Loving one another

At 4:38 am the wail of my emergency phone wakes me from sleep. Ugh. Oh. It’s not going to be a “good” morning today. A dispatcher from the Milwaukee Police Department is on the line. “Good morning, pastor. We are in need of some chaplains to respond to a fire.” Groggily trying to wake myself […]

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Zeal for the Father’s house

Zeal for the Father’s House? What was Jesus doing with a whip in his hand?  And, why was he tipping over tables, and stampeding the cattle and the goats? Look at them run! Why was he freeing the doves? Look at them fly! And, why was he overturning the cash drawers, spilling money all over […]

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Jesus, of all people. In hell, of all places.

In the second reading from 1 Peter 3:19-20 it says that after the crucifixion Jesus went and preached to “the spirits in prison, who in former times did obey.”  “He descended into hell” is how the Apostles’ Creed puts it. We can picture Jesus “on earth”, preaching, teaching, and healing.  We can picture Jesuit “in […]

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Transfiguration, the first and only time a transfiguration happened, took place on a “mountain apart.” It was a day of “dazzling white clothing.” It was day when Elijah and Moses appeared. How? I do not know! It was a day for the building of three dwelling places. It was a day of a cloud. It […]

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Interim – the time between

Isaiah reframes the word “exile” as “interim”: the time between “things of old” and the “new thing” God is about to do. The prophet speaks a word of encourage to a community living in  an interim time.  “Thus says the Lord, the God who created you, Mt Zion, the One who got you started in the […]

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The church: treasure in an earthen vessel

St. Paul gives us the image of a treasure in an earthen vessel.  The earthen vessel is the church — building, budgets, call committee, church council, etc. — Mt. Zion Lutheran Church.  The treasure is Jesus.  Without the treasure, the earthen vessel is just another ordinary clay pot.  Without Jesus, the church is just another […]

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Sharing our legacy

Sharing our legacy One Christmas in a moment of inspiration, Steve and I decided that the legacy we really wanted to leave to our kids could summed up in a few phrases. With that in mind, our gift to them that year was a piece of calligraphy with those nuggets of wisdom. I’m pretty sure […]

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Searching for answers

We’re always searching for answers. When NASA first started sending up astronauts, they quickly discovered that ballpoint pens wouldn’t work in zero gravity. NASA scientists spent a decade and $12 billion to develop a pen that writes in zero gravity, upside down, underwater, on almost any surface including glass and at temperatures ranging from below […]

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High-flying geese and the church

Way back then, he looked so, so, so old. He waddled to the pulpit and all my fears of what seminary would be like were instantly intensified. But, this first chapel experience at Wartburg Theological Seminary would turn out to be one I would never forget. His voice cracked and his speech was extremely slow, […]

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Waiting vs. I-want-it-now

Waiting. Have you heard of the American prayer? “Lord, give me patience, and I want it right now.” We want things easy. And we want them now. That reminds me of a story. Little Johnnie desperately wanted a bright red wagon for Christmas. His friends were writing letters to Santa Claus, but Johnnie decided to […]

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