Fear Not

You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. (NIV)(Matthew 24:6-7)“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (NIV)(John 16:33)The words of Matthew 24:6-7…

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Mercy and Repentance

Lectionary Readings for September 11, 2023The lectionary readings for this Sunday, September 11, show how repentance is the bridge we must travel from our sinfulness to God’s mercy. These themes are explored in four different contexts, starting with a story of God’s wrath and ending with a story of God’s infinite patience and love.The first reading is Exodus 32:7-14. Moses and God are communing on the holy mountain while Moses’ people, feeling abandoned because Moses has been away from them too long, make…

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Come Away and Rest

“Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet (deserted) place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31 What a gracious and kind invitation Jesus extended to his twelve apostles on that busy day. They must have been so relieved and grateful when they heard his most welcome instruction. I’ve no doubt that their coming away included being fed, as well, since…

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“Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.” (Luke 4: 14)These verses describe the beginning of the Galilean ministry, coming right after the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness. At the start of this Lenten season, we witness Jesus at this beginning. The start of a new church season can be a time to reflect on…

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“This is my Beloved…”

“And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.’”(Luke 3:22)Yesterday, we celebrated the Baptism of the Lord, putting a punctuation mark at the end of the Christmas season. My favorite daily app, “Pray-As-You-Go” offered some good food for thought based on the full reading from Luke (Luke 3:15-16, 21-22). They suggest calling to mind our own baptism and imaging God saying to us what was said to Jesus, “You are my beloved; with you I…

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The Same

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8 One of Merriam-Webster’s definitions of “the same” is “someone or something that has not changed: something that is exactly like it was at an earlier time.” In the scripture above we are being reassured that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday (the past), today (the present), and forever (the future). How good to know that throughout our seasons and our struggles, He is our constant. He is firm. He is steadfast.…

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little black fridays

I continue to be impressed at the lengths that people will go to save money on purchasing the gifts during the Christmas season. Black friday is a perfect example. Frankly, I haven’t ever been in the black friday rush—I don’t even know, with the month-long extended internet blitz, whether people go to the lengths they used to with the brick and mortar stores. They used to camp out in lines, sometimes for an entire night, just to secure the closest spot to the door. Others would wake incredibly early. Come morning, the mad rush began as people run to get to the big deals.

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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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Read more about the article What happens when we pray?
I grew up with this on my bedroom wall

What happens when we pray?

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”(Matthew 7:7)But. What about when it doesn’t seem to work? As I have grown spiritually I find I wrestle with the idea of how God answers prayer. Jesus makes it seem quite cut and dried here, doesn’t he? I’m finding…

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Praying for Your Joy

Yesterday evening, just as my husband and I were leaving home to attend a small barbeque, he discovered water in the downstairs laundry room. He cleaned it up and then discovered water in the bathroom next door and also in the hallway. Luckily we don’t have carpet in these areas, but it was still unsettling. There was enough water to drench a number of towels. I checked outside for a running hose, but everything was dry. We checked the water heater and the…

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Just Tom

Imagine with me for a moment: You’re a guy who has spent the last three years traveling and working with your best friends. It’s been exciting and exhausting and oh, so much fun! That is, until it wasn’t. Your leader, the glue that held your fraternity together, was just arrested and killed. What now? You have no idea if the cops are looking for the rest of you. You couldn’t handle losing anyone else right now. You all go into hiding together. And you’re…

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Read more about the article Fullness and Emptiness
empty and full cups

Fullness and Emptiness

So many voices…so many perspectives…so many programs…so many to-dos…Just. So. Many.You’d think with as many things as we tend to have going on in our lives, ears, and schedules, that we would be filled by the abundance. Yet, so often, I feel drained and emptied. Maybe it’s the secret introvert in me, but the work of sifting through the noise, crud, and mess of life wears me out.So full, yet so emptying.When I think of Jesus and fullness, my first thought drifts to…

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Read more about the article Into The Temple And Beyond
Jesus driving the merchants from the temple

Into The Temple And Beyond

“Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.” Mark 11:11This is the concluding verse of yesterday’s Palm Sunday Gospel. Jesus has entered Jerusalem and made his way to the pinnacle, the very center of Jewish religious life, the temple. Nothing is more holy, nothing more sacred, it is the place that the Lord dwells according to the scriptures.Jesus enters, he looks…

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All are Welcome

All are Welcome ”Let us build a house where love can dwell And all can safely live, A place where saints and children tell How hearts learn to forgive. Built of hopes and dreams and visions, Rock of faith and vault of grace, Here the love of Christ shall end divisions, All are welcome, all are welcome All are welcome in this place.” Marty Haugen I must admit, I have struggled with this song at times. But not because I don’t love the…

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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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Allowing Time in Lent

The season of Lent began yesterday, did you make it to one of our local Lutheran churches who did “Ashes on the Go” for your Ash Wednesday? Or did you find a time in your home or workspace to remember the day? Or did the day move past you in the usual fashion, and perhaps now you are feeling a twinge of regret for missing it, as I mention it? I always will remember one Ash Wednesday when I was living and working…

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Holy Roofs and Strange Sights

Jesus Heals a Paralytic One day, while he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting nearby (they had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem); and the power of the Lord was with him to heal. Just then some men came, carrying a paralyzed man on a bed. They were trying to bring him in and lay him before Jesus; but finding no way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on…

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Word Made Flesh

And the Word became flesh and lived among us… full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)I am reading two books right now; The Body is not an Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor and My Grandmother’s Hands by Resmaa Menakem. These two powerful books are leading me to think deeply about what it means to be embodied. In body. I am thinking about my body in the world, my relationship with my body, others’ bodies, and the fact that we worship a God that…

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Love Bats Last

Nonviolence is absolute commitment to the way of love. Love is not emotional bash; it is not empty sentimentalism. It is the active outpouring of one’s whole being into the being of another. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Today our country celebrates the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I can’t think of a better way to begin this historic week than by honoring Dr. King and his message of nonviolence. Our country has experienced heartbreaking violence and yet there is hope…

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Giving and Receiving

On Christmas Day 2015, I was in a nearly deserted restaurant at the Denver airport. Three other women, also by themselves, were having lunch. I was on my way to Milwaukee, where I grew up, to attend the funeral of my dearest friend’s brother. We had grown up together; his death was unexpected. Although I had made plans to have Christmas dinner with another friend and her family, I must admit I was feeling very sorry for myself because I was missing so…

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Hope for the New Year

Video - Hope prepares the way for the coming of the Christ child. Hope is the foundation from which our faith grows. Hope stirs our hearts toward shared purpose and the future Kingdom of God promised in the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. When we hope, we share our faith with the world.

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The Day After

"When the carols have been stilled, When the star topped tree is taken down, When family and friends have gone home, When we are back to our schedules, The work of Christmas begins: To welcome the refugee, To heal a broken planet, To feed the hungry, To build bridges of trust, not walls of fear, To share our gifts, To seek justice and peace for all people, To bring Christ's light into the world." Michael Dougherty From Arise Shine, For Our Christmas Work…

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Burnishing Christmas

I have cherished memories of Christmas from my childhood. I remember the anticipation I felt when the Advent wreath was added to the church chancel, how I watched intently each week as another candle was lit. I especially looked forward to the lighting of the pink candle, the joy candle, which meant Christmas was almost upon us. My parents were of German heritage, so it was our custom to open presents on Christmas Eve, following a candlelight worship service at our country church…

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Pandemic’s Lesson

https://youtu.be/xmIHqbO6_Ig Matthew 20 21, 22 Well, this week in Lutheran churches, Jesus gets into politics again. Seems like Jesus was always breaking that social rule about avoiding religion and politics in polite company. Of course, the company was anything but polite in the gospel story we will hear on Sunday— or rather, it was polite to the point of saccharine, as the religious and politic leaders of the day try to trip Jesus up with a tough question: Is it lawful to pay…

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Awe of Averages

awe[1] (noun) an emotion variously combining dread, veneration, and wonder that is inspired by authority or by the sacred or sublime. It is widely understood that the more common an experience or observation, the less special it feels. Somehow, simply by our daily awareness of something, it becomes regular. I have found myself wondering about this lately, as my understanding of “typical” has tipped upside down. It is now normal to discuss the “new normal.” Whatever that is. In fact, that phrase comes up so often I…

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Anger Management

As I suspect we all have all noticed of late there is a lot of anger out there. I’m guessing that we are all feeling frayed and move to anger much more quickly and it’s doesn’t always seem to be related to the event that might set us off. We are frustrated by too many things dealing with Covid-19 and the rest that it seems we have lost all perspective at times, I’m thinking of the protests about wearing masks for one.This seems…

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A Journey of Hope!

“For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 We’ve come to a new spot it seems. A place that we’ve never been before and it invokes in us so many emotions, fear, grief, a sense of the unknown dominating our feelings as we move ahead. We are in effect living in a new land unlike the one that came before. Like…

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By Our Love

"For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love." (1 Cor. 13:12-13). One could make a pretty good argument right now that hope is the greatest, but I know that love has been the strongest guidepost and will remain so for me…

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