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God’s Foolishness – Sermon for Epiphany 4A on 1 Corinthians 1:18-31

02.02.2020

I got a message this week from someone complaining about our church sign – she thought it was blasphemy to call God foolish, and she wanted us to take down the sermon title. I wrote back to her that I was glad it caught her attention but I was sorry the sign offended her, and she would be welcome here this morning to hear more from Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth, about the foolishness of God. Continue reading

Identity Crisis – Sermon on 1 Corinthians 1:10-18 for Epiphany 3A

January 26, 2020

What does the cross mean to you? We wear beautiful crosses around our necks, and we have a simple cross with clean lines hanging over our altar. This isn’t the kind of cross Jesus was thinking about when he said, ‘take up your cross and follow me’ (Matthew 16:34). Continue reading

Epiphany 2A in 2020 – Sermon on John 1:29-42

January 19, 2020

This week’s text from John gives us a look into what happened the day after Jesus was baptized, and I’ve updated (okay, completely rewritten) an earlier sermon on the passage for this second Sunday after the Epiphany, to reflect both my own growing understanding of this text and my congregation’s need to hear it in a fresh way. You can find it here. May you better see Jesus, show Jesus in your own life, and share Jesus with others through the reading and hearing of God’s Word.

Up from the Water – Sermon on Matthew 3:1-12 for Baptism of Our Lord

January 12, 2020

Today we celebrate the baptism of Our Lord, and we remember that in baptism, we are each given a new name. In baptism, we are called, “Child of God.” We are called, “Beloved.” And it’s all because Jesus came up from the water. Continue reading

Seeing Jesus – Sermon for Epiphany Sunday on Matthew 2:1-12

January 5, 2020

The gospel lesson for Epiphany is always the same, year after year. We always get the story of the wise men seeking out the infant King. It only comes to us through one author so, no matter which gospel we are following in a given year, Epiphany always brings us to the second chapter of Matthew. Continue reading

Murdered Innocents

I won’t be preaching this first Sunday of Christmas, but we can’t ignore this week’s gospel lesson. So I will share a few thoughts harvested from another sermon I preached on this text several years ago. You can read the whole thing here.

It can be tempting to ignore atrocities, to think we can’t do anything about them. But Jesus calls us to see and to act. As you continue through this season of Christmastide, May you find opportunities to do just that, in Jesus’ name.

Ladies’ Luncheon Casserole

Minnesota is the only place I know where the word ‘casserole’ is spelled ‘h-o-t-d-i-s-h’ – so if you prefer to call this a hot dish, I won’t stop you. That’s what my friend Ann calls it when she serves it to the Ladies’ Circle every year at their December gathering. It isn’t in the church cookbook. I looked. There’s one similar in there, attributed to Ann’s daughter, but it isn’t this recipe.

Ann’s Chicken and Asparagus Hot Dish (Casserole)

Butter a 9×13 pan and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine:
2 c. cooked & cubed chicken
1 c. canned asparagus, drained
1 c. diced or shredded American cheese (Velveeta works)
7 oz. Creamette wide egg noodles
1 c. cashews
1 small can mushrooms
1 small jar chopped pimientos
1 c. diced celery
1/4 c. diced onion
1/2 c. chopped green pepper
1/2 c. black olives (sliced or halved)
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/c mayonnaise
Chow Mein noodles for topping.

Mix all ingredients and spread into a buttered 9×13 Pyrex dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, top with enough Chow Mein noodles to cover the top and bake for 15 minutes more. Let set for five minutes after removing from oven before serving. Serves 12-14.

Serve with Sue’s Winter Fruit Salad with Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing:

Dressing: combine 1/2 c. sugar, 1/3 c. lemon juice, 2 tsp. finely chopped onion, 1 tsp. Dijon mustard, (1/2 tsp. salt) in a blender. Cover and process until blended. While blender is running, slowly add 2/3 c. vegetable oil in a steady stream and blend until dressing is thick and smooth. Add 1 T. poppy seeds and pulse to blend.

Salad: 1 large head Romaine (about 10 c. when torn into bits), 4 oz. shredded Swiss cheese, 1 c. cashews, 1/4 c. sweetened dried cranberries, 1unpeeled apple, cubed, and one unpeeled (Anjou or Bosc) pear, cubed. Toss to mix. Just prior to serving, add dressing over salad and toss to coat. 12-14 servings.

Magnified Joy – Advent 3A

December 15, 2019

I think it’s curious that we hear about John the Baptist’s doubt about Jesus on the same Sunday we sing Mary’s song magnifying the Lord and rejoicing in God our Savior. “Are you the One,” John wants to know, “or should we be waiting for someone else?” You can read an earlier message on Matthew 11:2-11 and Luke 1:47-55 here.

Martha Spong reminds us that joy and doubt are not necessarily mutually exclusive. I recommend you read her thoughtful reflection on this week’s lectionary readings. May you be released from whatever binds you, or stalls you, or holds you captive, so that your joy – like Mary’s and John the Baptist’s – may point others to Jesus.

Holy Lord, our hearts leap in our chests when we experience your nearness. We cannot help but know ‘the joy of the Lord’ when you are in the center of our lives. But how easy it is, Jesus, to slip into doubt and despair when we take our eyes off you.

Give us the kind of steadfast faith that Mary had when she said, “let it be to me according to your word,” even though she had no idea what she was getting into. Give us the courage to seek you out when our doubts overcome us, just as John did. And remind us, as you did John, that the evidence of your kingdom is right under our noses. You are working through us to magnify your name. Let our joy be complete and point others to you, Almighty God.

Making Room – Sermon on Matthew 3:1-12 for Advent 2A

December 8, 2019

Blessings on your Advent journey! You know, some folks aren’t even aware there is a season called ‘Advent.’ For them, this season leading up to Christmas is Christmas. We get that message loud and clear everywhere we go, in every store where we shop.

Last week, we celebrated the first Sunday in Advent with the 34th annual Hanging of the Greens. I mean, it looks like Christmas in here, doesn’t it? What are we waiting for? Let’s cut to the chase and start singing “Silent Night” and get that Baby Jesus into the manger where he belongs!

But we aren’t there yet. Continue reading