Our response to COVID-19

Newsletter, Pastor, Worship
Further changes will be announced in worship or on Facebook, via email, and in the newsletter.   Dear friends, I'm going to get right to the point and list how we are responding to the threat of COVID-19. You should know by now from other sources that this is a very contagious virus. It is important for you to stay diligent in keeping your distance from others, washing your hands (for 20 seconds! try singing Happy Birthday twice or Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing), avoid touching your face, stay away from those who are sick, and stay home if you are sick, among other actions. Especially if you fall in the vulnerable population of older adults (elderly and those over 60!) and those with chronic medical conditions such as heart…
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Sermon from March 8, 2020

Baptism, Discipleship, Grace, Lent, Pastor, Sermons
First Reading: Genesis 12:1-4a; Gospel: John 3:1-21 Have you been born again? Our reading had “born from above”, but some translate this as “born again,” and another alternate from the translation is “born anew.” What does that even mean? Within Christianity, we might say being born again means something about giving your life to Jesus, taking Jesus as your savior…I’m sure you’ve heard the verbage before. I am uncomfortable with that language, as I imagine some of you are. And yes, I know there are some of you that like that language - it’s what you grew up with or what you are comfortable with.  “Being born again” - that phrase, isn’t common to our Lutheran articulation of faith. I know lots of Lutherans who struggle with how to answer that question (Are you born again?) because we don’t use that language. We tend to…
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Sermon from March 1, 2020

Discipleship, Lent, Pastor, Sermons
First Reading: Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7 Psalm 32 Second Reading: Romans 5:12-19 Gospel: Matthew 4:1-11 Well, even the devil quotes and uses scripture. I guess it’s no surprise then that we people do that to each other too. Some people use scripture as a weapon to repress and control others. Some use it to make their point to feel affirmed in their own beliefs. As we see with the devil here in Matthew, scripture says a lot of things. And sometimes it contradicts itself. The Bible wasn’t all written at one time or even by people who knew each other. That’s why it’s good for us to explore it and learn the history and context behind what is written, and read before and after the text we are exploring.  Before this reading of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness is the story of…
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Sermon for December 22, 2019

Advent, Pastor, Sermons
Gospel: Matthew 1:18-25 I’m not sure if you noticed, but that was Matthew’s version of the Christmas story. You might want to double check the bulletin - there were no shepherds, no manger, no animals, and no Bethlehem. There was an angel, but the fact that Jesus was born is almost a side note. Matthew says, “Joseph took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.” In Matthew’s Gospel we don’t find the Christmas story we are used to hearing. We do get the narrative about the magi from Matthew, though - that doesn’t show up in any of the other gospels. We’ll hear that in two weeks, on the 12th Day of Christmas when we will also celebrate the Epiphany. Luke is the Gospel that has the Christmas story we will hear on Christmas…
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Sermon for December 8, 2019

Advent, Discipleship, Faith, Hope, Pastor, Sermons
Second Sunday of Advent Gospel: Matthew 3:1-12; First Reading: Isaiah 11:1-10; Second Reading: Romans 15:4-13 John the Baptist would have been the worst caroler. “We wish you a merry Christmas!” “You brood of vipers!” John the Baptist is no sweet-sounding nativity character. He doesn’t even show up in the lineup in pictures or on your tables back home. Though it could be interesting to turn one of the shepherds into a John the Baptist-type. His language of preparation certainly fits in here - into this season of Advent where we wait and prepare for Christ to come. But his tone and his context do not. He wasn’t out preparing the way of the Lord until his adult years, long after Jesus’ birth (did you remember that they are only 6 months apart? and cousins at that). Though in paintings of him, especially from the Renaissance period, he is…
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Sermon for December 1, 2019

Advent, Discipleship, Faith, Pastor, Sermons
First Sunday of Advent, Thanksgiving weekend Gospel: Matthew 24:36-44; First Reading: Isaiah 2:1-5; Second Reading: Romans 13:11-14 The lectionary seems to have bad timing. We’ve just had what might be the most universal celebration of a holiday in our country. Many of us have stuffed ourselves, had some time off for relaxing, did some shopping, we’re starting to get geared up for Christmas. And you come to church over Thanksgiving weekend, and you get to hear this gospel reading from Matthew that neither sounds hopeful nor is what we wanted or were expecting to hear. It’s bad timing. Though we might say that any time these apocalyptic texts come up. We just had another one, out of Luke’s Gospel, two weeks ago. There is a temptation today to jump right to Isaiah where there is hope and peace. We’ll be making that jump, but let’s sit…
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Sermon for November 24, 2019

Faith, Grace, Pastor, Sermons
Christ the King Sunday Gospel: Luke 23:33-43; First Reading: Jeremiah 23:1-6 This seems like an odd gospel for today. We’re almost gearing up for Christmas, the birth of Christ, and today we hear the story of his crucifixion. It feels like odd timing. But maybe it’s the perfect gospel for today.  “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah, the son of God!” “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself!” “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us! These three statements hearken back to the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness (Luke 4) where the devil tempted Jesus with three questions, the last of which was to throw himself off the top of the temple and save himself. And then, in that story, since Jesus doesn’t give…
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Sermon for September 15, 2019

Creation, Discipleship, Pastor, Sermons, Worship
Season of Creation 1 - OCEAN Gospel: Luke 5:1-11 Other Readings: Job 38:1-18; Ps 104:1-9, 24-26; Eph 1:3-10 It is a little strange to be doing this Season of Creation. I am usually so tied to the lectionary, which is where we usually get our readings from. I like staying tied to it because I think there is a gift in exploring so many different texts in a 3-year cycle. And having texts assigned means we’re sometimes doing texts that I wouldn’t have chosen myself, and that’s a good thing. I heard a colleague once describe the lectionary not as a circle that we repeat over and over again, but as a spiral, where each subsequent cycle draws us deeper and deeper in faith. I have found that to be true for myself. Doing this Season of Creation will take us a bit…
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Sermon for September 1, 2019

Communion, Faith, Grace, Pastor, Sermons
Gospel: Luke 14:1, 7-14; First Reading: Jeremiah 2:4-13 A couple of years ago, there was an article that came out on the Kitchn, a website full of recipes and articles to inspire every aspect of home cooking. The title of this article is “5 Rules for Hosting a Crappy Dinner Party (And Seeing Your Friends More Often).” In it, the author talks about her stress toward inviting friends over for dinner in the midst of her life with three kids. She would stress over cleaning, including snapping at her kids to do their share, and the added time for shopping and preparing a special meal.  A friend of hers moved back from a small community where she said the people would just show up at each other’s houses, unannounced, and feed each other whatever happened to be in the fridge. Inspired by this, they decided to…
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