Let Your Light Shine!

“This is the crisis we're in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God.” John 3:19 The MessageI presided and preached at worship this past Sunday, the Fifth Sunday in Lent. The text for my sermon, John 19:1-16a, was from the Narrative Lectionary. In the Narrative Lectionary for this year—the year of John—the texts for all the Sundays of Lent are events in…

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Foot Washing in a Year Like None Other

Foot washing is one of the go to images of diaconal ministry, the image of being servant. Following Jesus example from his last supper with the disciples, kneeling to take the humble position of service. Foot washing is something we are not always the most comfortable with. Bearing our feet for washing is a vulnerable act. In a normal year not everyone likes to show off their feet, let alone have them touched and washed by another person. This past year where we…

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Called to Community

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. In our Lenten services and readings we are going to be hearing about community—how we are called not only to be in communion with God, but to live in community with each other and with all of creation.When I was in graduate school I took a course on political theory. I remember studying two opposing schools of thought. One, called communitarianism, held that the well-being of a community should be a higher priority than the…

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What Is Christian Freedom?

"So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8:36)."But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted, and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness" (Romans 6:17-18)."Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another"…

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What Sign Do They See

My British cousin spent ten days visiting me in August of 2017. It’s always fascinating to have foreign houseguests. They notice things that I take for granted, and they pose questions that I might never have thought of. She was curious about the way we in Idaho use flags, signs and bumper stickers to communicate things about ourselves.Take for example my Green Bay Packers decal. While European football is not the same as American football, devotion to a favorite team is something she…

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Jesus, what are you telling us to do?

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)“I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34)Sometimes I am confounded by the Bible. But I find it comforting that the disciples found Jesus' teachings hard to understand as well. In what is called Jesus Farewell Discourse in the book of John, we can see the confusion of the disciples. In John 14:1 Jesus says, "Let not your heart be troubled." Thomas asks, "Lord, we…

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We Can Be Heroes Just For One Day

Hero: (noun) A person noted for courageous acts or nobility of character A person who, in the opinion of others, has special achievements, abilities, or personal qualities and is regarded as a role model or ideal The principal male character in a story, play or film (Heroine, for female) See: submarine sandwich I thought, given today’s proximity to our celebration of Independence Day, it would be nice to reflect on heroes and heroines. The people in our lives who have special achievements, abilities…

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Knots…or Exaltations

A lot of experience in life can make us feel like a knot of toads—like that last eight weeks in this pandemic. Toads have a bad reputation for causing warts (even though they don’t). They do secrete an acrid fluid that is irritating to the skin and lips of would be aggressor, but generally they are harmless. When we feel unappreciated, put down, alone, quarantined or just depressed, we may feel ugly or “warty.”

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Looking Forward

“Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own  Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do:  forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.  I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14Continuing to press on toward…

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