Salem Lutheran Church

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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…

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…

Invited to Gather: Filled with Grace

Living in community is never easy. It would be so much easier if we could just live in a world where everything we did, said, or thought was the way we wanted it. But, the truth is, that’s not how things work and that’s not how God created us to be. God created us to be in community. As we heard two weeks ago, living in community means that at times we will experience conflict, and…

Invited to Gather in Community

Well, if you ask me, this set of rules that Jesus has laid out for us in this story today makes a lot of sense, and it doesn’t sound that difficult, does it? I mean if someone sins against you, go talk to them, face to face. If they listen to you and respond positively, then move on. Your relationship has been restored. But, if they don’t listen, you have more work to do. Jesus says at this…

Sent to Love: A Journey of Faith

Our gospel story today actually began last week with Jesus asking the disciples “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” (16:13). In response, they reported that on the street people were saying he was John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or another one of the prophets. But Jesus also wanted to know who the disciples thought he was, and when he asked them, Simon Peter said, “You are…

Sent to Love: To Discover God

When we left off last week, after some convincing, Jesus had offered healing for the daughter of a Canaanite woman. Through this woman’s persistence, Jesus came to realize that God had sent him to bring the Gospel to all people, not just the Jews. From there, Matthew tells us that Jesus went on to heal even more people, and out of compassion for those in need that Jesus fed over 4000 people…

Sent to Love: Speak & Act for Justice

I love Jesus and I love the promise of salvation he brings to this world. But, there are times that his words and actions greatly disappoint me and today’s lesson is one of these times. Reverend David Lose, the senior pastor at Mount Olivet Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, a congregation of over 14000 members, and the most recent president of Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia,…

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