Pivot

It began with an email from the directors of Holden Village, where I was about to volunteer for three weeks. Things were changing in the village once again due to COVID-19. More stringent practices would be reinstated. Everyone who lives, works, visits or volunteers there must be vaccinated. It is in fact the safest place to do all the things I mentioned above. Since the outbreak of the pandemic Holden, this place apart, has not had one case of COVID-19. They had put…

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Star Words

“Lead me in your truth, and teach me.” Psalm 25:5In January 2018, Trinity Lutheran began our annual Epiphany practice known as “star words”. Here is how it works: Hundreds of stars, each with a different word, are cut out and placed word-side-down in a basket or on a table. After Holy Communion, each person randomly selects a star, no peeking allowed. We don’t choose our word; our word chooses us. We ponder these words during the year, asking God what He’d like us…

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Advent Blues

“Advent does not begin in buoyancy or celebration or in a shopping spree. The natural habitat of Advent is a community of hurt. It is the voice of those who know profound grief, who articulate it and do not cover it ever” Walter Bruggemann Those words are from one of my favorite biblical scholars Walter Bruggemann. He hits the nail on the head when it comes to Advent, especially this year. Yes this has been a year of hurt, of “one crying in…

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I Wonder As I Wander

When I was a small child, I loved to look at the night sky. Doing so in Milwaukee was not the best experience, given all the ambient light, but what a difference when we were at the lake. My father and I would sit on the dock and he would tell me the names of the constellations and how to find them. I would look at the sky, marvel at its beauty and be entertained with stories of why the stars, according to…

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Believing is Seeing…

I recently received a text from a former staff member, Mike, checking in and sharing that he just watched the Santa Clause movie starring Tim Allen. He shared that, on this particular occasion, he was surprised during this reviewing of the movie. He discovered he was struck by metaphor for faith and the story of Jesus that is contained within this film. He particularly shared how he was struck by a line, “seeing isn’t believing, believing is seeing” as true wisdom toward our…

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Advent Hope

We journey through this Advent season with COVID cases being on the rise across the country. With the country and our state setting new case and death numbers almost every day and at an alarming rate. We journey through Advent in the midst of a global pandemic that has hopefully made us realize how interconnected we all are as a people and a planet. We journey through Advent, the season of waiting and watching, waiting for approval of a vaccine, watching how people…

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Waiting for……..

“Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon...There was also a prophetess, Anna...” Luke 2:25 – 38My childhood memories of Christmas include a lot of waiting. Of course, there was waiting for the time when I could open my presents and, waiting for everyone else to finish opening their presents so I could start playing with my new toys. As I got older, there was waiting to watch others as they opened the gifts I had prepared for them. There was waiting…

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What Are You Waiting For?

“Wha-at a-are yo-ou WAITING for? Christmas?” It’s a question I used to harangue batters with as a baseball catcher in college--especially when a batter was excessively finicky at which pitch he wanted to swing. The question is probably asked a million times—thrown at the direction of the driver ahead of us who is more intent on the cell phone than on the green traffic light—in wonderment of how much greener the light needs to be before said motorist finally looks up from the…

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The Gift of Encouragement

The first Sunday in Advent is associated with hope. The Bible readings focus on the prophesies of Jesus’ birth, on the coming of the Messiah, which were great sources of hope for the people of Israel for centuries as they waited and watched for God’s coming. But I’m not going to write about hope on this first Sunday of Advent. I’m going to write about its close relative, encouragement.Hope has gotten a lot of air time during the pandemic and for good reason.…

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Christ the King

"I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to…

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An Early Advent

“Zechariah your wife Elizabeth is to bear you a son.” Mary, listen, you are to conceive and bear a son.” (Luke 1: 13, 31) We have already been in the Advent season in a sense; because we have been in a period of waiting since the pandemic began. Waiting for it to be over. Waiting for the suffering to end. Waiting for the vaccine and maybe a cure. Waiting for life to get back to normal, or the new normal, whatever that is.…

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