Showing posts from October, 2013

Reflections from the Pastor: For All the Saints: Witnessing for Jesus

Read the Acts passage here: Acts 1:1-11 For All the Saints: Witnessing for Jesus I suspect that the title of this sermon/reflection might have surprised some of you.   “Witnessing” is not a word that Lutherans use very often.   In fact, the idea of “witnessing for Jesus” makes many of us Lutherans just a little uncomfortable.   But why is that?   I suspect that it is because that the word has been co-opted in ways that refer to a very specific kind of behavior, and this behavior makes us very uncomfortable.   For most of us, the word “witnessing” refers to a type of in your face, aggressive religious marketing.   “Witnessing” makes us think of people going door to door, or passing out tracts or coming up to us at a mall or some outdoor event and essentially saying – “You need to believe what I believe, otherwise you are going to be lost forever.”   Scare tactics and belligerence, my way or the highway – all of these come to mind when we think of our experience with those w

Reflections – Called to be a Community – I Corinthians 13

Read the text here: I Corinthians 13 Most of us are used to hearing the text of I Corinthians 13 read at weddings.   In fact the passage – usually the entirety of chapter 13 – has really become associated with weddings.   And it certainly is appropriate.   St. Paul’s lifting up of self-giving love as a model for a marriage relationship is certainly what couples should be encouraged to strive towards.   So it may come as a bit of a surprise to learn that Paul did not have marriage in mind when he wrote the words to I Corinthians 13.   In fact, he is not talking about marriage at all, he is talking about community.   Specifically, he is addressing this basic questions: How do we live in community? The church in Corinth was having problems with community.   They simply could not adjust their community life away from the cultural and societal values and expectations that had been a part of their lives before they became Christian.   Specifically, they had a prob

Reflections on the text – Luke 17:5-10

Read the text here: Luke 17:5-10 Just Do It The disciples really have it tough in the Gospels.   In this passage from chapter 17, Jesus is continuing on the road to Jerusalem that had begun back in chapter 9 and he has been pushing the disciples hard.   There have been parables like the Lost Sheep, the Prodigal Son, the Good Samaritan, the Rich Man and Lazarus, the Dishonest Steward – all of which have turned their world upside down: forgiveness that is freely available, turning away from the pursuit of riches, a hated Samaritan as a model of faith.   In addition to that, Jesus has bluntly condemned the accumulation and focus on wealth and possessions and has even suggested that in order to be a disciple one needs to give up ALL one’s possessions.   He has taught that family obligations are to be secondary and that to follow Jesus is to pick up a cross and follow to crucifixion!   And he has continued his distressing and alienating habit of healing on the Sabbath and eatin