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In a scene from the movie Jack the Giant Slayer, Jack and some companions are struggling to climb the giant beanstalk.  On the way up, Jack slips and suffers a terrible fall which renders him unconscious if not, perhaps mortally wounded.   He finally opens his eyes to see one of his cohorts staring back at him.  “Am I dead”  Jack asks?  “Not just yet” is the response.

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Repentance is a key theme of the season of Lent. Repentance means to turn around.  The significant Scripture for Lent is the verse we sang earlier before the Gospel:  “Return to the Lord your God for he is gracious and merciful.” Repentance is turning and also includes the idea of a change of mind and heart and life.  The Gospel of Luke talks about repentance.  Last Sunday we heard Jesus warn those who refused to repent.  And right before our Gospel reading today we have two stories about repentance – involving a lost sheep and a lost coin — and the joy that heaven experiences when a sinner repents – or turns back to God – and has a change of heart and mind and life. Continue Reading »

Texts:

I Corinthians 10:1-13

Luke 13:1-9

Sometimes people will come up and say, I have a question for you. . . Continue Reading »

The most important event in the life of Jesus is his death in Jerusalem on a cross.  If there is one thing we would want anyone to know about Jesus and what he did, we would want them to know that he died for us!  This is the thing that matters.  For Jesus and for us, this is the important moment. It is the “crux” of the story.  It’s the thing we believe about Jesus that saves us. Continue Reading »

In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus preaches love for enemies, blessings on those who curse us, doing good for those who hurt us, lending to those who don’t pay back, turning a cheek when someone hits you, and giving to everyone who begs.

These words do not comfort me.  In fact, they make me very uncomfortable. Continue Reading »

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 »

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 »

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