Worship at 9 am
10:15 am Sunday School
Pastor Glenn Zimbelman
|Evangelical Lutheran Church in America|
Scan with your Mobile Phone to Donate online.
|Pastor Glenn Zimbelman's Sermons
Click Underlined Title to view full Sermon
When Jan and I got married we settled into a place called Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. The name is translated from Potawnami meaning Waterfall. It had 5 major lakes surrounding it. We settled there because it was between our two work places. So for two years I drove on a freeway for an hour to get to my church outside of Madison. The topography was typical rolling Wisconsin farm land. I would often spot this on the side of a hill.
Sweetie of my heart. I’ve been so desolate ever since I broke off our engagement. Simply devastated. Won’t you please consider coming back to me? You hold a place in my heart no other woman can fill. I can never marry another woman quite like you. I need you so much. Won’t you forgive me and let us make a new beginning? I love you so.
I grew up in Buckley Washington located at the foot of Mount Rainer. My brother Roger wanted to climb it. Instead of going with a guide service we joined Tacoma Mountaineers, a climbing club. The upshot is I learned how to climb rock and glaciers. I climbed Mount Rainer when I was 14 years old and climbed all over the Northwest until I was 23. It was on one of my climbs that God first became real for me. We were working our way across a glacier trying to get to our route up the mountain. It was later in the summer so at the bottom it was more rock and shale and less snow. There was a point where we had to go single file down the side of a cliff full of rock shale. There was no way to anchor our rope to keep us safe. If we slid or slipped we were toast. We had to go one at a time and space ourselves far apart. If the whole side gave away we didn’t want it to take the 3 of us. We went through this gap, going real slow, and I was the last one to go. While I was waiting, I remember praying to God and saying essentially this, God if this is my time I am to die, I am yours. The most interesting thing came over me. I had a sense of real peace. I had a sense that whatever happened to me, I would be okay. With that in mind, I ran down the side of the mountain. Not really. I went slow but with great confidence. At the end as we climbed up onto the snow, a climbing friend asked me if I was gripped, meaning afraid. I said, nope, I knew God was with me. He gave me the weirdest look.
So what do we say to each other about Easter? We might say, He is Risen, and we may respond by saying, He is Risen Indeed. That is one response. It is quite natural. I say, the Lord be with you, and you respond, And also with you. You are well trained. What is the most popular response to Easter? Happy Easter everyone. Turn to your neighbor and say, Happy Easter.
This certainly wasn’t what she expected life to be. She was happily married, had a nice house and a good job. She had a wonderful but shy 5 year old girl that was her wonder and joy. I had many visits with her and watched her body waste away. She has inoperable brain cancer. It was not a matter of if, but when. She said to me one of the things I will miss the most is not being there for my daughter’s big moments in life. She would miss her 16th birthday, her first date, her high school graduation and if God willed, her wedding. So she decided to make several videos. You might view it as “words of advice and hope from your mom”. She made a video for each of those life stages. She wanted her daughter to know that while she may be absent physically, she would be with her daughter when she turned 16 and so forth.
Some of you might remember this guy. He was the rainbow man. He would dress up in a rainbow colored afro and show up at sporting events. You would see him at the NBA finals, at NFL games and even at Nascar events. He became famous enough that he found himself in Budweiser beer commercial. I always wondered where he got the cash to come up with all those tickets. He was everywhere. But you see it wasn’t just his rainbow hair that stood out. He would also flash a sign that said, John 3:16.
When I first interviewed with the call committee I mentioned to them that the sermons online from Mt. Cross Lutheran in Payson are all done at the contemporary service where I don’t dress up in my pastor’s outfit. Well somewhere along the way, that was missed. When my name was submitted to council they were told, well Pastor Glenn wears street clothes while preaching. So many of you were expecting me to be in my jeans that very first Sunday. So I surprised some of you by having my pastor’s garb on. Some of you are still wondering when and if you will see me in jeans on a Sunday morning. That will happen during our future second worship but I have too much respect for those that appreciate traditional forms of worship to not conduct worship in an alb and a stole.
The Evangelical Church in America is divided up into 65 areas of ministry called synods. We are in the Grand Canyon Synod of the ELCA. Each synod has a bishop, our bishop is Steve Talmage. Did you know that we also have a person who is known as the presiding Bishop? The presiding Bishop is essentially the top person in our denomination. She presides over our entire church and the 65 synods. She is Bishop to our Bishops. Who hear knows her name? Her name is Elizabeth Eaton. What is cool about the presiding Bishop is that she was my synod bishop when I was in Ohio. When she got elected I told our Bishop Steve Talmage, I bet I am the only clergy person in the state of Arizona that can say they had a glass of wine around the fireplace with our new presiding bishop. I bet all of you are very impressed with your pastor. She was very supportive of me as a mission developer. Well she said something in her pre-election speech that fits our gospel lesson for today. Her words were something like ,” as Lutherans we are grounded in a theology of the cross versus our culture which has a theology of glory.” That was one sound bite that the press quoted. But what does that mean? Why should it matter? Theology of the Cross vs Theology of Glory. I bet you didn’t even know that the heart of what it means to be Lutheran has to do with Luther’s thoughts on the theology of the cross. So listen closely. I bet you didn’t get this in confirmation.
I worked for 6 years as a night chaplain. Once a month I would stay overnight at the hospital and answer any emergency calls. One of the duties was to meet with anyone that requested a chaplain the night before a surgery. So I walk into this gentleman’s room and his entire room was decorated in Georgia Bulldog regalia. There were pennants, pictures, helmets and so forth. Next to his hospital bed he had a Georgia Bulldog sports program. It was opened in the middle to a page where he was honored as an All American at Georgia back in the 1940s. The picture was black and white.
One of the classic kid’s games is Hide and Seek. When I was a counselor at a Bible Camp we would do a counselor hunt. All the counselors would go hide, and then the entire camp full of kids, 150 strong, would go out and try to find the counselors. The camp was located in Washington woods and was about 50 acres or so, so it there was plenty of places to hide. We did this every week, and I was one of the few counselors that summer to never get found. You want to know my secret? I locked myself in the freezer. No, in reality, I had some old green army clothes. I dressed in that, and climbed the tallest fir tree on the camp. I would throw pine cones at the kids below. Here is the thing: They would have found me, all they had to do was to look up.
© 2006 - 2017, MaricopaLutherans.org - All Rights Reserved.