Miracles - 13th Sunday after Pentecost

I few years ago I attended a retreat focused on Russian Orthodox practices
of praying with icons and praying the Jesus Prayer.
The presenter, Fr. Simeon, is the abbot of a Russian Orthodox monastery
70 miles outside Madison, WI.
It was a wonderful weekend, and the opportunity to pray with icons was particularly moving. Read More…

Baptism by Fire - 12th Pentecost

When you were a kid, how did you know you were really in trouble?
For many of us, the answer is – when Mom used our middle name.
“Kristin Marie Schultz!”
It’s that tone of voice – you know the one,
the one that says, “pay attention, and pay attention now, because I’m not saying this again Read More…

Saint Mary Magdalene, Apostle

Since the publication of Dan Brown’s novel, The Da Vinci Code, in 1993,
interest in and speculation about Mary Magdalene have surged.
At the neighborhood branch library I visited this week,
I found six works of fiction about Mary Magdalene written in the last five years,
and another five books with themes related to the Da Vinci code,
such as Mary Magdalene: Bride in Exile. Read More…

Nativity of St. John the Baptist

Once there was a priest named Zechariah.
He was an Israelite, serving in the temple in Jerusalem, the center of Jewish worship.
His wife was named Elizabeth, and she was also from a family of priests.
They were an important and respected couple in Jerusalem, except for one thing.
They did not have a child, and they were elderly. Read More…

God’s Gift of Grace 2nd Sunday after Pentecost - Luke 7:11-17

Last week I took my kids to Omaha to visit my cousin and her three young boys.
We had a great week –
    the kids enjoyed each other and we packed a lot of fun in five days.
But I was on my own with two active and, as the week went on, very tired boys.
To top it off, the airline consistently – on three of four flights,
failed to seat us together. Read More…

Seventh Sunday of Easter: On Revelation

In the video series “How Lutherans Interpret the Bible,”
Dr. Mark Allan Powell tells this story.
I was riding a city bus.
Sitting next to me was this guy with long hair, a hippie kind of guy.
On his lap he was holding a big bible.
I leaned over and asked him, “Have you read that?”
“Not all of it,” he replied. Then he grinned and said,
“But I’ve read the ending and you know what?
We win.” Read More…

Fifth Sunday of Easter

In my reading on the internet this week, I read this brief story.
It was described as a true Presbyterian miracle –
but it could easily be called a Lutheran miracle as well.

The story tells of a man coming back to church one Sunday after the death of his wife. Read More…

Fourth Sunday of Easter - Good Shepherd Sunday

The Lord is my Shepherd –
these words begin one of the most beloved passages in the Bible.
It is certainly one of the best known and most often memorized,
read at so many hospital bedsides and funerals
that it carries deep memories for many of us.
It is so well known, so rich in personal meaning, that I hesitate to preach on it.
Yet I don’t think we always hear the words of comfort and care it offers us
in the midst of our busy, often stressful lives. Read More…

Second Sunday of Easter

Happy Easter!
No, I don’t have the day wrong.
In the church year, Easter is a season, not a day –
a season that lasts for seven weeks, and ends with Pentecost.
While the stores filled with Easter candy and cards and cute bunnies,
we were recognizing the solemn season of Lent.
Now that we’re celebrating Easter,
the stores are probably stocking up for the fourth of July. Read More…

Easter Sunday

Alleluia! Christ is Risen!

It is spring – although it is hard to tell from the weather today –
and it is Easter.
The season of new birth and new life.
A day of celebration, in many ways.

How many of you are back to eating chocolate today,
or back to drinking gourmet coffee?
What else are you going back to this morning? Read More…

Maundy Thursday April 5, 2007

While I was in seminary, I had the privilege of traveling in Africa and taking a class at the Maryknoll Institute for African Studies in Nairobi.  Each international student was paired with a Kenyan field assistant, and part of the learning experience was to spend a weekend with that student in their rural home.  So one weekend Lucy and I left Nairobi via public transportation, then walked for what seemed like miles over red, dusty ground to her parents’ home.  I was welcomed and shown great hospitality by her family.  Read More…

Transfiguration of Our Lord: Exodus 34:29-35, Luke 9:28-43

In Celtic countries, there are certain places which Celtic people call “thin places.”
They are places where “the veil between this world and the other world is thin.”
In fantasy literature, of which I’m a big fan,
these thin places are where people stumble into the world of fairy,
or mythical creatures cross over into our world.
In Celtic Christianity, thin places
are places where the presence of God is felt especially strongly. Read More…

Sixth Sunday After Epiphany - Jeremiah 17:5-10, Psalm 1, and 1 Corinthians 15:12-20

Blessed are those who trust in the Lord,
whose trust is in the Lord.
Their delight is in the law of the Lord,
and they meditate on God’s teaching day and night.
They are like trees planted by streams of water,
bearing fruit in due season. Read More…

Fifth Sunday After Epiphany - Isaiah, Luke 5: 1-11

Our lessons this morning include two stories of people who saw God,
and their lives were never the same.
Their experience of God caused them to follow God into new vocations,
reflecting the inner reality that their very lives were beginning anew. Read More…

Fourth Sunday after Epiphany - 1 Corinthians 13

There was a hushed tone in the gathered congregation as they listened to the reader:

“Love is patient; love is kind.
Love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude.”

We all think we know what these words say.
We’ve all heard them many times – most often, perhaps, at weddings.
We’ve used them to celebrate the beautiful, inspiring love between two people who have chosen one another above all others. Read More…

Third Sunday after Epiphany - Luke 4:14-21

“Today,” said the angel, “in the city of David, the Messiah has been born.”
And the shepherds rushed to be the first to meet Jesus,
and went away glorifying God for all they have seen and heard.

“Today,” Jesus said to Zacheus, “I will have dinner at your home.”
And Zacheus, the despised tax collector, knew a love he’d never known before. Read More…

Second Sunday after Epiphany - John 2:1-22

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came into being through him,
and without him not one thing came into being. Read More…

Baptism of Jesus - Luke 3:15-22

This morning is the first Sunday in the season of Epiphany,
the season which celebrates the revelation of Jesus to the world.
The church calendar skipped right over the three wise men this year,
And this morning we celebrate one of those few events which appears
in 3 of the 4 gospels: the Baptism of Jesus.
In these gospels, Jesus’ baptism and the Holy Spirit descending upon him marks the beginning of his public ministry. Read More…

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