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What Hope Sees – 12 September 2021

Beloved, hope holds in her hands what is broken in you, in your life, in the world in order that what is broken might be made beautiful in the light of God’s love. In order that it might be redeemed be God. That is hope, trusting that even this—even your broken heart, even your…

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A Complete Work In Progress – 5 September 2021

All your secret struggles, the things you hope will end up on the cutting room floor when your biopic hits the big screen, the dreams that have been left by the wayside, the blank pages left to you when your partner left, your spouse died, the pregnancy ended. You contain all of these, all of these…

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Solidarity, Not Judgement – 1 August 2021

… why do bad things happen to good people? For so long, we have answered that question by assuming every bad thing is a divine punishment, and, if not a punishment, at least a test. And, folks, it is time to put that assumption to bed. Let us, instead, pick up the mantle that suggests…

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What We Do With Red Hot Loneliness – 25 July 2021

We will all be lonely – we all have been lonely – in our lives. The past year or more has been incredibly lonely. We have literally been isolated in our homes. It has been bad enough that even introverts like me have been lonely! We cannot escape the fact of loneliness, but if…

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What Does God Do With A Dream Deferred? – 18 July 2021

When our dreams dry up, crust over, explode, as Hughes predicts, what does God do? When everything we hope for becomes nothing more than sand running through our fingers? When we are reduced to dust, beginning where we started? What then? Then God rebuilds them into the realities that answer the earnest prayers of God’s…

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The Stories We Don’t Tell – 11 July 2021

” David finally picked up the Ark because, having seen God’s wrath, what came next was God’s blessing. He heard a rumor that the home where he’d left the Ark was being blessed. And so David brought the Ark into Jerusalem and danced it in with all his might.And maybe that is what…

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Better Isn’t Really Better – 20 June 2021

“Sometimes, Jesus looks like a fool – he loves the outsider until the insiders are jealous. He treats the least with the dignity denied them until those who believe themselves to be great humiliate him. He preaches love until hate kills him. But, in the light of the resurrection, how we view Christ is completely…

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The Proof We Need – 13 June 2021

In today’s story, water isn’t the only gift of God, so, too, is the wilderness. Many of the world’s religions teach us that pain is part of life. For Christians, the heart of making sense of pain and trauma is finding God in it. I don’t mean that it is God’s plan per…

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I Can Work With This – 6 June 2021

… Beloved, when I look at this disorder of this world—when I think about what we have just witnessed in Israel, and when I think about the streets of Minneapolis just one year ago, when I think about Seminary Park here, in Bloomington, in December, when I think about the pandemic, and when I think…

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The Risks God Takes – 30 May 2021

… beloved, I guess what I’m getting to is this. You’ve had a crash-course in risk. We have thought about risk both individually and collectively in this past year. What are you going to take from this time? What are your going integrate into yourself? What has happened that will…

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Consuming Fire – 23 May 2021

We believe not in a personal divine vending machine who turns good deeds into minor miracles, but in a Consuming Fire, a Holy Spirit. When we say this is the God in whom we believe, Luther says that this God, this Holy Spirit “has called [us] through the gospel, enlightened [us] with his gifts,…

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Why Should We Believe You? – 16 May 2021

… beloved, we can’t buckle down and turn the world’s question, “why should we believe you,” into a debate to be won, a battle to the death. We will not survive it. And thanks be to God. Because perhaps it is only once we die to those lies – to any belief…

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Love is a Catalyst – 9 May 2021

… here is the challenge in this week’s text, the spiritual discipline presented to us. That is to push back against our selves. Tied up in our concern of our neighbor’s worthiness is our own concern that we ourselves might be unworthy or that we might become unworthy by working with the unworthy….

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When Fear Says Otherwise – 2 May 2021

Love is the courage to act when fear might say otherwise. That, too, is the cross: the courage to act when fear might say otherwise. To love in this way is to refuse to be afraid of one another. It is to refuse to buy in to stories that reduce people…

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Remains – Sunday 25 April 2021

The Elder says we should love not in word or speech, but in truth in action. When we say God’s love remains, this is the kind of love that bears witness to the world around it. It isn’t a passive bystanding kind of love, but the kind of love present exactly when and where it…

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Transformative Love – 18 April 2021

God transforms us. This isn’t some expectation that we will transform ourselves. You see? We like to try that trick, thinking we can change ourselves, thinking we can be the author of our own salvation. But the truth is every yardstick of supposed “transformation” we make – we call it, say, morality,…

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Poor Lovers – Sunday 11 April 2021

I think one of the greatest privileges I ever exercise is when I can stop thinking about race or sexuality or gender. When I can stop thinking about that horrible thing that just happened and think about, hmmm, when did I last eat mashed potatoes and move on with my day. My…

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Give Our Lives Away! – Good Friday, 2 April 2021

The cross, then, isn’t payment to an unforgiving God who keeps score, offers no exceptions, never looks the other way, who demands perfection. But it is the opposite. On the cross is a God who is known best in suffering. On the cross is a God who knows the terror of…

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Forgiveness Is the Bridge – Maundy Thursday, 1 April 2021

To seek forgiveness is to confess your sins and wrongdoings. Frederick Buechner once wrote, “To confess your sins to God is not to tell God anything God doesn’t already know. Until you confess them, however, they are the abyss between you. When you confess them, they become the Golden Gate Bridge.” Admitting your flaws and…

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Broken Covenants – 24 March 2021

… broken covenants occur because we seek after other gods. We seek safety, power, control, success, popularity, the best of everything – and we want it all cheap! We are not seeking God, we are seeking something else and we treat our neighbors accordingly. Walter Brueggemann, Professor Emeritus at Columbia Theological Seminary,…

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What in You Is Longing for New Life? – 21 March 2021

… every day, we are invited into this cycle of death and new life again. In the Small Catechism, Luther writes, “Baptism signifies that the old person in us with all sins and evil desires is to be drowned and die through daily sorrow for sin and through repentance, and on the other hand that…

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Something About the Snakes – 17 March 2021

I do not understand why it is that we find ourselves caught up in the messiness of life. I do not understand why the floor sometimes collapses under us. I do not understand why we love and lose, why we are pressed to endure both pain in our bodies and suffering in our minds. I…

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You Might As Well Love – 10 March 2021

It isn’t about what we are not to do, but about our responsibility to love God and love our neighbor. It isn’t just that we not bear false witness, essentially, that we do not commit perjury, but that we protect our neighbor’s good name. It is not just that we do not murder, but that…

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