A Song as We Wait

Can we start by listening to a song? Here is the link to Luther College choirs from 2013 singing the piece I have in mind. It is called “Climb to the Top of the Highest Mountain” written by Carolyn Jennings, based on scripture from Isaiah 40:9.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRU_JESEHJc&feature=emb_logoThis is my Advent song. I grew up attending St. John’s Lutheran Church downtown in Des Moines, IA, and I always sang in our church choirs from the time I was in early elementary school until I left…

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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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When God orders a burger…

When I was doing my undergraduate work at Pacific Lutheran University, I got to take a class on Judaism taught by Rabbi Glickman. In one of the lectures, Rabbi Glickman recounted an interfaith conversation where a local pastor asked him, “Do you really think God cares if you have cheese on your burger?” The Rabbi’s thoughts were that dietary laws aren’t about God being offended by what we eat but rather are a way of reminding God’s people that God is present in…

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Rain or Shine

It’s November—the warmth of mid-fall weather is gone—replaced by cooler, almost winter-like weather. Gray clouds cover up blue skies and the last of the yellow, golden, and red leaves fall as it rains, leaving the tree branches bare. It’s sort of a depressing time of the year, don’t you think? We can sort of look forward to later in the month when Thanksgiving Day will come. The seasonal changes remind me of the changing rhythms of life—often warm and bright and then at…

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Wishful Thinking or Faithful Hope?

Disney fairytales are well known for not only their animation, but their whimsical, catchy music as well. Knowing the Disney classics means knowing the popular songs found in Cinderella, Pinocchio, and Sleeping Beauty. We hear a common theme in these enduring lullabies, best represented in the lyrics sung by Cinderella to her animal friends,A dream is a wish your heart makesWhen you're fast asleepIn dreams you will lose your heartachesWhatever you wish for, you keepAnd this one sung by Jiminy Cricket to Pinocchio,When…

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Wilderness

What do you think of when you hear the word wilderness? For most people they probably think of a location or a place that they have been that may seem isolated or away from “civilization.” A place in the middle of a forest, up a mountain, or maybe even in the middle of the desert. In the United States we even have the National Wilderness Preservation System that helps preserve some of these places from our world of land development. But there is…

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New Beginnings

6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. 7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be…

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Dependable

The human spirit will endure sickness; but a broken spirit—who can bear? Proverbs 18:14 Death and taxes. They say those are the two things we can depend on in life. Of course, they don’t mention the neighbor who borrows your rake and never returns it—again; the low tire light indicator that comes on in your car with the temperature change and you are not near a tire service place or a gas station—again; the goat head weeds that appear after several applications of…

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Do We Trust in God?

Most churches have stopped in-person services during the COVD-19 pandemic. A few across the country have not. Inevitably, their explanation involves some version of, “We trust God to care for us.” If this sentiment were confined to a couple crackpot congregations, it wouldn’t be worth talking about, but it seems certain that as churches plan to re-open early, they’re going to use this explanation to justify it. Along with this justification comes an implied criticism: churches that don’t open early must not trust…

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