March 29, 2020
Death really stinks, doesn’t it? I can remember the first time I smelled that smell. A mouse – or some animal – had died in the wall of the apartment where I was living. After a few days the stench was unbearable. I called the landlord, and he just laughed at me. “It’ll go away in a while,” he said. “Just live with it.” Continue reading
March 22, 2020
Good sermons are supposed to start out by identifying a problem or a fear we face, then show us how scripture helps us deal with that problem or fear.
This week, that’s a no-brainer. Continue reading
March 8, 2020
Who invented the light bulb? If Thomas Edison was the first name that popped into your head, you aren’t alone. He usually gets all the credit for this invention. But Thomas Edison didn’t invent the light bulb. The first actual electric incandescent bulb existed years before Edison made it marketable. He improved on others’ ideas to create a longer-lasting incandescent bulb, and he was the one who filed all the patents necessary to manufacture the light bulb. But he didn’t invent it.
We think of the invention of the light bulb as the moment in history when everything changed – electricity became the standard, instead of mechanical power. Technology took off, and the world was never the same. But the light bulb wasn’t what Edison was after as he and his team worked together at Menlo Park. Their goal was something much bigger. Continue reading
March 1, 2020 (Lent 1A)
We often think of ‘coming to our senses’ as returning to sensible thinking or behavior after a time of behaving or thinking unreasonably. “I’m so glad she came to her senses and decided not to marry that person,” or “it’s a good thing he came to his senses before he drove his business into bankruptcy.”
But sometimes, coming to your senses involves learning something you didn’t realize before, in a way that helps you understand the world more clearly. It’s not that you return to reason, so much as you suddenly become aware of something you didn’t already know. Continue reading
February 16 2020
Last week, we heard Jesus preaching about being Salt and Light, as part of his Sermon on the Mount. Those Beatitudes we heard two weeks ago sounded sweet, and being the salt and light that shows Jesus to the world around us sounds encouraging, doesn’t it? And if you missed last week’s message, here’s the short version: Continue reading
February 9, 2020
Because a foot of snow has fallen overnight, and it hasn’t stopped yet, getting to church would be a treacherous endeavor this morning. The guy who plows our church parking lot told me that drivers are getting stuck even on the main streets that have been plowed. So we aren’t worshipping together at Center and Broadway in New Ulm this morning. But that doesn’t mean we can’t worship together virtually!
So here’s the script I would have used if we’d been together.
2020.02.09 Epiphany 5A SCRIPT
You may notice some links embedded in the script – they go to the recorded accompaniments for the hymns we would have been singing. If you click on them, and you happen to know the words, you can sing along!
As for the announcements, the Pie Auction is rescheduled for Wednesday evening after supper (about 6 PM). We will install newly elected leaders next Sunday. May your Sunday at home be restful and worshipful!
Pastor Jo Anne
February 9, 2020
He was caught between two worlds. Memories of home brought some comfort, but there was sadness, too. He knew there was no going back. Everything had changed, and he knew that the place he had once called “home” no longer existed. It had been destroyed, and all his friends and family had been scattered. He’d managed to get out alive, but the life of a refugee was full of challenges. So here he was, in Syria, speaking a new language, trying to live out his faith in a culture that was different from anything he’d ever known. Continue reading
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
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
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.