God means things for good

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Epiphany 7 Genesis 45:3-11,15; 1 Corinthians 15:35-38,42-50; Luke 6:27-38 Two great doctrines of the Church in full view in this week's readings. Predestination means God knows where He is going. Providence means He knows how to get there. Our personal stories have significance to God. They...

He who transplants us sustains us

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Epiphany 6 Jeremiah 17:5-10; 1 Corinthians 15:12-20; Luke 6:17-26 It is easy to forget that God "plants" us in the circumstances in which we will grow. In the soil of adversity, there are rich nutrients for our souls. Click here to read or watch the sermon.

God's message

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Epiphany 5 Isaiah 6:1-8, (9-13); 1 Corinthians 15:1-11; Luke 5:1-11 Today's readings are talking about connection between preaching and atonement. They are saying that atonement is made for all those who are called to preach God's message. Yet there are some very hard words in these...

God's choices

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Epiphany 4 Jeremiah 1:4-10; 1 Corinthians 13:1-13; Luke 4:21-30 God's choices may seem inscrutable to us. Put another way, they don't often make much sense to us. Jeremiah objects that he is just a boy and therefore cannot be a preacher. The Nazarenes are furious when Jesus tells them His...

Spirit work

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Epiphany 3 Nehemiah 8: 1-3, 5-6, 8-10; 1 Corinthians 12: 12-31a; Luke 4:14-21 Salvation means restoration, but too often that restoration is postponed. Thus, other voices rise to "proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." This is the problem with spiritualizing religion, of making salvation a...

Reconciled diversity

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Epiphany 2 Isaiah 62:1-5; 1 Corinthians 12:1-11; John 2:1-11 Sunday's texts continue to talk about covenant restoration. They are saying that this restoration is marked by a diversity of unifying (and edifying) gifts. Jesus frees us to be who God has made us to be. The Spirit unites a godly...

Friends of our souls

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Epiphany 1 Isaiah 43: 1-7; Acts 8:14-17; Luke 3:15-16, 21-22 We all experience great loss in life and, eventually, even the loss of our own lives. This is consistent with man's existence after the fall, when he was deprived of the benefits of living in covenant relationship with God in...

Happy in time

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Christmas 2 Jeremiah 31:7-14; Ephesians 1:3-6, 15-19; Matthew 2:13-23 A horrible thing follows immediately upon the birth of Jesus: the slaughter of an untold number of innocent baby boys. We might be tempted to think, "It were better, for their sakes, if this one baby boy, Jesus, had not...

Lenses of the past

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Advent 3 Zephaniah 3:14-20; Philippians 4:4-7; Luke 3:7-18 The readings for Advent 3 present a fitting way to wrap up Advent. (Next Sunday is Lessons and Carols.) The texts talk of faith, repentance, change of life, and the coming of Christ, themes we have been hearing for a few weeks...

Refining our worship

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Advent 2 Malachi 3:1-4; Philippians 1:3-11; Luke 3:1-6 Advent 2 and 3 speak to the preparation that is required for the Lord's arrival. This week and next we hear from John the Baptist, the herald of the coming Christ. His message is that of repentance, a call to change our ways. The idea...