The Son of God went into the dangerous wilderness for a good reason.
The good news of Ash Wednesday is that if we will face the hard truths about life, death, failure and our brokenness, we have a way through it all in Christ. All we need to do is turn around.
It took the disciples quite a while to figure out Jesus' identity as the Messiah. The Gospel of Mark makes it clear who Jesus is. He is the Son of God and the Son of Man. Six days before the transfiguration of Jesus, he predicted his suffering, death and resurrection to his disciples. That is important because in the short span of one week, they experience Jesus as one who must suffer and as one who shines with the glory of God...
One of the central images we have of Jesus is that he healed the sick, blind, leprous, and lame. What do we do with this image when so many are still so sick today? What of the Covid-19 victims who were apparently not healed, but died instead? Perhaps, healing means something different to Jesus? Something more?
We don’t recognize authority very much in our culture today. For decades the authority of government, religion, institutions and even science have been eroded away by waning trust and individualism. So, where does that leave Jesus? Does the Christ have any authority in this world? Over my life? Over evil and suffering?
In the daily grind of work, we can get worn down and burnt out. Jesus invites us to a new life of joy and purpose.
Today we hear the story of the Calling of Samuel. It takes courage to listen when God is calling and to respond to the call in humility and obedience. Your story is different than Samuel's, but just as important. You are called by name through the waters of baptism to the ministry of following Jesus.
Humans cannot survive, it seems, without establishing divisions between people. As a nation we are more divided than ever. Divisions between races, genders, sexual identity, class are tearing us apart. Is there any Good News that can address our fatal flaw of raising walls that divide? The Gospel of Mark offers a vision that begins in the baptism of Jesus.
Darkness is all around us in the form of disaster, disease and death. The only light that can truly illuminate is of God. Our effort to make our own light produces weak reflection and bulbs that burn out. So where do we find a light in the darkness that shines eternally? What is the source of the light that can dispel the despair of life? These are the questions of Epiphany. Maybe if we can look and listen, we will see!
Today's sermon is preached by Bishop Amy Current of the Southeastern Iowa Synod of the ELCA. We meet Simeon and Anna, two righteous, devout, and prophetic elderly adults who are waiting for the salvation of the world. Their waiting is over as the Christ child is revealed to them.
Celebrating Christmas this year is, for many, a lesson in disappointment and discouragement. The pandemic has robbed us of gatherings and traditions that bring comfort to the season. It is all very disorienting. Joseph and Mary experienced this kind of disorientation too. Caused by a census rather than a pandemic, the effect was no less jarring. Then God entered the scene and reoriented them to the new thing God was doing. Perhaps ...
Have you ever felt like a nobody? Have you felt like you just don't matter to the world? The truth is you matter to the church, you matter to the community of believers, and you matter to God.
Paul writes to us in this week’s lesson, “Rejoice always!” In the middle of a pandemic? In the middle of a world going mad and coming apart at the seams? Rejoice? Really? Yes. Joy is different than fun or being happy. It is an act of God. Joy is part of humanity. It is part of you!
It is sometimes hard to hope for God’s salvation when suffering, injustice, diseases are all up and God does not seem any closer. In Advent we hope for God’s redemption and wonder why it is taking so long. It’s about time things changed! Don’t you think?
We have done a lot of waiting this year. We can envision the joy of seeing family and friends. We look forward to worshipping together, but we are not there yet. And so, we continue our waiting for just a little longer until the vaccines are approved and ready for distribution. Waiting is so hard. Waiting has always been hard for people. We live by our clocks and calendars. But God's time is different. What is waiting all about...
This has been a tough year, and now heading into the holiday season it's likely going to continue for a while. Today's gospel is full of good news for our weary world.
On “Christ the King” Sunday we proclaim that at the end of time, when the redemption of creation is complete, Christ will be ruler of everything. That answers the “who” of things. We should also think about the nature of Christ’s reign because what it shall be is already dawning. The story of the “Sheep and Goats” tells us that the reign of Christ is a reign of mercy.
This week, the good news is that our loving God gives to us abundantly, but who can say they have fully used what they were given? Also... the APOCALYPSE is coming. How much do we need to worry about it?
A mountain seems like an immovable object, eternally rooted in place. Yet, a steady flow of water, even a trickle, can change that landscape. Injustice, despair, grief, and death all seem to be immovable too. What can God do with such things, really?
Today is the Festival of All Saints. We gather to remember all the faithful and lift up those in prayer who have died during the past year. This has been a burdensome year as death has been ever before us and intruded into the lives of many families bringing sickness and death. Death stings; we try to avoid it, yet we are reminded today that death is not the end. Hope lives because Jesus lives! The kingdom of God will one day come ...