Showing posts from January, 2010

About Love..... Thoughts in anticipation of Epiphany 4

Paul has been talking about Spiritual gifts and in the last two weeks we have learned from Paul that – 1st – We have all as Christians been given gifts from the Holy Spirit; and 2. That these gifts are given to us, not for our own use, but to build up the community; and 3rd – that no gift is better or more important than another. All are needed. The more public gifts (preaching, prophesy, tongues) may be more visible but they are not more important than the quieter gifts (prayer, consolation). This Sunday we come to one of the most famous passages in all of Paul. Many of us may have had this passage from I Corinthians 13 read at our weddings. This passage is certainly a beautiful passage and very appropriate for weddings. And so we may have an impression of this text as being only a wedding text. But, in its context it really has little to do with marriage. It is specifically linked to the discussion on spiritual gifts that preceded it. Paul is saying, bluntly as usual, that

Celebrating Peter and Paul

For I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel that was proclaimed by me is not of human origin; for I did not receive it from a human source, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. You have heard, no doubt, of my earlier life in Judaism. I was violently persecuting the church of God and was trying to destroy it. I advanced in Judaism beyond many among my people of the same age, for I was far more zealous for the traditions of my ancestors. But when God, who had set me apart before I was born and called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, so that I might proclaim him among the Gentiles, I did not confer with any human being, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were already apostles before me, but I went away at once into Arabia, and afterwards I returned to Damascus. Then after three years I did go up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days; but I did not see any other apostle excep

Pastoral Reflections - January 10 - "CHURCH"

All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.     Acts 2:44-47 Since September I have written reflections on the name of this congregation.  The official name is the United Evangelical Lutheran Church of Peace, which we usually shorten to Peace Lutheran Church.  This article will be the 2 nd to last in this series and I am focusing on the word: “Church.”  Next month, the word “Lutheran” will conclude the series. What is a “church?” I think we often associate the word “church” with the building or physical property of a congregation, but the New Testament understanding of church pre-da


Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you. Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. Isaiah 60:1-3 In April of 1980 I traveled to Caracas, Venezuela, where I lived and worked for two years. The first impression I had of this expansive and teeming Venezuelan capital city, as we cut our way through the darkness en route from the airport to the city, were all the lights! Thousands upon thousands of little bright dots completely engulfed both sides of the large mountains, which surrounded the highway and continued down to surround the city. What were these lights that flickered so gently on the hillsides, but were so overwhelming in quantity, I wondered? Then, suddenly we entered into a tunnel and we emerged right into the center of the city. Now bright neon lights a

Jan. 1, 2010 - The Holy Name of Jesus

And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb. Jesus’ name was given to Mary by the Angel during he annunciation.  We sometimes put Jesus together with Christ as though Christ was his last name.  But Christ is not a name – it is a title.  Christos is the Greek form of the Hebrew word Messiah.  And in the New Testament when the title is used it always appears with an article: Jesus THE Christ.  Jesus’ name is simply Jesus and to that occasionally he is identified as Jesus, son of Joseph or Jesus of Nazareth for his home town. The name Jesus itself was a common name at that time and in some places in the world today it still is.  Jesus is actually the Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua.  And the name Jesus/Joshua means God saves or God is our Salvation.  Choosing the name Jesus/Joshua was no accident.  Who is the other important Joshua from the bible