The Tale of Two Churches

In today’s readings neither Paul nor Matthew shy away from strong  emotions and conflict. Writing from prison, Paul calls the church he planted in Philippi, Macedonia his “joy and crown.” But, as we read on we clearly sense that something in the Philippian worshipping community causes him irritation and perhaps pain as well. Likewise, Jesus’ […]

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Scandalous Grace

There’s a good reason why the religious elite of Jesus day regarded his teachings as scandalous. Their teachings had lost the spirit of freedom in the knowledge of God’s steadfast love. Shackles of pietistic observances and a raft of religious rules replaced the kind of delight in the way of the Lord that King David […]

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We are Lifeguards

It was the fourth watch of the night …the time between 3 o’clock and 6 o’clock in the morning according to the Roman and Israelite … the time when we lift our heads up off the comfy pillow, look at the clock, and decide to sleep for another two hours…

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Giving Yourself Away

Growing up as the only Jewish boy in Sheridan, Wyoming presented its own set of unique consequences for Max Wachtel. One of them was learning how to keep a low profile in the schoolyard. As you can well imagine Max experienced his share of uncomfortable moments in the classroom, but the playground was even worse. […]

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Bandanas and God

Today is the celebration of The Pentecost. It’s what we might call a Transition Holiday because it is the day that the early believers in Jesus Christ began to make the transition from being Jewish to being Christian. In fact, Pentecost began and still is a Jewish holiday as well as a Christian holiday. In […]

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The Busboy

The main character in our story today from the book of Acts is Stephen. Stephen, as many of you know, is known far and wide as the first Christian martyr. I don’t know that anyone in Stephen’s day would have labeled him as such, because Christianity had not yet emerged from the cradle of Judaism. […]

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The Light of Love

I wonder … were any of you feeling slightly uncomfortable as the first lesson was read this morning? In modern times, especially since World War II when over 6 million Jews and others were massacred, this text has given many people cause to reject Christianity. It was … of course … used by many “good” […]

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We Had Hoped

A lot happens in gardens this time of year. Even back in my native Minnesota the persistent snows of winter, which often cover the ground well into April, begin to melt away … and life giving refreshment begins to trickle down into the waiting earth below. Seeds, receiving the long anticipated moisture, swell as if […]

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The Healing Model

Today, before I talk about The Woman at the Well in Samaria I want to talk about The Man in the Maine Woods. Back in the late 1980’s a twenty year old man named walked off the job one day. He left his tools behind, got in his car and started driving. He had always […]

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