Salem Lutheran Church

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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…

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 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,…

Love What You Do

Last week I spoke about how we ought to love who we are. After all, we are children of God. We are created in God’s image and we are those God has commanded to care for and nurture all of God’s creation. So if we are to love who we are, it only makes sense to me that we ought to also love what we do. That is, if we love who we are and the gifts God has given each of us individually, and communally,…

Stay Focused

Well, we began the season of Lent last week with the celebration of Ash Wednesday, and now we are on our 40-day journey to the cross. Lent is that season in the church year when we talk about repentance a lot. For many of us, when we hear this word, we think of confessing our sins, those things we have done that are against the ways of God. Lent is not only remembering our sins; it is, perhaps,…

Love Who You Are

Now, just before the start of our story today, Luke had told of Jesus’ baptism. Luke said that while Jesus was praying right after his baptism, “the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove” (Luke 3:21-22) and then, much like we heard in the Transfiguration story from last week, God spoke, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased."…

The Practice of Love

Today, begins our 40-day journey of Lent. That time between Ash Wednesday and Easter when we are invited to examine our own lives so that we might identify those things that keep us from fully loving God and from living the lives we have been created to live. It is a time in which we are challenged to give up, or fast from, those things that prevent us from living lives that that glorify God.

Now,…

The Bright Love of God

As we begin our story today, Luke says, “Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up the mountain to pray” (Luke 9:28). The first question we ought to ask ourselves is this: Eight days after what “sayings”? Well, if we go back just a few verses, we learn that about eight days earlier Jesus had been praying privately when the disciples…

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