’s work and grace and love visible.

It is a bit daunting as an Episcopal priest to be preaching on Reformation Sunday and not just any Reformation Sunday!  I have read and read about the Reformation and this Sunday observance and I even collected a bunch of reformation themed phrases as inspiration.  Phrases like: “Always reforming.” “Looking Back and Called Forward.”  “Freed and Renewed in Christ”  “500 years of God’s Grace in Action.”  “Protest” and “Reform”.  And yet, even with all these inspiring phrases, I was drawing a blank on how to focus this sermon.

And then I received an email this past week from a student writing for the Dartmouth Review.  He wrote,

“Dear Pastor Vogele,

I am a contributor to The Dartmouth Review independent newspaper, and I’m writing an article for next week’s issue about the 500th anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation. I was hoping that you may be available for comment on the importance of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation to your Lutheran faith and the legacy of Martin Luther within your denomination. The Lutheran Church and Student Center is an important Protestant community on campus, and it would be great to get your input.” Continue reading Being Saved by Grace is Just the Beginning! A Sermon by the Rev. Nancy Vogele, delivered on the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation

Responding to the Invitation, a sermon by the Rev. Nancy Vogele

This sermon was delivered on Sunday, October 15, 2017 by the Rev. Nancy Vogele at Our Savior Lutheran Church and Campus Ministry – Hanover, NH.  The gospel reading was Matthew 22:1-14

Once more Jesus spoke to the people in parables, saying: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. Again he sent other slaves, saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.’ But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his slaves, mistreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.’ Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.

 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:1-14)

I’m so glad today’s Gospel text is an easy one.  Not!  What are we to make of this parable that Jesus tells with all its violent and exclusionary imagery?  I think a little unpacking of it is in order.

First, parables tell a truth.  But this is not to be confused with saying that parables are true in the sense that they are talking about something that actually happened.  You might even say that parables tell a truth by pushing the bounds of truth.

Second, Jesus told his parables in the context of historical and cultural references that we may not catch because we are not familiar with the history of culture in which he was living or out of which Matthew was writing his gospel. Continue reading Responding to the Invitation, a sermon by the Rev. Nancy Vogele

The Courage and Confidence to Keep Getting Up When We Fall, a sermon by the Rev. Nancy Vogele

This Sermon was delivered on Sunday, October 8, 2017, the Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost.  The readings and psalm were Isaiah 5:1-7, Psalm 80:7-15, Philippians 3:4b-14, Matthew 21:33-46.  We also listened to a Temple Talk by Kirk Oseid.

When I got back from Africa and started seminary at Yale, I decided to start running again.  At first it was a walk/run, slowly increasing the time of running until I was able to just go for a run.  In order to not get bored mentally and to motivate me, I would pick a Bible verse to repeat as I ran.  I picked ones that had athletic imagery, that were active and goal oriented – kind of like a Christian equivalent to the music surging as Rocky ran through the streets and up those steps.

One of the verses I picked was from the lesson just read from Philippians:

“I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” (Philippians 3:10-14)

Continue reading The Courage and Confidence to Keep Getting Up When We Fall, a sermon by the Rev. Nancy Vogele

The Will of God, A Sermon by the Rev. Nancy Vogele

This sermon was preached by the Rev. Nancy Vogele on Sunday, October 1, 2017, the Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost.  The readings and Psalm were Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32, Psalm 25:1-9, Philippians 2:1-13, Matthew 21:23-32.

When Jesus entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” Jesus said to them, “I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?” And they argued with one another, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet.” So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

 “What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ He answered, ‘I will not’; but later he changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him. (Matthew 21:23-32)

Continue reading The Will of God, A Sermon by the Rev. Nancy Vogele

Workers in the Vineyard, A Sermon by the Rev. Bob Wohlfort, September 24, 2017

This sermon was preached by the Rev. Bob Wohlfort on September 24, 2017.  The Gospel reading was Matthew 20:1-16

Some of you know that we ought not be here today. Some of you know that the world was supposed to end yesterday. David Meade, a self-described astronomer and Biblical numerologist, gathered together some Biblical numbers, referenced the Book of Revelation, the recent solar eclipse and a non-existent planet named Nibiru or Planet X to state that sometime before midnight last night our world was to end. Nibiru was to collide with or drastically alter our planet earth and you and I were to be toast.

Ironically, a producer at a Montreal radio station tried to book an interview with Meade last week. He responded that he was unavailable last week and but he would be  available for the show this week. Continue reading Workers in the Vineyard, A Sermon by the Rev. Bob Wohlfort, September 24, 2017

Forgiveness, A Sermon by the Rev. Nancy Vogele, September 17, 2017

This Sermon was preached the Rev. Nancy Vogele on September 17 2017, Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost. The Gospel reading was Matthew 18:21-35.

When you were a kid and got into trouble for doing something that an adult didn’t think was nice to someone, didn’t you hate it when they said, “Say you’re sorry”?  And didn’t it infuriate you even more when they said, “Say you’re sorry…and, this time, mean it.”  I wasn’t sorry so how could I apologize, let alone mean it! Continue reading Forgiveness, A Sermon by the Rev. Nancy Vogele, September 17, 2017