Tree planted by water

The image in Jeremiah, of a tree planted by water sending its roots down to the stream, is an image that is also used in Psalms. The sermon Jesus is giving in the gospel of Luke sounds a lot like the Sermon on the Mount that Jesus gives in Matthew. Our texts today have images […]

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When God calls a prophet

What would your excuse be? Prophets always have excuses for why they are not up to the task. Do you remember what Moses said? (I have never been eloquent.) What does Jeremiah say? He’s too young! He hasn’t gotten his PhD in prophecy yet? What would your excuse be? The role of prophet was a […]

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The end times or a new beginning?

Are you saved? Do you believe in the rapture? These are questions that are incredibly common in some part of the Christian experience. Known as decision theology, this way of thinking about faith involved us making a choice and sometimes saying the correct words of allegiance to the gospel message in order to insure our […]

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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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