All posts by Pastor Karl Hanf

The Wrong Turns of Christmas

The scripture text for this sermon is Matthew 2:13-23.

A couple of years ago, I had an idyllic start to my Christmas morning.  My kids were older, probably 22 to 18, that age when you look with satisfaction at the kind of adults they are becoming. All of them lived away from home in college dorms or apartments.  Christmas was a homecoming, a new experience for our family. Continue reading The Wrong Turns of Christmas

This Advent, Peace Now!

This sermon is based on the scripture text, Isaiah 2:1-5.

I fussed with the text from Isaiah this week.  Did you know there is a statue of a muscled man beating a sword into a plow outside of the UN building in NY with these words underneath?  These are famous words.  The idea that not only will there be a time in human history where weapons will not be needed, but people will even forget how to make them is inspiring.  Wouldn’t that be wonderful?  The thought of it simply makes us pray, come Lord Jesus. Continue reading This Advent, Peace Now!

Come Celebrate With Us, Christ is Born!

Luke 1:46-50,  And Mary said,

  “My soul magnifies the Lord,

  47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

  48 for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.

    Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;

49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me,

    and holy is his name.

50 His mercy is for those who fear him

    from generation to generation.

Come. Bring your family and friends to worship at Messiah in December.  Together we will rediscover the joy of a life lived magnifying the Lord.  The words above that start the song of Mary are as meaningful today as they were for the early church.  They not only celebrate God’s movement in Mary’s life, but because of her faithful yes, God’s movement in all of our lives.  Through the birth of Jesus we can all sing like Mary full of hope and joy. Continue reading Come Celebrate With Us, Christ is Born!

Give Praise To God

This sermon is from the study of Psalm 98.

The Church of England in their catechism teaches that the chief concern of the human is to glorify God and enjoy God forever.  If our Anglican friends are right, this could be bad news for Lutherans, because we don’t do joy well.  We are a little stiff when it comes to the ecstatic praise department.  A firm smile, possibly with a few teeth showing is about as happy as we get on a Sunday morning. If the Church of England is telling me I need to be a cheerleader I have got real problems.  I have no rhythm, can’t clap and honestly look kind of foolish jumping up and down. Continue reading Give Praise To God

All Saints Sunday

All Saints Sunday since the third century has been an important celebration in the Church.  Originally, it was set aside to remember the sacrifice of Christian martyrs.  They were put to death by Roman authorities looking to pin the problems of their crumbling empire on anyone but themselves.  In the early church on All Saints Day they read aloud these martyrs names so they and their sacrifice for the gospel would not be forgotten. Continue reading All Saints Sunday

All Saints Sunday, November 7

It is unlikely that you are an adult in our world and have not been impacted positiviely by someone who has since died. These people encouraged us in our life. Now, they are the saints in heaven encouraging us from beyond. They revealed Christ to us and by their love taught us something about grace.

At Messiah this Sunday, November 7, we give thanks for all the saints that have gone before us. By name we remember those who we said goodbye to as a community. Then, by a beautiful candlelight ritual all of us individually are given an opportunity to remember someone who through their life shared goodness with us. After we light a candle in their name, we will kneel at the altar and feast on the heavenly food, the body and blood of our Lord. Feast with the same food they live on now in heaven, God’s very presence. Wonderful, quiet, reflective music is sung throughout as the lit candles grow and flicker.

All Saints Sunday at Messiah is a highlight of our worship year. Come and share this good gift and bring your family and friends. For, we all have received good gifts by someone who has left us now. Remember them and give thanks this Sunday.
Peace, Pastor Karl

A Special Reformation Sunday

If you are a dyed in the wool Lutheran you know, next week is Reformation Sunday.  It is the day Protestants traditionally celebrate Martin Luther’s 16th century reforms of the church.  This year at our 11:00 service, we have some special guests that will help us recast Reformation Sunday in a different light.  Our neighbors St. Pius, brothers and sisters in Christ and partners in ministry at Joseph’s Coat, will worship with us.  They are sending their Chancel Choir to join with our own for a wonderful 60 voice choir this day.  Further, their Senior Pastor, Monsignor David Funk will come and lead us in liturgy and prayer.   11:00 next week, October 31 will truly be a good and even historic worship for Messiah.  Don’t miss it.

A Story About Humility

This sermon is based on the parable that Jesus told found in Luke 18:9-14.

We are working hard at Messiah planning for Reformation Sunday which makes the thing that happened here last week almost tragic.  Our Synod office called to announce a contest they are holding for this year’s Reformation Sunday.  They want to crown someone from our churches Most Lutheran 2010 at a special worship service next Sunday night.   They called to ask that we send a bio on our candidate by Friday. Continue reading A Story About Humility

The Tenth Leper

The text for this sermon is the story of Jesus healing the ten lepers, Luke 17:11-19.

For years I was a dock supervisor at Roadway Express.  I worked 12 hour shifts from 7 until 7.  From the moment, I walked on the dock I was working.  Dock men asked me questions.  Managers found me to yell at me about something I hadn’t done the night before.  Other supervisors started shouting for me over the radio as soon as they heard me check in.  I expected to work like a dog from the time I stepped on that dock until I stepped off. Continue reading The Tenth Leper

Noticing Lazarus

This sermon is based on the parable that Jesus told to the Pharisees, Luke 16:9-31.

 Have you seen pictures of the holocaust?  The grainy, black and white gruesome ones of people stacked like cord wood.  Those pictures make your heart ache, but it is still a distant crime.  It isn’t until you read a diary written by a young teenage girl fruitlessly living in hiding for years to avoid this fate does this crime become something that we know and understand.  Each one of these images is a person, like Anne Franke with dreams, talents, annoying behaviors and endearing qualities.  Each one is human.  When that sinks in the enormity of this evil sinks in and we become resolute to do something about it. Continue reading Noticing Lazarus