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Sermons

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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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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