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.
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
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
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.
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.