Being Re-Formed

Text: John 8:31-36 Grace and peace be unto you from God who is our Creator and from Jesus Christ who is our Savior and our Friend. Amen. For fun, let’s begin with a little Reformation Q and A. What event sparked the Reformation on October 31, 1517? Martin Luther nailed the 99 Theses to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. And in what country was John Calvin born? France. What did he first study to become? A lawyer. Was Calvin ever ordained? No. In what town did Luther live with his family and serve as a professor? Wittenberg, Germany. In what city did Calvin govern the church and write the Institutes of the Christian Religion? Geneva, Switzerland. The following question will be easier, I

It will be All Right

Text: Luke 21:5-19 If I were to say to you, “figgy pudding,” would you know what I was talking about? Maybe it would help if I sang it. “Oh, bring us a figgy pudding; Oh bring us a figgy pudding; Oh bring us a figgy pudding, and a cup of good cheer.” Yes, it’s the second stanza of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”: But does anyone actually know what figgy pudding is? Thank goodness for the internet! It turns out that figgy pudding is an English Christmas pudding made with…figs. Baked or boiled, it was popular in the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries which means John Knox, who died in 1572, even though he was Scottish, not English, might have eaten it. But I’m guessing few of us have ever

Safe to Love

Text: Luke 20:27-38 Grace and peace be unto you from God who is our Creator and from Jesus Christ who is our Savior and our Friend. Amen. A few years ago I presided at the funeral of a good Christian woman who had gone to her reward after a long life of marriage, raising two sons, regular church attendance, involvement in many of the traditional ministries that women carried out in the church, and not a little bit of church gossip. Marion was very interested in the details of peoples’ relationships, including mine – I was engaged to be married to Hans at the time -- and she didn’t mind asking. But I will say this. No one was more pleased at the prospect of my impending marriage, and if she h

Forever Family

Text: Luke 6:20-31 Grace and peace be unto you from God who is our Creator and from Jesus Christ who is our Savior and our Friend. Amen. Several years ago, long before Elijah was born, Hans and I were in a grocery store in Oregon and a bulletin board caught my attention. The bulletin board was full of pictures of children. Their ages were from about five years up to about fifteen or sixteen years old, and the sign in the middle of the pictures said, “We are looking for our forever families.” They were children in the foster care system waiting to be adopted. These were the “hard to adopt” kids. Babies and toddlers find adoptive parents quickly. But the older ones, kids who have been kicked a

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