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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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11th Sunday After Pentecost

When my wife was ordained to the ministry two years ago I gave her three pieces of religious artwork. The three pieces are all by the same artist, Joseph Novak. He is a Presbyterian pastor and graphic artist. As an artistic endeavor and as an act of personal piety Joseph Novak chose to take all of the books of the bible and create a single graphic which would capture what he interpreted as the essence of the particular book. What he made are colorful, abstract, and often thought provoking. He calls his works collectively The Minimum Bible…

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