Pentecost 8: What Does Greatness Look Like

What constitutes greatness? In this week’s gospel we see a study in contrasts that helps us understand. In Mark 10 Jesus teaches the disciples and the church in simple terms. Two millennia later we still have a long way to go to get it into our hearts.
Herod Antipas wanted to be known as a king, […]

Pentecost 6: Jesus' Victorious Poverty

These three lessons take us in different directions as we pray they may converge.

 

Because I am a wimp who has certainly been spared the suffering of life that deserves that name, I have experienced the pain of rehab from knee replacement surgery as a true test. There were times when I simply could not get […]

What Binds Us?

Do words bind us, or something deeper than words?

The lessons of the Revised Common Lectionary for this Sunday include the account from Acts 2:1-21, of the mighty wind and the tongues of fire coming down on the Jesus believers; and the account by the Apostle Paul in Romans 8:22-27, of the Spirit groaning within us […]

Mary Magdalene: The Easter Angel

The Easter Gospel: John 20:1-18

Very often, my wife, Connie, will see me growing cranky looking for something. She says, “What are you looking for?” And no sooner than I name the elusive thing, she finds it. And often it had been hiding in plain sight, right in front of my nose.

Mary Magdalene pulls the same […]

Take Virgin Mary Off The Pedestal

There is nothing worse than being put up on a pedestal. And there has perhaps been no one whose usefulness to humanity has been more misused than the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Our Lord.

When we hear this Gospel of St. Luke passage read (1:26-38) on the Fourth Sunday of Advent, the strains of countless […]

Turn the Page: Reflections on Lessons for Pentecost 24 A

The very first time I assisted with leading worship at my home congregation the very first thing I was assigned to do was to go to the altar and read aloud the introit from the big book lying there. I approached. I looked down at the open book, expecting to see the proper introit. But […]

Reflections on Lessons Pentecost 23 A

We had a spirited discussion today in our weekly Bible study of area pastors of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). It was fed by a feeling of dread about recent signs of sickness in our society. One of our number put it something like this. “Why is it that we are Christians, and […]

Passion Sunday Petitions

Lifting our voices and turning toward God, let us pray for the church, the earth, and all who are in need.

A time of silence.

Lord of compassion, as we the people of your family, the church, conclude our Lenten journey with the walk through Jerusalem to the cross, help us to understand that Jesus’ pain and […]

Refugees, Trump and the Light of the World

Several months ago a team of people went into my heart and fixed it. They, in fact, probed with wires right up through both an artery and a vein in both of my upper thighs, right up into my heart, and burned a number of clusters of cells that were giving off electric signals that […]

The Animals Teach Us Advent Expectation

‘Tis the season for expectation. Pregnant waiting. Yearning flavored with confidence. Confidence born of experience.

Advent has always been a favorite time for me. Of course, as a child, it all led up to that moment when we drove home from Christmas Eve pageant, past the colored lights on the homes and along the runways of […]