Sermons

What Do You Say?

A few weeks ago, I was gathered with fellow worship leaders Pastor Aune, Kathy Andrews, and Lisa Griffin to plan a year’s worth of worship at Augustana. It is a tall task to sit together and envision what our worship lives will look like together through an entire year, and as we work together we also suggest new ideas and re-envision old ones. As I was suggesting one idea, the always-sage Kathy Andrews asked how it might work from a liturgical and theological perspective. I explained how I thought it would work, and I’ll admit I stretched a little to make the point. She noted that I could probably find a way to make anything make sense. She joked, “If we said we should have a zebra in worship, you’d find a way for it to work.” At which point, I explained that since zebras are white and black they do a good job of representing both our pure, sinless selves and our dark, sinful selves and were actually a very liturgical animal.

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A Practical Faith

Dear friends in Christ, grace and peace. Amen.
Webster defines practical in this way – pertaining to practice or action; or capable of being turned to use or account; useful, in distinction from ideal or theoretical.
But you already knew that didn’t you.
Practical is something you can use and put into action.
Practical is helpful, hands on, not theoretical or abstract.

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Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors

Paul didn’t know what to expect when he got on board that ship. They’d been traipsing for weeks all over Asia Minor, what we would now call the Asian part of Turkey, with no luck. Now all of a sudden, Paul had this dream, telling him to cross the sea and head for Macedonia. With nothing else to guide them but that vision, they got on board a ship. How were they to know what they would find over there?

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My People

The story of Esther is one of the great stories of the Bible. It has intrigue, humor, danger, and victory. It is the story that sets up the Jewish festival of Purim, which is marked with great celebrations and public readings of this very story. But there are a few things that this story doesn’t have: namely, it has no mention of God. Martin Luther once said that he wished the book did not exist at all for this reason. However, if we were without Esther’s story, we would be without a story of themes that are central to our faith, even if our faith is not specifically named. The story of Esther is a story of boldness in proclamation, of unified identity with all believers, of confidence in God’s guidance, and ultimately, salvation.

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