“The Church Upstairs”

“The Church Upstairs”
All Saints’ Day
November 4, 2018
Text: Ephesians 2:19-22

When I was on my Vicarage I spent a lot of time in the church basement, because that’s where our confirmation class was on Wednesday nights and that’s where a lot of our youth activities were.  Most of the basement was a large room, a little smaller than the sanctuary upstairs, and it was divided up into different areas by old partitions.  There was an area that the ladies used for making quilts, and another area where items were collected that were to be given away.  It was nice, but it was a little beat-up.  You know how church basements can get after 100 years.  It had served its purpose, but it had seen better days, and it was never anything fancy even when it was brand-new.

Of course, what was upstairs, that you couldn’t see from the basement, was beautiful.  The congregation had been very faithful in renovating and updating the sanctuary every 25 years or so from the time the church had first been built not too long after the Civil War.  And it was a beautiful sanctuary, with lovely stained-glass windows and an ornate altar and a large baptismal font and great pews and wonderful combinations of colors on the walls.  It was everything that you would want a Lutheran church to be.  But none of that was visible from the basement.  If you lived in the basement, if you never saw the upstairs but were only told about it, all that you could do was believe what someone else told you about it, try to imagine what it was like, and hope for the day that you could see it for yourself.

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“A Pastor’s Message”

“A Pastor’s Message”  Ephesians 5:6-21
The 13th Sunday after Pentecost (B)  8/19/18
Pastor Mark H. Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL

It was the first thing chanted in our liturgy this morning as we heard in the Introit that, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding.”  (Psalm 111:10)

And then in the Gradual came the clear injunction to “Fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing!” (Psalm 34:9)

 Finally, in this morning’s reading from the Book of Proverbs, what did it say? “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” (Proverbs 9:10)

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“The Preaching of Peace”

“The Preaching of Peace”  Ephesians 2:11-22
The 9th Sunday after Pentecost (B)  7/22/18
Pastor Mark H. Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL

“And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.” (Ephesians 2:17)

The “he” is Jesus. The “you” refers to far more than the first recipients of this apostolic letter – Paul writing to the Christians at Ephesus some 1,960 years ago.

The “you” refers to Jew and Gentile alike, the circumcised and the uncircumcised down throughout the ages.

The “you” refers to all men and women, all teenagers and children of every race, color and ethnic origin. Yes, the “you” … refers to YOU… and to me… to us who once were far off, once lost and condemned creatures.

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Thy Works, Not Mine, O Christ

The Festival of the Reformation

Sermon Text: Ephesians 2:8-9

Peace be unto you from the Lord of the Church, its Sovereign Head, Christ Jesus. Amen.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

So, what should we talk about? Odd question, I know, on this very special day. The word “reformation” certainly gives it away, but it may not say it all. To this, it would be fitting to add the words “restoration” and “preservation.”

What was reformed was the Christian church here on earth as it was cleansed of so many impurities and pollutants that had been added over time, sad to say, by the very men who were entrusted to keep it pure and undefiled.

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