Christmas 1 B: Christmas Courage

Luke 2:22-40 Dear Partner in Preaching, It’s amazing how quickly Christmas passes, isn’t it? After all the preparations – both in church and at home – after four weeks of Advent, after carols and service projects, special music and Christmas Eve services…. After all this, it’s suddenly done. The presents are opened, the wrapping paper put in the recycling bin, needles are falling from the tree, and it’s 364 more days until next year’s celebration. Of course, Christmas isn’t done. The church knew that there was no way you could really celebrate, let alone comprehend, the Incarnation in a day, so it recognized twelve days of...

Pentecost 18 A: Words and Deeds

Matthew 21:33-46 Las Vegas. Dear Partner in Preaching, I will confess that I have had a very hard time getting beyond the images and sounds from the horrific shooting in Las Vegas. They have preyed upon my imagination relentlessly, and perhaps they have for you, too…and for many of our people. Violence. More ominously, inexplicable, seemingly random violence. Which is part of what is most frightening. Not only is it becoming clear that there is no easy way to protect vulnerable crowds from gun violence, but also that we can discover no motive, which simultaneously makes this act of horrific violence more random and harder to understand and...

Easter 6 C: Peace the World Cannot Give

John 14:23-29 Dear Partner in Preaching, You could, I suspect, spend a full year preaching on just this passage and not run out of things to say. “Those who love me will keep my word.” “The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, will teach you all things.” “Do not let your heart be troubled.” “If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father.” “I have told you this before it occurs so that when it does occur you may believe.” Goodness, where’s an honest working preacher to begin? Well, as if often the case when a passage is a rich and complex as this one, sometimes it helps to focus on one key verse or phrase that...

Sidewalk Poetry 2 Sep28

Sidewalk Poetry 2

While out for a walk this past week in the Highland neighborhood of St. Paul, I came across some more sidewalk poetry. Last summer, after I posted a few of the sidewalk poems in my neighborhood of St. Anthony Park, Holly shared some background about this poetry that I thought I’d share: I...

Luke 24:36

While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” Have you ever stopped to consider the import of these first words of Jesus to the disciples? To be honest, I rarely have. Maybe it’s because the story is so exciting and I get caught...