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Archive for February 2015

Elijah departs from Elisha: a Skit for 2 Kings 2:1-12

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Our First Lesson 2 Kings 2:1-12

Narrator: Now the Lord was about to take Elijah into heaven in a whirlwind. Elijah and his servant Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. Gilgal was on this side of the Jordan River in the Promised Land. God’s mighty hand had worked wonders in this region. The Children of Israel under Joshua had crossed the Jordan River on dry land from Shittím to Gilgal, like Moses had done with the Red Sea. Bethel, meaning, the “house of God” in Hebrew was the location of the Ark of the Covenant and Jericho had been the place where they blew their ram horns and God made the walls come tumbling down. Elijah had fulfilled his mission in driving Baal worship out of the land.

Elijah (to Elisha) Stay here in Gilgal, for the Lord is sending me as far as Bethel.

Elisha: As the Lord lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.

(During the following narration, Actors move to the area of the choir seats by way of the organ side walkway.)

Narrator: So they walked over the mountains a matter of seven miles south as far as Bethel. A guild of prophets came out of the city approaching Elisha.

Guild of Prophets: Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?

Elisha: Yes, I know; keep silent.

Elijah: Elisha, stay here in Bethel. The Lord has sent me to Jericho.

Elisha: As the Lord lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.

(During the following narration, the actors move down to the center of the aisle between the pews.)

Narrator: So once again they walked over the mountains through the stony trails and passes that led to that old, old city of Jericho. When they arrived the guild of prophets, who were in Jericho drew near to Elisha and said to him:

Guild of Prophets: Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?

Elisha: Yes, I know; be silent.

Elijah: Stay here, Elisha; for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.

Elisha: As the Lord lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.

(During the following narration, the actors move up the center aisle toward the altar until they stop in front of the steps.)

Narrator: So the two of them went down from Jericho to the nearby Jordan River. Fifty of the prophets from the guild of that city followed them down to the river and they stood at some distance from them. Meanwhile Elijah and Elisha were standing by the Jordan River. Then Elijah took his mantle, rolled it up and struck the water and the water parted from one side to the other, until the two could cross over, like the children of Israel, on dry ground.

(Actors move up steps and stop in front of altar.)

(During the following dialogue until the end of the skit, the congregation begins to sing “swing low sweet chariot” and “steel away”. Mark will lead the congregation.)

Elijah: Tell me what I may do for you, before I am taken from you.

Elisha: Please let me inherit a double portion of your spirit.

Elijah: You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken away from you, it will be granted to you; if not, it will not.

(When the line is read “Elijah ascended in a whirlwind”, actor playing Elijah will exit the altar through the office door.)

Narrator: As they were walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them and Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven. Elisha kept watching, crying out:

(During the following line, actor playing Elisha should fall on his knees.)

Elisha: Father, father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!

Narrator: But when Elisha could no longer see him, he grasped his own clothes and tore them in two pieces!

(Actor playing Elisha will tear some sort of old cloth in two.)

 

Swing low, sweet chariot
Commin’ for to carry me home
Swing low, sweet chariot
Commin’ for to carry me home

Steal away, steal away, steal away to Jesus
Steal away, steal away home
I ain’t got long to stay here

My Lord, called Elijah
God called him by the thunder
The trumpet sounds within-a my soul
We don’t have long to stay here

Swing low, sweet chariot
Commin’ for to carry me home
Swing low, sweet chariot
Commin’ for to carry me home

 

Written by peterkrey

February 15, 2015 at 6:17 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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The Transfiguration in Mark, Feb. 15, 2015 in Christ Lutheran Church in El Cerrito, CA

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Christ Lutheran Church in El Cerrito, California on February 15, 2015

2 Kings 2:1-12 Psalm 50:1-6  2 Corinthians 4:3-6

The Transfiguration in Mark 9:2-9

What a privilege it is to be able to preach to you this morning about the transfiguration of our Lord! This is the last Sunday of Epiphany and in it we celebrate the transfiguration. Epiphany began with the baptism of our Lord; these two Sundays are like bookends for the Epiphany season, which is very short this year. This week we already have Ash Wednesday and the service is at 7:00pm. Do come. The worship committee has been working hard on the service and Wednesday, the confirmands and their parents just burnt the palms that we use for the ashes.

Transfiguration is the mountain-top experience in which Jesus is already translated into his heavenly form in order to give him the strength to travel through the whole valley of the shadow of Lent, through his passion, dying on the cross, and being raised up by God three short days thereafter.

One of my sisters, Ruthie, used to say that the labor of bringing a baby into the world, giving birth, is like climbing a mountain. Jesus took his inner circle of disciples, Peter, James, and John and climbed a high mountain – whether it was Mt. Tabor or the very high Mt. Hermon to the north, we do not know. And up there he was transfigured before them. The Greek word is “metamorphothē,” like our word “metamorphosis.” His form, his body became filled with light, like his heavenly body. His clothes turned a dazzling white, a white that no fuller could possibly bleach them on earth. The martyrs in heaven are all arrayed in white praising God around the throne.

Psalm 36 calls God the fountain of life and exclaims, “In your light we see light.” In Genesis, God said, “Let there be light and there was light.” (In Hebrew Yehe Or va yehe Or.) Now that was before God created the sun, moon, and stars. What kind of a light could that have been? Luther speaks of three kinds of light: natural light, like the light we see in and the way we understand nature and ourselves. But then we can see the world in the light of grace and as our coming into existence by the Word of God. What cannot be understood in the light of nature can be understood in the light of grace. A casket is lowered deep into the ground or a wooden casket gets burned with fire in cremation, but a band of angels is taking the person up into our heavenly home. (You know the spiritual: “And the Lord shall bear my spirit home.”) But then there is what Luther called the light of glory. What cannot be understood in the light of nature, nor in the light of the word and grace, will one day be understood in the light of glory.

Jesus is filled with the light of glory on this mountain-top. In one sense he stands in the glory of the Gospel, while Moses approaches him in the light of the law and Elijah approaches both in the light of prophesy. The three converse together. The Son of God speaking with the Law-giver, Moses, and Elijah speaking in the light of prophesy – I imagine that they may have been speaking about Jesus’ passion and crucifixion to come, strengthening him for it.

Peter addresses Jesus not knowing what to say, because the disciples were terrified. “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” The Greek word, “skenás” can also be translated “booths, tents, or tabernacles.” Here it is translated “dwellings.” I have often thought that he prophesied the Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant churches. We say to ourselves: “Let’s institutionalize your glory, trap it here on earth, so that we can control and enjoy it.” But we get only glimpses of this glory and only when we obey the voice from the divine cloud, overshadowed by which we can see nothing, but are reminded to listen to Jesus: “This is my Son. My Beloved; listen to him!” This voice from heaven came at Jesus’ baptism in the River Jordan by John and now comes again here in the transfiguration.

Mark’s gospel is often considered low Christology, meaning that some theologians argue as if Jesus, the man, was adopted to be God’s Son, instead of his being the heavenly one come down to us on earth. But here the heavenly voice is reported by Mark, saying: “This is my Son, my Beloved!” Often these theologians note that in the same gospel, instead of having resurrection stories, it ends with the empty tomb and the fleeing women, saying nothing, because they were so afraid. But they fail to notice that Jesus predicted his death and resurrection three times in the Gospel of Mark, just like in the other gospels.

The voice of God continues: “Listen to him!” Thus we have to really hear what Jesus proclaimed to us entering the Galilee of the nations: “the time is fulfilled, the reign of heaven is at hand; repent and believe the good news.” That means that the good news of heaven and our access to divine help is only a prayer away. “Listening” can be understood in the sense of obeying. But Jesus is not the law-giver, like Moses. Jesus invites us, encourages and roots for us to win us. And that also comes about by the loving way we listen to each other. At this point a commentary turned to listening, and I will follow, because the way to transfiguration is long and arduous.

Now listening is quite a difficult task for somebody like me, who came from a family of talkers, who always tried to get a word in edgewise, always enduring what another was saying, by thinking, “What will I say next. Won’t there finally be a break so that I can put my two cents in again?” When our pastors’ bible studies were all men, everyone of us talkers, if you weren’t good at elbowing yourself in, forget it. You were not heard! That has changed since most of the pastors in the study are now women. The divine Word invites us to become listeners. Watching Christians listen to each other, the ancients converted to Christ, because they said, “See how they love one another.” Deep listening gets us into the trouble and passion going on in another person’s soul and gets our shoulders under their burdens so we can help carry them.

The problem was not only in our pastors. In our culture we are not mindful of listening, because our talking and our seeing take precedence over our listening. We forget that our faith comes by hearing. Christ calls to us: “Those who have ears to hear, let them hear.”

Active listening is very hard work, just like prayer can be. It’s the work of the soul. Learning to practice it would take many a workshop. If you go to my website, I have a whole lesson in there on it. (Active Listening) We have to bracket ourselves out, keep our wounds bandaged, so we can uncover the wound of another and help that person heal and grow. Have you ever been listened to in that way and felt your healing and recovery on the way? Have you ever been listened to and been understood by someone far beyond the way you could understand yourself? That listening person is really leading you to Christ, so that growing and maturing you say with St. Paul, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” Through that kind of listening we are led to the edge of our spiritual growth. In Ephesians Paul calls it growing and maturing into the full stature of Christ. We climb up the mountain of maturity.

So let us become listeners, as Christs to one another, so that when we talk we know how to sustain the one who is weary with a word. We can listen in the light of nature, then in the light of grace, and keep on keeping on to the wonderfully transfiguring light of glory. For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as our Lord, because we are all sinners and fall so far short of the glory of God. But we listen to each other for Jesus’ sake. Today we try to fathom the Light of the Word, up there on the mountain with Moses and Elijah, shining in our darkness. Bowing down in awe and wonder, we pray that God might begin to shine in our hearts with greater and greater glimpses of the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, our “Beautiful Savior.” Amen.

Written by peterkrey

February 15, 2015 at 6:08 pm

Posted in Selected Sermons

Children’s Message on Noah’s Ark January 21, 2015

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A Children’s Message on Noah’s Ark, January 21, 2015

When God saw that many people were bad and selfish and didn’t take care of the earth, God sent a flood. But Noah and his family had a soft spot in God’s heart, so God told Noah, “Build and ark. Make it really big and go into it with all the animals that I want to save and then enter it yourselves and you and your three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth and your wives will be saved.

People thought Noah was crazy. They did not believe in climate change. So when it rained forty days and forty nights and a great flood covered the land, Noah and his family and all the animals in the ark were saved, but not the people who didn’t believe God’s warning. Question: Did Noah take any fish on the ark? Why didn’t he take two whales, two dolphins, and a couple of salmon, two of every kind of fish? He could have had an aquarium. Answer: of course they would not drown in the water, but would up in the air.

Now our whole earth has gotten very small. Some people call our little planet, the space-ship earth. It has become like Noah’s ark and we have to save all the animals and all the people from a big flood, if all our glaciers melt and our oceans keep rising. We even have to save our fish, because they will also die if our coral reefs don’t survive our warming oceans.

Not only our planet has become a Noah’s ark, but we are all baptized with water and we sail in the ship of the church. Our church is also like Noah’s ark, and saves us from the water’s chaos and destruction. So let’s listen to God, take care of the earth, take care of the animals, and obey and follow Jesus, so that we are saved.

God promised to save us and that’s why there’s a rainbow in the sky. So whenever we see a rainbow, let’s raise our eyes up to heaven, and believe God’s promises. Amen.

The Rainbow Song

              God placed a beautiful rainbow

                   in the sky

              and promised to save everybody

                   even children like you and I.

              God’s friendly first new covenant

                   To Noah in the ark he sent

                        O’er the raging flood.

Then Jesus died upon the

cross

To save us sinners

             who were lost

   By shedding his blood

                        – for us.

             God placed a beautiful rainbow

                   in the sky

              and promised to save everybody

                   so children now don’t you cry.

March 26th 2000 melody from

              “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”

This was sung at the beginning. The X stands for clapping.

  1. The Lord told Noah: there’s gonna be a floody, floody

The Lord said to Noah: there’s gonna be a floody, floody

Get those children X out of the muddy, muddy, children of the Lord

Refrain after each verse:

So, rise and shine, and give God the glory, glory

Rise and shine, and give God the glory, glory

Rise and shine, and X give God the glory, glory,

Children of the Lord

  1. The Lord told Noah to build him an arky, arky

The Lord told Noah to build him an arky, arky

Build it out of X hick’ry barky, barky, children of the Lord

  1. The animals, they came in, they came in by twosie, twosies

The animals, they came in, they came in by twosie, twosies

Elephants and X kangaroosie, roosies, children of the Lord

  1. It rained and it rained for forty daysie, daysie

It rained and it rained for forty daysie, daysie

Nearly drove those X animals crazy, crazy, children of the Lord

  1. Then Noah he sent out, he sent out a dovey, dovey

Noah he sent out, he sent out a dovey, dovey

Dovey said “There’s clear skies X abovey-bovey”, children of the Lord

  1. The sun came out and dried up the landy, landy

The sun came out and dried up the landy, landy

Everything was X fine and dandy, dandy, children of the Lord

  1. The animals came off, came off in threesies, threesies

The animals came off in threesies, threesies

All the bears and X birds and beesies, beesies, children of the Lord

  1. Now, this is the end of, the end of my story, story

This is the end of, the end of my story, story

Everything is X hunky dory, dory, children of the Lord

Written by peterkrey

February 5, 2015 at 1:17 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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