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From Ordinary to Extraordinary

Here are some thoughts on this coming Sunday's gospel text for the Second Sunday after Epiphany. This was sent electronically to friends and members of St. Timothy Lutheran Church

Gospel: John 2:1-11
1On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” 5His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 6Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it. 9When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though …
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The Voice

This is the sermon I preached last Sunday, Baptism of Our Lord, Jan. 13 at St. Timothy Lutheran Church. The gospel was Luke 3:15-17, 21-22.


You are probably familiar with the TV show, “The Voice.,” Unknown amateur artists have the chance to wow the judges and viewers. The winner receives $100,000 and a recording contract. Even those that haven’t won have often gone on to have successful careers because of their exposure on the show. Listeners have heard some amazing voices and some not so amazing.
In today’s gospel for the Baptism of Our Lord, author Luke spends little time writing about the actual baptism, but rather concentrates on the aftermath, speaking of yet another Voice, that of the Father. 
It is after Jesus’ baptism, while he was praying that the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit descended that things started to happen. The closing of heaven brought drought (Luke 4:25), while the opening of heaven would bring God’s blessings. God’s power and mercy were about to be unleashed. T…

So Beloved and Empowered

Here are some thoughts about this Sunday's gospel text for Baptism of Our Lord. This was sent out to the people of St. Timothy Lutheran Church.



Gospel: Luke 3:15-17, 21-22
15As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, 16John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

21Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, 22and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
Don’t you get frustrated when you enco…

Come To The Light To Become The Light

This is the sermon I preached on Sunday, Jan. 6, Epiphany at St. Timothy Lutheran Church. The gospel text is Matthew 2:1-12
Now, this is a story we know. We’ve seen the scene of the wise men bringing gifts to Jesus so many times in so many pageants. Epiphany is a time when we celebrate the in-breaking of God’s light in God’s way. The Magi are drawn from the east to come and pay homage to the Christ child. There are many theories as to who the magi were: from Zoroastrian priests to astrologers to magicians to kings, while some believe that the Magi were simply a literary device utilized by Matthew. They may have been any or all of the above, but the point is that they were foreigners and gentile outsiders and yet, God spoke to them through a star, through the light and they followed that light. 
Unusual astral phenomena were associated with the birth of a new ruler according to pagans of the time. There were Jewish traditions as well connecting the hoped-for Messiah to the “star out of…

Who is Really in Control

Here are some ideas for the Epiphany gospel that I sent out to the people of St. Timothy Lutheran Church.

Matthew 2:1-12
1In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” 3When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; 4and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. 5They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet: 6‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.’ ”
7Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. 8Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently f…

Mary's Song

This is the message I preached last Sunday, 12/23/18 at St. Timothy Lutheran Church, for the last Sunday of Advent. The text was Luke 1:39-55.


Today’s gospel is the story of the intersection of two women’s lives—that of Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist and Mary, the mother of Jesus. The first part of the reading is the Visitation, where Mary visits Elizabeth. Then we have Mary’s response to Elizabeth’s words, the Magnificat,which we’ll be concentrating on today.
If you’ve ever heard or read the story of Samuel in the Old Testament, you may hear a similarity in Mary’s words to that of Hannah, Samuel’s mother.Hannah prayed, “My heart exults in the Lord; my strength is exalted in my God. My mouth derides my enemies because I rejoice in my victory” (1 Sam. 2:1). Perhaps Mary was inspired by Hannah’s words. 
One of the hallmarks of Luke’s writing is the frequency with which he refers to joy and the sheer number of songs, like the Magnificat that are throughout the gospel.The Magnific…

Turning the World Upside-Down

Here are some thoughts for Sunday, the 4th Sunday of Advent. These were sent to the people of St. Timothy Lutheran Church. 


SCRIPTURE FOCUS  Gospel: Luke 1:46-55
46And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
52He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
53he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
54He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

REFLECTION 
Every other time I’ve preached on this gospel text, I’ve concentrated on the fir…