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Pastor Glenn Zimbelman
|Evangelical Lutheran Church in America|
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|Pastor Glenn Zimbelman's Sermons
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My home town of Buckley would be considered literally the other sides of the tracks. Four miles away was the town of Enumclaw. At one point in history, the two towns shared the same school district. Somewhere there was a fight. So the upshot is that they formed two separate school districts but guess what, they kept the same mascot name. We were the Hornets. Sting them. Buzzzz. So Enumclaw was our enemy and arch rivals. The newspapers would always do a big thing about the battle of the Hornets. But you see Enumclaw had everything Buckley did not. Enumclaw had wealthy pilots, Buckley had loggers. Enumclaw funded their schools and guess what, they even had their own swimming pool. Enumclaw was bigger, and when we played sports, it was always David vs Goliath. Why things were so bad, I bet you can’t guess where the Lutheran Church. Yes, Trinity Lutheran was in Enumclaw. Do you know how you tell people where Buckley is? You tell them, it is near Enumclaw? Also known to the people in Buckley as Enumscratch. The upshot of it all, is that I learned quite quickly, there were our people and those people. If you lived in Buckley, Enumclaw was full of snobs. If you lived in Enumclaw, Buckley was in the hicks. Our people, Those people.
The third year of Seminary you get sent out on Internship for a year to practice at being a pastor. I put down on my internship application, I want to go to a place with trees. That was my only requirement. To know that God has a sense of humor, do you know where they sent me? North Dakota of course. I ended up going to Velva. The name of the church, Oak Valley Lutheran Church. There were some Oak trees in the little valley that ran through the town of 1200 people, but there is a reason that some call the state tree is the telephone pole. So I show up at this church and I was there for one day, and the pastor says, well I am off for a month. Good luck. So I found myself in charge of a four church parish. The second week I was there, I got a very tragic phone call. A four year old had climbed on dad’s tractor while it was left running. Somehow he got it to go in reverse and in the process fell off and was killed. It was a very, sad, and tragic day. How do you make sense of it? The dad was burdened with guilt for not shutting off the tractor? Who would think that a four year old would be able to put it into gear? It was a senseless tragedy with no real answers.
The parable of the Good Samaritan is one of the most popular parables in the Bible. We have hospitals named after it. We even have laws in most states. If you stop to help someone in need, you will not be punished if you mess up. Most of the time we take the parable to means, anytime someone is in need, we should help them. That certainly is true. I would like to present to you this morning perhaps a different way to look at this parable courtesy of seminary professors at WorkingPreacher.Org.
The beauty of the narrative lectionary is that we pick a Gospel which this year is Luke and work through it all the way to Pentecost. Today’s message as a recap will be more Bible study in nature. This day, called Transfiguration Sunday is a turning point in Luke’s Gospel. For the first 9 chapters, we experience Epiphany, the light of God shown through Jesus Christ. Jesus is born and baptized and then goes out doing Jesus type things. He does a lot of healing, teaching and preaching the good news. At the heart of this first 9 chapters is this”
You see on the screen a picture of my multi-level all-purpose ladder. I have wanted one of these for yours. I use to have a very unstable aluminum step ladder that when I climbed on it, it always felt like I was in the middle of an earthquake. So every year a home improvement store would put these on sale during Black Friday. I would hint to Jan, one of those ladders would be nice. I never got a ladder. I think it was just too big to wrap. So one year, I saved up my money and bought one on Good Friday. So now I have a stable ladder. It is especially useful for trimming palm trees. Can you tell that I really love my ladder? Now last year my next door neighbor is putting up Christmas lights. My ladder is visible when the garage door is open so the entire world knows I own one. He knocks on my door and asks if he can borrow my ladder. We have a relationship of sorts. We take in each other’s garbage cans. We talk about his kids. Of course I said, sure. Do you know what happened? You can read in Blondie how Dagwood loans a tool to Herb and never gets it back. So, where is my ladder? No, He returned it when he was done. I really had no concern loaning him the ladder and he could have kept it for a while. Now what makes my neighbor feel it is okay to cone and ask me to borrow the ladder,? In one word, relationship! We knew each other.
I actually once bought and wore a T Shirt that said,
“We’ve Never Done It That Way Before”
Today we are going to talk a bit about everyone’s most favorite topic, Change. Someone once said complained to a pastor friend of mine. You know the world is changing. The church is one place I trust to keep everything the same.
So to get you in the mood here are some quotes about change from a couple of comedians.
It was a typical Sunday morning in Payson. I would get up, get to the church and do the first worship. Jan would come drive over at the end of first worship and hang out with people and attend second worship. That morning she came in late with her face drained. She had been in an accident. What had happened is that she was cutting across the street into the church parking lot and the car in front of her stopped. This left her in the middle of the street. She did not see the man on the bike until it was too late. The man fell over on the street to keep from hitting our car. She took the man to the hospital. He was banged up. It was a gray area of who was at fault. The guy on the bike was also going too fast. This is why you have insurance isn’t it. So I contacted my insurance agent. What I needed to hear from him is words of encouragement and hope. What I got was anything but. In essence he said, well, accidents happen. Everyone has them. Good bye. He sounded as if he was mad at me for getting in an accident. Compassion and mercy clearly was not his gift.
As a young adult I once had a job driving a fork lift in a warehouse. It was pretty fun picking orders for the Mission Macaroni Company. I worked six days a week and the pay was good but by the weekends I was worn out. On Saturday night I stayed up way past my bed time. It was Sunday morning and I was exhausted. I had a headache. No, it was not from the alcohol. On second thought, maybe it was. But whatever the case, you see I had to make it to church. I was working on my points for God. So I showed up at church, spent the entire time, nodding off to sleep, and got absolutely nothing from that morning. All I wanted was to get it over with so I could go home and have a nap. But I left, feeling that my mission was accomplished. I after all, attended worship on Sunday.
I used to go deer hunting back in the day. It was actually quite easy to go deer hunting in Wisconsin. All you needed was to drive your car around dusk. Seriously, in Washington State deer Hunting was an adventure in patience. There simply is not enough deer and too much ground cover. So when I was 14, I was hunting with my brother and didn’t see a thing. No deer anywhere. I was bored. So as I was walking down a road, I noticed a grouse sitting up in a tree. I had my dad’s 30-30. I said to my brother, can I practice on the grouse. Now I have no clue what a 30-30 shell would do it a grouse, but trust me, it would not be pretty. So I took aim, pulled the trigger and missed. It was only about 30 feet away sitting there looking at me. So I took a second shot. I also missed. I waited and took a third shot. And I missed that too. I picked up a stick and through it at the grouse and it flew off. Needless to say, this was the end of my dream to be an expert marksman. So we left there, drove down about two miles and there were a bunch of hunters sitting around their trucks shooting the breeze. As we drove up and got out we heard someone say, well, someone must have got one, I just heard 3 shots.
As we enter our second week of advent we turn to the book of Joel. Joel is my most favorite book in the entire Bible. Do you know why? It is because Joel is my middle name. When my mom used the middle name of Glenn Joel, I knew I was in trouble. See now you know my middle name and you also know that I got into trouble. Well, it really is not my most favorite book but it does have some lessons for us this morning.
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