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Sermons

God Breaks In

In this morning’s reading, I love Isaiah’s reference to God: “Thus says God… who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people upon it and spirit to those who walk in it…” (Isaiah 42:5). God Created. Stretched. Spread out. God gave breath, and spirit. This is an active, Living Presence. I can imagine God still actively pulling, stretching, and pouring forth Holy Love, wrapped around and through the cosmos today. As materials stretch, they thin, bringing God even closer. I invite you to imagine a famil...
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God’s Promised Day: Abundant Gifts

Sometimes, there are things in life that are missing. Sometimes, we are aware that something is missing, but we cannot quite put our finger on it. Other times, we rush around and don’t even know that something is missing. For weeks, we have been running around “making Christmas, making Christmas, fa la la”—putting up evergreen trees, wrapping gifts with ribbons and bows, hanging all of those stockings with care, unpacking and setting up the plastic yard art, loudly singing Christmas carols, and warming the house with smells of cookies and hot cider. Yet in the busyness something… somethin...
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God’s Promised Day: Joy

“With all my heart I praise the Lord, and I am glad because of God my Savior. He cares for me, his humble servant. From now on, all people will say God has blessed me. God All-Powerful has done great things for me, and his name is holy.” (Luke 1: 46-49, CEV) This passage from Luke is often referred to as Mary’s song. A heartfelt response to an encounter with a heavenly being. There is debate as to whether these are words spoken and sung by a very young, 14 or 15-year-old, Mary, or whether it was the older, much later Luke who 70(ish) years later wrote this story to emphasize the prophesies...
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God’s Promised Day: Peace

Today is the second Sunday in Advent, that season in the Church calendar during which we reflect on the question, “what does it mean for God to be born in our midst?” This week I ran across one of those “things that they do not teach you in seminary” moments. On Twitter. Now, before you say “Oh great, Twitter,” I ask you to answer this question: What do each of the four Advent candles represent? The congregation had an opportunity to respond. I ask you this because I was intrigued by a Twitter thread, or conversation, that ran like this— Person 1: Okay folks. WHAT the heck are the f...
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God’s Promised Day: Hope

Welcome to Advent, the four weeks of waiting and preparing for something new, something God, to be born in our midst. Into this sacred time, I invite you to pause. Breathe. Be ready. Jan Richardson writes, “The season of Advent means there is something on the horizon the likes of which we have never seen before ... What is possible is to not see it, to miss it, to turn just as it brushes past you. And you begin to grasp what it was you missed, like Moses in the cleft of the rock, watching God’s [back] fade in the distance. So stay. Sit. Linger. Tarry. Ponder. Wait. Behold. Wonder. There will ...
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Woven Together: Be Amazed

I am always amazed by the “what happens next” as God reveals for us a new way of being, both as individuals and as a community. That is what the story is for us today. This morning’s bible passage is Holy Vision of transformation. An individual is restored to wholeness. But beyond that, there is great potential for Holy Revisioning for an entire community. But wait… how can that be? Because there in this morning’s reading, two thousand years ago among the Gerasenes, this community of Gentiles… those others… people who were not Jewish, we find ourselves with Jesus, but definitely not in fa...
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Woven Together: When You Dream

This week, there is a backstory to “where we are” in the scripture passage. There is, in life, always a backstory. There is always that moment in time that arises out of an act, a decision, a movement, that reverberates out—into the future. That is where we find ourselves today. And that is exactly the point at which the people who told, and retold, and ultimately wrote down this story were at. They were struggling to answer the question “Why are we here?” How did we, as a faith community, get to this place… in this time? Most scholars point to the story in Exodus as having been written...
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Woven Together: Unlocking the Spirit

Today is Stewardship Sunday, or what we call Celebration Sunday. Over the past 4 weeks we have been talking about the ways each and every one of us is an important thread in this congregation’s ability to change lives. The Stewardship Committee, Kaitlin Young, Sue Webb, Dick Runge, and Jan Hoffman, guided our focus on 4 ministries that are integral to the DNA of this congregation: Because of you, our church changes lives through music, children and youth ministries, local outreach, and social justice advocacy. We are woven together. We are one in the Spirit. Yet on this Celebration Su...
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Woven Together: Living Water

I would like you to consider what might seem, on the surface, like an impossible possibility: Weaving with water. It is much easier for me to imagine weaving with ribbons, thread, or yarn. These things are solid. Easy to grab onto. But weaving with water? That seems impossible. Unless, of course, we are talking about the upcoming frozen tundra and ice of our Wisconsin Winters, water is something that as we start to weave runs right through our loom and splashes onto the floor. Water needs some sort of contain to hold it. A bucket. A jar. A body. Our bodies. Water. Living. Reading t...
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Unraveled: Weaving Something New

The prophet cries out to us through generations of sacred text: “Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile…” (Jer. 29:7) There were two parts of Jeremiah’s letter that kept catching my attention this past week. The first, was to “seek the welfare of the place where you are at.” Seek the welfare of the place where you are at. As an adjective, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary describes “welfare” as “… relating to, or concerned with welfare and especially with improvement of the welfare of disadvantaged social groups.”[1] Merriam-Webster lists as synonyms to welfare ...
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