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Author: Jamie Gaffke

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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Growing? Or Weeding?

You can watch the video of Pastor Kris’ reflection, Growing? Or Weeding? HERE. This week’s Bible reading has all the makings of a good mystery story. There is suspense. We have a villain in the “evil one” whose dastardly deed is to scatter seeds in the middle of the night. Oh no! The horror! There is a crime scene, the newly sprouted kindom of heaven. This is also a tragic story of grief and loss—with the anticipation of great weeping and gnashing of teeth—and thus this is a story which we can relate to all too well during a pandemic. A global health emergency rife with tragic news stories, s...
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Weary? Come Rest.

You can watch the video of Pastor Kris’ reflection, Weary? Come Rest, HERE. There is a beautiful back and forth, a pulling and pushing, a shaping and forming laid out by Jesus in this passage from Matthew. With these verses placed as the foundation for our reflection, it is interesting the chapter we read for Memorial’s All Church Book Read in Chuck Tennessen’s book Forever Earthbound was entitled “Balance.” Reading the multiple short stories in the chapter, this idea of balance jumped out. Balance is really important as we learn how to live together in any time period… but especially now—dur...
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A Circle of Welcome

You can watch the video of Pastor Kris’ reflection, A Circle of Welcome, HERE. The Bible reading this morning is brief, only 3 verses. Yet it is full of circle upon circle of “whoevers” and “welcomes” which invite us into God’s extravagant hospitality. And interconnected circles can be healing. To put the verses in context, “This week’s reading from Matthew follows immediately on last week’s; Jesus is commissioning the disciples into the countryside to preach and heal, and as they go, he wants them to think of themselves as intimately participating in him and the One who sent him, so much so ...
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Be Known

You can view Pastor Kris’ reflection, Be Known, HERE. Listening to Amanda read Dr. Seuss’s “My Many-Colored Days,” and having read… and reread… and read once again… the Bible passage from Matthew this week… I found myself not really knowing what to do with Jesus’s words. WHAT did Jesus just say? For there is A LOT going on in this passage. Which resonates with what is going on around us today, because there IS A LOT going on in the world. There are all the feelings. All the disjointedness. All of the uncertainty of what lies ahead. So today I want to hold sacred space to hold “all the ...
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At Home

You can view Pastor Kris’ reflection, At Home, HERE. The images we have seen from around the world are powerful. The burned-out buildings. The smoke. The struggles. Can we see a ray of hope? Can we rebuild? Can we heal? Heart by heart? And… can we do it now? This week in the midst of a pandemic, in the controversial swirl of conversations on racism in the public and political spheres—we at Memorial UCC also began our summer “All Church” book read. When the Wisconsin Conference United Church of Christ first asked us to consider reading Chuck Tennessen’s book back i...
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Go Boldly…and Remember

You can view Pastor Kris’ reflection, Go Boldly… and Remember, HERE. Beloved, our gathering here… today… is really important, so I ask you to pay attention. Notice where we are in God’s story—God’s call to action. For understanding where we find ourselves in the timeline of Jesus is vital. Throughout the summer, for the next three months—13 weeks—the assigned Bible readings will walk us through the book of Matthew. And of course, like all good stories we will begin this study into the life of Jesus, at… well… at the beginning, right? Of course! Yet, this new day dawns and we find o...
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The Sound of Things Changing

You can watch the video of Pastor Kris’ reflection HERE. Take a moment to tune into your sense of hearing. Listen. Maybe close your eyes. Get comfortable in your chair, or if you’ve been sitting a little too long stretch. Breathe deeply. Slowly. What do you hear? Birds? A car going past? If you are in a room with others right now, do you hear someone squirming? Does the nearby sound come from a beloved pet? If you are alone, are you in silence? Now, listen more closely. What did you hear this past week? On the news? In conversations with others? In your heart? Fear? Anger? Sham...
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Encountering the Unknown

Our regular worship platform, Zoom, was down on Sunday, May 17. Pastor Kris re-recorded the service, which you can watch HERE. Are you ready? We are going to leap into the unknown. Or, maybe it is more accurate to say we have already jumped into the unknown, or been dragged into the unfamiliar, after all the twists and turns we’ve rapidly navigated during the pandemic. I don’t know about you, but many days have left my head spinning. One moment, everything is crisp and new as the air warms, tree swallows swoop about, and the redbuds trees bloom. The next second the state of Wisconsin ...
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Pondering Possibilities

You can watch the video of Pastor Kris’ reflection HERE. With summer approaching, many of us are finding our summer plans changed due to the coronavirus. From summer camps, to summer school, and family trips up north, life has been altered. Even pastimes such as taking in a baseball game, Concerts on the Square, and firework displays, have been canceled (or moved online). A phrase my family uses a lot keeps coming to mind: Regrouping. As in, “let’s go back and regroup.” We most often use this phrase when we are on family vacation in northern Minnesota. Following hours spent out on Lake...
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