This morning, we continue our journey through the gospel of Mark. We’ve been walking with Jesus and the disciples on the way to Jerusalem and the cross. And it seems like the closer we get, the harder Jesus’ teachings become. In the last few weeks, Jesus has told us we must be last of all and servant of all; he’s told us that we must lose our lives in order to find them; and just last week, he told us that if our eyes or hands or feet cause us to stumble, we should cut them off!
In order to dig into our gospel reading for today, I want to first start out with a little history lesson. Please don’t fall asleep! This is kind of a puzzling story that we have before us – and I think that digging into the context a little will help us to better understand it.
This is the report from my internship project, which I actually submitted a few months back, but there’s some good stuff in here, I think, and some resources that other folks might be able to use. In a nutshell, the goal of my project was to start laying some of the groundwork for bilingual ministry at my internship congregation, Peace Lutheran in Las Cruces, NM. Overall, it was very successful!
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Good evening/morning! It is such a delight to be here again at Grace Lutheran. I have missed you all. I bring you greetings from the people of Peace Lutheran Church in Las Cruces, NM, and also from Pastor Mike and Kristin Ostrom, who are now at Oregon State University!
It’s so good to be here with you all again. And it seems very fitting that love is such a prominent theme in our texts for this weekend. Grace has always been a community in which I have experienced great Christian love.
Our gospel reading from John especially highlights this theme. This text is part of Jesus’ “Farewell Discourse” to his disciples before he is crucified, in an ultimate act of love. And his words about love raise for us a very important question. This question has one, immediate, right answer, so I want to see if any of you know what it is. Are you ready? What is love? Continue reading “Sermon: What Is Love? (Seriously, though, what is it?)”
This past week, we welcomed our second group of refugees: 12 families from Central America who made the long journey to seek asylum in the US. Some of them traveled for up to a month or more, some with very young children, just to get here. We have been getting a little better and more organized about welcoming them each time we’ve done it. And the volunteers we’ve had helping out have just been awesome. If you’ve helped out with this group or the previous group or have donated anything, please raise your hands. Thank you all for what you’ve been doing. Even the littlest things can make a huge difference. Continue reading “Sermon: Roots and Fruits”
Our gospel text for today comes right on the heels of the story of the road to Emmaus, which is one of my favorite stories in all of scripture. You probably remember the story: two disciples are walking along the road to Emmaus on the day of the resurrection and Jesus joins them, but they don’t recognize him until way later that evening, when they are breaking bread together. I’ve always thought it was kind of a funny story. And I see that same kind of humor in the story we read today. The disciples had literally just been talking about this encounter on the road to Emmaus, and also about an encounter that Peter had with the risen Christ, when Jesus himself appears among them and throws them into a panic. They were already beginning to believe that Jesus really had been raised from the dead, but when he actually showed up in their midst, they totally freaked out – and not in a good way. Continue reading “Sermon: Close Encounters”
I brought some of my own saints with me today. This is one of the most precious pictures I have. This is my great-grandma Martha, my mom, Becky, and my grandma Orpha – we always called her Grandma Ziggy. And that’s little, tiny, baby me in the middle. I’m so grateful to have this photo, because all three of these women died by the time I was ten years old. Continue reading “Sermon: Saints and Citizens of the Kingdom”
In our gospel reading for today, we find Jesus still teaching in the temple and the religious leaders still trying to find some way to trip him up. The Pharisees have decided that it’s time to play another round of “Stump Jesus,” and this time, they’ve thought up a clever question to catch him in a trap: Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not? Continue reading “Sermon: Property of God”
El texto del evangelio que nos toca hoy presenta un encuentro casi cómico entre Jesús y los líderes del templo. Ellos se acercan a Jesús para engañarle y cuestionar su autoridad. Pero en vez de ser atrapado, Jesús les hace una pregunta que los deja en pánico. San Mateo describe la escena entre bastidores de los sacerdotes y los líderes frenéticamente discutiendo entre si cómo responder a Jesús sin reconocer su autoridad ni tampoco ofender a la gente. Continue reading “Sermon: Battle of Wills”
All Saints Sunday
(according to the preacher)
(according to the music director)
24th Sunday after Pentecost
(according to the secretary/liturgist)
Sunday, October 30, 2016
(according to everyone)
New Hope Lutheran Church, Aurora, IL
The next couple of weeks are packed with momentous and exciting events. Tomorrow, the Lutheran church marks the 499th anniversary of the Reformation. The day after that, the global church marks All Saint’s Day, and the day after that, we celebrate the Day of the Dead. And next week, our country will hold a historic presidential election in which we will decide our leaders for the next four years or more. There’s a lot going on!
But I’d actually like to start off today talking about an upcoming day you probably didn’t expect to hear about from the pulpit: Halloween. Continue reading “Promises, Promises: An All Saints of los Muertos Reformation-Ween Sermon”