Don’t Sell Yourself Short

peaceThis meditation is based on 1 Peter 1:3-9 and John 20:19-31.

One cannot control the unknowns of the world, but one can control one’s response to them.  In this second week of Easter the still wounded Jesus makes an appearance to his fearful, isolated, confused disciples who are hiding out in a locked room, wondering what to do.

 

To these men and the circumstances of Jesus arrest, trial and execution which occupy them, Jesus brings a word of peace.  A peace that comes from knowing that in the end the course of history will end in salvation, redemption and resurrection.  Jesus is the model of navigating that way of living so that our preferred futures are not lost to short term gain or unnecessary anxiety.

Please click on the link below for the meditation.

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

cross in white

This Easter meditation speaks to the absence of things normally associated with Easter celebrations and how a “word” of hope moves us beyond our circumstances of fear and regret, into the joy of the Easter message.

 

Our soloist is Karen Kramer and the Cantor Edwin Kramer.

click on the links below for the entire service.

 

 

 

The Passion of the Christ According to St. Matthew

the passion MatthewOn Passion Sunday (commonly known as Palm Sunday) the entire Passion of the Christ is read.  Each year a different version of that story is read from either Mark, Matthew or Luke.  This is the story from St. Matthew 26:14 -27:66 assigned to our 2020 celebration.  On Good Friday the church, each year, reads the Passion Story from the Gospel according to St. John which stands in stark contrast to the suffering portrayed by Mark, Matthew and Luke.

The Passion story comes in two parts. Please click on the links below for the videos.

 

Lutheran Confirmation as Means of Grace

3 fold riteThe significance of the rite of confirmation has been marred by the church’s use of it in attempts to save it.  What began as a means of grace has depreciated (in Lutheran circles) into a means by which to access the Eucharist, rather than the Holy Spirit’s grace.  This mediation attempts to recover the original (apostolic) understanding and practice of the rite of confirmation so that it may once again, take its place as an important part of each person’s spiritual development.

 

The meditation comes in two parts.  Please click on the links below to view the videos.

Jesus Confronts Isolation, Illness and Death

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Our meditation is based on the story of the death and resurrection of Lazarus in John 11:1-42 with special emphasis on the emotional reaction of Jesus, Mary and Martha as faithful witness of how we deal with isolation, illness and even death.

I offer a prelude to the meditation and a following hymn.

Please click on the links below for all of the resources that guide this meditation.

Opening Prelude

Part 1 of the sermon

 

Part 2 of the sermon

Closing Hymn “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”

Luther on the Lord’s Supper

Lords-Supper-titleThe Lord’s Supper goes by many names.  In this meditation we will frame its benefits around one of those names:  the Eucharist.

The word “Eucharist” is a Greek word meaning “thanksgiving”.  Thanksgiving is the ultimate goal of the Eucharist as we engage the Risen Savior.

The meditation comes in two parts.

Please click on the links below for the full presentation.

Follow the Light

infectious faith

In John 9:1ff we are told the story of Jesus healing a man born from birth.  Conventional religious belief at the time was “somebody sinned”.

In many ways we are born blind also in that we too see the world in a quid pro quo type of fairness and justice.  Good comes to the good and evil to those who sin.  Jesus calls that “blindness” and seeks to shed some light on the subject of the imperfections of life which, like a flaw in the pattern of a Persian Rug, do not devalue it, but make it more precious…one of a kind.

The meditation comes in two parts.  Please click on the links below.

 

Turning Self-Isolation into Sabbath Time

Keeping the Sabbath WhollyRomans 5

1Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. 3And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

One of the hallmarks of the Christian faith is that (Hebrews 11) “the conviction of things hoped for” (all will be well in the end!) allows us to use time of loss to be productive.  Specifically to produce endurance, character and finally hope. 

To guide you along that productive journey, I recommend to use this time of self-isolation to be spiritually productive.  For that purpose I commend to you this book called “Keeping the Sabbath Wholly”.  It is a wonderful guide to clarifying our values as we are now “quieted” by the circumstances of illness and death.

This book includes units on “Ceasing”, “Resting”, “Embracing”, and then “Feasting”.  It is written by Dr. Marva Dawn who teaches Christian ethics and scripture at Notre Dame.  As a Roman Catholic, Dr. Dawn has special insight in the blessings of thoughtful rest (Sabbath).

I hope you will get it today.  (Don’t wait until deliveries stop!)
I know it will make your “sabbath time” very productive.
Pastor Jeff

The Lord’s Prayer: “Lead Us Not Into Temptation?”

noone to sin  There are different versions of the Lord’s Prayer that  demonstrate not just a difference of style, but a different of inferred meaning. This meditation looks into the “lead us not into temptation” phrase  of this prayer and the implications of different wording  that leads to different meaning.

The presentation comes in 3 parts.  Click on the links below to access each part.