Poem based on 2nd Sunday in Easter John 20:19-31

I sit in darkness

late at night
the kids are asleep
quiet now
--after a day of fun
oblivious to the adult world
--as we have made it
of war and hate
and children very much like themselves
loved very much like themselves
without enough
--of their share
--to survive
I want to venture out
To help in this world
--of too much
----and not enough
but I often find myself
here in the darkness
of my own walls
--into this sanctuary
--of my
------awareness fear
comes a voice
of disturbing comfort
that seeks to destroy
------------my little kingdom
-------of what
-----------------------anyway walls
I am heralded again
from that voice of life
----(be with you)
I long to
--but wish not
in the midst of your world
and because of it
as the words still ring
------in my mind
I remember the one who came
To make all things new
And I long
--for that contact
that would take me by the hand
and lead me
--down the path of what will be
lead me
----(as the Father sent me)
somehow to show
--that Christ lives
show it to others
------and myself
Help me Lord to do thy will
----(I send you)

Opening Litany based on Psalm 16

Pastor: Keep me safe, O God, for I have come to you for refuge.

Congregation: We said to the LORD, “You are our Master! Every good thing we have comes from you.” The godly people in the land are our heroes and we take pleasure in them!

Pastor: Troubles seem to multiply for those who chase after other gods.

Congregation: We will not take part in their sacrifices or pretend to follow in their ways for the LORD alone is our inheritance, our cup of blessing.

Pastor: You guard all that is ours. The land you have given us is a pleasant land and a wonderful inheritance!

Congregation: We will bless the LORD who guides us; even at night our hearts instruct us to follow the ways of the Lord. Therefore we know the LORD is always with us and we will not be shaken, for the Lord is right beside us at all times.

Pastor: No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. I rest in safety knowing the Lord walks with us and will not leave us to the powers of death.

Congregation: The Lord will show us the way of life, granting us joy of living in the presence of the Lord forever.

Old Rocker

Sunday April 27th, Acts 2: 2 Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.  That old rocker who passed away about 6 years ago, Larry Norman, was one of the first Christian Rockers.  In one of his songs he used the following lines about the resurrection, “but you shoulda known you can’t keep a good man down.” There's nothing wrong with playing blues licks, But if you got a reason tell me to my face Why should the devil have all the good music. There's nothing wrong with what I play 'Cause Jesus is the rock and he rolled my blues away. I ain't knocking the hymns, Just give me a song that has a beat. I ain't knocking the hymns, Just give me a song that moves my feet. I don't like none of those funeral marches I ain't dead yet!  Jesus told the truth, Jesus showed the way There's one more thing I'd like to say. They nailed him to the cross, they laid him in the ground, But they shoulda known you can't keep a good man down. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BznsjIe5sMk&feature=related  It is a bit crass, but true.  God raised him, in spite of us, because of us, for us.   Life goes on; Christ is out there ahead of us leading the way.  It is our job to tell the story and be the presence of the risen Christ in the world.  Go and tell whatever means you use, even if you are an old rock and roller.  

you, me, enemy

Monday April 28th, Acts 2: 29 "Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. That resurrection is the gift for all humanity.  It is the gift of life for us all.  All the striving, all the conniving and trying to get ahead, all the attempts to cast the life of Jesus as something that supports our, or anybody’s political agenda, is false.  Jesus came not to say one way is right and the rest are wrong, Jesus came to save humanity, all created humanity, all of life.  What we come together to celebrate is that all of life is redeemed and in the last day, you, me, and our enemy will all rise to be with the Lord.  

only Jesus

Tuesday April 29th, 1 Peter 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you.  I have watched as the Supreme Court has given the elections and with it, the rules that run the market place to the super wealthy.  I have seen the housing market rise and fall and rise again.  The price of gold is forever being marketed on the AM stations as a hedge against fear.  You and I, in the world of money, are left holding a few cents here and losing a few cents there while trying to help out with the food banks that try to feed the ever increasing populace of working poor.  In this world, the economy is rigged, and it is not rigged in favor of you and I.  Jesus calls us to put our faith in him, to store our treasures in heaven where there is no recession, no war profiteers or Supreme Court activists to wreck the economy for everyone else.  There is only Jesus.  My interest in him always pays beyond my expectations.  


Wednesday April 30th, 1 Peter 1: 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. It always seems that it is the darkest times of our lives that we are closer to Christ, and it is the good times that we seem further away.  Perhaps it is not the good life that is the blessing, but rather the adversities, where we have little to depend upon other than Jesus, that are the blessing from God.  This is not to say that God gives us the hard times, but rather, when the world gives us hard times, it is there we often find our hearts and souls open to the love of God rather than the false promise of pulling ourselves up by the bootstraps.  I find when the going gets good, the people get going, fishing, to the cabin, to sports, anywhere but church.  May your life result in Praise, Glory and Honor of Christ, whatever it takes.  I even hope and pray you get to enjoy your cabin, fishing and sports in addition to the love of God.  But if there is a choice…………. just think about it.

one foot

Thursday May 1st,  John 20: 19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. I imagine that the first response, right after Jesus came among them, inside the locked room, behind the locked doors, and spoke “Peace,” and then showed them his hands and side, that the first response was not one of being overjoyed.  I imagine the first response was utter fear.  Overjoyed might have been the second response, but not the first.  Jesus comes into our lives each and every day.  Jesus comes with the message of “Peace” and then for us to go out into the world.   Our response is to ignore.  But Jesus does come, Jesus does show us the cost, the hands and feet and Jesus does say Go, it’s your turn.  And Jesus waits…………………………. We may experience fear, but once we set one foot in front of the other, there is joy.  


Friday May 2nd,  John 20:  21 Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."  Again, scary stuff.  Stuff we all tend to shrink away from.  After seeing the hands and feet, the cost of discipleship, we are told that it is now our turn.  We might not have to hang on the cross, but we might be asked to give up one of those things that takes away all our time and energy.  We might just be asked to achieve balance before blessing.  Maybe it is time to give up a hockey game, a fishing trip, a lazy Sunday morning, a trip to the cabin once in a while, to achieve this balance.  It just may be the greatest gift you can give to your children as well as to yourself. 

your turn

Saturday May 3rd,  John 20:  26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" 27 Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." 28 Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!"  29 Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."  I love this story; it is after all so human.  Thomas was the only one who dared to be out of the room when Jesus came the first time, now he is the scapegoat for what they were feeling before Jesus came to them.  How often we project our issues on others.  How often we look for scapegoats to take the heat off what we should be doing.  All you have to do is look at all the voter fraud perpetrated in the name of preventing voter fraud to get a handle on this human trait. Jesus had sent the disciples out a week ago and they are still behind the locked doors, now Thomas gets the rap for doubting.  We too look for scapegoats to avoid what we should be doing.  We too look for reasons, out there, why we are avoiding doing the ministry we are called to do.  Come to church to celebrate Christ’s work through you and others in the world, don’t come to find Jesus, he is risen, he is not here, but he expects you to be.

Opening Litany based on Psalm 118

Give Thanks to the Lord (Psalm 118)

Pastor: Give thanks to the Lord who is good, whose love endures forever.
Congregation: Let everyone say, God’s love endures forever.
Pastor: Open the gates of righteousness and we will enter and give thanks to the Lord.
Congregation: They are the gates through which I may enter and give thanks for the Lord has become my salvation.
Pastor:  I marvel when I see that which was rejected by the world, has become the foundation of humanity
Congregation: This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Pastor:  Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord, 
Congregation: with boughs in hand we will join the festal procession.
Pastor: You are our God and we give you thanks and exalt your name
Congregation: Give thanks to the Lord who is good and whose love endures forever.

Poem based on Matthew 28:1-10 Easter

Watching from the margins

From the dark edges of the world
As the representatives of power
Guard the rock
Not letting anything happen by chance
Lest the people
In hope
Longing for something better
In the darkness of the morning
Know hope…
The earth rattles
The stones roll
The guards freeze
And hope is born
Watching from the margins they see it
Mary and Mary
Still and silent
They see the open tomb
They see the angel appear
They see the Messiah raised
They see the future of a universe
That has never been
And can never
To what was.

Mary and Mary
You and I
Don’t freeze
Don’t hold on
Don’t stand still…
Run and tell…
And the church is born
To Run and tell.

knock it off

Sunday April 20th, Jeremiah 31: "At that time I will be the God of all of the tribes of Israel," announces the Lord. "And they will be my people." The Lord says, "Some of my people will live through everything their enemies do to them. They will find help in the desert.  I have been in the desert of life, and I am sure that most of you have also been there, but if not, you will be there sometime in your life.  These are the dry times with no love, no hope, nothing feeding your life and you are in a state of mere existence where even taking a breath is hard work.  And yet there is something strangely pleasant in that place.  Facing our darkest hours, we find ourselves comforted somehow.  Without even realizing it we become aware that every breath we take, no matter how laborious, is somehow a prayer.  In that abandoned forlorn place, we are not alone and are often aware of that not-aloneness.  I will be the God of all the tribes of Israel, says the Lord and from that statement it is a short hop to the promise made to Abraham and the realization that God will also be the God of all the tribes of Abraham, both those of Isaac and Ishmael, and through faith that also includes you and I. So put down those rockets, give back the land, stop selling arms and making war for profit and everybody just get along.  Like it or not you are sisters and brothers loved by the same God.  All this bickering and fighting does to God the same thing your children bickering and fighting does to you.  So knock it off and go to your room until you can come out and learn to get along.  

kingdom presence

Monday April 21st, Jeremiah 31: "Once again you will use your tambourines to celebrate. You will go out and dance with joy. Once again you will plant vineyards on the hills of Samaria. Farmers will plant them. They will enjoy their fruit. There will be a day when those on guard duty will cry out. They will stand on the hills of Ephraim. And they will shout, 'Come! Let's go up to Zion. Let's go up to where the Lord our God is.' " Won’t it be a wonderful day when peace among the children of God will be in the land and the children of Isaac and the children of Ishmael and the followers of Jesus and we all go up to the hill together, once and for all accepting one another as brothers and sisters in the family of God?  Won’t it be a wonderful day when the children of God grow up and give up the childish ways of bickering and fighting and recognize that all our differences only reflect the vastness of love of a loving God and father of us all who calls for us to simply get along?  Won’t it be great on that day when we gather on the hills of Ephraim and shout not insults to one another but invitations to come and gather as one people and recognize that the Lord our God is indeed the Lord and God of all?  Won’t it be great?  Until that day, work for the kingdom presence in the world, work for peace and justice.  

time to grow up

Tuesday April 22nd, Acts. 10: Then Peter began to speak: "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.  When the spirit came, Peter started to get "it."  The "It" he got was that God does not show favoritism any more than you show favoritism to your own children.  They are each different, they each have unique needs and talents and wants and foibles, and you love each and every one.  Some parents may wish they would grow up and do this, others you wish would grow up and do that, but in the end you love them and recognize they are each on a path to becoming what they are called to be.  So too God loves all humanity, the creation God formed, breathed life and spirit into and called Good.  God did not just do this for part of humanity, not just for the ones that look like this or that or the ones who express their love for God this way or that way, but humanity, all of humanity.  When we recognize that and we find ourselves on the path to reconciliation, we find ourselves on the path to truly discovering the love of God in our hearts.   


Wednesday April 23rd, Acts 10: He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."  Jesus comes as the one promised from of old.  All the prophets testified to the love of God coming into the world.  Now in this person of Christ, the love is manifest and lives among us, then and now.  What of those who don't believe?  What of those who may use another name or may not recognize Jesus as the Messiah?  If grace is the order of the day and grace is the message of Christ, then it is not dependent upon belief to be manifest in the world or even to be manifest in the unbeliever’s heart.  The message as well as salvation is about Christ, not humanity.  It is about the goodness of God being “gooder” than all the bad in the world.  Our job is to be part of that and preach the "good" news.  Sometimes the church gets that mixed up with judging or claiming exclusive rights to the love of God.  For that we apologize, it just goes to show how much more work there is to do to manifest the love of God, and the vastness of God's grace, in this world.   

hope reborn

Thursday April 24th, Matthew 28:    After the Sabbath, as the first light of the new week dawned, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to keep vigil at the tomb. Suddenly the earth reeled and rocked under their feet as God's angel came down from heaven, came right up to where they were standing. He rolled back the stone and then sat on it. Shafts of lightning blazed from him. His garments shimmered snow-white. The guards at the tomb were scared to death. They were so frightened, they couldn't move. Why do you think God always seems to use the marginalized in society as the witnesses and the messengers of the good news of God’s grace?  The disciples never seem to get it, but the Samaritan woman at the well does, Mary and Mary seem to get it, Nicodemus seems to get it, the woman anointing Jesus with the bottle of ointment seems to get it, and the list goes on and on.   I think that Jesus is good news only for those who, in the deep reaches of their souls, long for something different, long for hope that things will change, long for the grace that can only come from God.  The mainstream often seems to be vested in maintaining what is, keeping its power base going.  It is those in the margins that are looking for hope that will come and lives that will change, especially their own lives.  Mary and Mary, keeping watch, waiting for the dawn while others are sleeping soundly; they are the ones who see.  And what they see is hope reborn.  

Good News

Friday April 25th, Matthew 28: The angel spoke to the women: "There is nothing to fear here. I know you're looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross. He is not here. He was raised, just as he said. Come and look at the place where he was placed. "Now, get on your way quickly and tell his disciples, "He is risen from the dead. He is going on ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there.' That's the message." And the Angel said to them, fear not!!! Where have heard that before?  Every time the messengers of God come into the world, they start with the message “fear not.”   One reason is that the church of that day, just as the church of our day, seems to preach more fear than faith.  The power status quo lives in fear that the power status quo will no longer be the power status quo, so any intrusion of God would indeed be seen as a fearful moment.  To the least, lost and lonely the message is always one of hope, not fear.  Hope is reborn and the message is that the power status quo may not be the power status quo forever which, though it may not seem like it to some, in the long run is good news for all.  

Christ is Risen!

Saturday April 26th, Matthew 28: They ran to tell the disciples. Then Jesus met them, stopping them in their tracks. "Good morning!" he said. They fell to their knees, embraced his feet, and worshiped him. Jesus said, "You're holding on to me for dear life! Don't be frightened like that. Go tell my brothers that they are to go to Galilee, and that I'll meet them there."  It is not about hanging onto Jesus, it is about getting out there and telling others the good news.  Jesus is risen, and now the ball is in our court.  Go tell the good news that hope is reborn in the world and in people’s lives.  Go tell the good news that death ultimately holds sway over us no more.  Go tell the good news that life begins anew each day and the sins that plagued our lives plague them only when and to the degree we let them, because forgiveness is the name of the game and Christ is alive.  Christ is Risen, Christ is Risen indeed!!  Christ is Risen, Christ is Risen indeed!!  Christ is Risen, Christ is Risen indeed!!


10w for April 13th, Palm Sunday.

The following is a 10 minute worship for April 13th, Palm Sunday. You can listen on the flash player below. You now also have the option of receiving these notices each week and on festival days by signing up for the 10W constant contact email list on the right side of the 10W blog where it says "Please Join our Email List." The song for the day is Christ Our Savior Lutheran singing Amazing Grace.



Passion Sunday, and where was Mom?


Poem based on Matthew 26:14-27:66 Passion Sunday

Ride on Ride on in Majesty
Through the dusty streets
The crowds raise up their voices
And with hosannas greet
The horseman and his mighty legions
Law and order to keep
Leather, shields and swords
Marching in perfect step
The one who represents the son of god
His symbol leads the way
All the dignitaries were there
As he entered through the gate
Pilot rode in up the white horse
Onward solders marching
As to war
Ready to keep the peace and any cost
Life was secondary
Marching on in majesty
The flexing imperial power of Rome
On this powder keg celebration
of liberation
and the leaders came to see
on the other end of the holy city
a simple procession
down the hill and through the dusty streets
no armor, helmets or swords
only their voices, cloaks and a few palm branches
to line the way
of the
This is My Son
My Beloved
In whom I am well pleased
Riding on a small gently colt
While the shouts went up
Hosanna to the Son of David
The stones ready to roar
Pilot will be sore if he hears
Hosannas from the heart
The stage is set
Majesties ride on
To the climax of the ages
New beginnings, fresh start
A meal
And coins change hands
And soon the beginning of the end
For the son of man
The dark night
Three times before the dawn
Another procession
A man dripping red
No hosannas this time
Only shame
Only dread
And soon the sound of spikes hammered
And blood being drawn
While silent
From a distance
The people looked on
Jesus remember me in paradise today
Forgive them
It is finished
Some heard him say
The darkness
The earth quake
The curtain torn in two
Hopes dashed and power roared
As the body was laid to rest
The tomb sealed
Life back to normal
And yet
Off in the distance a glimmer of light
Fresh breeze in the air
In the dark early morning
The body wasn’t there….

Opening Litany based on Psalm 31:9-16

Pastor: Be merciful to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief.

Congregation: My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak.

Pastor: Because of all my enemies, I am the utter contempt of my neighbors; I am a dread to my friends— those who see me on the street flee from me.

Congregation: I am forgotten by them as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery. For I hear the slander of many; there is terror on every side; they conspire against me and plot to take my life.

Pastor: But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, "You are my God." My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me.

Congregation: Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love.

which parade?

Sunday April 13th, Matthew 21: They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest!” As Jesus was riding into Jerusalem from Cesaria Phillipi to the North East of Jerusalem, Pilate was coming into Jerusalem from his palace in Cesaria Mauritania to the North West of Jerusalem.  On that Passover there were two processions entering the City, each representing a kingdom.  From the West was the power of Rome.  The royal Roman eagle on the staff, magnificent horses, regal attire followed by a mighty army, entering the city to keep order during this week of celebration of the liberation of the children of God from the rulers of power in Egypt.  He was met with shouts of Hosanna, king of kings, lord of lords, mighty god of mighty gods and the prince of peace. From the East came the one called Jesus.  He was riding on a donkey, like the beloved king David. He was greeted with shouts of Hosanna and Son of David, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Mighty God of Mighty Gods and Prince of Peace.  He came in the name of, and represented, the Kingdom of God.  Two kingdoms, entering the Holy City from opposite directions during the Passover week in which the people were celebrating liberation from slavery.  Is there any doubt conflict would follow.  

expedient balancing act

Monday April 14th, Matthew 26: At that very moment, the party of high priests and religious leaders was meeting in the chambers of the Chief Priest named Caiaphas, conspiring to seize Jesus by stealth and kill him. They agreed that it should not be done during Passover Week. "We don't want a riot on our hands,” The Chief Priest and Caiaphas were not evil people.  They were good people, trying to live good lives and walk that tightrope between serving their people and keeping the Romans, who ruled the area, happy.  They also happened to be  politically motivated and resourceful, much like the politicians we love and hate in Washington today.  They were in power, it is true, but a tenuous power it was.  In this occupied land they were able to rule over their people only because Rome allowed them to do so as long as they kept order.  It worked for Rome, it worked for the power structure of the Hebrew people.  Maintain order your way or Rome would maintain order its way, and so a politically expedient balancing act was the norm.  Jesus was a threat to that balance.  He had already gathered a crowd of his own who dared to greet him as the liberator king during this liberation celebration.  To the ones at the top, the goal was maintaining status quo.  To the ones at the bottom, the goal was hope.  Hope is always a threat to the status quo when maintaining power is seen as the bottom line.  

break open the flask

Tuesday April 15th, Matthew 26: When Jesus was at Bethany, a guest of Simon the Leper, a woman came up to him as he was eating dinner and anointed him with a bottle of very expensive perfume. When the disciples saw what was happening, they were furious. "That's criminal! This could have been sold for a lot and the money handed out to the poor." When Jesus realized what was going on, he intervened. "Why are you giving this woman a hard time? She has just done something wonderfully significant for me. You will have the poor with you every day for the rest of your lives, but not me.  First the question; who is Simon the Leper?  Some commentaries make the leap that he was someone who was healed by Jesus of his leprosy, others say that it is a misinterpretation and he was a pottery maker, and still others say that he was just a Pharisee with that name for some unknown reason.  All scripture says is that this is what he was called and Jesus went to his house for dinner.  While there, a woman came in and using very expensive perfume anointed Jesus.  Simon the Leper seemed to say nothing of note.  At least some of the disciples were concerned that they were not in charge of the money this could bring into their coffers, and Jesus was just grateful for the anointing and adoration before his burial. He then points out that the task of the Church, first and foremost is to worship God, as did the woman with the perfume.  Jesus’ second statement is the reminder that we will always have the poor with us, which is not a call to ignore them, but rather to take care for them also.  It is an echo of Jesus answer to what is the greatest commandment, to love God and to love others, with love being used as a verb not a noun.  Sometimes the church gets all caught up in other agendas and fights and comfort levels, we are after all made up of failing and sinful people.  For each church question the counter question needs to be asked, how does this move forward the agenda of honoring God and caring for those in need.  If it doesn’t fit into those two areas, it still might be a good thing to do, but it is not central to who we are and what we are called to do.  Perhaps it is time to break open the flask and honor Jesus first and foremost and to honor our neighbor as ourselves.  And to do it in that order.

good - life

Wednesday April 16th, Matthew 26: During the meal, Jesus took and blessed the bread, broke it, and gave it to his disciples: Take, eat.  This is my body. Taking the cup and thanking God, he gave it to them: Drink this, all of you. This is my blood, God's new covenant poured out for many people for the forgiveness of sins. "I'll not be drinking wine from this cup again until that new day when I'll drink with you in the kingdom of my Father." They sang a hymn and went directly to Mount Olives.   The disciples are gathered with their teacher for the Passover celebration of liberation.  Some by now even know him as the Christ, and they are celebrating together the meal of and calling for, liberation.  The bread is broken, symbolizing the liberation of the people, is it shared for all to eat, for all are in bondage to sin.  The cup is shared for all to drink, the blood of the sacrifice of the Passover lamb, and soon the blood of Christ, bringing freedom to all.  We too gather in the name of our God and we celebrate these moments in our worship.  Freedom rings, no matter how power or practicality tries to rob us of it, no matter how we run from it into the arms of self-satisfaction and false hope.  Life is given to all, and we, you and I and all, are invited to the table to partake in this ultimate gift of freedom.  We are called not only to participate in, but to bring this ultimate gift of freedom to all, not just those who understand, or belong, or even believe, but to all.  It is the gift of God, calling all that exists into being and calling it good.  It is life.


Thursday April 17th, Matthew 26:Then they came on him--grabbed him and roughed him up. One of those with Jesus pulled his sword and, taking a swing at the Chief Priest's servant, cut off his ear. Jesus said, "Put your sword back where it belongs. All who use swords are destroyed by swords. Don't you realize that I am able right now to call to my Father, and twelve companies--more, if I want them--of fighting angels would be here, battle-ready? But if I did that, how would the Scriptures come true that say this is the way it has to be?" How quickly we turn to the sword.  How quickly we doubt God’s power and replace God with our illusion of Power.   How quickly we justify our sword with doing God’s will, bringing freedom, democracy, hope to those poor people out there somewhere,  when in reality we all know the sword is always about our power, someone else’s death and our greed.  School shootings are met with the solution of more guns, staggering economies with more tax cuts for those who profit from war and weapons to give us the illusion of power.  Jesus brings freedom from the need to be in control and freedom for the promotion of a world in which guns and swords no longer exists.  There are no second amendment rights in heaven. 

the rest of the story

Friday April 18th, Matthew 27: -After they had finished nailing him to the cross and were waiting for him to die, they whiled away the time by throwing dice for his clothes. Above his head they had posted the criminal charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Along with him, they also crucified two criminals, one to his right, the other to his left. People passing along the road jeered, shaking their heads in mock lament: "You bragged that you could tear down the Temple and then rebuild it in three days--so show us your stuff! Save yourself! If you're really God's Son, come down from that cross!"  This was meant to be the ultimate insult, the king of the Jews, hanging there on the cross dying a slow and agonizing death.  It was meant as the insult to the marginalized and controlled people in the occupied lands by the powers who are laughing.  The real joke is that it does not go far enough.  Instead of king of the Jews, Jesus was at that moment was not only King of the Jews, but King of all creation, including those who would both laugh and mourn at his passing.  Those who are laughing, mocking, jeering as well as you and I, are all recipients of God’s love in spite of the laughing, mocking and jeering.  This is the message; Christ died for you, and did not stay on the cross or in the tomb.  The rest of the story is next week.  

what's next?

Saturday April 19th, Matthew 27: After sundown, the high priests and Pharisees arranged a meeting with Pilate. They said, "Sir, we just remembered that that liar announced while he was still alive, "After three days I will be raised.' We've got to get that tomb sealed until the third day. There's a good chance his disciples will come and steal the corpse and then go around saying, "He's risen from the dead.' Then we'll be worse off than before, the final deceit surpassing the first." Pilate told them, "You will have a guard. Go ahead and secure it the best you can." So they went out and secured the tomb, sealing the stone and posting guards.  Not understanding the power of God, we think only of the human quest for power.  In the human power equation there is manipulation and sleight of hand.  In the human equation there is concern for what is in it for me.  In the God side there is hope for a future for this creation called good, there is forgiveness, and there is a calling to treat one another as we would our own flesh and blood.  The King of the Jews was buried in that tomb and the powers that be assumed that hope and a longing for the freedom that comes with forgiveness and welcoming one another as brothers and sisters in Christ, was buried there also.  What happens next is for all of creation called good to see.  


Animation on John 11, Lazarus Come Forth

10w for April 6th, Jesus Condemned, NL.

The following is a 10 minute worship for April 6th, Jesus Condemned, NL. You can listen on the flash player below. You now also have the option of receiving these notices each week and on festival days by signing up for the 10W constant contact email list on the right side of the 10W blog where it says "Please Join our Email List." The song for the day is Christ Our Savior Lutheran singing How Deep the Father's Love for us.

10w for April 6th, Lazarus Come Forth, L5.

The following is a 10 minute worship for April 6th, Lazarus Come Forth, L5.  You can listen on the flash player below. You now also have the option of receiving these notices each week and on festival days by signing up for the 10W constant contact email list on the right side of the 10W blog where it says "Please Join our Email List." The song for the day is Christ Our Savior Lutheran singing Precious Lord, Take My Hand.

Poem based on 5th Sunday in Lent John 11:1-53

Life, Death

in the span of things
they are all part of the one
all part of who we are
Life limited to the here and now
Death, beyond that
and loving yet
by a God who loves on this side of the grave
and beyond
Come out Lazarus
Come out that the world me see
not so much one risen
but the one for whom
rising and living and dying
are all part of love
May the love of Christ
be with you now and forever more

Opening Litany based on Psalm 130

Pastor: Out of the deepest parts of my life I cry to you, LORD; Let your ears be attentive and hear my cries for mercy.

Congregation: If indeed the LORD kept a record of sins, who could stand before the Lord our God?

Pastor: Instead of records, there is forgiveness so that all might know of the joy of serving the Lord. 

Congregation: In my life, I put my trust in the Lord and wait for the LORD.  My whole being waits for the Lord; for it is there that I put my hope. 

Pastor: With a longing in our souls, we are like the night watchman waiting for the morning to fill our lives with light.  

Congregation: People of God, put you hope in the Lord for there you will find unfailing love and the fullness of redemption.  For the Lord will redeem the children of God from all their sins.  

I hear something

Sunday April 6th, Ezekiel 37:  1 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" I said, "O Sovereign LORD, you alone know." 4 Then he said to me, "Prophesy to these bones and say to them, 'Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! 5 This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.  There are times when the ministry of the church feels like a valley of dry bones.  With the decline in attendance in most churches except for the most radical and intolerant, now seems like one of those times. It is tempting at these times to look around and feel utterly helpless, all you want to do is sit in the dust and weep at the frustration.  Sometimes, if your ears and heart are open, in the midst of that frustration there is a still small voice that says to prophesy that the dry bones come to life.  It seems futile, and without God at the helm, without God being behind that still small voice it most likely is futile.  But if the voice is from God, even though it may feel futile, it isn’t. Prophesying alone for prophesy sake is futile.  Prophesying and praying with the family of God however opens the doors to hope.  Pew research says that people are leaving the denominational churches, and my experience and the experience of many of my fellow pastors confirms that.  We struggle with whether the good solid theology of the denominational churches can survive the draw to fun worship?  Some even toy with whether it is possible to have both good theology and fun worship?  I don’t have any answers right now, I am busy sitting in the dust, looking at the dry bones with stains on my cheeks from my tears running down my face…. But off in the distance I think I hear something….  


Monday April 7th, Ezekiel 37: 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.  11 Then he said to me: "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, 'Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.' 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: O my people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD.' “The prophesying was the act of Ezekiel; the breath was the gift of God.  This same breath moved over the waters in creation.  This same breath entered in the lump of humus and created humans, or as it says in the Hebrew, it entered into the adamah and created Adam.  Breath on us Lord, bring your recreating spirit to this place and fill us anew with your spirit.  In a world that sees the message of Christ as being against, help us to bring forth the message of being for; for the sake of the needy, for the lost and the lonely, for the dispossessed, for the children who suffer from too much and those who suffer from not enough, for the lives that are hollow and dry, empty and dead, for…..   Help us to be the voice that prophesies to all whose lives who are so busy that they are empty of that for which they are searching.  Help us to be the voice that prophesies to all whose lives who are so busy that there is more than just keeping themselves and their children busy, and that their kids deserve more than just another activity or sport or vacation or lesson. Help us to be the voice that prophesies to all whose lives who are too busy, that they may open their eyes and hearts and realize that without a connection to God, they lose more than just a little free time on Sunday morning. Fill your Church O Lord with the mighty wind of your spirit and blow away the complacency of pew potato christianity with a small “c” and replace it with the life giving, life breathing blast of Your Spirit. Fill our lungs and our hearts and our souls once More O Lord, not with your peace that lulls us into complacency, but with an uneasiness that keeps us moving to your voice, your calling, your grace. Amen.

fill us

Tuesday April 8th, Romans 8: 6 If our minds are ruled by our desires, we will die. But if our minds are ruled by the Spirit, we will have life and peace. 7 Our desires fight against God, because they do not and cannot obey God's laws. 8 If we follow our desires, we cannot please God.  9 You are no longer ruled by your desires, but by God's Spirit, who lives in you.  I want, I want, I WANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  And when we get, we often find ourselves filled with only more want.  If there is an emptiness within you that does not seem to be easily satisfied, a hole that longs to be whole, try prayer and ask the Spirit to fill the hole in your life with the wholeness the comes from God.  Ask not for what you want, but ask instead for the Lord to fill your heart with what it needs.  Let that emptiness within you melt away with the light of Christ and the warmth of his love just as the snow melts away with the coming of spring.  Fill us with your Spirit O Lord and breathe in us once again the breath of new life.  

start living

Wednesday April 9th, John 11: 3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, "Lord, the one you love is sick." 4 When he heard this, Jesus said, "This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it." 5 Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days.   Two More Days!?!?!?!?!?!  What was he thinking?  And yet, the whole focus was on love.  Love for the people, love for Mary and Martha, and love for Lazarus.  Anyone who has had a near death experience knows that Lazarus had the hardest time.  He was in that peaceful place, surrounded by the love of God and the combined love of all creation when he hears his name being called to go back.  Nooooooooooooooo! Jesus, they won’t listen, not even with that.  But back he comes.  Some are comforted for a while, but it is more than comfort, it is a foretaste of what is to come.  Lazarus will die again, and soon.  This is the event that starts the rulers plotting Jesus’ death. But this event in a small village sets the stage and gives us a hint of what God has in mind for all of humanity; life, in this world and in the next.  Listen to his voice now and start living.  


Thursday April 10th, John 11: 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.  32When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." 33When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34"Where have you laid him?" he asked. "Come and see, Lord," they replied.  35 Jesus wept. This last verse, “Jesus wept” is the shortest verse in scripture.  Jesus demonstrates the compassion of God in these two words.  Faced with deep deep sorrow, Jesus felt that sorrow and does the only thing he can do at that point.  He is drawn into that deep sorrow and weeps.  Are the tears for Lazarus or Mary or Martha or are they a reaction to the deep sorrow in that place?  Before we do the all too common pastoral thing, stepping in to fix something, it is a call to sit and truly connect with those involved.  This is not religion doing to, it is religion with, it is God, being with us in that moment.  How do we minister in the church?  Do we minister to, or do we connect with and minister with those in need.  If it is to, we are just a religious handyman, tool belt in place and ready to go.  If we minister with, then we are the presence of God, and it is OK, as with Jesus, to cry.  


Friday April 11th, John 11:  41So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me."  43When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" 44The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, "Take off the grave clothes and let him go."  Jesus did the healing, the calling forth, but Jesus also called into play the actions of others.  You take off the grave clothes and let him go from that which would bind him, what a beautiful description of ministry.  Jesus calls forth and we unbind.  Too often the church has been in the binding rather than the unbinding business.  We bind with our traditions and rules, our histories and our hysteria.  The old jokes about how many (fill in the blank with any religion) does it take to change a light bulb, are just humorous ways of looking at the bindings we use, it is a way to begin to see our chains and dogmas that hold us down.   Our calling is to unbind and Jesus is calling us out of our tombs to do it.  

come to life

Saturday April 12th, John 11: The Plot to Kill Jesus  45 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him.  I included the title, “the plot to kill Jesus” as a way to mark what happens when we do ministry well.  When we successfully find ways to unbind others from the wrappings that are keeping them down, there will be a reaction.  The reaction here was that things were getting out of hand and the power structure was getting a bit shaky and sensing a loss of control.  Worst of all, someone was about to lose some power and money connections, and the only solution the structure could come up with was that someone had to die.  Imagine what would happen if the church was able to confront and do something about injustice in this world?  We Would pay the price, but perhaps in the process we would also come to life.  


10w for March 30th, Jesus & Pilate, NL.

The following is a 10 minute worship for March 30th, Jesus & Pilate, NL. You can listen on the flash player below. You now also have the option of receiving these notices each week and on festival days by signing up for the 10W constant contact email list on the right side of the 10W blog where it says "Please Join our Email List." The song for the day is Christ Our Savior Lutheran singing Abide with me.


10w for March 30th, Blind and seeing, L4.

The following is a 10 minute worship for March 30th, Blind and seeing, L4. You can listen on the flash player below. You now also have the option of receiving these notices each week and on festival days by signing up for the 10W constant contact email list on the right side of the 10W blog where it says "Please Join our Email List." The song for the day is Christ Our Savior Lutheran singing Amazing Grace.


John 9, I saw the light

Narrative Lectionary, John 18, What is truth?


Poem based on 4th Sunday in Lent John 9:1-41

Agendas, agendas

this just does not fit.
We have the world all figured out
and not this
it does not fit.
It is not E=MC2
or blue and yellow make green
This is pigs flying
and cancer cured
and it does not fit into the world
as I have created it.
            And Jesus spat on the ground
            Made clay and put it on his eyes
            And told him to wash in the pool
How then can this be?
If the world does not run by my/our
fixed rules
Where can I put my trust? 
My faith?
            and his eyes were opened
            through faith
                        in Christ

                        of Christ

Opening Litany based on Psalm 23 and healing the blind man

Pastor:There are times when we seem almost blind to the blessings that surround us.  In the midst of our fear, our pain, our complacency, we either don’t see or don’t care about the Lord’s presence in our lives.  But then something happens, the scales fall from our eyes and we see what has been there all along.

Congregation: The LORD is our shepherd, we shall not be in want for the Lord makes us lie down in green pastures, and leads me beside quiet waters. The Lord restores my soul and guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 

Pastor: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for the Lord is with me; The Lord’s guidance comforts me.

Congregation: For the Lord prepares a table before us in the presence of those who would harm us. The Lord provides us with all we need and our cup of blessing overflows. 

Pastor: Surely goodness and love will follow us all the days of my lives,

Congregation: And we will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

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