Christ the King Sunday  

November 20, 2022 Jeremiah 23:1-6 Psalm 46 (10) Colossians 1:11-20 Luke 23:33-43 We are arriving at the end of the church liturgical year. What follows is the beginning of Advent and the start of the next year. I wish to look at the person we call Jesus and the people who call him king. In some traditions this last Sunday of the church year is called Christ the King Sunday, and in others, the Reign of Christ Sunday. In still other traditions, people…

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A Look at All Saints

We are now late in the church year and are rapidly moving toward Advent. It seems that by late October and all of November we cannot fit in all the last of the special days, feast days and loose ends of the larger church calendar before we begin anew with Advent. We have two celebrations so close to each other that one or both might be overlooked. They are Reformation and All Saints. The precise days are not always celebrated and in many…

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Welcoming the Outsider

The texts for this next week include citations from Jeremiah and Luke. I want to pull from those writings two ideas that seem to be well-connected in our world today. This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that…

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Give Us Our Daily Bread

Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger to all generations? (Psalm 85:5) One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” 2 He said to them, “When you pray, say: “‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. 3 Give us each day our daily bread. 4 Forgive us our sins,     for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us…

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Children of God in Christ

This little gem, although well known, is hidden away in the writings of Paul; and is still timely today in the second decade of this new Century.Before the faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed.  So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.  Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law. You are all sons of…

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Let the Celebration Continue

We live in a time when we are bombarded with information. With that comes the competition of who might yell the loudest for our attention. Coupled with that is a demand for our attention, which may be the most recent piece of information. Often the first casualty of an event is the headline that gets written by the next news cycle. Translation: if it is not in front of us right now, it is not happening or perhaps never happened.Here then is the…

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Repentance, Patience, Turning Away

The lectionary includes: - Isaiah 55:1-9 - Psalm 63:1-8 - 1 Corinthians 10:1-13 - Luke 13:1-9 This is one of those weeks where the texts assigned are pretty easy to find the connections that the editors of the lectionary intended. Some weeks are not so obvious. The contemplative nature of Lent also offers some focus. In the third week of Lent, we are called again, as we see in most weeks, to patience and waiting. This is not aways easy for modern Americans…

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Love Never Fails

The lessons for this week are held in Luke and Corinthians. Both are well-known citations, and I will leave the Gospel text encounter of Jesus with evil to the pastors.I’m much more called to examine the Epistle text in 1 Corinthians 13: 1-13. This well-known text is Paul’s treatise on love and his conclusion that of the three components: faith, hope, and love, the greatest is love.Many people choose to use some piece of this text for the groundwork of their marriage vows.…

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What Did The Shepherds See?

In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. (Luke 2:8)The Luke account offers some interesting ideas when we consider the shepherds. They were confronted by an angel of the Lord and they are terrified. Why? Had they missed a few too many Sabbaths? Maybe it was their understanding of this God of theirs, a God of vengeance, a God of the apocalyptic of Daniel. We can be assured that they had no more insight…

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Divinity and Humanity

The text assigned for today is from John 11:32-44, where we hear of the raising of Lazarus from the dead. We are given a glimpse of both the divinity and the humanity of Jesus in this text. The humanity appears when Jesus, as we are told, was deeply moved as he came near the tomb of his friend. The divinity is pointed up as we see the relationship between Jesus and the Father. There is a tension between this humanity and divinity that…

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“Good Tired”

The Gospel assigned for this week is from Mark 10:17-31, and is one of those texts where each verse might be the topic of a complete sermon. I am going after a single portion of verse twenty-seven.This text group is often called “The Rich Young Man”. It is a conversation with a wealthy person about the nature of the Kingdom of God and what our service to others might look like.In verse 21 Jesus tells the man to sell all that he has…

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Called to Action

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth. 15 Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. 16 For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to…

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Giving With Both Hands

The texts assigned for this coming Sunday, Mark 7: 1-13 and Ephesians 5: 22-33, can be subject matter for any number of discussions individually. I would like to take a look at how they might be related in a common theme and run with that. Often these texts are hard to see how they might relate but of this Sunday they are not too tough.To summarize both, Mark deals with the Pharisee bosses challenging Jesus on what is clean and unclean, and Jesus…

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The Spiritual Blessing in Christ

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In…

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It’s OK To Start Small

He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, thought he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain – first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come. Again he said, “What shall…

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The Spirit Intercedes

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what (other texts say or how) we ought to pray, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. Romans 8: 26-27 (NIV) How should we pray? For what shall we pray/ These two questions seem to be most relevant…

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What are we connected to?

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. 2 He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. 3 You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. 5…

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In this Easter Season:

As a lifelong Lutheran, I grew up with a close connection to the Eastern Orthodox as my grandfather was Greek Orthodox. All of this was on my mom’s side of the family and my grandmother was not an adherent of the orthodox so my mom grew up in something of a tension that spilled over into my childhood; hence the Lutheran. To this day I’m still not clear how my grandparents found each other. In the mind of the orthodox, Easter is far…

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What is Holy Week For You?

In the church I grew up in on the West Side of Chicago, a church that worshipped about twelve hundred people on a Sunday in the mid-summer, Palm Sunday marked the ramping up to very busy week. There were twenty-four services beginning at seven in the morning of Palm Sunday and ending at one in the afternoon on Easter with six on that day alone. In my junior high days and through high school, I worked regularly at the church but for me…

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Which Will It Be, Light or Dark?

13 No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. 16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. 17 “Indeed, God did not send…

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Consider the Psalms

Lent is an appropriate time for reflection and self examination and there is no better place to ground our thinking than with the Psalms. This is a book that is actually made up of several books and inside each we can find songs that reflect many ways of describing our relationship with our God. There about nine major types of Psalms and most contain more than one manner of expression. For Lent however, I wish to focus on the Penitential, the Laments and…

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