Department of Sunshine and Rainbows

“Here am I.” This is a simple, yet faith-filled, response of Abraham as the Lord calls him. Not knowing what the Lord will call him to do, but simply trusting the Word of the Lord, Abraham says, “Here am I.” As we look through the pages of Scripture those same three little words, “Here am I,” are echoed by others: Jacob, Moses, and Samuel – to name just a few. As people who the Lord has called into Baptism, may we also answer with the same faith-filled response, “Here am I!” We may not always know where God will lead, but we do know that the One who has called us will be with us as we follow where He guides.

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Heavenly Makeover

This day ends the Epiphany season and prepares us for Lent. Jesus has been revealing His true nature through His words and actions, and on the Mount of Transfiguration three disciples see His glory revealed as transfiguring light. Moses and Elijah appear with Him, talking about His departure in Jerusalem. But our Lord then commands the disciples not to tell about the event until after Easter. Because we live after His resurrection, Paul writes in the Epistle, we recognize Jesus’ true glory in going to the cross for us, for God has “shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).

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The Fever Broke

We come into this holy place with our illnesses, sicknesses, diseases and fevers. We come here to be healed, to be made well, and to leave lifted up. We don’t come here to get sicker or to be hurt or to be quarantined. we are healed because of the love of God granted us in and through the mercy of his Son. Jesus came to chase away the demons that seek to disrupt us as a community and to afflict us in our own body and soul. We come to leave well because we have been lifted from the fever of sin into the strength renewed like an eagle. God knows each of our needs, all of our fevers, everything that separates us from one another. He knows what scares us, and what anxiety can do to our souls, and he knows all the diseases that can spread among us that deny us the fullness and wholeness of his grace.

The joy of receiving grace and mercy is ours to share with one and another. Let us not be stingy with our serving and loving. When the fever breaks, the body heals. The same is true for God’s people and community. The Lord be with you!

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What Do You See?

Pastor Kay’s message was based on John 1:43-51.  “The call is given to each one to be a witness, a light, of Christ, to do good in order God may be glorified and honored.  We offer what Christ gives us to all who need a light in their darkness, forgiveness for their failures, and hope for their worth.  In other words, we follow Christ in that we live like him, be like him, care like him, and invite and welcome like him.  Christ’s love for all people is seen and heard through his followers.

All of us are witnesses who reflect our faith in the mercy of God into this world.  Then, we invite those who seeking redemption and worth to come and see what great things Christ the Lord is doing in this building and among its people.  The peace of the Lord is what we share with one another in our greetings and our gatherings.  Lord, have mercy, we pray!”

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In the beginning….

Pastor Kay tells us this weekend, “As a community and as a member, we remember who we are, and we strive to believe it, and to live it. Not just for a month or so, but for now and tomorrow, day after day. Let us be Christ to one another, and to those around us; and let us be the Church that looks out and about, and is in the world, but not of it. In Christ Jesus, we have a re-creation of what God wants for all the world. We will hang on to him as everything else might end, but never his love for us.” Praise God!

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Lift the Baby from the Manger

Pastor Kay tells us this weekend, “Picture the scene that day as Mary and Joseph enter into the temple, carrying this 7-week old child.  Simeon takes Jesus, and lifts him in praise and glory as he is led by the Spirit to tell us all that is the One we have been waiting for forever!  All of our rituals and practices of our faith is discovered and centered in this child.

When we leave this holy altar and table, we, too, have carried the baby in our arms and hands, seen in him our salvation and life, rejoiced that our sins are forgiven in him, and our lives are made holy and righteous through him.  We raise our hands to receive him in bread and wine, and leave from here ready and joyous to believe that all is well, it will be well and good forever.  We can go in peace, rest eternally, and be filled with joy.  

The Savior, the Christ, has come!”

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Christmas Day Worship

“Glory to the newborn King!” The refrain of the familiar Christmas song invites us to proclaim that Christ is born in Bethlehem. Today we celebrate God coming into the history of our earth in person—in the person of a baby born in Bethlehem. “This is My beloved Son!” God proclaimed this years later when Jesus arrived at the Jordan River at the time of His Baptism. But already at the time of His birth, Jesus’ special nature was established as God in the flesh—in our human flesh! We express our thankfulness and our joy at that blessed coming!

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Christmas Eve Worship

“Glory to God in the highest!” The expression of praise by the heavenly host on the night when Jesus was born into our world has echoed through the ages. As we gather for this most special day, we find joy in repeating the words of God’s heavenly messengers. The angels proclaimed a message of peace and good will, a word from God that was appearing in the Word made flesh—the baby Jesus born to bring the light of redemption to a people on earth lost in darkness. “Gloria in excelsis Deo!” Whether we are singing in English or Latin or some other language, the message of the words is what matters. We worship our Lord and rejoice in the glory of Christmas!

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4th Sunday in Advent

King David is the best known of all of Israel’s kings. Under David’s reign, the kingdom grew and flourished. Even generations later would look back and view the days of King David as the “Golden Age” of Israel. In today’s Old Testament Reading, a promise is made to David: “And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before Me. Your throne shall be established forever” (2 Samuel 7:16). But in this greater kingdom, this eternal kingdom, it’s not King David who will reign on the everlasting throne—it’s King Jesus. Jesus, the descendant of David, is greater than David and will have a never-ending reign. It’s the coming of this King of kings that we prepare to celebrate.

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heav’nly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery. [LSB 357:5]

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To know Jesus is to be joyful!

Pastor Ball’s sermon focus this weekend was “To know Jesus is to be joyful.”

“Hear again the words Paul writes in our Epistle lesson: Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. Give thanks in all circumstances.

If you hear that as daunting homework. If you understand that as an untouchable standard. Then you’re missing the joy of Jesus – Paul is saying that the life of a Christian is one that expresses joy, devotion and gratitude.

To live as a follower of Jesus, is to live like Jesus.

Rejoicing always is choosing a glad attitude. Prayer without ceasing is to be in constant conversation with God. To acknowledge God’s presence. To stay in relationship with Him. Giving thanks means being grateful. It is recognizing God as the giver of all good things, seeing our role as the fortunate recipients of His generosity.

God is love. Jesus is joy. May that joy be yours as we travel together this Advent Season.”

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