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getting out the WORD - the 24th sunday after pentecost
Written by Pastor Bob   
Wednesday, 22 November 2017 22:23

the PRAYER...
Righteous God, our merciful master, you own the earth and all its peoples, and you give us all that we have. Inspire us to serve you with justice and wisdom, and prepare us for the joy of the day of your coming, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

the READING...
[Jesus said to the disciples:] "As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

Matthew 25:1-13

the DEVOTION...
Finally! A passage we Americans can understand! One we can sink our teeth into! One we can believe in! One we can live by! Where value and worth are determined by what we earn, by what we deserve!

One slave receives five talents and makes five talents! Another receives two and makes two more! A third receives one but adds nothing to it. Digs a hole! Hides it away! And when all is done and said, that one is declared worthless. Outer darkness! Weeping! Gnashing! We listen and, then, we say, "Praise to you, O Christ!"

But we need to look, again. No one redeemed. No one delivered. Not a word about love or forgiveness, about Jesus or cross. No promise given. No faith inspired. Sure, it's chapter and verse! Yes, it's printed in red! But this is not - IS NOT - the gospel of the Lord! In fact, it's everything that gospel isn't! So, at times like this, it's important to remember what good news really, truly is... In the grace and mercy of god, Jesus Christ was given... to die for us... and for his sake... god forgives... each and every... one and all... period... exclamation mark... end of sentence...
Bob Barndt, pastor

 
getting out the WORD - all saints sunday
Written by Pastor Bob   
Thursday, 09 November 2017 12:37

the PRAYER...
Almighty God, you have knit your people together in one communion in the mystical body of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Grant us grace to follow your blessed saints in lives of faith and commitment, and to know the inexpressible joys you have prepared for those who love you, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

the READING...
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying...

Matthew 5:1-12

the DEVOTION...
Sunday morning, about the time we were reading these words here in Midland, a man with a gun was walking into a little church, 374 miles away - a little church a lot like ours - about to change the world, once again, forever. And for the past few days, it's been "interesting" to hear the reaction. Our state's attorney general advocated armed guards at worship. Our governor said something about confronting and overcoming evil by using the forces of God. Our president talked about a mental health problem at the highest level.

But it was something the pastor said that caught my attention. He and his wife had been away, that morning. Unfortunately, their fourteen-year-old daughter wasn't. "I don't understand," he said, "but I know my God understands." As a pastor myself, I have to admit, it sounded like one of those things I pull out when there's absolutely nothing else to say. "I don't understand, but I know my God does." But I'm not, really, sure what that means. God's plan? Happened for a reason? For the best? I just don't know.

The only thing I'm sure of is that god isn't untouched or unmoved by it all. God is just as shocked and just as stunned. Just as hurt and just as confused and just as angry. What makes it more difficult for god, though, is that god can't -won't - turn the 'shooter' into a thing. Into Someone-Whose-Name-Will-Not-Be-Spoken. God mourns for Devin Patrick as much as god grieves for the others. And I think god is, also, amazed. Astonished that this is something we humans do to each other. Astounded that this is something we allow to happen... again... and again... and again... and again...

Bob Barndt, pastor

 
getting out the WORD - reformation sunday
Written by Pastor Bob   
Thursday, 02 November 2017 10:29

the PRAYER...
Almighty God, gracious Lord, we thank you that your Holy Spirit renews the church in every age. Pour out your Holy Spirit on your faithful people. Keep them steadfast in your word, protect and comfort them in times of trial, defend them against all enemies of the gospel, and bestow on the church your saving peace, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

the READING...
Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."

John 8:31-36

the DEVOTION...
Four "gospels." Three look at Jesus, pretty much, from the same vantage point: Matthew, Mark, and Luke. And then, there's John! The gospel that marches to its own drummer! Reading through this week's passage, the word that jumps out is the word 'truth.' A word used once in Matthew, three times each in Mark and Luke, and twenty-one - count 'em - twenty-one times in John! Of course, our first instinct is to read it like it came from a Superman comic. "Truth, justice, and the American way!" Hard and fast. Chapter and verse. Written in stone. No compromise. No concessions.

But for John, truth is more human, more humane, than that. Truth for John has a warmth, a breath, a heartbeat. In fact, just five-and-a-half chapters from now, Jesus will say, "I am the truth!" Truth is Jesus! And the same goes for Reformation. Reform isn't formula or fact. Or philosophy or ideal. Reform - right from the start - has always been person! Jesus! Given! Shed! For all!

Bob Barndt, pastor

 
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