“Are you disappointed with yourself when you keep falling into the same old sins? When trouble besets you, do you succumb to instead of placing your trust in God? When you look at the world and see all the things that are so terribly wrong with it, do you ever wonder if God is out there, paying attention? Do you empathize with Habakkuk in the Old Testament lesson, who cries out, “How long, Lord?” “Read More
“Remember the score in ’64!” Dick reminded us of those words Bill would use from time to time, recalling the 6-0 victory the Iron Mountain high school football team he quarterbacked pulled out over rival Kingsford. Daughter Shayne recalled that once, as she was cheering for Escanaba in a game at Kingsford and a stranger was giving her lip, she turned and said to the man, “Remember the score in 64!” The acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree. “Read More
“We may comfort ourselves with the fact that we are not among the richest people in America—we are not part of the 1% or anywhere near it! But most of us have more money than we need. So, when I hear these words of Jesus, I am troubled by them. I think about the fact that we just replaced the rugs in our kitchen with new rugs for no real reason except that we didn’t like the old ones anymore. And that we bought a new dishwasher, because the old one didn’t do a great job cleaning our dishes. Which sounds perfectly reasonable until I remember that some people don’t have running water at all.
I am troubled by this text. You may be troubled by the fact that I’m troubled. Or you may be troubled, too. But I think text is meant to trouble us. “Read More
“Today’s Scripture texts are concerned with our conception of hospitality and honor. In the gospel lesson, Jesus observes the pecking order at a dinner party. He watches the guests choose their places at the table—preferring the seats of honor, the cushy seats instead of the folding chairs, the seats closest to the food and next to people of influence. “Don’t do that,” he tells his disciples. “Choose the lowest places at the table; sit with those of no account.””Read More
“In today’s second lesson, St. Paul says that God’s gift of love is our great treasure, but paradoxically, we who hold it are like clay pots. We are fragile, easily broken. Our bodies deteriorate; our minds, become fuzzy. Though beautiful, we are imperfect in every way. We struggle with sin and finally, all of us are mortal.”Read More
“In what ways are we like the woman bent over for 18 years? Are we weighed down by addiction of some kind? Crippled by fears? Bent over with guilt and shame?
Christ Jesus sees us today. He lays hands on us and says, “You are noticed. You are beloved. You are forgiven. You are set free.” “Read More
“ To them and to us, Hebrews says: “Don’t give up. The Christian life is a marathon, not a sprint. ‘Run with perseverance the race that is set before you.’ It’s not how you start, but how you finish.” “Read More
“Sisters and brothers, beware of all kinds of greed. Life does not consist in the abundance of one’s possessions.
Life consists of faith, hope, and love, these three, abide. And, as you know, the greatest of these is love.”Read More
“How could praying Abraham know that one day, thousands of years later, God would send into the world a righteous one, his descendant? And that God would use a bloody cross to make the stunning promise: I will save the whole world through just one righteous person. Not fifty, not forty, not thirty, not twenty or ten, but one righteous person. No longer will one bad apple spoil the whole bunch; one good apple will save the whole bunch.”Read More
“Maybe the point is that a healthy and whole life is a balanced life, in which both being and doing have their place. And maybe living is like walking on a balance beam. Jesus loves us as we are and, when we fall off the beam, picks us up and puts us right back up there. Take one step at a time. Trust me to be your spotter. Keep the faith. Keep being and listening and doing and serving together until that day when being and doing will dissolve into one kingdom of God.”Read More
“Who is my neighbor?” the lawyer asked. “Be careful what you ask for.” Jesus sees every human being as your neighbor. And the whole human race as your neighborhood.
The parable of the Good Samaritan is unsettling. It strips away our defenses. It disallows our rationalizations.Read More
“Even today, we declare our independence, we are invited to confess our dependence. In Christ, God accepts us as we are—helpless, broken, sinful, mortal. We are invited to accept ourselves in that same way. “Read More
“We may not hear Russian or Swedish in Escanaba, but different languages are spoken here. The language at Rosie’s diner is different than what you hear at the Ludington Grill—I’ve been both places. The talk is different on the floor of the Verso mill than at the OSF nurse’s station. At the high school gym and the Senior Center, on the bluff and in low-income housing—the words may be mostly the same and the grammar not too much different, but people’s concerns are very different. Their values. Their worries and fears. Their pain. Their joys. All are different.
We are sent into all places and to all people with the message of forgiveness, joy, hope, purpose.”Read More