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An Easter sermon is both the easiest thing and the most difficult thing. Easy because, well, come on!  It’s the best news ever!  There are some biblical texts where the Gospel is hard to find.  But not in the Easter texts!  It’s all good news!  But an Easter sermon is difficult because everyone pretty much knows the story and how it all ends so you’re not telling anyone something they don’t already know!  I mean no one is really here this morning wondering what happened to Jesus, right? Continue Reading »

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The first chapter of Mark’s Gospel gives us a day in the life of Jesus.  It was a very busy day and the way Mark tells the story, everything happened at break neck speed!  Jesus was busy with the activities that shaped his ministry:  going to the synagogue, healing, casting out demons, spending time with his disciples, and time alone in prayer.  It was typical day for Jesus. Continue Reading »

 

What would you do – what would WE do – if someone walked into church this morning that was clearly having a very serious problem . . . whose behavior was causing a disturbance?  What if you could tell by his disheveled appearance that something was not right?  What if he was yelling – being disruptive and inappropriate and rude?  Would we ignore him?  Call 911?  Try to reason with him?  Sounds like something the Elders should deal with, don’t you think? Continue Reading »

Jesus does not belong in a manger.

Perhaps this seems obvious.  I mean NO BABY belongs in animal feeding trough.  It’s disgusting and unsanitary.  And this detail in the Christmas story, provided by Luke’s Gospel, is there not to set the stage for Jesus’ birth or to inspire beautiful Renaissance style crèche figures like these, but to describe the abject poverty into which Jesus was born.  Mary laid her newborn son in a manger because as a homeless refugee, she had no other choice. Continue Reading »

I don’t know how long it’s been since you played “Hide and Seek,” but I bet you remember what the seeker announces after hiding his face and counting to ten and before he begins to look for his hidden friends.  He says:  “Ready or not, HERE I COME!”

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Filmmaker Steven Spielberg, director of such blockbuster hits as ET and Raiders of the Lost has his own distinctive and very influential style.  One of the features of his movies is what many observers have named, “The Spielberg Face.”  This is where he shows us the expression on the faces of actors who are seeing something amazing for the first time without actually showing us the amazing thing they are seeing. Continue Reading »

Where would you look for God?

 

You might go into a church – perhaps a beautiful sanctuary, like the St. Paul Cathedral.  Maybe you would find God in nature, but the scenery would probably be something spectacular – a beautiful sunset, the Grand Canyon, a mountain top view, the stillness of a Minnesota lake with the call of a loon in the background.  You could look for God in a book, but it would have to be an exceptional book unlike any other.  You might find him in a person, probably someone with extraordinary wisdom and insight.  We expect to see him in the grand and glorious – in the best of everything.

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