Make Room for Tears

Make Room for Tears:
Reflections on Readings for Pentecost 19 C
Amos 6:1a, 4-7, 1 Timothy 6: :6-19 and Luke 16:19-31

 

 

Here’s to the millions embarrassed by tears.

They turn away. They stare at their feet. They avoid company and even cancel their doctors’ appointments and stand up and walk out on church services.

There is a name for them: […]

Mixing It Up with God

Exodus 32: 7-14

Reading for the 17th Sunday After Pentecost, Year C

 

Fundamentalists insist on a God of their predicting.
Fanatics, it is said, do what God would do if God had all the facts.
Atheists contend so much with the small god of small minded people that, eventually, they are incapable of considering any other.
These and many others think […]

We Need a Good Winnowing

Reflections on Texts for the Third Sunday in Advent, Year C

In this Sunday’s Gospel (Luke 3:7-18), John the Baptizer tells us that the Coming One will winnow people, giving us an ultimate baptism of wind and fire.

It is a terrible mistake to think that this text signals a burning of “them” and a saving of […]

Pentecost, Pain, and Patience

Many years ago I tried to reach out to someone I loved very much. I could see them hurting. They were feeling trapped by forces they could not understand. In their imagination this prison took the shape of a dreaded disease this loved one was convinced she had. She didn’t have it, but it was […]

Advent People during Anxious Times

I returned to the congregation I served as pastor for a dozen years and was refreshed by the community of Christ and a service of Lessons and Carols for Advent.

 

I was thirsty for Advent. I don’t buy into the paranoia pitched by Fox News about a so-called “war on Christmas,” but I do lament a […]

Empty Lambing Pen--Empty Tomb

           Saint Matthew’s account of the Empty Tomb contains this angelic message: “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples, […]

The Woman at the Well

The famous dialog between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well is part of a series of beautifully crafted dialogs in the Fourth Gospel. Several themes appear repeatedly in this series.

 

Spiritual knowing or seeing is one theme. Jesus is operating on the highest spiritual plane and he works to lift others up—something that […]

Joseph's Fear and Ours

The following is a sermon I prepared for Advent 4–December 22 at First Lutheran Church in Lee, Illinois. Icy roads caused the cancellation of the service, so, I offer this sermon for the members of Lee and for anyone interested. I pray it adds to Christmastide reflections.

 

If an angel of the Lord appears before you […]

Shadow and Substance

         

            The apostle, Paul, writes to many congregations whose main problem is not the lack of religion, but too much of the wrong kind. The church at Colossae is one of them.

            In the lesson for the 10th Sunday after Pentecost, Colossians 2:6-19, Paul urges the people who have “received Christ Jesus the Lord” to “live…rooted […]

Antidote for Complacency: Reflections of Sunday's Readings

The very first thing that caught my eye as I drove into Ann Arbor the spring of 1966 was that strange graffiti on a huge concrete retaining wall. Being in Greek I could not decipher it and perhaps for that very reason it tantalized me.

Of course,  as soon as I started my studies at Concordia College […]