Recently in Lutheran Church of the Cross Category

Lutheran Church of the Cross was grateful for our guest pastor, Kate Drefke today. 

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The text was not available at time of publication 

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 


April 30, 2017 - 3rd Sunday f Easter

Sermon on Luke 24:13-35.  Text is from Luke 24:13-35


Fritz von Uhde - Der Gang nach Emmaus (1891)

We can be walking along and not see Jesus walking next to us. How can we, who are disciples not see Christ among us and what does it take for us to see him? 

This is an unrehearsed homily, so there is no accompanying text!  

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 


April 26, 2017 - 2nd Wednesday of Easter

Homily on Luke 24:13-35.  Text is from Luke 24:13-35


We see Jesus in each other, we see Jesus in the wine and bread. Have we truly come to believe because we haven't seen him? 

 This sermon is quite a bit different from how it was written, therefore, please listen to the sermon rather than read it.  The sermon notes which are included for convenience.  

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 

April 23 - 2nd Sunday in Easter

"Seeing Jesus".  Text is from John 20:19-31 


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Good morning to you my sisters and brothers in Christ, saints and sinners, children of God. 

Easter, at least the season of it, has only just begun. Even though we're a week after the Sunday of the Resurrection, we're only now beginning to talk about Jesus's post resurrection appearances and how he is beginning to live into this amazing gift he's given to us, first to the women at the tomb, and then to those they'd met, the disciples. Here in the upper room. And although there were on 10 of the remaining twelve  there, frightened about who might be coming for them, Jesus nevertheless appeared and ate with them and showed them his wounds and blessed them and gave the holy spirit to take with them to bless others. 

We don't know where Thomas was that first night that Jesus came to visit. There are so many possibilities. It had been a frightening time for the disciples who felt as if they must go into hiding, and perhaps, of all of them, Thomas had some place else to go. Maybe Thomas had made a friend ijn Jerusalem and hadn't told anyone about them. What remains with us, though, throughout this set of passages, is that Thomas did not see and therefore, did not believe until Jesus showed his face once more. 

Christ died. Christ arose. Christ wasn't just some political victim executed for expediency, profiled and 

 This sermon is quite a bit different from how it was written, therefore, please listen to the sermon rather than read it.  The sermon notes which are included for convenience.  

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 

April 16 - Sunday of the Resurrection

"For all".  Text is from Matthew 28:1-10


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Good morning to you my sisters and brothers in Christ, saints and sinners, children of God.  Good morning to you my sisters and brothers in Christ, saints and sinners, children of God. 

This is indeed the day that our God has made! This day, more than any other, is one of praise and joy. The light has finally conquered darkness and overcome it. No longer is the body of Christ hidden away in a lonesome tomb but he is with us, alive and glorious. 

Today's Easter reading comes from the book of Matthew and is so full of wonderful imagery that we can so easily imagine that we were right there with Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, who scholars generally agree is the mother of Jesus. 

They alone sat vigil outside of the lonely tomb, along with soldiers standing watch, lest someone come and take the body from the tomb, or worse yet, rob the body of Jesus of some relic. This was a man executed by the state and reputedly performed miracles, and the word was most definitively out there, it was certainly within the realm of possibility that someone would seek to profit off of that fact, and the state did not want anything like that to happen. So guards were positioned outside. 


Don't make assumptions. People get resentful about it. They want you to know who they are, they want you to notice them, but only reveal who they are to a point. The rest is for Jesus. 

 This sermon is quite a bit different from how it was written, therefore, please listen to the sermon rather than read it.  The sermon notes which are included for convenience.  

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 

March 26 - 4th Sunday in Lent

"Seeing".  Text is from John 9:1-41


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Good morning to you my sisters and brothers in Christ, saints and sinners, children of God.

This morning's gospel reading is a pretty long one, one of the longest in our lectionary outside of Christmas and Easter. And it has another remarkable thing about it. Look here, we first have Jesus giving this man eyesight, and then he is brought before the Pharisees, questioned mercilessly... his parents are questioned, they tell them that he's all grown up, he can speak for himself, and then they question him once more and finally when they don't get the answers they want, they expel him from the synagogue. 

And after all that, Jesus seeks him out, and finds him.  And with all that happens in the interim, it is the longest absence of Jesus in the entire gospel, with the exception perhaps, depending on how you look at it, of the Easter Narrative. 

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Light is the best sanitizer. You know how some people have a store room they haven't opened in a while? And when they turn on a light? Yeah, we're going there.... 

This is an unrehearsed homily, so there is no accompanying text!  

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 

March 22, 2017 - 4th Wednesday of Lent

"Homily on Ephesians 5:8-14".  Text is from  Ephesians 5:8-14


Jesus knows all of our secrets. There's no point in hiding from him. We become vulnerable whether we like it or not before Christ, our God. The living water is a gift that changes our lives and gives us reason to live. 

 This sermon is quite a bit different from how it was written, therefore, please listen to the sermon rather than read it.  The sermon notes which are included for convenience.  

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 

March 19 - 3nd Sunday in Lent

"Laid Bare".  Text is from John 4:5-42


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Good morning to you my sisters and brothers in Christ, saints and sinners, children of God.

The narrative of the Samaritan woman at the well is gorgeous, and so full of possibilities in its own right.  We have Jesus walking in Samaria, and he comes to this city and conveniently, while his disciples are away getting food, he stops at Jacob's Well, where he encounters this woman. To understand the tension, it helps to know a little bit about the different characters.  While Jesus is a Galileean, he is nevertheless specifically Jewish, just of a rural variety. And furthermore he is, at least to his disciples, a rabbi, a teacher, kind of a holy man. Samaratans like this woman are of a different breed of people altogether. It's not that they're that different from Jews, their religion stems from worship of the same God that the Jews worship.... Yahweh. But for the Jews, Yahweh is at the Temple in Jerusalem, and all worship must take place there. For Samaritans, the worship takes place on Mount Gerazim. The other major difference belongs to the distinction of the Old Testament, because the Samaratans were the ones who remained in the land of Israel during the Babylonian exile, and believed that their version of the face remain uncorrupted from Persian and Babylonian influences. 

And from these minor differences comes a major break, because the Jews considered the Samaritans, in many ways, worse than Gentiles. For a holy man such as Jesus to be speaking with a Samaritan woman was simply unheard of, particularly on his own. It was a violation of several laws and more significantly, social customs. 

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Don't you hate it when people tell you suffering builds you up? I don't want to hear that when I'm in pain! But what I would like to hear is that I'm not suffering alone. Jesus is there with us. 

This is an unrehearsed homily, so there is no accompanying text!  

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 

March 15, 2017 - 3nd Wednesday of Lent

"Homily on Romans 5:1-11".  Text is from  Romans 5:1-11



What happens when we've been baptized as a child and yet we still feel like we're going through a "born again" experience? It means living out your baptism. We can grow and make changes in our lives well beyond our baptism. 

 This sermon is quite a bit different from how it was written, therefore, please listen to the sermon rather than read it.  The sermon notes which are included for convenience.  

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 

March 12 - 2nd Sunday in Lent

"Born Again, Again?".  Text is from John 3:1-17


Good morning to you my sisters and brothers in Christ, saints and sinners, children of God.

We move into a different part of the gospels with today's text and the next several Sundays, going from Matthew to John's gospel, where we have some very interesting revelations play out in the text.  

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In today's reading we have a visit from a Pharisee named Nicodemus. It's no mistake that this important encounter is with one from the generally reviled group of people known as Pharisees, but Nicodemus is special. He appears to either be genuinely trying to understand the words that Jesus is telling him or at the very least investigating Jesus for other purposes, but having a worthwhile dialogue with him. 

And in the midst of this dialogue, Nicodemus is bringing all of his own preconceptions to this encounter with Christ and has basically closed is mind to all possibility that Jesus has to offer. Jesus says that nobody is going to see God's kingdom without having been born from above. Nicodemus is perplexed. Birth happens once, right? What do you expect to crawl back into your mother's womb and go through it all over again? Jesus clarifies with a lengthier explanation, that things of the flesh are of the flesh and things of the Spirit are of the Spirit, and that one must be born of water and spirit, that is, "From above" in order to enter the kingdom. Now Nicodemus is astonished. What in the world is Jesus telling him? Jesus castigates Nicodemus, he is a teacher of Israel one who is supposed to understand Godly things and he doesn't get it? 

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We're born again when we get baptized, whether as a child or as an adult. Being baptized can be a choice, but don't worry, God's got the little babies taken care of too. It's okay to simply reaffirm your baptism when you're all grown up.  

This is an unrehearsed homily, so there is no accompanying text!  

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 

March 8, 2017 - 2nd Wednesday of Lent

"Homily on John 3:1-17".  Text is from  John 3:1-17 

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