Holy Trinity Lutheran Church
Life is filled with expectations. Expectations we have of others and expectations we have of ourselves. Today, John's account of the Feeding of the 5000 relates a story about expectations placed on Jesus and how he responds.
The opening words of the well-known 23rd Psalm bring most people comfort. The pastoral images of still water, pastures and a table set are idyllic. The assurance of protection in the face of trouble gives us peace. That first line points to the source of this comfort and peace – The Lord. No other shepherd will do – and there are many pretenders. For those who feel lost, outcast, broken, forgotten; for a world full of violence and ...
Tragic events happen, but how do we live in a world that sets priorities of pride and ambition ahead being a beloved community? There is another way of living, another kingdom that Jesus proclaims. This is a kingdom in which you are claimed and baptized to live God's mercy and justice.
Isn’t it strange sometimes how Jesus seems to think just the way I think, believe what I believe, and get annoyed with the same kind of people that annoy me? Strange indeed. When this happens, we know that we have domesticated Jesus the Messiah. We have turned him to our purpose and made him in our own image, instead of the opposite. This robs Jesus of the power to redeem and save. It is the wild, uncontrollable Jesus we need.
Mark’s gospel tells us a parable of soils – no soil, rocky soil, thorny soil, and finally good soil – places where the gospel produces joy and faith. Who exactly is good soil? It is not who you might expect. Status, education, social concerns, right thinking, wealth – none of these things matter. The good soil is born of faith and the realization that only Jesus can help us. The good soil is Mark’s way of talking about the Beloved ...
Job wants answers. In his suffering, he wants to know why life is unfair, why he suffers, why bad things happen to him. Job wants explanations, information, reasons. He received no such things. His friends answer with ignorance. God, however, does answer – and the answer is quite unexpected.
Jesus told parables about the reign of God that were often puzzling and misunderstood. Using simple, everyday images, he taught that God’s work went on in hidden ways, sometimes with our help and often in spite of us. In a world where we despair about the size of our problems and the seeming smallness of our abilities and efforts, Jesus points us to sprigs, seeds, thistles, and poppies to find hope.
It doesn’t take much to see that humans have a gift for division - for blame and self-justification. If we are honest, love does not come easy to the children of Eve & Adam. When God asked if they had eaten of the fruit of the forbidden tree, man blamed woman; woman blamed snake; and all blamed God. Even family provides no assurance of love. The presence and love of Christ is a game changer. Only when we are first beloved by Go...
On Holy Trinity Sunday, trying to understand the triune nature of God can be difficult. There is one we must not forget…
On the Day of Pentecost, it is easy to focus on the fire, you know, the fire that rests on the apostles who then go out and declare the gospel in many languages. That would be something, wouldn’t it? To see the fire resting on us. Don’t be distracted by the fire. The thing to notice is the fingerprints of God that start to be left behind as this Spirit leaves signs, marks, evidence all over the place to show us the resurrection in ...
Listen to the full worship service broadcast for the parking lot worship gathering on May 16, 2021.
Many people think that eternal life is something that is far away and happens after death. Neither notion is really all that eternal, is it? It makes faith into a desire for escape from the world and all its suffering and pain. Yet, Jesus did not teach his disciples anything like this. So, what exactly is eternal life all about? It is about this world. It is about right now, not later. Come and see.
Jesus asks this question of Peter three times after the resurrection. Each time Peter says, “Yes.” Certainly, we would do the same, right? But how do we love God? What does that look like? In John’s gospel and the First Letter of John, the answer is simple to understand, but challenging to do.
While we may all agree that, in principle, we are all part of family, community, church, we’re mostly rugged individuals making our own way in the world. We praise individual rights, individual choices, self-help, self-improvement, and self-actualization. Then comes Jesus saying, “I am the Vine, you are the branches” which threatens our individualism and replaces independence with mutual dependence. Is that good news?
The image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd is near and dear to the hearts of many. The pastoral scene of grazing sheep on green hillsides gives us a sense of peace. And with the good shepherd nearby and on watch, what could be better? Scripture, however, has more to say about sheep and shepherds. If we are the sheep of God’s pasture, what does it mean that Jesus is the Shepherd? Is this image more than a comforting ideal? That is the ...
Listen to the full worship service broadcast for the parking lot worship gathering on April 18, 2021.
At times we are all in the dark about God’s message of salvation. Let your mind be open to the truth of the Good News!
Easter was a week ago and Jesus is safely risen into heaven and reset in his historical context. Like Thomas, we probably doubt there is much more to it than that. After all, is there anything real about resurrection today? Right now? According to the writer of I John, Jesus is as concrete right now as ever, and resurrection is nothing less than living in a way that allows Christ’s presence to lighten the darkness of the world.
For the second Easter in a row, we are shrouded in the grip of a pandemic and a world of violence and death. What does the resurrection have to do with us? The women at the tomb share our shrouded joy. It is the prophet Isaiah who point us beyond to the culmination of the work Jesus began on that “eight day” of the new creation.
During his trial, Jesus tells Pilate he has come to testify to the truth. Pilate’s response is, “What is truth?” We live in an age when the truth is a slippery thing. Jesus, on the cross, however, reveals the truth about all the people in the story and about each one of us. Further, the cross reveals the truth about God. This is why we adore the cross on Good Friday.
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We’re at our most vulnerable when we go to our doctors. We trust the person at the other end of that scalpel. We trust the hospital. We trust the system. Christopher Duntsch was a neurosurgeon who radiated confidence. He claimed he was the best in Dallas. If you had back pain, and had tried everything else, Dr. Duntsch could give you the spine surgery that would take your pain away. But soon his patients started to experience complications, and the system failed to protect them. Which begs the question: who - or what - is that system meant to protect? From Wondery, the network behind the hit podcast Dirty John, DR. DEATH is a story about a charming surgeon, 33 patients and a spineless system. Reported and hosted by Laura Beil.
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