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Category Archives: Sermons

Come, Holy Spirit, Come!

This is an odd Sunday.

On Thursday, 40 days after the Resurrection, Jesus ascended into heaven.
As seen on Facebook, “this is the day that Jesus begun working from home”.

And yet, the promised Holy Spirit has not arrived.

The disciples return to behind closed doors, similar to the in-between of Jesus’ death and resurrection, but without the fear.

The extended circle of disciples are spending their time in prayer.

I imagine with each day, these disciples are becoming impatient with a growing sense of being orphaned or abandoned for forever.

But, I have been pondering if this odd Sunday is oddly similar to our current situation.

  1. We are encouraged to work from our homes as able.
  2. We are encouraged to continue social distance, social isolation, and quarantine as able.
  3. We are becoming more impatient as it continues, especially with improving weather and a long weekend.
  4. We may be emotionally and/or spiritually restless, growing in a sense of being abandoned.

Arguably the disciples are praying for the Holy Spirit to come.
But, which Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit is a paradoxical ‘person’ of the Holy Trinity. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2020 in Sermons

 

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Adopted: Always & Forever

John (my ex-husband) and I adopted Highlander and Valkyrie in July 2012. Highlander was a one-year old puppy and Valkyrie was a nine-week old kitten. These fur-babies were destined to be adopted into my home, but especially Highlander.

We drove about an hour to the Tacoma Humane Society after seeing Highlander on their website, but I was informed that I could not meet him because another family had him on ‘hold’ until 5:00pm. Since it was 4:30pm and John was looking at the kittens anyways, I told her I would wait and see if they came to adopt him. Then, she realized the ‘hold’ was from the previous day, thus I could meet him. She also noted she had told another couple earlier that he was not available at this time. Then, he apparently attempted to start a puppy fight on his way to meet us. If you are keeping track, that was three opportunities for Highlander to not be adopted into my home and life.

He quickly became a mama’s boy, but had separation anxiety. It begun to ease as he grew in confidence that I would always return.

He is now nearly, if not completely, blind.

When we are out in the yard, he has moments of confidence in his environment and my presence. He will begin to pick up speed while playfully running and at times does not heed my warnings to ‘slow down’ or ‘be careful’ or even ‘STOP’. He runs face first into a fence, tree, or pavers. He bounces back, shakes it off, ‘looks’ around, and is on the move again. These moments of confidence cause my heart to be filled with joy, but the ‘bouncing off’ moments cause my heart to ache.

Then, there are moments in the yard when he lacks confidence and begins to panic with overwhelming separation anxiety. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2020 in Sermons

 

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Troubled: the Way, Truth, and Life

This gospel is beloved among Christians.

  • It is a comforting passage often included in memorial services for our deceased.
  • It is the foundational passage for an amazing junior high retreat in Arizona that I volunteered.

And yet, this scripture troubles me despite Jesus beginning with ‘do not let your heart be troubled”.

This ‘trouble’ begins with a young, elementary aged Melinda, whose only schoolmate friend was raised by divorced parents. Her father was Roman Catholic and her mother had converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon Church). We would compare and contrast the Roman Catholics, Lutherans, and Mormons. At that point, I should have known I would be blessed, perhaps cursed, with a passion for religious studies.

Then, my under-graduate field was Religious Studies. Religious Studies is a relatively recent academic field in its current form, which is composed of:

  1. Establishing methods for the academic study of religion and religious traditions, as objectively as possible, whether Christian or non-Christian;
  2. Exploring theories about the definition, origin, and purpose of religion; and
  3. Comparing of religious traditions, as objectively as possible, through their core teachings, rituals, and histories.

This academic study of religion is a compilation of academic fields, including anthropology, psychology, and sociology.

Then, my graduate education was at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, a member of the Graduate Theological Union composed of multiple Christian Seminaries and non-Christian centers of study.

Thus, I have and continue to craft an intellectual and spiritual life rooted in the fertile soil of religious studies and diverse understanding. This is the foundation for my trouble with our passage. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2020 in Sermons

 

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Risky Comfort (Good Shepherd)

Welcome to Good Shepherd Sunday.

Our scriptures are beautifully comforting, but its language cloaks risky revolutionary tones. In addition to the beautiful language, our distance in place and time from its historical context contributes to the lack of understanding and even recognizing it as such.

Within our time, particularly within the United States, we desire to remove political language and undertones from the scriptures but it often cannot be detached as such. These scriptures were written within the social and political culture of the Greeks and Romans, who presented their kings and emperors as ‘good shepherds’.

At one time, the Israelites were governed by judges, but these judges begun to pervert justice turning from it and towards personal gain. The Israelite people demanded that Samuel appoint, thus anoint, a king to govern, such as the other nations. God, through Samuel, warned that kings are flawed often succumbing to their ambitions for political power, Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on May 3, 2020 in Sermons

 

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On the Road (Again)

The Road to Emmaus is an understated, but beloved, post-Resurrection account of the Risen Christ.

It beautifully interweaves distinctive characteristics of the Gospel of Luke, for example the Holy Spirit is the force that drives Jesus further down the road towards places of hospitality and shared table fellowship – or road trips, friendly faces, and yummy food!

The Road to Emmaus happens on the evening of the Resurrection.

There are two disciples on a seven-mile road trip from Jerusalem to Emmaus. These seven-miles might not sound adventurous, or be considered a legitimate road trip, but it was on foot alone and wearing sandals in a hot, sandy desert. We do not know the purpose for their road trip, but perhaps the disciples found it therapeutic; similar to how a Jeep, a dirt country road, and the radio turned up is for me.

These disciples, during these seven-miles, were not on the road to Emmaus alone but also grief recovery.

These disciples are processing the grief of witnessing the arrest, passion, crucifixion, and death of their beloved rabbi and friend.

These disciples are processing the grief of hope lost, for they had hoped Jesus was the long awaited Messiah. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2020 in Sermons

 

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“Doubting Thomas”: Science & Religion

I have a deep appreciation for our scripture, known as “Doubting Thomas”.

The disciple Thomas is forever identified by this moment of so-called ‘doubt’ that is often embraced as a simple narrative about a contentious relationship between said doubt and faith.

And yet, it is not. The narrative before us is more complex and layered. It echoes with a truth that our world, our lives, and thus our faith does not exist in black-and-white alone, but rather upon an infinite gray-scale.

This complexity, and my appreciation, is rooted in a respect for the disciple named Thomas.

One. Thomas is practical and willing to speak difficult truth.
After the death of Lazarus, Jesus decides to return towards Jerusalem, and thus his own passion, crucifixion, and death. Although the disciples attempt to discourage Jesus, he is determined. It was Thomas, perhaps mimicking Eeyore, who said “Fine. Let us go to Jerusalem and die with him”.

Two. Thomas is not too proud, or ego-sensitive, to admit a lack of understanding and to ask questions.
Prior to Jesus’ arrest, he foretells of his death, resurrection, and ascension to the disciples. Although the disciples are confused, it is Thomas alone who raises his hand to pose questions; thus confessing his own lack of knowledge and further seeking to understand.

Three. Thomas does not demand more than the other disciples. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2020 in Sermons

 

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A Different Easter

Alleluia! He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

This is our proclamation of the Resurrection on Easter morning!
And yet, this Easter is different.

  • We postponed the Community Easter Egg Hunt.
  • We postponed the Congregational Breakfast.
  • We are not gathered together within the church building adorning our Sunday best, including Easter dresses and suits, for an elaborate worship experience adorned in lilies and tulips.

Perhaps, you are in comfortable jammies, drinking coffee, and listening along.
I hope you are.

And yet, THIS might be the most authentic Resurrection morning of our lifetime.

As read on Facebook:
“Maybe, for once, we celebrate Easter differently. Maybe, we celebrate the Resurrection just as the Disciples did: Alone, in the silence, hoping the faith outweighs the fear.” (Casey Kerins).

After the arrest, passion, and crucifixion of Jesus the Christ, the disciples are frightened.

We are frightened Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2020 in Sermons

 

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