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Author: Jamie Gaffke

Beloved, Love: Great Hope

You can watch the video of Pastor Kris’ reflection, Beloved, Love: Great Hope, HERE. On this cool fall morning, as leaves fall and trees become barren—how are you doing? We are culturally programmed to instinctively say, “I’m fine,” or we might venture an “OK.” Really, I am fine… Yet… I don’t know about you, but for me the past week has been personally challenging. There is something unsettling about living in this in-between time: We are somewhere in-between what was and what will be in our lives once a vaccine is widely available We are in the midst of actively voting across the country, b...
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Blessings and Promise: New Creation

You can watch the video of Pastor Kris’ reflection, Blessing and Promise: Times of Trial, HERE. As the world continues to grapple with how to deal with the novel coronavirus, everything about our lives has changed. Yet as we listen to God’s Word this morning, we are reminded at the core of creation nothing is new. Since the days of our earliest biblical ancestors, an understanding of who God is in the call and response of our lives has remained consistent. God speaks, and all of Earth and beyond responds in a never-ending cycle of new birth, growth, harvest, and endings—and repeat. Living sys...
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Blessing and Promise: Times of Trial

You can watch the video of Pastor Kris’ reflection, Blessing and Promise: Times of Trial, HERE. It is good to see you all here today! How are you doing? As for myself… WOW! This has been quite a week, and the Bible story resonates with humanity’s never-ending story of God’s presence and action in times of trial. We have just jumped into the middle of a great saga. And no, I am not referring to our own condition in the United States where we learned in the past 72 (plus or minus) hours about national leaders who have tested positive for the coronavirus and all the disquieting that has brought—...
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Blessing and Promise: New Life

You can watch the video of Pastor Kris’ reflection, Blessing and Promise: New Life, HERE. Here comes that dreamer, Joseph. In the verses just before today’s reading the Bible tells us that at the time of this dream Joseph was 17 years old. A teenager. A young adult. And a bit of a brat. He was his father Jacob’s favorite of his 12 sons… and Joseph acted like it. He tattled on his older brothers. He bragged about his dreams. And his dad continued to spoil him with special gifts. Last week, we read about Abraham’s vision as an elder in his nomadic community. Where Abraham felt “dried up,” God s...
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Blessing and Promise: Unexpected Gifts

You can watch the video of Pastor Kris’ reflection, Blessing and Promise: Unexpected Gifts, HERE. Abram’s story of an encounter with God leads us into an exploration of the ways in which God’s promises are embedded deep within each of us—and revealed in the cosmos around us. As people who express a belief in the Divine, the agelessness of our Bible stories can help us see God’s abundant gifts around us in 2020—even as we live into our reality of promises yet unfulfilled.   Because… life seems like a mess. I do not think I need to go into the sordid details. There is a hashtag on social m...
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Love Summed Up

You can watch the video of Pastor Kris’ reflection, Love Summed Up, HERE. I have a question for you this morning. How would you sum up what “love” is? In response, you could turn to the Golden Rule. It is summed up in our faith tradition with Jesus’ words to “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31). There is a poster in the Youth Room at church, which offers the Golden Rule[1] through the words of Jesus and12 other faith traditions. Here are just a few: From Judaism we hear, “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. This is the whole Torah; all the rest is comme...
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A New Understanding

Wow. How are you doing this morning? So much has happened in just a week. Last Sunday to today has been REALLY, REALLY TOUGH. Just when we think we can understand what is going on in the world around us… or at least begin to wrap our heads around what is going on… events happen which challenge us even more deeply. There is daily trauma. This is hard. In ONE WEEK we have gone from the horrific shooting and death of 11-year old Anisa Scott in Madison and a march and funeral in her memory over a week ago, to the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha THE VERY NEXT DAY. Two days later, a young white ...
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Faith. It Is What It Is

You can watch the video of Pastor Kris’ reflection, Faith: It Is What It Is, HERE. A Bible Story Mystery Box*. Coming into worship this morning, I knew I was taking a risk, and I did not know how it would turn out. Over the course of the week I had read and reread the Bible story from Matthew. So, I had the story etched on my heart. I also knew I would be riffing on the something unknown about faith, trust, and questioning And of course, I had set the stage for something unexpected. What could go wrong challenging the youth in our congregation to stump the pastor I had offered a dare. Wesley ...
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Hungry for a Miracle

You can watch the video of Pastor Kris’ reflection, Hungry for a Miracle, HERE. In the calendar life of the Church (big “C”), we are in the period of ordinary time. These are the weeks between Pentecost back in May and the beginning of Advent in late November that seem to run on… and on… and on. Traditionally in the Church we mark this time with the color green. And, as Kermit the Frog says so wisely, “It’s not easy being green.” It is not easy for us in 2020 either as we live into the realities of the pandemic. Around the globe all of humanity is suddenly faced with the need for new faith pr...
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Holy Possibilities

You can watch the video of Pastor Kris’ reflection, Holy Possibilities, HERE. So… did you count? This morning, depending on how you define a parable, we read 6 of them. Bernard Scott defines a parable as, “a short, narrative fiction” and that as such references a symbol. This symbol represents in Jesus’ words “the kingdom of God.”[1] Over 50 years ago Franz Kafka observed, “All these parables really set out to say merely that the incomprehensible is incomprehensible, and we know that already.”[2] Which makes Jesus’ question to the disciples, “Have you understood all this?” all th...
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