Sunday, January 7, 2018

Epiphany (transferred)

Readings for Today.

There is not a recorded version of today's sermon.

You may have heard me say this morning that we are in the season after Epiphany.  Last week we were still having Christmas.  What happened?  Epiphany happened.  Yesterday, January 6.  The Feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord Jesus Christ is the day after the 12th day of Christmas.  It’s one of those feast days that often passes unnoticed – but that’s not because it’s insignificant.  Without Epiphany, we might never have heard of Jesus Christ or a Trinitarian God.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Readings for Today.

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I love a story with a strong female lead.  My favorite tv series features Miss Fisher, a “lady detective” in 1920s Australia who is unafraid to wear pants and carry a pistol in her purse.  I thoroughly enjoy the writing and preaching of Nadia Bolz Weber, a Lutheran pastor known for her many tattoos, sometimes salty language, and prophetic perspective on living faithfully. Give me a female lead who isn’t afraid to speak her mind and take charge.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Second Sunday of Advent

Readings for Today.

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Every year at this time, we have an on-going conversation at our house about how it’s not Christmas yet.  It’s Advent.  The 12 Days of Christmas START when the Baby is born.  You know, Christ-mass?  All this build up time, all this waiting for it to happen, is Advent!
I hear myself saying over and over that Advent is a time of hopeful waiting, anticipation and expectation.  A time of preparation for the coming of a King, for the coming of God to be among us, one of us.
What does that really mean:  hopeful waiting?  What are we hoping for?
And, in our culture of immediacy, who wants to wait? Will ‘it’ ever get here?

Sunday, December 3, 2017

First Sunday of Advent

Readings for Today.

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Happy new year!  Welcome to Advent, and the beginning of a new church year!  Advent is the season of preparation for the coming of Jesus at Christmas.  I think Advent may be my favorite season of the year.  While there is a big celebration at the end of it - and that takes advance planning - that’s not what I love.  I love that it’s a season of being in the ‘now.’  

Sunday, November 26, 2017

November 26, 2017 - Last Sunday after Pentecost: Christ the King

Readings for today.

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Well, here we are.  We’re coming to the end of Thanksgiving weekend, which means there is no denying that the holiday season has truly begun.  Parties, family time, gifts, special events, decoration, cookies, friend time, more cooking and eating, photos, cards.  I’m exhausted already, and it hasn’t even really started.

Here in the church we are at the end of the year.  This Sunday, called the Last Sunday after Pentecost or Christ the King Sunday, is the last Sunday in the church calendar.  Next week, we start a new year, with the first Sunday in Advent.  Advent is the season of preparation for the birth of Jesus.  Advent has its own rituals and traditions, like lighting the Advent wreath and setting aside time for reflection and preparing our own hearts for Jesus’ arrival.  

These two seasons of preparation - the ‘holiday’ season of our culture and the season of Advent - seem both paradoxical and complementary.  

Sunday, November 12, 2017

The 23rd Sunday after Pentecost

Readings for today (track 1).

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Is there anyone here who likes to wait for things?  Traffic?  Test results?  College acceptance letters?  It’s ok, you can raise your hand.

Hmmm.  It looks like not one of us likes to wait.  And, yet, waiting is part of life.  There are times when we have to wait.  There are even rooms designated for waiting.  Sometimes we wait for good things - like the birth of a healthy child or closing on our dream house or a job promotion or college acceptance.  And sometimes we wait for difficult things - like to see if we’ll be pregnant this time, or foreclosure on our home, or the test results to see if the cancer has returned.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

All Saints' Sunday & Pledge Ingathering

Readings for the Day (track 1).

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Imagine yourself in a beautiful church, with a domed roof over the main altar.  You look up and realize that the inside of the dome is covered with icons, paintings of saints, in rich colors and gold leaf.  You look again and see that the saints are holding hands with one another, and they seem to be dancing.  
Dancing saints.  What an idea.  The great cloud of witnesses, dancing together like you might at a fancy party or a magnificent feast.  The great multitude robed in white, palm branches in their hands, dancing and singing praises to God.
Finding that you can’t tear your eyes from those dancing saints, you look again.