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Only God

Fat Camels and Narrow Needles: Only Possible for God A rich man approaches Jesus and asks how to inherit eternal life. Jesus tells him to sell what he owns, give the money to the poor, and follow. Jesus will accept nothing less than our very selves. Like the rich man, we too are left defenseless…

Spiritual Practice

The Most Challenging Spiritual Practice The writers of today’s readings express to God their fears about death and those who do evil. They rage against the cravings, coveting, envy, and selfish ambition that lead to disorder and war, within and around us. They describe one caught in this reality who is led to slaughter, tested…

Unexpected Messiah

An Unexpected Kind of Messiah Today we hear from three teachers. The prophet Isaiah calls himself a teacher, one whose words sustain weary people. James warns about foolish and hurtful use of our tongues, which should be used to “bless the Lord and Father,” but often are used to “curse those who are made in…

God Is Partial

God Is Partial Again and again throughout biblical history, God is partial to caring for the poor, the weak, and the outcast. Which is why, perhaps, Jesus’ response to the Syrophoenician woman takes us by surprise: “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it…

Heart

The Heart Of The Matter When clay becomes a pot, it must first have a center. As a potter spins, pushes, and pulls the clay into its final form, it can easily lose its center and become misshapen. Having lost its center, it fails to fully be what it is being created to be—a pot,…

Accept

Who Can Accept It? “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?” (John 6:60). Jesus’ teaching about eating his flesh and drinking his blood isn’t something we can figure out and accept on our own. In his explanation of the third article of the Apostles’ Creed, Martin Luther writes these often-quoted and memorized words: “I believe…

Missionary Sermon

Erica Bryer, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church  Missionary Erica is going to be going to Japan for missionary work and this is her sermon about her upcoming commitment. Erica Bryer’s Children’s Sermon  

The Greatest Bread

The Greatest Bread Jesus uses the image of bread to demonstrate that, even compared to all the great things God has done before, God’s greatest miracle is in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus, the bread of life, is a greater miracle than the manna God sent in the dessert (Exod. 16:14), greater than…

Rollin’ In The Dough

Rollin’ in the Dough—and Fishes In recent years many books have been printed that focus on baking vast assortments of breads—from rye to pumpernickel, French to Italian. Today, however, we encounter a bread that points to both a deeper longing, physically and spiritually, and an even more fulfilling outcome than the tastiest assortment of baked…

Speaking Truth To Power

Speaking Truth To Power Few of us want to hear a hard truth, and perhaps fewer of us want to be the ones called to deliver one. Today’s texts remind us that bearing God’s word is risky business. King Jereboam exiles the prophet Amos for calling him to account. Herod delivers John the baptizer’s head…