Sermon on Easter-Sunday
St.George’s Lutheran Church, Toronto

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. AMEN.
Text: ELW 364 Christ has arisen, Halleluia!

Dear sisters and brothers in Jesus Christ!
The Lord is risen!
He is risen indeed!
This is the main message of Easter. All of today’s texts from the bible speak about the resurrection of Jesus and we want to think about it in our sermon as well. I brought you a joyful Easter song that we have liked to sing for the past few years. It is the song “Christ has Arisen, Alleluia”.
This song is originally from Tanzania in Afrika and was written in 1966 by Bernard Kyamanywa (Kiamanua) out of the Swahili song »Mfurahini, Haleluya«. Bernhard Kyamanywa was born in 1938. He was an orphan and was taken in by the Bethel Mission and raised by a German deaconess. First he became a teacher but starting in 1968 he worked as a Lutheran pastor in Tanzania.
The song’s lively melody is also from Tanzania.

1 Christ has arisen, alleluia.
Rejoice and praise him, alleluia.
For our redeemer burst from the tomb,
even from death, dispelling its gloom.
Let us sing praise to him with endless joy.
Death’s fearful sting he has come to destroy.
Our sins forgiving, alleluia.! Jesus is living, Halleluia!

Here, the Easter message is summarized in simple words. We are allowed to sing and be happy, because Jesus is risen. Through singing, we are making our Easter joy visible. Finally, after a long Lenten season, we sing again “Alleluia” in order to glorify and praise God.
Jesus has overcome all evil and death in its finality. That is more than we can imagine.
On Good Friday it seemed as though evil had overcome all good in its finality but this was reversed at Easter: Jesus is risen and defeated all of his enemies for ever. We belong to Jesus and became part of this victory. Because of this, we are more than thankful and we want to pass on our joy.

2 For three long days the grave did its worst
until its strength by God was dispersed.
He who gives life did death undergo,
and in its conquest his might did show.
Let us sing praise to him with endless joy.
Death’s fearful sting he has come to destroy.
Our sins forgiving, alleluia.! Jesus is living, Halleluia!

In this verse, we are reminded of the events from Good Friday up until Easter. Jesus was buried for three days. We can not estimate how hard it was for Jesus to die and what suffering he had to go through to overcome evil and death.
When we sing “For three long days the grave did its worst” our thoughts are directed back to the dark valley of death, which Jesus crossed for all of us. His light shines in the deepest darkness of death and reveals all evil.

Through the resurrection of Jesus, there is no place with complete darkness.
If we belong to Jesus, we are allowed to be joyful and blessed because we know that death is not the last thing anymore. There is an eternal life with God.
We want to be thankful for ever and ever.

3 The angel said to them, “Do not fear.
You look for Jesus who is not here.
See for yourselves the tomb is all bare.
Only the grave cloths are lying there.”
Let us sing praise to him with endless joy.
Death’s fearful sting he has come to destroy.
Our sins forgiving, alleluia.! Jesus is living, Halleluia!

Here we think of the Easter gospel, where the women found the empty tomb. Jesus is no longer in the tomb, where the women expect him to be. Something happened, that had never happened before. Jesus is risen. He is no longer dead. This is beyond the understanding of the women, of his disciples and also of all of us.
Through the resurrection of Jesus, something happened that is more than we can ever comprehend. That is why the angel said “Do not be afraid!”
We are allowed to rely on God, who loves us and does more for us than we can imagine.
When God intervenes in our lives, we hear these words “Do not be afraid”. This is what the angel said to Mary, when he prophesied the birth God’s son. This is also what the angels said to the shepherds when they brought them the great message about the birth of the saviour and Messiah.
The angel said the same words to the women, who were scared when they saw the empty tomb and did not know what had happened.
God also says “Do not be afraid” to us, because Jesus is also risen for you, and for all of us.
That is what we want to think of when we encounter evil in today’s time, when we have problems, or when we are scared about the death of a loved one or when we think about our own death.
Jesus will remain the light of the world forever.
We want to turn to him and to rely on him.

4 “Go spread the news: he’s not in the grave.
He has arisen this world to save.
Jesus’ redeeming labors are done.
Even the battle with sin is won.”
Let us sing praise to him with endless joy.
Death’s fearful sting he has come to destroy.
Our sins forgiving, alleluia.! Jesus is living, Halleluia!

This verse speaks to every one of us. We should go and spread the good news that Jesus is alive.
We should feel the joy of Easter within us and share it with others. Real joy is contagious, and it is impossible to hide it.
Everyone should be happy that Jesus is alive and that life has defeated death. Everything changes through the resurrection of Jesus. We are freed from the image that death is the finality and we are allowed to expect eternal life.
This is the only real comfort when we have to say goodbye to a loved one. We stay in God’s hands forever.
We are expected to become active and bring the good news of Jesus to others. Everyone should know, that his light shines into every darkness. We want to make the infinite love of Jesus visible and pass it on to others.
The resurrection of Jesus fills us with joy and happiness. Through Jesus we get the strength to do what we can to serve one another and change the world for the better. Therefore we get the courage to take the first step towards each other, to make the truth visible and to really be there for one another.

5 Christ has arisen to set us free.
Alleluia, to him praises be.
Jesus is living! Let us all sing;
he reigns triumphant, heavenly king.
Let us sing praise to him with endless joy.
Death’s fearful sting he has come to destroy.
Our sins forgiving, alleluia.! Jesus is living, Halleluia!

Through the resurrection, we are freed from sin and death.
We do not have to carry the burdens of our mistakes, transgressions and sins through our lives.
Jesus Christ has reconciled us with God. Christ has arisen to set us free. God forgives us and in this way we are allowed to have a new start.
This makes us happy and thankful and gives us new hope, courage and strength. What Jesus made possible for us, we want to do for others.
We want to forgive one another and let the love of Christ grow between us. We will really be there for one another and in this way the community amongst us becomes stronger and binds together with love.
So we praise God and follow Jesus.
Let us make the joy of Easter visible, when we take care of each other, and when praise and thank God from the bottom of our hearts.
Let us sing praise to him with endless joy.
Death’s fearful sting he has come to destroy.
Our sins forgiving, alleluia.! Jesus is living, Halleluia!
AMEN

And the peace of God, which transcends all our understanding will guard our hearts and minds in Jesus Christ. AMEN



Sermon at St. George’s Lutheran Church

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. AMEN.
Text: John 11,25-26
Dear sisters and brothers in Jesus Christ!
All of us know this wonderful “ I am” word of Jesus:
Jesus says ,"I am the resurrection and the life.
He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;
and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”

It is included in the gospel about Jesus, who raised Lazarus from the dead.
How did you feel, when you heard this gospel?
I think, we understand Mary and Martha, who both said to Jesus:
"if you had been here, my brother would not have died.
We know, that God gave Jesus the power to heal people and to help them in many different ways. Maria and Martha trusted in him and called him, when their brother was ill, but Jesus did not come on time, in order to heal him.
Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.
This was more, than Mary and Martha expected from him, more than they would ever have asked him for.
Here he showed his power over life and death. He made visible for the people around him, that death does not have the same dimension for him as for every human being.
He already knew, that God was stronger than death. Through raising Lazarus from the dead he already showed, that he is the resurrection and the life. Jesus is so full of life, that his life cannot end at his own death on the cross on Good Friday. He defeated death in it’s finality and brought new life, light and hope to all of us through his resurrection on Easter Sunday.

It is hard to understand, what happened, when Jesus called Lazarus to come out of the grave. Through the centuries there were many suggestions related to this bible story and people always tried to find an answer, on how this could have happened. People, including all of us, want to understand, to describe, what went on and they want to have the feeling, that they have control over everything that happens.

This gospel teaches us, that our understanding has limits, that it is impossible for us to see the world from God’s perspective.
We only have our own perspective that allows us to understand many things but never everything.
Jesus showed us through the miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead, that there is more, than we would understand right away. He often spoke in pictures and parables when he talked about God and his kingdom. He wanted to bring it closer to our mind, even if it exceeds our understanding. Through Jesus people got the ability to see a little bit of the world to come.
Jesus showed us ways towards each other, taught us about the love that makes life pleasant and meaningful and he opened the door to eternal life for us.

We have heard from people, who have had near death experiences. They were almost dead and found themselves in a bright light or everything got light for them. Some of them felt freed from all their burdens and others found it hard to come back into their own lives.
There are many experiences. But it is never possible to answer all questions related to death. We only know the essential answer, that God freed us from the finality of death and opened the way to eternal life through Jesus Christ.
All of us have a lot of questions regarding life, death and eternal life, that we can not answer yet. Will we meet our loved ones, who have gone the way before us, when we will die? What does it mean to live in God’s eternal kingdom and what does eternal life look like?
Jesus says ,"I am the resurrection and the life.
He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;
and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”
I got a new connection to this word of Jesus, when I read this story for the first time. Let me share it with you:

The Parable of the Twins
Once upon a time, twins were conceived.
Weeks passed and the twins developed.
As their awareness grew, they laughed for joy.
"Isn't it great to be alive?"
Together the twins explored their worlds.
When they found their mother's cord that gave them life, they sang for joy!
"How great our mother's love is, that she shares her own life with us!"
As weeks stretched into months,
the twins noticed how much each was changing.

"What does it mean?" one asked.
"It means our stay in this world is drawing to an end" said the other.
"But I don't want to go," said one. "I want to stay here always."
"We have no choice," said the other.
"But maybe there is life after birth."

"But how can there be?" responded one.
"We will shed our life cord and how can life be possible without it?
Besides, we have seen evidence that others were here before us,
and none of them has returned to tell us there is life after birth.
No, this is the end.
Maybe there is no mother after all."

"But there has to be," protested the other.
"How else did we get here? How do we remain alive?"

"Have you ever seen our mother?" said one.
"Maybe she only lives in our minds.
Maybe we made her up because the idea made us feel good."

So the last days in the womb were filled with deep questioning and fear.
Finally, the moment of birth arrived.
When the twins had passed from their world,
they opened their eyes and cried for joy –
for what they saw exceeded their fondest dreams.

Here ends the little story. I think it gives us new ideas to think about life and death. It helps me to see, that there are different stages in life. We do not remember the time, before we were born and we can’t imagine eternal life. It shows us, that we do not have the overview, but only can see the stage of life, that we are at at this time.
There are relationships between the words of the twins about their mother and what people sometimes think about God. One twin said:
"Have you ever seen our mother? Maybe she only lives in our minds. “

The twins do not see their mother and we do not see God. But we cannot life without him. God is the creator, who holds our lives in his hands forever. We want to trust in him and rely on him. It is great to know, that he loves all of us and sent his son into our world to make his love visible and available to all people.

In faith class we asked, if our recent lives could be the way and the preparation to be born in the world of heaven. This makes us aware to focus on Jesus to see him as the only Lord of our lives. He is the Lord, who is close to us during our lives and opens us the way to eternal life. He wants us to remain in him, to turn to him and to rely on him.

Therefore we understand the gospel story from a different perspective. Jesus showed us something about his power, that exceeds our understanding but opens our eyes to discover, that there is much more, than we could imagine.
It is important not to get stuck in our own world with all our joy, problems and worries, but to turn to Jesus. It is so important to follow him and to trust in his promise, that we stay in God’s hands forever.
Jesus says ,"I am the resurrection and the life.
He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;
and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”
We pray, that this word may comfort all of us and all people, who mourn the loss of a loved one. We ask God to give us wisdom to trust in his love, that reaches beyond our understanding and shows us, that Jesus is the Lord over life and death.
We want to follow him and remain in him and therefore we ask for the courage to share his love and the good news about eternal life with all people.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
AMEN

And the peace of God, which transcends all our understanding will guard our hearts and minds in Jesus Christ. AMEN
by Katharina Moeller


Sermon at St. George’s Lutheran Church

Remembrance day


The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. AMEN.

Text: Isaiah 2,1-5
Dear sisters and brothers in Jesus Christ!
Today is remembrance day. We remember all those people, who lost their lives in wars and fights.
I think, nearly all of us have family members, who were fallen or passed away because of WWI or II . These wars influenced the lives of millions of people and also the lives of family members of our congregation and of many people, who live in Canada.
Without these terrible wars and circumstances many people would have stayed in their homelands and would have had a completely different life.
Sometimes we talk about it and it is obvious to see, that there are deep wounds, that are not totally healed, not even until today’s time.
It is hard to understand, that we do not only have to remember people from wars in the past. There are wars and fights in today’s time and a lot of people lost their lives in the past year. Even in the 21st century there is no peace and there are many dangerous situations in different parts of our world.
Today we hear about a vision from the prophet Isaiah. 2,1-5
The Mountain of the Lord
1 This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:
2 In the last daysthe mountain of the LORD's temple will be established
as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills,
and all nations will stream to it.
3 Many peoples will come and say,
"Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths."
The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
4 He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples.
They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.
5 Come, O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the LORD.


God allows Isaiah to have a wonderful view in a distant future. God speaks to him about a end time of peace, where people finally understand, that they should turn to God. Isaiah sees the mountain with the temple raised high up and all people stream to it. They ask for his words.
They want to learn about his ways in order to go on right paths.
Then the word of God is in the centre of attention.
God judges between nations, settles the conflicts and fights and brings justice to all people. In this way it is not necessary anymore to have weapons and to train future generations for war. Swords could be turned into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks.

In today‘s time we could add:
Tanks could be turned into cars and the money, that nations spend for wars and war materials could be used easily to feed the people all over the world and to restore our earth wherever it is needed.
People would be happy and a totally new quality of life would arise.

It would be fun to continue to think about these visions and all the wonderful things, that would be results out of it. I think all of us would love to live in this world of peace, that Isaiah saw in his vision.
We know, that a lot of well known visions of Isaiah were fulfilled, with the birth of the Messiah. But more than 2500 years later, this promising vision of Isaiah about the great peace is not fulfilled yet.
It is important not to forget about this old vision and not to think, that this is only a very old word from Isaiah and from the Old Testament.
We need visions, hopes and dreams in today‘s time. It helps us to see everything in a wider connection.
It also helps us to see, that not everything has to be the way it is.
We learned a lot about peace, when God’s son Jesus Christ came into our world.
He showed his people, what it means to live in peace to accept everyone and to show God’s love, wherever possible.
He showed us, that peace begins between us and that we should do, what we can to make God’s love and peace visible. Jesus said in Matthew 5:
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

This means, that we can do something to work towards the vision of peace, that God gave to Isaiah. Many Christians understood this message for their lives.

We remember St. Martin. He became a soldier, because that was his fathers will.
But when he learned about Jesus, he understood, that it was not the way, Jesus wanted him to live.
We know, that he quitted his career as a soldier. St. Martin started to follow Jesus and to share with others. In this way he felt, that peace came into his life, that he could pass on this peace to the people around him. He lived a selfless life, prayed a lot, read the bible and inspired others to accompany him in order to follow Jesus. Many people wanted to live the same way like St. Martin.
Later St. Martin became bishop, but he kept continuing to give to the poor wherever possible and to teach about Jesus. He helped, where he could and asked for God’s word in his time. He helped people to feel God‘s love and encouraged them to share it with their neighbours.
In this way a little part of the vision of Isaiah became true in St. Martin’s time.

We admire people, who are able to make a real change for the people in their time.

I want to read the last verse of the vision of Isaiah.
Come, o House of Jacob, let us walk in the light of God.

We could translate it and say:
Come all you people, who believe in God, who follow Jesus, let us walk in the light of God.

At all times people were needed, who spread the word of God to others.
Today all of us are addressed and all of us should work towards this vision.
Through Jesus we know, how to bring God’s love to all people and to live a different way than the common way of today’s time. For instance, it will not be important, what we owned in our lives, but what we shared and gave away for people in need.
It is not easy to go the way, God wants us to go. This means to take time for one another, to listen and to help and to pass on hope, wherever possible.
It is not easy to speak about Isaiahs great vision of peace, when we experience so much evil, wars and fights. Often we have the feeling, that we are too small to do anything.

It is our task to remember this vision of Isaiah and carry it into the future.
At all times there were people , who wanted to do more for peace or justice.
There were young men, who were not willing to be trained for war anymore. They believed in the vision of peace even in hard and difficult situations. Often they had to take a lot of disadvantages and personal repression because of their vision of peace.
They are parents, who taught their children to overcome problems without fighting back. There are programs to learn, how to deal with hard situations and violence.
Many people never learned how to manage difficult situations and problems of life. Nearly every day we hear in the News about fighting, stabbing, shooting in our city and all over the world. This is also a sign, that those people never learned to find other solutions for their problems and to ask for help in difficult situations..

God promised the people through Isaiah a wonderful time of peace. We trust, that this vision will be fulfilled one day. We do not want to oversee it or forget about this wonderful vision.
We want to do, what we can, to live in peace with ourselves and pass on this peace to people, we encounter.
Peace starts within us and it grows in small steps. The vision will be fulfilled, when all the small steps towards peace and understanding will be united to one whole part . One day this will happen with God’s help.
We pray for the Holy Spirit, that we trust in ourselves and speak about our visions and about our point of view to resolve problems in today’s time.

When we follow Jesus we also work for peace and understanding and bring new hope to the people around us. We can do much more, than we expect from ourselves. It is great to forgive each other and to help that reconciliation becomes possible. Peace and hope can grow at many different places.
We also should never underestimate, what it means to pray for peace. Therefore we want to continue with our daily prayers for peace.
We know, that Jesus overcame all evil in it‘s finality and that the light of Jesus will destroy every darkness. In those days Isaiahs vision of peace and all our hopes will be fulfilled.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
AMEN

And the peace of God, which transcends all our understanding will guard our hearts and minds in Jesus Christ. AMEN



Sermon

St. George's Church, Toronto

Text: 1.Corinthians 13:1-10+13

1 If I speak in the languages of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.



The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. AMEN.
Dear sisters and brothers in Jesus Christ!
These biblewords about love are well known by all of us. Love remains.
This is important to everyone of us.
Without love, nothing is going on.
Without love there is no joy no hope and no thankfulness.
Without love it is not really possible, to live in peace with one another.
Without love, it is not possible, that the things we start come to a good end .
Without love our world would be dark and cold.
Without love our lives are not worth living.
Love makes the difference. Love makes the world a better place. Love makes everyone’s life more pleasant and more joyful.
This is what Jesus wants us to do: to love each other and to help one another according to our abilities. If we do that, then we are on the right track.
It is not that important, which level of education we have achieved or how famous we are or how much money we own.
Important is, what we do, when we are needed. Sometimes it is easy to help each other. Later joy comes back into our hearts, that we could do something useful for one another. In this way we also live according to God’s will.
All of us have a lot of possibilities to do something to help and show support to others . Sometimes other people learn about our faith and our trust in God, when we are there for them. I am sure, everyone of us already did a lot for others. May be no one knows about it and that is fine too. We remember the word in Matthew 6:3
When you give to the needy,do not let you left hand know,what your right hand is doing. Love makes the difference in our lives.
We all are able to do something, sometimes it is visible, sometimes not.
Let me tell you this story:
BREAKFAST AT MCDONALD'S...
I am a mother of three and have recently completed my college degree.
The last class I had to take was Sociology.
The teacher was absolutely inspiring with the qualities that
I wish every human being had been graced with.
Her last project of the term was called "Smile."
The class was asked to go out and smile at three people and document their reactions.
I am a very friendly person and always smile at everyone and say hello anyway,
so, I thought this would be a piece of cake, literally.
Soon after we were assigned the project,
my husband, youngest son, and I went out to McDonald's one crisp March morning.
It was just our way of sharing special play time with our son.
We were standing in line, waiting to be served,
when all of a sudden everyone around us began to back away,
and then even my husband did.
I did not move an inch .... an overwhelming feeling of panic welled up inside of me
as I turned to see why they had moved.
As I turned around I smelled a horrible "dirty body" smell,
and there standing behind me were two poor homeless men.
As I looked down at the short gentleman, close to me, he was "smiling".
His beautiful sky blue eyes were full of God's Light as he searched for acceptance.
He said, "Good day" as he counted the few coins he had been clutching.
The second man fumbled with his hands as he stood behind his friend.
I realized the second man was mentally challenged
and the blue eyed gentleman was his salvation.
The young lady at the counter asked him what they wanted.
He said, "Coffee is all Miss" because that was all they could afford.
(If they wanted to sit in the restaurant and warm up,
they had to buy something. He just wanted to be warm).
Then I really felt it - the compulsion was so great
I almost reached out and embraced the little man with the blue eyes.
That is when I noticed all eyes in the restaurant were set on me, judging my every action.
I smiled and asked the young lady behind the counter
to give me two more breakfast meals on a separate tray.
I then walked around the corner to the table that the men had chosen as a resting spot.
I put the tray on the table and laid my hand on the blue eyed gentleman's cold hand.
He looked up at me, with tears in his eyes, and said, "Thank you.."
I leaned over, began to pat his hand and said,
"I did not do this for you. God is here working through me to give you hope."
When I sat down, my husband smiled at me and said,
"That is why God gave you to me, Honey. To give me hope."
We held hands for a moment and at that time we knew
that only because of the Grace that we had been given were we able to give.
That day showed me the pure Light of God's sweet love.
I returned to college, on the last evening of class, with this story in hand.
I turned in "my project" and the instructor read it.
Then she looked up at me and said, "Can I share this?"
I slowly nodded as she got the attention of the class.
She began to read and that is when I knew that we as human beings and being part of God,
share this need to heal people and to be healed.
In my own way I had touched the people at McDonald's, my husband, son,
instructor, and every soul that shared the classroom
on the last night I spent as a college student.
I graduated with one of the biggest lessons I would ever learn:
UNCONDITIONAL ACCEPTANCE.

Unconditional acceptance is also love. By sharing her story a lot of people and also we feel pleased about what she did. We are always happy to hear, that someone did something pleasant to help people in need. I also think of the Finnish Trainer who gave the Canadian athlete a ski pole, when her own pole was broken. He did it right in the moment, whe it was needed.
I imagine for him it was completly clear to help out in this situation. Many people, especially Canadians were touched by this gesture and very thankful, that he helped out in the right moment.
We learn that there are neverending possibilities to help.
For sure, we could face them more often, then we would expect.

But sometimes we step back because something about a person is unexpected or not pleasant to us. Sometimes we think, that it is the own fate of a person to be in this helpless situation. It is not our task to judge other people.
From the bible we know, that Jesus helped everyone without limitations. He showed us, that all people are loved by God.
We want to follow Jesus as well as we can. In this way we make the world a better place. We help others to feel better and to experience God’s unconditional love through ourselves. Often it is a decision of one moment to help or not to help.
God gives us the strength to do more than we expect from ourselves.
Sometimes, when we were able to do something for one of the people around us, we are surprised about ourselves, that we got so much power to do it right.
God is with us, when we share our love in all our different ways.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.
6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
7 It always protects, always trusts,
always hopes, always perseveres.
Through these words we learn again, that love is perfect.
We need love in every day of our lives. Love helps us to make everything brighter and better.
Everything that we do with love is something special.
But nobody is able to live that perfect love.
Through Jesus Christ God forgives us our sins and allows us to live in his peace over and over again. When we bring God’s peace to our families and neighbours, then we also show our love. We understand, what it means to be freed from all our sin and to be free to act as God’s people in our own way.
We are not perfect. But God loves everyone of us.Love endures forever.
We are thankful, that we are God’s beloved children. We want to share our love as well as we can. In this way joy comes into our lives. Sometimes people experience through us, that God gives hope, forgiveness and peace. We pray, that God may make his love visible through everyone of us. AMEN
And the peace of God, which transcends all our understanding will guard our hearts and minds in Jesus Christ. AMEN

By Katharina Möller




Sermon

St. George's Church, Toronto


Text: Luke 8,4-8

4 While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming
to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable:
5 "A farmer went out to sow his seed.
As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path;
it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up.
6 Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture.
7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it
and choked the plants.
8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop,
a hundred times more than was sown.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. AMEN.

Dear sisters and brothers in Jesus Christ!
Jesus‘ parable of the Sower is well known by everyone of us.
In his parable Jesus compared the way of the growing seeds with the way of our growing faith.
There are different ways to make the word of God, that comes like a seed into our hearts visible.
In our services we often thought about this parable, and about the different ways to live in faith and to follow Jesus. We often asked in which way can we bear fruit in our lives. We need the example of people, who already brought a lot of fruit in their lives. I think of people like mother Theresa, Albert Schweitzer or Martin Luther, who gave us an example of their own faith. We learn in which different ways the word of God can grow within people to make the world a better place.
In this sermon I want to introduce a faithful man to you, a man who was able to live according to Gods will. He did a lot to bring the gospel to people of all ages. His name is Frere Roger, translated brother Roger or Bruder Roger. Last month he passed away at the age of 90.
May be you heared of it in the News, because he was stabbed to death by a mental ill woman during a service of the Taize community in France.

We heared about his death during our vacation in August. We know a lot of people, who like to go to Taize and who live in community with Christians from all over the world. In Taize they celebrate worship services, they speak in small groups and they sing Taize-hymns. People want their own faith to grow.
All over the world the Taize village is well known because of Frere Roger and his community.
A lot of people know the wonderful Taizehymns, that are translated in more than 50 languages and connect Christians from all over the world.
The hymn „Glory to God“ is one of many Taize hymns.
Frere Roger was a man, who brought a lot of fruit and who lived his faith his entire live. He met mother Theresa and they published books together. I believe mother Theresa and Frere Roger were two of the most faithful people in the public in todays time.
Now I want to tell you about his life.
Roger Schutz was born in 1915 in the town of Provence in the Switzerland. His father, a Lutheran minister, had a powerful influence on the life and spirituality of the young Roger. Every day early in the morning his father went to pray alone in the Church. Sometimes he went into a Catholic Church for his morning prayers to show, that there is a lot in common between Christians, who believe in the same God. Of his mother Amelie, who came from France, he wrote, "She demanded authenticity and truthfulness of us in our lives."
From an early age Roger was very conscious of the divisions between Protestant and Catholic, but was encouraged by his parents to look beyond them. While attending secondary school in a nearby town his parents chose to lodge him with a Catholic family, because they needed the income from the rent.
Roger also admired his grandmother from his mother side. She was also a wife of a protestant pastor and welcomed everyone. She taught him, to be welcoming and open to everyone without differences, because all people are loved by God.
As a teenager he suffered under tuberculosis. In this time he spent many hours praying, studying the scripture and thinking. As a result Roger began the study of theology at Lausanne University.
During those years he worked tirelessly organizing meetings and seminars on prayer and scripture.
In his final year at Lausanne he started to dream about a life in a faithful community, where reconciliation between Christians would be lived out in daily life. He wanted a community where love would be the heart of all things.
Everything began in great solitude. In 1940, at the age of 25, Frere Roger left his native Switzerland in order to live in France, the homecountry of his mother.
In 1941 he found a small and empty farm. He purchased it and he made it his home in the small village of Taizé, in Burgundy.
Here he worked on the farm alone, praying and asking for Gods will. He wanted to do something for people, who had to flee because of WWII.
After a short time he welcomed a lot of people who came in need of help, especially Jewish refugees. He made his place a place of silence and work."
Roger wanted to share his life with others and prayed, that God would send him brothers who wanted to live with him and to share his vision.. In 1949 his first brother arrived. In the following years brothers from different Churches joined them. They lived in this community, but also went to different contries to live among the poor and to bring them the gospel and the love of God.
After 20 years the first Roman Catholic brother came to the community.
Now what was once a dream became a reality – this was the first ecumenical community.
At the end of 1950s the number of young people visiting Taizé started to increase. Together with young people the brothers built the Church of Reconciliation in Taize.
It always was great joy for the community to welcome all these people, but a problem arose. French had been the only language of their worship. But a lot of people came from all over the world to share the simple life and the services. They did not understand French.
With the help of the musician Jacques Berthier, friend of Taize, a solution was found in the use of short hymns. They used some simple words in Latin and started to translate it in more than 50 different languages. These hymns were easy to memorise by everyone.
They sang these hymns again and again to get deeper insight in the truth of Gods word for everyone .
It is the same with us: If we sing a hymn again and again, we think about the words we are singing and get a deeper connection to these words within us. We take the music into our lives and in this way we get a great connection.
It was said about the Taize music:
" The music of Taize is special to young and old, regardless of nationality, culture or religious tradition. It is the Word of God set to music -- it allows deep contemplation and prayer.“
Today there are more than 100 brothers, who belong to the Taizé Community , Catholics and from various Protestant backgrounds, coming from more than twenty-five nations. The Taize community is a sign of reconciliation and hope between divided Christians and divided nations.
The brothers accept no donations or gifts. The community earns its living by the brothers’ work. Every week from early spring to late autumn, young adults from different continents arrive on the hill of Taizé. They are searching for meaning in their lives, in communion with many others. Some weeks in the summer months, more than 5000 young people from 75 different countries take part in the life of Taize.
Visitors are encouraged to spend a week with the community. The days are spent in prayer. There are services, discussion groups involving people from different parts of the world. It is important, to deepen an inner life and to take on responsibilities in order to make the world a better place to live in.
Church leaders also come to Taizé. The community has welcomed Pope John Paul II, Bishops of different churches, and countless pastors from all over the world.
Frere Roger wrote a “letter” every year. These letters were translated into over fifty languages and used as a text for reflection by many young people, both at home and during the meetings at Taizé.
Frere Roger conducted discussion groups and services and was a welcoming leader, who was loved by all who came to Taize. In the last months he often was weak and tired.
Frere Roger passed away in the midst of a prayer service at his Church of Reconciliation on August 16th, 2005 at the age of 90.
8 years ago Frere Roger appointed Frere Alois from Germany to be his successor. He has been serving in the Taize community for more than 30 years.
Once Frere Roger started alone and now the Taize community is well known and famous all over the world. This was one of the important messages of Frere Roger :
“When the Church listens, heals, reconciles, then she becomes what she is in her most radiant aspect: a crystal-clear reflection of a love.”
Frere Roger brought a lot of fruit in his life. He did so much for people all over the world. He is an example for all of us.
We need people like him to understand, that we can do more than we imagine.
It is important to do something and not to forget our own dreams. We need to do everything in love, like he did to follow Jesus. So we are on the way to bring fruit in our own lives.
We pray, that God helps us, to bring his love to the people we meet and to be open and welcoming to everyone.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

And the peace of God, which transcends all our understanding will guard our hearts and minds in Jesus Christ. AMEN

By Katharina Möller