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Sermons

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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When Humans Unravel God’s Plans for Justice

OK, there is no getting around it. I need to start this reflection by confessing that this was not an easy one to write. It is a story that will leave us today without a resolution, as you will hear in a moment in the form of a question from one of the youth in our congregation. Today there is no ending. No happily ever after. Yet… As I wrote these open words this week, I found myself weaving together the sermon—and the confirmation lesson that the teens will be engaging in today. I would like to share a part of that experience with you visually, so… Welcome to Bible Boot Camp! T...
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Radical Unraveling of Vocation

Our repetitive retelling of the stories in the bible is a big part of who we are as Church. We are a people of the story. God’s story. That thread deep in our collective memory of who we are as God’s beloved. Today God’s story is retold through the interaction between Jesus and Zacchaeus. This is a story that is—for at least some people here— familiar. Yet it is always good to repeat the narrative. This is how we learn. This is how we teach our children. Repetition. Over and over. Our retellings of our biblical stories are our living, breathing chronicles of who we are as people of God. A...
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Unraveled by Uncertainty

It seems that following Jesus has a bit… to do… with… becoming unraveled. Today, it is Peter—and when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened. Other days it is the young rich man—who heard Jesus’ word, and went away grieving for he had… (what…do you remember… ???) many possessions (Matthew 19:16-30). Next week we will hear about Zacchaeus, whom Diana Butler Bass writes Jesus called out from the crowds “… to stop participating in a corrupt system of gratitude that oppressed his own people. In a moment, Jesus turned (Zacchaeus’) world upside down: Who was the guest and who wa...
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Unraveled: Unexpected Joy and Surprise

If you have read the eNews, or if you glanced through today’s bulletin, you might have wondered the upcoming bible study and sermon series on which we are embarking today entitled Unraveled: Seeking God When Our Plans Fall Apart. So, I liked to start be telling you a bit about why we are going to be reflecting on the ways in which life becomes unraveled, and the unexpected that meets us there… As I get together with people in the community, and gather in the homes at members and friends of the congregation, and talk with those who gather for bible study on Wednesdays, it has occurred t...
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