Thursday, December 19, 2013


And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth.  (John 1:14)

As we anticipate the arrival of Christmas in a few days, we do well to remember that what we celebrate, in addition to the birth of Jesus, is the mystery of the Incarnation. It's not a "who done it" mystery. It's a mystery in the sense that there is no way for us to explain it completely or understand it fully. God became one of us. God took on our flesh, our nature and our lot and became human in Jesus the Christ.

The Incarnation sometimes is too easily limited to the Nativity of our Lord. Indeed the entire life, experience, suffering, sacrifice and death of Christ are also included in what it means to "take on" you and me.

As the Church, we are Christ's body. How do we incarnate here and now? How do we "take on" our community, our society?  Clearly Jesus' goal was not to blend in and go along.  He was on a mission to reconcile, bless and transform. How are we doing with that mission which has been entrusted to us?

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Fourth Sunday of Advent
December 22, 2013
10:00 AM
Choir Cantata and Holy Communion

The Nativity of Our Lord
Christmas Eve
8:00 PM
(Prelude music begins approximately at 7:30 PM)

The First Sunday of Christmas
December 29, 2013, 10:00 AM
Service of Lessons and Carols

The Epiphany of Our Lord
Monday, January 6, 2014, 7:00 PM
Evening Prayer (Vespers)

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Here is something to enjoy and share.  (How is this a depiction of what it means to be incarnational?)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Waiting for Another?

Have you ever lived with great expectations? Do you see the way things are and, in contrast, sometimes envision the way things could be? Do you wish they could improve or be changed? If you have, you know frustration. 

Being optimistic can be hard work. Getting our hopes up, we sometimes learn in life, is risky business. The risk is that we will be disappointed. Nobody likes to be disappointed. What happens as a result, more often than not, is that we are slowly conditioned to modify our expectations. We lower the bar . . . or remove it all together. When so little is expected, there is much less room for disappointment. It's easier all around. We learn this attitude. Sometimes, I suspect, we even foster it. What do you think?

One of the themes of the season of Advent is that of hope. Paul reminds us that hope does not disappoint us!  Here it is in context:
[W]e also boast our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. that has been given to us.   (Romans 5:3-5)
The readings for this Sunday get at some pretty exciting and wonderful notions of what God has in mind. Take some time to read these passages listed and sited below. Here are some questions for consideration:
  • Do you think the vision is unrealistic? 
  • Do you think the expectations are too high? 
  • Where do those promises play out in our lives? 
  • How are we called to join in this process of transformation?

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then the lame shall leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.
For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
the burning sand shall become a pool
and the thirsty ground springs of water. (Isaiah 35:5-7)

John the Baptist in Prison Receives Christ's Answer
(Matthew 11:2-6)
Samuel van Hoogstrateten (1627-1678)

Jesus answered them, "Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. (Matthew 11:4-5)

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Third Sunday of Advent
December 15, 2013

Prayer of the Day
Stir up the wills of all who look to you, Lord God, 
and strengthen our faith in your coming, 
that transformed by grace, we may walk in your way; 
through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, 
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, 
one God, now and forever.  Amen

Isaiah 35:1-10
Psalm 146:5-10
James 5:7-10
Matthew 11:2-11

Don't forget to invite someone to come along to worship this Sunday morning. Your participation in extending God's welcome could make all the difference in someone's life . . . including your own.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Get to the Point!

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone who goes on and on and can never seem to get to the point? Perhaps the intention was to tell you about something that happened over the last weekend, but what ends up happening is that your friend is reminded, by their own recounting, of something else. So they begin to talk about that something else. This, of course reminds them of something else. And so, they tell you about that as well. And, oh that's right, there was this thing that happened last weekend.

Maybe you're reading this right now and wondering if I'll ever get to the point with this week's blog post. Well, here it is:  Jesus. Of course.  We all know that Jesus is the point, that Jesus is the "reason for the season" and so on. I suspect that if I took a vote (and I'm not, won't, mustn't, can't) it would be near unanimous that Jesus is the point. Yet, Jesus is so much more than the reason for the season. Either he is everything or nothing! 

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross. (Colossians 1:15-20)

Take a look at this image of John the Baptist painted by Leonardo Da Vinci. John looks youthful. (He's sporting a beautiful head of hair.) He is oddly dressed and shown embracing a cross in one hand while pointing beyond himself with the other. John is not the point. And he knows it. His role is to direct our attention toward Jesus and to call us to get ready, to repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.

File:St John the baptist - Leonardo Da Vinci.jpg

St. John the Baptist, Leonardo Da Vinci  (1452-1519)

Here below is a detail from Matthias Grünewald's Isenheim Alterpiece. Look at that index finger. Try pointing like that for a moment. Seriously, try it. It's no casual gesture. Feel it. It takes stamina to persist. 

detail of the Isenheim Altarpiece, Matthias Grünewald, (c. 1470-1528)

In the larger context of the altarpiece, what this figure of John the baptist is pointing toward is Christ being crucified on the cross. The inscription above John's bent arm is Illum oportet crescere me autem minui "He must increase, but I must decrease." (Gospel of John 3:30)

By now you are well aware that we are hip deep in the season of Advent. During this brief season we watch, wait, hope, and prepare for Christ's coming in many and various ways. The point, Jesus, wishes to come into our lives. . . not to be a knickknack on the side-table, but to be the central life-giving power in our midst. The Kingdom of heaven has come near. God is already taking the initiative to accomplish our salvation, to prepare our hearts, and fill us with hope in the midst of despair and all that seems to confound our best efforts.

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Second Sunday of Advent
December 8, 2013

Prayer of the Day
Stir up our hearts, Lord God, to prepare the way of your only Son. 
By his coming nurture our growth as people of repentance and peace; 
through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, 
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, 
one God, now and forever.  Amen

Isaiah 11:1-10
Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19
Romans 15:4-13
Matthew 3:1-12

Extra points!  (Not really) For which reading Sunday is this image an illustration? 

Friday, November 29, 2013

What time is it?

Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers. (Romans 13:11)
Someone I deeply love and admire has a very annoying way of waking up in the morning. My wife has a clock radio alarm on her bedside table set to sound off at o'dark thirty. That's alright. But what is annoying is that the clock is intentionally set 10 to 15 minutes too fast. Somehow, she feels, this will allow her to take advantage of hitting the snooze button not just once, but several times before she finally decides to greet the morning. I much prefer living in the prevailing time zone.

What time is it where you are?
Maybe, however, I should allow this time-challenge to remind me that we indeed ultimately live according to God's time and not our own. Sure, we try to measure time, track time, save time, keep time, pass time, etc. Tick tock! Yet, God's time is different.

Chronos is a Greek word from which we get the notion of chronology, the measurable, quantitative idea of time. Kairos, on the other hand, is the Greek word for time that refers not so much to quantity as it does to quality. It is God's time, which is a gift to us at all times. See, you know what time it is!  It's not so much about us, but about God. The thing is, God desires that we cooperate in the Divine vision and mission.

So, whether we set our clocks (our time-quantitative devices) forward or back makes little difference in the great scheme of things. What really matters is that we wake-up! It matters that we come to realize that we live not for ourselves:
We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living. (Romans 14:7-9)  
So, this coming Sunday we begin a new year with the season of Advent. During these weeks before Christmas, the Church holds up this time as one in which we are to engage not only in anticipation of Christ's birth, but in an intentional period of preparation. Making room for Jesus in the blur of our sometimes cluttered life calls us to marshal our collective effort. As a community of faith, we do well to challenge ourselves with these words:
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dearth by the glory of God the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.  (Romans 6:3-4)

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First Sunday of Advent
December 1, 2013

Prayer of the Day
Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come. 
By your merciful protection save us from the threatening dangers of our sins, 
and enlighten our walk in the way of your salvation, 
for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, 
one God, now and forever.  Amen

Isaiah 2:1-5
Psalm 122
Romans 13:11-14
Matthew 24:36-44

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Post image for thanksgiving at the ranch

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am extremely grateful for all the understanding, 
care, support, and encouragement you have shown 
to me and my family during these months of transition.  

In many and various ways you have been a blessing. 
Praise be to God!  And thank you!

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Day of Thanksgiving
November 28, 2013

Prayer of the Day
Almighty God our Father, 
your generous goodness comes to us new every day. 
By the work of your Spirit lead us to acknowledge your goodness, 
give thanks for your benefits, 
and serve you in willing obedience, 
through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen

Deuteronomy 26:1-11
Psalm 100
Philippians 4:4-9
John 6:25-35

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thy Kingdom Come

Image of Christ from the the great Deesis mosaic 
from the Upper South Gallery in Hagia Sophia, 
the Church of Holy Wisdom, in Constantinople (now Istanbul, Turkey).

Somehow the annual observance of Christ the King Sunday gets overshadowed by our national celebration of Thanksgiving. Don't hear what I'm not saying. It is right that we should give God our thanks and praise. Thanksgiving is a great holiday . . . one for which I am thankful. Oh that we wouldn't exile gratitude to the island of one day in 365. Maybe we could let thanksgiving infect the rest of our lives. Maybe it could catch on as an attitude that pervades and informs our everyday life. It's gotta be about more than eating too much turkey and falling asleep in front of the TV broadcasting live from the Packers and the Lions football faceoff or "timely" reruns of Ralphie's longing for a Red Rider B.B. gun in 1983's A Christmas Story.

Now, back on track, let's consider that this coming Sunday is the last Sunday of the Church Year. On it we confess that Christ is King. Have you ever taken the time to contemplate the implications, the ramifications, the tectonic scope of this simple three-word claim? It is a rather bold declaration, don't you think? 


One of the earliest confessions of faith in the Church was Jesus is Lord.  We hear and say that today so casually. Yet it was (and is) a monumental statement. The major implication of saying Jesus is Lord is Caesar is not. 

Christ the King Sunday is a day to celebrate the Lordship of Jesus and also a fitting opportunity for us to inventory our allegiances. What/who is in first position in our lives? Clarity on this matter will free us to grow, repent, believe, and live!

Over the next couple of days, take a few moments to read and meditate on the various scriptural passages (listed below) assigned to Christ the King Sunday. Forward this post to a friend or family member, please. And finally, pray for the guidance and strength of the Holy Spirit in our life together.

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Christ the King
November 24, 2013

Prayer of the Day
Almighty God our Father, 
your generous goodness comes to us new every day. 
By the work of your Spirit 
lead us to acknowledge your goodness, 
give thanks for your benefits, 
and serve you in willing obedience, 
through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. 

Deuteronomy 26:1-11
Psalm 100
Philippians 4:4-9
John 6:25-35
Christ Crowned with Thorns, Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1510 

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Click on the link (upper right part of this page) to the Saint Luke Lutheran Church website for updated information regarding the Living Fully and Dying Well series on Sunday Mornings at 8:45.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The End

I was driving my car recently when I noticed a sign along the side of the road that posed the following question: When you die are you prepared to meet God?

I tend to think too much. So, I thought about this question . . . a lot . . . maybe too much. Not only did I think about this road sign and its question, I also came up with other questions. Here they are:

  • Do I really have to wait until I'm dead to meet God?
  • Is this sign's message supposed to scare me into good behavior?
  • Am I supposed to live in fear of a judgmental God who is going to clean up the floor with me at the end?
  • When it comes to preparation, isn't there a better way to live? 
  • And finally, and let's just say it, isn't there a more optimistic, joyful way to live with the time we have been blessed with before we croak?

So, now that I've had time to think about it, let me share that I would respond to this roadside question with this:  I reject the premise of the question. Do you have another? Is that the best you got? Are you trying to scare me into loving God!? 

We all know the song that boldly confesses:  Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so!  Let's put that on a road sign somewhere. Let's share that message with others. Let's share our own  experience of God.  Here is one of mine:

I live in gratitude today because I have been encountered by a God that took the initiative to meet me in the midst of my unprepared life here and now. And I'm not special. God wants to do that for everyone.  That's the message of Jesus.  That's the message of the incarnation -- it's what we celebrate at Christmas. God came down already, in the flesh, took on our nature and our lot  . . . in Jesus for you and for me, once, for all. In short, its not the end, but rather a beginning.

Take a moment (a few moments) to read over the lessons for this coming Sunday.  They sound like the end is near. And it would be easy to use them to encourage fearful existence. But, as you read, listen carefully to the voice of Jesus. In these ominous sentences are words of promise and hope. What do you think?

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26th Sunday after Pentecost
Sunday, November 17, 2013

Prayer of the Day
O God, the protector of all who trust in you, 
without you nothing is strong, nothing is holy. 
Embrace us with your mercy, 
that with you as our ruler and guide, 
we may live through what is temporary without losing what is eternal, 
through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

Malachi 4:1–2a
Psalm 98
2 Thessalonians 3:6–13
Luke 21:5–19

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Rejoicing Spirits

Have you ever been in the position of having something really exciting and positive to share with others?  Have you ever felt like you just couldn't wait to tell the good news?  

Just this past Monday evening there were two meetings going on simultaneously at St. Luke. The Worship and Music Committee was in one room and the Social Ministry Committee was in another. Each was about their business. I had the opportunity to be in both meetings (no, not at the same time!)

In the Worship and Music Committee meeting, we discussed the probability of launching a monthly worship service to be held on a Sunday afternoon once a month at 4:00 PM.  The point of this ministry would be reach out to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities along with their families and friends. There was a great deal of openness and excitement about this possibility. So, plans care to continue the conversation and work toward that goal.  (Stay tuned for more details!)

Meanwhile, down the hall, the Social Ministry Committee was meeting to review the many and various ways the congregation participates in and supports ministries that take place in the community, region, and world. Again, there was a great deal of passion and excitement in the room. So, I shared with this committee what had just been discussed in the Worship and Music Committee meeting. It was encouraging to see the crossover in mission and the sharing of passion.  In other words, it was one of those Holy Spirit moments when it was clear God is up to something in our midst!  So, stay tuned and remember these committees and the work of the church council in your prayers. In the meantime, know that you are in my prayers, because we're in this together!

Rather than asking how we can help people with disabilities, Henri Nouwen teaches us, "The more important question is, how can people with disabilities give their spiritual gifts to us and call us to love?"

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Continuing . . . this Sunday in the Fellowship Hall at 8:45 AM

Living Fully, Dying Well is an eight week session:  How can you take the fear of death and turn it into something profound and positive? What is the alchemy that allows someone within a metaphorical desert to turn around and see a flower?  Tina Staley, LCSW

Most of us try not thinking about death until the moment we come face to face with it.  But when we have the courage to accept our inevitable mortality and contemplate it actively -- as a spiritual practice -- we open the door to living fully, joyfully, and in complete presence. 

Living Fully, Dying Well is an investigation into the challenge each of us faces: to embrace all of life from the beginning to the end.

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Twenty-fifth Sunday after Pentecost
Sunday, November 10, 2013

Prayer of the Day
O God, our eternal redeemer, 
by the presence of your Spirit you renew and direct our hearts. 
Keep always in our mind the end of all things and the day of judgment. 
Inspire us for a holy life here, 
and bring us to the joy of the resurrection, 
through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

Psalm 17:1–9
Job 19:23–27a
2 Thessalonians 2:1–5, 13–17
Luke 20:27–38

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

All Saints

All Saints day II, Wassily Kandinsky, 1911

This coming Friday, November 1, is All Saints Day. It is a day to remember those who have died and taken their place in the church triumphant. We commemorate the lives of the faithful departed, reminding ourselves that we are still connected -- that indeed death has not rent asunder what God has put together in our shared baptismal identity as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Since we typically don't gather together for worship on Friday, we observe the festival of All Saints on All Saints Sunday, November 3. It is one of my favorite Sundays of the church year. I appreciate the annual emphasis on our interdependence and connectedness as the body of Christ.  Everyone is there. We're together, whole, complete and at peace.  This is always the promise. But like most promises, we need to be reminded and encouraged that it's true and real. 

Saints are not just those who have lived exemplary lives of faith and obedience to God's will.  We do well to also consider that ordinary saints like you and me are counted among the great cloud of witnesses. Far from perfect, and sinners all, we still are blessed to be in God's favor and objects of God's care and love in Christ Jesus.

As a local community of faith, we will also welcome new members into our midst this Sunday. God continues to call, gather, and enlighten us in our life together. Please take time to introduce yourself to one another at the reception following worship.

Even though, for now, the four-week Faith Formation Forum is complete, please know that everyone is invited to return this Sunday to the fellowship hall at 8:45 AM for the Adult Contemporary Class as they consider a multi-week study entitled, LivingFully, Dying Well. This study is designed to assist us in making careful, wise and prayerful preparation for meeting life's most important moments. It inspires us to talk openly about faith and mortality. Everyone is welcome and guests are expected. Take time to invite a friend! 

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All Saints Sunday
Sunday, November 3, 2013

Prayer of the Day
Almighty God, you have knit your people together in the one communion 
in the mystical body of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 
Grant us grace to follow your blessed saints in lives of faith and commitment, 
and to know the inexpressible joys you have prepared for those who love you, 
through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, 
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, 
one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Daniel 7:1-3, 15-18
Psalm 149
Ephesians 1:11-23
Luke 6:20-31

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Mystic Sweet Communion

"Last Supper" by Pascal Dagnan-Bouveret, 1896

In 1866, Samuel John Stone, an English Cleric, composed a set of hymns on the Apostles' Creed in response to a controversy between two South African bishops who had appealed to higher ecclesiastical authorities in England. Stone's set of hymns, Lyra Fidelium, included one based on the ninth article of the Creed, "the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints." The hymn is known as The Church's One Foundation.  It is included in our hymnal, Evangelical Lutheran Worship 654. Here is the fifth and final verse:
Yet she on earth has union with God, the Three in One,
and mystic sweet communion with those whose rest is won.
Oh, blessed heav'n-ly chorus! Lord, save us by your grace,
that we, like saints before us, may see you face to face.
Last Sunday we explored the topic of Church. This week's topic, Communion, is related. Communion is a loaded word. How we use it greatly determines what we mean when we use it.  When we speak of receiving communion, are we intentional about, or aware of the broader scene? In other words, when we kneel at the altar rail and receive the Sacrament of Christ's Body and Blood, are we aware that we are surrounded, connected, and embraced? What is mystic sweet communion of which Stone writes and we sing?

When we consider that communion is both celebration and rehearsal, it would be good to have an idea what we are celebrating and for what we are rehearsing. This may be easier to grasp when we acknowledge that there is an "already-and-not-yet" aspect of our faith. For example, the Kingdom of God is both already here (in our midst) and not yet (thy kingdom come). When we gather together on Sunday mornings in worship, what is communion? What does it do?

If, by now, you think that what I've written so far has lead you down the road of frustration, or has caused confusion, please know that you are not alone. This is all really rather difficult to understand. Yet, each of us -- all of us -- get to believe it. That Christ is present, that the hosts of heaven join with us and we with them, that we're all in this together -- this is mystic sweet communion.

You may think and believe otherwise. So, let's talk about it together.  I'm looking forward to our time with  one another on Sunday. Take a moment to invite a friend, relative, or neighbor to come along with you.  All are welcome and guests are expected!  Meanwhile, stay in One Peace!

"The Sacrament of the Last Supper" by Salvador Dali, 1955

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Twenty-Second Sunday after Pentecost 
October 20, 2013

Prayer of the Day
O Lord God, tireless guardian of your people, 
you are always ready to hear our cries. 
Teach us to rely day and night on your care. 
Inspire us to seek your enduring justice 
for all this suffering world, 
through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen

Genesis 32:22–31
Psalm 121
2 Timothy 3:14—4:5
Luke 18:1–8 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen
Location unknown
(Stolen from the Van Gogh Museum December 7, 2002)

The word "church" is perhaps one of the most hackneyed words in the church. See what I mean? What do we mean when we use the word? For example, here are some frequently heard occurrences:
  • This Sunday, I'm going to church. 
  • I just received a letter in the mail from the church. 
  • The church is developing a new program. 
  • We are members of the church. 
  • I don't feel like getting up for church.
  • I love my church!
This week's Faith Formation Forum will explore what we mean by the word church.  We will consider the impact of our assumptions and be challenged to consider alternative understandings. Church-as- destination is quite different from church-as-mission. The former conjures images and ideas of place, building, and institution. The latter encourages thoughts of action, movement, and incarnation. 

This may seem a bit confusing at first review. But don't give up or dismiss deeper reflection in the days ahead as we prepare for our gathering this Sunday at 8:45 AM.  I'm looking forward to our time together again. (I had a blast last Sunday.) I have just a few follow-up thoughts to share about conversion as well.

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Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost
Sunday, October 13, 2013

Prayer of the Day

Almighty and most merciful God,
your bountiful goodness fills all creation.
Keep us safe from all that may hurt us,
that, whole and well in body and spirit,
we may with grateful hearts
accomplish all that you would have us do,
through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen


2 Kings 5:1–3, 7–15c
Psalm 111
2 Timothy 2:8–15
Luke 17:11–19

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On a personal note: We are moving to Chambersburg over the next several days. Tomorrow is packing day. Thursday is loading day. Friday is unloading day. Saturday is unpacking day (the first of many!). Please keep us in your prayers. Thanks for the many offers of help and assistance. Your kindness is a blessing. Everything is coming together nicely so far. The moving company is taking care of the heavy lifting and transportation. Thanks be to God!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Shall me make a start?

For several months I have been looking forward to launching this blog. Its purpose is simple: to serve as a means of communicating with members and friends of St. Luke Lutheran Church. I hope that this site will not simply be a billboard of only my thoughts and reflections, but rather a forum in which we can be "in conversation" with one another and the world around us. But things take time, and time takes time. So, in the meantime, shall we make a start?

For now, the plan is to post an article during the middle of the week that will attempt to get us thinking about and reflecting on the themes that we likely will encounter in worship and learning the following Sunday. There are no guarantees, however. In the course of any given week there may be something else that will drive the conversation. But for the most part, we can look to this blog as a source as we anticipate and prepare our hearts and minds for our Sunday assembly.

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The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" The Lord replied, "If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you. (Luke 17:5-6)

This coming Sunday we hear this imperative from the apostles. If we take this text out of context, it sounds only like the apostles are frustrated and selfish. This plea comes immediately following Jesus teaching about forgiving those who sin against us even repeatedly. Those who keep sinning and keep repenting are to be forgiven.

This is difficult for us to accept. Aren't we to repent and sin no more? Rightly, or at least understandably, the apostles feel inadequate or at least challenged by this. So they plea for more faith. But how much is enough? Maybe if we just had a little bit more faith, we could manage.

What does it mean to you to have faith? How did you get it? How do you keep it?

The Conversion of Saint Paul, 1600
 Caravaggio (1571–1610)

Conversion is the topic of our Faith Formation Forum this Sunday at 8:45 AM.  Here are some questions you can begin to consider between now and then:
  • When are we ripe for conversion?  
  • Is it once and done? 
  • Is is once, for all? 
  • Who takes the initiative? 
  • What does conversion have to do with faith? 
  • Can we have faith and still be in need of conversion? 
  • How much is enough? 
  • Is a mulberry tree capable of obeying us?
I encourage you to take a little time and ponder these questions and reflect on the readings listed below for this Sunday. Email this link to a friend as well and invite them to come with you this Sunday for the first in a four-part series called Faith Formation Forum.  Meanwhile, stay in One Peace!  -cf

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Sunday, October 6, 2013
Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost

Prayer of the Day
Benevolent, merciful God: When we are empty, fill us.
When we are weak in faith, strengthen us.
When we are cold in love, warm us,
that with fervor we may love our neighbors
and serve them for the sake of your Son,
Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen

Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4
Psalm 37:1-9
2 Timothy 1:1-14
Luke 17:5-10