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Marching Orders

This is the message I preached at St. Timothy Lutheran Church , Nov. 14, 2021. The gospel text was Mark 13:1-8. Ray and I like language, especially alliteration. I couldn’t help but see this gospel text that way, consisting of 1. Wow, vv. 1-2, When and What, vv. 3-3-4 and Warning and Worry, vv. 5-8.     Ray is from RI and we lived there for 5 years before moving to Gettysburg for seminary. In R. I., I encountered something new, the gawk factor. This happens when you are driving along a highway and for no apparent reason, the traffic stops. Nothing is happening on your side of the highway, but on the side going in the opposite direction, a car has stopped. There is an accident.   Everyone stops to see what has happened and if it involves a friend or family member. Like a big, small town, everybody knows everybody and if you don’t know the person involved, someone you know will know them! On the radio, this stopping to see what is going on is called the “gawk facto
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Unbind Them and Let Them Go

This is the sermon I preached at St. Timothy Lutheran Church for All Saints' Sunday, 11/7/21. The text was John 11:32-44 .  Today we remember the faithful who have died in the last year. We also think back to the saints of old in scripture and others whom the church has honored throughout history. In today’s gospel, we have Mary and Martha and Lazarus—all recognized as saints by various churches. And of course, there are the disciples, but there is also the crowd and best of all, our Lord Jesus, who shortly after this miracle would himself experience death.   Jesus and his disciples are in Bethany and Jesus is met by Lazarus’ sister, Mary, but earlier in chapter 11, Jesus learns of Lazarus’ illness, but purposely waits to go see Mary and Martha. He could have gone there as soon as he heard, but he waited so that they people would believe that the Father had sent him.   The first chapter of John’s gospel tells us, “… in him was life, and the life was the light of all people”

Life Comes to Death

It's been a long time, hasn't it? I have been in the process of rehabilitation from back surgery in November and December 2020. The doctor said it could take up to a year to be completely healed and he wasn't kidding! I'm now back to work as pastor of St. Timothy Lutheran Church for only 15 hours/week and that I find exhausting. So...I haven't posted my first couple of sermons since coming back or my midweek reflections on the text, but that changes, as of today. This is what I sent to the people of St. Timothy. Gospel: John 11:32-44   32  When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33  When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. 34  He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35  Jesus began to weep. 36  So the Jews said, “See how he

What a Wedding!

This is the sermon I preached at St. Timothy Lutheran Church last Sunday. The gospel was Matthew 25:1-13 . Have you ever been to a wedding like the one in today’s parable? While living in the Holy Land, my daughter, Sarah, and I had an opportunity to experience a wedding like this. We waited with the women at the bride’s house, not knowing exactly when the bridegroom and his men would arrive. We’d hear a sound. Excitement filled everyone. Maybe it’s him. Is it him? Someone would look to see. No, it’s not him. We’d wait longer and longer. Would the groom ever arrive? There was a shout. There he was! Finally! Like the bridesmaids in today’s gospel, we did not know exactly when the groom would arrive, only that he would.   This parable’s use of the wedding imagery infers joy and fulfillment, not sorrow or dread. We see so many scary movies about the end of time that stir up fear. Jesus speaks about the end, but his return is meant to bring joy and not fear for believers.   Right f

Waiting

Here are some thoughts on this Sunday's gospel text that I shared with the people of St. Timothy Lutheran Church. What do you think? Gospel: Matthew 25:1-13 [Jesus said to the disciples:] 1 “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; 4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5 As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. 6 But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7 Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ 10 And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, a

I Am a Saint and So Are You!

  This is the sermon I am preaching tomorrow at St. Timothy Lutheran Church . The text is Revelation 7:9-17 . I am a saint and so are you! Today is All Saints Day, ALL SAINTS : those who have gone before us into the church triumphant and those still living--all of you in our parking lot [toot your horns!] and in our sanctuary, and those unable to attend. Did you know you are saints? You may not feel like it and that’s ok. Martin Luther wrote that we are simultaneously saints and sinners, in other words, a mixed bag. That gives me hope when I mess up and helps me to not be so harsh in judging others. In John’s vision, we don’t find a mere handful of people standing before the throne of God and the Lamb. There is a “great multitude.” This multitude was innumerable, uncountable. Today, there are those whose faith is so exclusive, with such a judgmental God, that there are more outsiders than insiders, while our God of mercy and grace has this great throng before him.

Following the Lamb

  Here are some thoughts on Sunday's lesson from Revelation. It is All Saints Sunday. This will be sent to the people of St.Timothy Lutheran Church .    First Reading: Revelation 7:9-17 9 After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. 10 They cried out in a loud voice, saying,  “Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 And all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 singing,  “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom  and thanksgiving and honor  and power and might  be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”   13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?” 14 I said to him, “Si