Salem Lutheran Church

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Ready or Not: It's Time to Change Things Up

As I mentioned last week, we call this new church year, Year B, or the year of Mark, and today, on this second Sunday in the Season of Advent we start at the very first verse of Mark’s gospel. Upon reading it we learn exactly what we are about to read, "The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1). My guess is that Mark thought he was just writing a biography.…

Ready or Not: It's Time to Keep Awake

Happy New Year! Oh, I know it's only December 3 and that there are 28 more days in 2017, but today we begin a new year in the church with the Season of Advent. To be technical we call it Year B, which means that the majority of our Gospel readings will be from the Gospel of Mark this year. But more importantly than focusing on the Gospel, it means that once again we go back to begin a new…

Invited to Embody Christ

Today is the final Sunday of the church year and as we bring the year to a close we celebrate Christ the King Sunday. This festival day was actually first created as a church festival day in 1925 by Pope Pius XI. Pope Pius instituted this celebration as a way of combating the secularism that was growing. It was a way of reminding the faithful that their real king was not some human government…

Giving Thanks!

I hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving! In my sermon this past Sunday, I noted that Thanksgiving is not a religious holiday. After the 8:00 service, one woman noted that she was surprised to hear me say that; after all, she said, “Didn’t the founding fathers intend it as a time of giving thanks to God?”. So that got me thinking; I did a little reading Sunday evening and, sure enough,…

Invited to Use What We've Got

In case you haven’t noticed, this time of year the days are getting shorter and darker and Mathew’s texts that we have been reading have been are getting darker, too. Jesus’ parable of the talents that we just read doesn’t exactly give us a warm and fuzzy feeling, does it? I mean it ends with that great command, “As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where…

Invited to be Happy

“Blessed are the poor in spirit… blessed are those who mourn…” Most of us know these words well. We call this passage the Beatitudes, and they are words attributed to Jesus as he gave his Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew. But to be honest, I often struggle with them because I don’t see how one who is mourning, for example, feels blessed.

The word we translate here…

Invited To Be Free

Today is Reformation Sunday, and aside from being the day we celebrate the Affirmation of Baptism, or Confirmation as we so often call it, for seven of our young adults, it is also a very special historical moment not just for Lutherans, but I would argue for all Christians, throughout the world. This year, we commemorate the 500th anniversary of Luther’s October 31, 1517 posting of the…

Time to Seek Reform

This past Sunday, October 22, our 2017 confirmands offered their statements of faith. It is one of my favorite Sundays here because I am always moved by the sincerity and honesty of our young folks as they share where they are in their faith journey, and the struggles and joys they have experienced so far in their lives. The other thing that is powerful for me about these statements is to…

Invited to Gather & Change

Now isn’t this a cheery text! I mean, just when you think things are looking good the whole premise of the parable seems to take a turn for the worse with those final two verses, when the king says, “ 'Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:13-14). This…

Invited to Gather: To Live by His Authority

Do you remember that sitcom on the late '80s, Who’s the Boss? ? It was about a widower and former baseball player who had to give up his baseball career because of injury, so he decides to become a housekeeper for a high-powered divorced businesswoman. We had come a long way in the '80s, but the premise that a man would be a stay-at-home dad and housekeeper while a woman would…

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