Archive for January, 2013


Along with many Americans last Monday, I listened to President Obama’s inauguration speech.  It was a good speech.  He has always had a way with words – being able to communicate and lift up a crowd with soaring rhetoric.  This is part of our inauguration tradition in America – to unite citizens around a single purpose and vision.  It was a coincidence of the calendar this year that inauguration day fell on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the swearing-in ceremonies held just across the reflecting pool from the spot where Martin Luther King gave his famous “I have a dream speech.”  His words too worked in the hearts of those who heard him and he helped transform our nation. (more…)

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Three of my sister’s five children recently got engaged which means there will be three weddings for the family this summer . . . with a fourth likely a few months later.  Everyone is very happy and well-matched and weddings are a lot of fun, but they also require a lot of attention and energy and money.  So keep my sister in your prayers!

Today’s Gospel about the wedding in Cana may serve to remind us that Jesus wants to be an invited guest at our wedding celebrations.  I like the prayer that I usually use when officiating at a wedding, “As you gladdened the wedding at Cana in Galilee by the presence of your Son, so by his presence now bring your joy to this wedding.”  Jesus brings the joy to a wedding and this story may encourage us to continue to rely on him to bring his joy into our marriages!  (more…)

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Ole went to see a psychiatrist because he thought he might have a mental illness.  “What seems to be the problem, Ole?”  The doctor asked.  “I’m hearing voices,” Ole complained.  “But I can’t see the faces.”  The doctor nodded and started taking notes.  “And when do you hear these voices?”  Ole thought it and replied, “Usually when I’m on the telephone.” (more…)

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Epiphany, January 6, 2013


This is the time of year we start to yearn for exotic locales – and begin dreaming not of a White Christmas but white sandy beaches!  So today we have what I think many think of as kind of the exotic part of the Christmas story – the visit of the Magi.  There is so much mysterious and unknown about this story – and so much that excites the imagination.  They came from the east – oooh, where was that?  They brought gifts gold, frankincense and myrrh – ooh, expensive!  They had an audience with the king and got the whole city of Jerusalem buzzing – ooh, exciting and scandalous! (more…)

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New Year’s celebrations are arbitrary times to take a look at our plans for the next year.  There’s nothing about January 1 that makes uniquely suited for making plans, but new calendars go up and we start to fill in birthdays, celebrations, graduations, wedding, trips.

As we approach the new year, we might be considering some things that involve some risk – things that require faith.  Perhaps some new venture, some new decisions, some investment of our time or resources.  Things that are not necessarily on the calendar but opportunities and challenges the new year may bring.  (more…)

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My 82 year old aunt sent my mom a Christmas card a few weeks ago with a little note that said, “I’m not going out today;  I’m just going to cuddle up with Jesus in the manger.”  What a good idea.  It’s been only a few days since we were all cuddled up with Jesus — all warm and cozy.  It’s where we want to be.

Each Christmas I feel so moved by the Christmas story.  As I prepare Christmas worship, as I write Christmas sermons, as I sing with our choir and learn new Christmas music with them, as I hear our children and youth present the Christmas story as they did 2 Sundays ago, as I attend Christmas concerts, when I go Christmas caroling with many of you – when I do all these things it gives me opportunity to really think about what it means that God became a human for me.  And I am so warmed and comforted and touched by this good news. (more…)

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