Mary must be terrified on her journey to Elizabeth's house. How will she explain her situation to her distant aunt? Who would believe her incredible story? Elizabeth, prompted by God's Spirit, sees Mary, acknowledges her, and asks for no explanations. Mary experiences the gracious hospitality and welcome of Elizabeth. We can all follow Elizabeth's witness and imitate the generosity that Elizabeth displays.
The Magi remind us that while we might expect to find glory, purpose, and honor in the palace, God is actually found in the ordinary, mundane, and routine. This year, may we seek to find God in the ordinary and expect Christ to show up in our routine lives.
Caleb closes with a reflection on New Year's Resolutions.
In this first Sunday of Advent, we think about Hope. The text from Luke this week is a terrifying description of the end of days. What does all the imagery of Jesus mean? What does it mean in 2018? Bob explores where hope is found, which is not in earthly circumstances. Hope is not bound to what we can see, but is found in what we may not see.
Following the trajectory of our text from Mark, we might ask, what should we not hold onto? What have we trusted in too much, which will inevitably crumble? Jesus challenges some of the disciples most dearly held convictions and urges them to trust in him. He often challenges us in the same way.
Who is my neighbor? In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus paints a bloody and vivid picture of what neighbor love looks like. He resists the categories that his audience would have expected and wanted. In this homily, Rev. Aaron Kuecker explores the popular parable and suggests that we should perhaps view "neighbor" as a verb rather than a category.
What does it mean to live a good and satisfying life? How does work relate to that life? Does work make it possible? Does work get in the way? If that life exists, how would you know that you were living it?
We all want to live meaningful and good lives. Through a combination of work & family, stress & relaxation, late nights & early mornings, we try to create that life. Rarely do we find the time to take stock of our lives and consider what the good life might actually look like.
Dr. Volf’s lecture provided plenty for us to consider.
The rich young man wants to know how to inherit eternal life. After an exchange with Jesus, he leaves grieved and full of sorrow. Are we to assume that means he has rejected Jesus?
Caleb explores the possibility that the sorrow and grief of the rich young man, after learning that inheriting eternal life will require selling his possessions, is not his rejection of Jesus but rather is his movement toward him. What if our sorrow and grief drew us toward Christ and not away from him?
The disciples have it backwards. They are arguing about who will be the greatest. While we may wag our finger at them, Bob points out that each of us tries to lord power over others. We are called approach power, greatness, and authority in a radically different way.
In James 2, James condemns favoritism. He lumps it in with murder and adultery. What is it about favoritism that is so dangerous? James challenges the church to reflect the kingdom of God and not the culture it is surrounded by. Pastor Caleb explores the challenging letter of James.
Jesus asks Peter who he believes Jesus to be. Peter gets the answer correct, but he has no idea what it means and so Jesus tells the disciples not to share with anyone that he is the Messiah. The good news of the gospel is not knowing the answer to a question, it is hearing Christ say who YOU are. It is being forgiven and given the gift of walking in Christ's footsteps.
A gentile woman approaches Jesus, but Jesus doesn't immediately grant her request. It is an unusual encounter, but through it Jesus creates a platform for a woman to teach his disciples.
In this week's homily, Bob reflects upon a passage in John where Jesus instructs his followers to eat his flesh and drink his blood. What an odd thing?
Jesus is non-anxious. He is not concerned by the fact that the crowds are leaving him. He trusts the Father. In this homily, Pastor Caleb reflects on Jesus' trust and thinks about the idea of God's election or choosing of human beings. Why is it good news that God elects us? He closes the homily with a personal reflection about Heaven.
We continue in John chapter 6 with a passage that explores the claim that Jesus is the bread of life. Bob explores whether Jesus' claim has any concrete practical implications.
This is the only miracle recorded in all four gospels. In John's gospel, however, it is simply the opening vignette in a chapter that will be all about bread. The crowd is hungry, and while the miracle feeds their stomachs, they will be back the next day hungry again. What does it look like to truly feast on the bread of life? Is it possible to never feel hungry again?
In this week's passage from Samuel, David wants to build a temple for God. The prophet Nathan says "Go for it!" but God says "nope." In Ephesians, Paul writes about the community of faith being the house of God.
The beheading of John is a tragic event that is not untypical of what happens when power is used derisively. It challenges us to consider the brokenness of our world. Mark's readers, however, read this story in light of the resurrection. We too, read the suffering and pain of the world through the lens of the cross and resurrection.
Jesus allows himself to be impacted by his hometown's lack of belief. God chooses to be vulnerable, to the point that what we do matters. In turn, God asks his followers to be vulnerable as they bring the good news to the world.
In today's passage from the Gospel, a father has lost his daughter. Jesus enters the home and tenderly takes the girl's hand. In this beautiful portrait, we see God's loving heart. To be in the presence of Jesus is to be touched by God. This brief homily by Pastor Bob focuses on God's heart for the least among us is evident in Mark's gospel.
Mark 4 has two stories you've heard. The parable of the sower and the four soils and the story of Jesus calming the storm. The four soils is about being the right kind of soil for the Word to grow. Jesus calming the storm is about trusting in Jesus' sovereignty over all creation. In between those stories are 8 verses that don't fit. They introduce suspicion and mystery into the made-up minds of the disciples. We will look at those 8 verses and consider our role in the Kingdom of God.