Gold and Muck – January 8, 2017 – Matthew 2: 1 – 12

There is the story of a father home with his children. Mother had gone out shopping for Christmas. The father was home alone with the kids. He fell asleep in the recliner watching a football game while the kids played quietly in the other room.

The kids came to wake up Dad saying. “Dad, we have a play for you. Do you wanna see it?” He really wanted to continue his nap, but knew he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see what his kids had prepared. Pulling his eyes open and sitting up in his chair, he became the one-man audience.

His four children, 4, 6, 8, and 10 were all actors playing the roles of Mary, Joseph, an angel and a wise woman. Joseph had a mop handle as a staff. Mary had a pillow stuffed under her shirt to look like she was carrying a baby. Another child flapped her arms like wings. The last child was wearing all the jewelry she could find in the house. Her arms were full with 3 presents. The wise woman said, “I am all three wise men. I bring the baby three precious gifts: gold, circumstance and muck.” http://day1.org/3361-call_and_response#_ftn1#_ftn1 Continue reading

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Apples, Oranges and Bananas of the Spirit – Pentecost – May 15, 2016 – Galatians 5: 13 – 26

When I think of the fruits of the Spirit, my first thought is a children’s song about the fruits of the Spirit.
The fruit of the Spirit’s not a coconut
The fruit of the Spirit’s not a coconut
If you want to be a coconut,
You might as well hear it,
You can’t be a fruit of the spirit,
Cause the fruit of the Spirit is
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
Faithfulness, gentleness and self-control

The song goes through coconuts, lemons, cherries, and watermelon. This song gets stuck in my head. It’s an earworm. There were girls in my youth group in Litchfield that went to the Lutheran school in town. They had religion classes every day and learned songs like this to help them learn the Bible. The girls would see who could sing the fruits the faster without messing up or getting their tongues twisted. Continue reading

He Raises the Dead – January 24, 2016 – Mark 5: 21 – 43

Last week, the Disciples and Jesus were in a boat trying to get to the other side. In today’s text, they’ve crossed the lake again. They’re always on the move in Mark. Jesus hasn’t gotten away from the lake when the people gather around him.

Here comes through the crowd, Jairus, who is a leader of the synagogue. We shouldn’t be surprised that he is from the synagogue as all of Jesus’ followers are Jewish. What is remarkable is that Jairus is a leader. Leaders of the synagogue were hearing about Jesus, were intrigued by his ministry and proclamation, and were coming to him for help. Jairus’ daughter was near death and Jairus comes to Jesus asking for Him to heal the daughter.

Jesus is interrupted by a hemorrhaging woman in need of healing. While Jesus is tending to the care of this woman and restores her health and wellness, Jairus’ servants or friends or some people from his house, come to tell Jairus that his daughter had died. It was too late. Jesus tell Jairus, “don’t worry. Have faith.”

Jairus’ love and concern for his daughter is remarkable. In those days, a man did not become attached to his children. Maybe a bit to his son as they worked together when he was older. However, the death of children was unfortunately common. Men didn’t become attached to children, because, if a child died, they couldn’t be found mourning their children. Women became attached to their children when raising their children. It was a woman’s place to mourn the passing of a child. But, a man mourning was shameful.

Jairus was risking heartbreak by being so attached to his daughter. He openly showed love for his daughter by going to Jesus to plea for help in saving his daughter. On this mission of faith for his daughter, Jairus receives the news that his daughter had passed. It would have been shameful for him to break down and cry after receiving the news. But, Jesus had compassion for even his grief. Jesus said, “don’t worry. Have faith.” I can’t imagine those were very comforting words, even from Jesus, for a father who lost a child.

You might say Jairus was among the first intercessor pray-ers. He took his concern to Jesus, fell at His feet, and pleaded for help. Isn’t that what we do when we pray? We take our concern to Jesus and plead for His help.

This morning, I’d like us to take some time to devote to prayer. I’ve set up 3 stations and I’ll be a 4th station.

Prayer Station: Cross
At this station, please take a band-aid, write your prayer on it, and place it on the cross. There are a few considerations for your band-aid prayer for yourself or your loved ones:

1) You may choose to pray about spiritual wounds including such things as: Self-hate, regret, guilt, hopelessness, shame, overindulgence, hurt, blame, inner pain, anger, bitterness, intolerance, perfectionism, fear, hatred, hostility, resentment, dishonesty, unloving, unforgiving or revenge. These might be things that effect your relationship with God.
2) You may choose to pray for healing including physical ailment, mental health illness, divorce, grief, addiction or abuse.
3) You may choose to pray for relationships that need reconciliation such as estrangement, separation and conflict.
4) You may choose to pray about social justice including issues such as: racism, sexism, ageism, ableism or terrorism.

Prayer Station: Prayer Wall
Please take a note card, write your prayer on it and pin it to the wall. Some considerations for your prayers may include:
1) Thanksgiving prayers for God’s provisions for the things you want and need.
2) Praise prayers for God’s answer to your prayers, even if you received a partial answer and are praying for God’s continued care.
If you want to include your prayer but reserve privacy, please pin your card face in to the board.

Prayer Station: Candles of Remembrance
Please light a candle for someone who has passed. You may include a prayer of thanks for their influence in your life and for their resurrection to eternal life.

Prayer Station: Anointing
I’ll stand back in the corner. You can come to me for private prayer about healing for yourself or a loved one. If you would like, if we’re praying for your healing or care, I have oil to anoint you. Anointing oil is an ancient practice dating back to the prophet’s anointing of the boy David to be king of Israel. Anointing is a sign that you have been marked for God’s care. I have oil from lilies of the valley from Jerusalem.

We’ll allow as much time as we need to pray. You may want to visit one station or all the stations. You may choose to remain seated and pray in your pew. Whatever feels comfortable for you is how you may spend this time. I’ll finish our time with the pastoral prayer and our sung prayer response, “Hear Our Prayer, O Lord.”