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Showing posts from January, 2019

An Epistle on Baptism

This letter was written to be read in the congregation during my absence on the date below, for the celebration of the Baptism of our Lord. 

Dear friends in Christ at Big Timber Lutheran on Sunday, January 13, 2019-
Grace and peace to you from God our Creation, Jesus our Savior, and the Holy Spirit who directs our days. I do give thanks to God when I think of you because your good work in Big Timber is inspiring to me and because I believe that God has brought us together for a purpose in our town for the sake of the gospel, the good news of Christ’s work in the world.
Today is the celebration of the Baptism of our Lord. If I were with you, I would ask if there were any among you who were unbaptized and wished to come forward to the font. In our tradition, we so frequently witness the baptisms of infants and children that we forget that adults are welcomed to the water to be washed in the same way. In fact, part of the way that Lutherans think about baptism is this- since baptism is a gi…

Revelation Read-Along: Day 18

Reading: Revelation 14
Advent Theme: Absence
I am still reading Letters and Papers from Prisonby Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I began reading it in 2005. I am, perhaps, a quarter finished with it. In my view, this is the most significant theological work of the 20thcentury. According to him, these are the things Bonhoeffer wrote after he truly understood the cost of discipleship. None of us truly comprehend that cost until we realize that we are paying it. 
Very early in Letters is this passage:
…God is teaching us that we must live as humans who can get along very well without God. The God who is with us is the God who forsakes us. The God who makes us live in this world without using God as a working hypothesis is the god before whom we are standing. Before God and with God we live without God. God allows Himself to be edged out of the world and on to the cross. God is weak and powerless in the world, and that is exactly the way, the only way, in which God can be with us and help us. Matthew …

Revelation Read-Along: Day 17

The series took a hiatus while I gave time and energy to be with a grieving family and a dying saint. I appreciate your patience. 

Reading: Revelation 13

Advent Theme: Simplicity
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them. For the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14) I think about that verse when I read Revelation 13. So much has been made about this chapter, gallons of ink spilled on it alone, that it can be hard to read it with new eyes. Thus, think about how you might explain this to a child. If we cannot explain the scripture to a child, then either our interpretation is off-base or Jesus was wrong. Which one of those two would you like to pick? (I do realize that creating a binary there isn’t necessarily helpful, but please let it stand for this post.)
Let’s approach chapter 13 as though we were going to explain it to a 9-year-old. We have a different relationship with dragons now, but imagine if you didn’t have books and movies …