pentecost +19: opening gates

• September 25th, 2016

Pastoral Intern Allison Bengfort reflects on the story of Luke 16:19-31, frequently described as a parable about The Rich Man and Lazarus. She invites us to consider how our lives are interconnected and how community wholeness comes through the healing of all, not just a few. Allison asks us to think about barriers that stand between groups in our communities and challenges us to work with others to dismantle what separates us from others.

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pentecost +18: choosing wisely and joyfully

• September 18th, 2016

Pr Kari Lipke takes us through a difficult parable (Luke 16:1-13), exploring ways the original audience might have heard it and looking for insights into how, all these years later, Jesus' words continue to challenge: "You cannot serve God and wealth." Special thanks to Karoline Lewis of Working Preacher for insights into the biblical context.

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pentecost +17: found

• September 11th, 2016

The readings today felt a little heavy on sin and judgment. Pr Joanne noted the confessions of the psalmist and the writer to Timothy, then she reminded us of the gospel story's beginning where Jesus is keeping company with tax collectors and sinners. Although there are images of rejoicing when the lost are found, she said she notices that many of us focus on lostness, running off in our thoughts about how we don't measure up or might not be worth finding. But being found, and living into our identity as God's beloved ones, is right there, too. God loves us as we are and desires us to delight in who we are. With a story emphasizing a community's ability to name that to someone searching, today's homily reminds that it really does matter how we go out seeking others, and how we encourage, risk, and support each other. 

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pentecost +16: choosing is not about “one and done”

• September 4th, 2016

Today's gospel ends with the more-than-challenging announcement of Jesus, "So, therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions." It's almost enough to have us shrug our shoulders and walk out, sure that there is, therefore, no hope. But Pr Joanne links these challenging words with those from Deuteronomy where Moses urges people to choose life. And Pr Joanne would have us remember that it's not about an all-or-nothing deal, choosing life one time and being set. No, this is something that returns to us daily, and then some. Asking us always to go on choosing life. Stephen Mitchell's translation of Psalm 1 also offers us a goal: to keep growing into ones who grow beyond greed, who put an end to hatred, and who continue deepening our friendship with God. Every day, new opportunities are before us. Let's keep on choosing life, together.

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pentecost +15: welcomed and inviting

• August 28th, 2016

In preparation for hearing the story from Luke about Jesus' close observation of a dinner party, Pr Joanne Engquist invites us to think about societal standards. She thinks that Jesus wants to go deeper than just offering etiquette advice for such events. Instead, she thinks he is again upsetting the standards of the day and presses for a new way of understanding who we are and how we connect to others. 

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summer series three, #2: insider talk and our life together

• August 14th, 2016

Pastoral Intern, Peter Carlson Schattauer, reflects on what sometimes seems like "insider language" in the church. He invites us to think about our series theme, "Freed and Renewed in Christ" and the ways that theme relates to our life. 

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summer series three, #1: what is the question?

• August 7th, 2016

Pr Joanne Engquist introduces the third of our summer series themes (Freed and Renewed in Christ) by first asking us to step back and wonder about the basic "Lutheran" concepts of freedom and renewal. How does the age-old catechism question, "What does this mean for us?," guide our reflections on what our freedom in Christ means?

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summer series two, #3: death as part of life

• July 24th, 2016

In this third of our summer series, Pr Joanne Engquist invites us to get closer to death. Sharing the challenge of speaking about how we have hope even at deathbeds and graves, she urges us to search out a hope that sustains us in life, in death, and in life beyond death.   

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summer series two: where do you see God in this?

• July 17th, 2016

Pr. Kari Lipke uses the story of our second summer series, the raising of Lazarus, to ask us, "Where do you see God in this?" She suggests that this question can guide our experiences of beauty, our experience of relationship, and even our experience of death. 

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summer series two: freed to be present, freed to feel pain, and freed to love

• July 10th, 2016

Pastoral Intern Peter Carlson Schattauer looks at the way that God is present in the story of the raising of Lazarus and in the crucifixion. How does God's presence with us free us to live lives of peace and reconciliation in a world of violence?

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