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Our Vocations: Not to “Save”

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We’ve been on a journey through these weeks in this time of Easter. I have been talking about a journey that we are all on, where we’re seeking to better understand God, understand who God is, and how God is shaping us to be the people who God has called us to be. That (journey) requires us to have open hearts, and ears, and eyes to what God is revealing to us; but last week, we were reminded by the stoning of Stephen that it is not always sunshine and roses to do what we have been called to do. We have that same notion of vocation and calling in our Acts text today.

Last week, I talked about that  we all (as baptized Christians) have a call that we get in our baptisms. It is a call to proclaim the Word (proclaim who God is), to seek justice, to act with mercy and compassion, to love, and to serve. Stephen, as a deacon, was called into proclaiming the Word and serving the people.

I want to talk a little bit today about the vocation that Paul had and how this text (in particular) speaks to me about how I continue on that vocation. As a pastor, I have a vocation to ordained ministry, proclaiming the Word and administrating the sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion, which I referred to last week. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Vocations: Christians and Mothers

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As we read our texts today, you might have noticed that these don’t sound like happy Mother’s Day texts, especially that first one in Acts with Stephen. Our texts today had various ways that I could go, various sermons I could choose to preach. I was debating this during the week.

One thing that kept coming back to me is a theme I have been discussing during this time in Easter, one of a journey in a post-resurrection world. Now, our Gospel text is prior to the death and resurrection of Christ but it teaches us about the thereafter.

We started this season with the resurrection and then we had “Doubting Thomas“, starting us on a journey of seeking to better understand who God is, who Christ is, and the miracle of the resurrection in our lives. I talked about him continuing into India as a missionary, where he would eventually be martyred for it. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Death, Life, and Officially Alive

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Our texts this week deals with death and life. Our Ezekiel 37 text is Ezekiel prophesying to dry bones in a vision, which becomes flesh and bone and breathing mortal beings. In John 11, Jesus tells the disciples that Lazarus is asleep meaning Lazarus has died; they travel to Bethany, where Jesus raises Lazarus from the grave.

We, as society, a humanity, struggle with  death to the point that we don’t plainly call death, death. We say loved ones have “passed on”, “crossed over”, “are in a better place”, or with inanimate objects my grandmother would say “has gone the way of the ghost”. Jesus has to tell the disciples that Lazarus has died.

This notion of death and life, or death and resurrection, are not new to Christianity. It is the foundation of our faith, our teaching, [and] our preaching. We are called to die each and everyday to our sinfulness, our selfishness, [and] our self-centeredness in order to be resurrected in new life that is marked by relationship with God and neighbor, one that brings true joy to ourselves.

But, there is another type of death and resurrection, or death and new life that I want to speak to today. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Not to Condemn: Christ & St. Patrick

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This week we had a very beloved verse, our gospel reading was John 3:1-17.

I want to start with the 14th verse, it reads: “and just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up”. We see the reference to the crucifixion, but might be confused about the serpent in the wilderness.

The Israelites on their 40 year journey encountered poisonous snakes. God commissioned Moses to create a statue of a snake wrapped around a pole. When the Israelites were bitten, if they looked upon the statue, they would be healed. It sounds odd to us, but if we look at ambulances and hospitals today, the image of the serpent wrapped around a pole or a cross is common, because it is still a sign of healing. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 13, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

the Light of Peace

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It was our second Sunday in Advent, the Sunday associated with peace. All but perhaps the gospel text dealt with peace.

Now in our world we all have different notions of and images of what peace looks like. I grew up in a home where I was taught that if someone is not hurting themselves or someone else, live and let live. And if you looked at the variety in my family, loved ones, and friends that I hold dearly you would see a lot of variety there.

But there are parts of my family where there is an expectation to live your life a certain way and if you don’t you may be called a “disgrace” or “white trash”. And yet there is other parts of my family where if you don’t agree with them completely then you cant be in relationship with them, because you are died to them. Now, most of us would think that those last two parts are not real peaceful. And our text deals with that a little. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Heal Wounds, Reconcile Divisions

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Transcript:
Our texts this week were from 2 Thessalonians 3 and Luke 21. In Thessalonians, Paul reminds us to not grow weary of doing what is right. [And] Luke 21 is a popular text about the end of the world; no stone will be left on stone, nation will rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom. But, it concludes with Christ reminding us to remain in him.

I have a policy, I don’t preach politics from the pulpit. But if I ignored the election and its aftermath, I would be negligent as a preacher. However, its not necessarily the way you envision. If you have heard me preach, if you have watched these videos, a common theme is division. A common theme is that although we have differences, they don’t have to be divisions. Let alone dangerous divisions. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2016 in Sermon Summaries, Uncategorized

 

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Spiritual Elitism: the Mustard Seed and Faith Ancestry

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The Transcript:
Our texts this week comes from 2 Timothy 1 and Luke 17.

In Timothy, Paul is praising Timothy’s ancestors, his grandmother and mother, for passing along the faith to him.

In Luke, we have the “increase our faith”… “well if you had faith even the size of a mustard seed” text tied with a text about ‘would you praise a slave for doing the work you commanded the slave to do’ and the obvious response is no.

As I struggled with these texts this week, I came to a realization. I hate these texts, not simply that these texts are ah, but that I HATE these tests. And there is a reason, because they both speak to a problem within our religiosity and spirituality. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2016 in Sermon Summaries, Uncategorized

 

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