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We learn a lot about Jesus during his life on this earth.  And during the season of Epiphany – this time after Christmas and before Lent – the stories in our Gospel readings reveal things about Jesus, God’s Son.  We learn what kind of a man he was; we learn what was important to him.  We learn what motivated him and what his goals were.  And what we learn about Jesus, we learn about God. Continue Reading »

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I heard a phrase for the first time the other day: “wishful seeing.”  It’s like wishful thinking – the kind of thinking where you actually start to believe something is true simply because you are wishing for it to be true.  But in the case of “wishful seeing,” you actually SEE something you are wishing to see. Like when you go out and look into the night sky wanting to see a comet or meteor shower or a satellite.  Before you know it, you are actually seeing these things simply because you WANTED to see them.  Your wishes and desires inform and shape what your eyes actually observe!  And scientific studies have been done to demonstrate that this is actually a thing!  Our desires . . . and in some cases our fears . . . create a new observable reality. Continue Reading »

The most significant American contribution to the church’s hymnody and song is the African American spiritual.  These are songs from an earlier time in American history that came out of the experience of a people oppressed and enslaved.  These songs have no specific composers.  They just rose to heaven from the fields where God’s children, who had been ripped from their homeland and brought to work on the plantations of the south, lived and labored and suffered and died. They are spirituals because they make reference to biblical stories and experiences that mirror their own.  They used these images and stories to talk about their sorrows and to voice their hopes for redemption. Continue Reading »

Today we commemorate the anniversary of our congregation.  We were chartered on Reformation Day in 2004.

 

During the last 14 years, There is a three word phrase we have used on every piece of communication about our church.  Every mailing, every printed invitation, every social media posting, every newspaper advertisement has included this three word phrase.  Continue Reading »

One of the marks of good writing is avoiding the use of the passive voice.  For example, if I say, “I am holding a pen.”  “I” am the subject of the verb – I am doing the action.  The “pen” is the object of the verb.  To state that in the passive voice we would say, “The pen is being held by me.”  That’s not good English.  “I heard it through the grapevine” is in the active voice.  “It was heard by me through the grapevine” is passive . . . and awkward. . . .and not a catchy song title anymore.  So the active voice is almost always better. Continue Reading »

I don’t think I could do it.  Could you?

Give up all your material possessions and give them to the poor?

Keep all the commandments perfectly?  No way.

The impossible demands reflected in today’s Gospel made one young man turn away from Jesus when he realized he couldn’t do it either.

Continue Reading »

You’ll have been downtown and seen the people standing at the corner needing money — most likely holding up a sign:  “Will work for food” or something similar.  Some roadside beggars have gotten a bit more creative with their signs.  Here are some actual signs seen on street corners in America:
Continue Reading »

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