What is communion?
For those who do not know, communion is a time a worship service or home visit where we eat a small piece of bread, sometimes a wafer, and drink some wine or grape juice. We do it because of this passage in 1 Corinthians. Early Christians celebrated that ritual. It means different things to different people at different times. We, as Lutherans, believe that Jesus is present in, with, under, and around the bread and wine. We believe that in the gathering community and speaking of the words and God's promises, Jesus' spirit comes alongside, and therefore alongside us. This means everything to me and my ability to live well with physical suffering, chronic illness, and disability. What happens in this meal is a little mystical, a little magical. It is a moment, an event, that involves a Pastor (usually, but not always), God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the gathered community, and the relationship between a person and their Savior. It is full and complicated, and no words or one way of describing it will ever encompass all of what is means that Jesus said to do this, God attached promises to it, and it includes bread and wine. I hope you find healing in what this ritual means to me, and discover what it can mean for you, too. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments.
Text is John 12:1-8, Mary anoints Jesus' feet. Teaching and discussion on intent, impact, and the importance of bodies to Jesus. Mentions of toxic charity. Enjoy!
What happens when we imagine ourselves as each character in the Prodigal Child story? Listen for ways this story connects to your life, and for the ways the Queer community has a unique perspective on the story, and they've often had to leave their families and hometowns. Text isLuke 15: 1-3, 11b-32.
Islaphobia is the enemy of the cross. The one where Jesus gave everything up so that we could have life. So that we could face death-dealing messages of the world, and respond to them with self-sacrificing love. Hate is NEVER the way of the cross. Love and sacrifice are the ways of the cross, and they always call us to love our neighbors as ourselves. For the passages, read Luke 13.31-35 and Philippians 3:17-4:1. For the news story, seethis article. Also, learn about Jesus referring to himself in feminine terms and about how NOT to misuse scripture to hurt others.
Text is Luke 4:1-13. It isn't about temptation, really, is about identity. Who is Jesus? How does he work? Who are we as disciples of Jesus? How do we express power in the church? Learn more about mutual relationships.
Ash Wednesday. How is it ok? And about wearing makeup. Life is complicated, but somehow, knowing that Jesus dies, that we die, can lead us to more bravery. Matthew 6.1-6, 16-21
One of my talents in life is preaching with nearly any body part not working. My voice is gone, so I prepared a slideshow and handout for my congregation, Lutheran Church of the Cross, in Arlington Heights, IL. I am stated supply and pastoral care for them while they discern their future.
Hopefully this will encourage any of you to engage with your discipleship at a deeper level. If we are all disciples, then we can all do some of the work of sharing Good News.
Thanks to the magic of microphones and recording software, you can hear what I did manage to say out loud, the song, and me responding to members of the congregation as they answer questions at the end.
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This sermon on Luke 6:27-38 comes with a video. The demonstration is from Walter Wink's book, Engaging the Powers. I recommend this book, non-violent resistance, and recovering the Biblical narrative in its context, so we know how to live full and Holy lives without using the Bible to harm ourselves or others.
Sermon Part ONe
Sermon Part Two
For a more RADICAL version of the sermon on the plain, read here.
For a Less Radical Version, LIsten Below.
To listen to the sermon this sermon references, please click here.
Preached on Luke 6:17-26.
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This sermon references a news story of the week. In my attempt to make our faith relevant to our daily lives, and to help us be better disciples of Jesus in our everyday engagement with the world, I preached some incorrect facts about the news story. I did not have all of the information. The incorrect facts are that the Covington teenage boys did NOT in fact start the altercation, and that the situation was more complicated than I originally believed. Although I am not perfect and sometimes make mistakes in details, the reality is still that the boys choose to make fun of another person and their culture when they felt threatened. The reality is that if those boys has been primarily Black, they might have been tased, arrested, handcuffed, or otherwise beaten for doing and saying the exact same things.
Additionally, this is a good time for us to examine the Lutheran Church's involvement in the breaking apart of Native families. I invite all of us to follow the lead of Jesus and to trust the voices of those less powerful than ourselves.
John 2: 1-11 A wedding feast where only the mother of Jesus and the servants know what's really going on.
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Pastor Jess loves preaching and wants church to be about Jesus. The end. (Or read the rest of the site for more.)
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This work is licensed by Rev. Jessica A. Harren under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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