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Sermons

14th Sunday After Pentecost

It all ends tonight. Over two week ago the Olympic flame entered Rio and opened our eyes to green pool waters and worldwide fears of Zika. Tonight, however, that caldron goes dark. During this brief illumination, I’ve been struck by the variety of athletic postures, as in the ways the athletes use their bodies. Divers, boxers, archers, and weight lifters all posture differently. One posture expert writes that gymnastics postures involve a lot of unnatural sways, and swimmers sometimes fight their primal posture by rounding their spine. When a swimmer repeatedly arches, or sways, when coming up for air this stresses the lower back, puts the spine at risk for serious injury, and it dampens the power of the swimmers stroke. You see, posture is important to the Olympians, and posture is the focus of today’s Gospel…

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Feast of Mary, Mother of Our Lord

This last week I was in New Orleans at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s triennial Churchwide assembly. This gathering is the most important and influential gathering of our denomination and it sets the tone for the church in the years to come. 971 voting members gathered with about 30% who were ordained, which is a fancy word for pastors and bishops, and about 70% were lay, which is a fancy word for everyone else. Of that 13.8% were youth or young adults. It was a wonderful week to be the church! Now, when you get that many people in the room rules are often helpful to guide the conversation. The ELCA has a variety of communication tools to assist in that, including memorials, resolutions, and motions. Careful attention is given to the specific word choices when communicating the action statement or the “resolve” with these communication tools. For example, encourage, direct, request, urge, commend, affirm, acknowledge, and confess each have distinctive meanings and compel different responses. The assembly might even debate a single word to explicitly and precisely communicate its intention. While today’s gospel is not explicitly a memorial, resolution, or a motion, the words chosen are intentional and important.

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12th Sunday After Pentecost

So I have this problem: Sometimes on my day off I sleep in late; then, when I finally get up, I know there are a lot of things to get done – laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, exercise, and make meals for the week. I know I have one day a week to cram it all in, but it’s only 9am – I’ve got the whole day, right? So, I make tea, listen to the news, play around on Facebook, and check Instagram. Suddenly my phone dings – it’s 11am, and spin class is in 15 minutes. I run around, get ready, take the class, and walk outside into a beautiful day. Naturally, that means it’s time for a walk! Before I know it the time is 3pm, I haven’t showered, done laundry, cleaned, gone to the grocery store, or cooked before I have dinner plan. My day has gone haywire. Why? Because I wasn’t clear on my priorities for the day…

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