Salem Lutheran Church

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Love Wins!

"Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.” (Luke 24:5). Now we do not know who all the women were that went to the tomb that first Easter morning, but according to Luke we do know three of them by name that there were at least five; Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James (24:10). Don’t you wonder how long it took them to believe what the angels…

Good Grief

Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter services are holy and foundational to our faith. But one thing I love about celebrating Good Friday, in particular, is that it naturally leaves space for grief. The songs and scripture reflect grieving and lamenting. Too often, church services or conversations in faith communities do not give enough time for expressions of pain, loss, and grief. We want…

Love Commanded

So, how did you like the foot washing? I noticed that most of you preferred to wash hands instead. Why was that? We really don’t like to show our feet to other people, do we? And, we really don’t like to touch other people’s feet? Our feet tend to often be dirty and a little smelly, don’t they? Many of us don’t like to touch our own feet, let alone someone else’s. But feet can also be…

A Love Story

We’ve heard a lot of Scripture today, haven’t we? We began our morning by reading Luke’s version of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. And we heard Paul’s words to the Philippians as he encouraged his followers: Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but…

Palms to Passion

The great dichotomy Sunday is upon us: where we begin with Hosannas and celebration, and quickly move to the story of Christ’s passion and betrayal. Holy Week continues as we show Christ’s love by serving each other on Maundy Thursday, and contemplate His sacrifice with beautiful music in the Good Friday Tenebrae service.

I love the word dichotomy: it is a contrast between two things,…

An Unexpected Love

So here we are on the 5th Sunday in Lent, and instead of hearing from the Gospel of Luke, as we will on most Sundays this year, our Gospel story today is from the Gospel of John.

So, let me set the scene for you. Jesus has been preaching and teaching and healing throughout Galilee for quite some time and he has become famous. Now, unlike the other Gospel stories, in this Gospel,…

Old Words for a Modern World

One of my favorite things I do each spring is meet with our second-graders and teach them about Holy Communion. This year, we have nine students and their parents attending the three-evening First Communion classes, where they are learning about this incredible gift God gives us. Then, on Maundy Thursday, they will receive their First Communion.

This week we learned about forgiveness…

Perfect Love Freely Given

“Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to [Jesus.] And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them” (Luke 15:1-2)

Reading these two verses reminds me of me. I have to confess, I am guilty of often looking around and comparing myself to others. I often try to justify my actions based on the bad actions…

The Forgiving Father

I was recently surprised to hear our scripture for this week, the beloved story of the prodigal son, described instead as the story of the forgiving father. How would you describe it? The story of the spoiled kid who wasted his inheritance? His father who continued to spoil him when he returned? His loyal brother who was taken for granted? We tend to err on the side of judgment: how we feel…

The Love of Grace

Today, we begin with the age-old question of why do bad things happen, or more precisely, why do bad things happen to good people? Why? We always want to know the why, and, of course, in Jesus’ day, the assumption was if something bad happened to you then you weren’t living right. You had done something wrong, or maybe your parents had done something wrong, that caused God to be angry with you,…

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