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The Rear-View Mirror or the Windshield?

Sunday, July 15, 2012 — Pentecost 7B — Mark 6:14-29

Recently I was driving down 96th Street, when I suddenly hit something. I heard a loud thump. What was that? I looked up in the rear view mirror and saw a brown and white cat go limping off the road. I felt terrible. What had I done? That cat was probably some child’s pet. I stared in the rear view mirror as I saw it crawl along the roadside. Should I go back and help it? I watched it’s movements in the rear view mirror get slower and slower. Suddenly I heard a horn sound. I looked up through the windshield and saw that I had drifted off into the left lane with another car headed straight for me. I slammed on the brakes, jerked the wheel to the right and just missed colliding with the oncoming car. Whew! That was scary. What did I think I was doing? You can’t drive a car by looking through the rear view mirror. You drive a car by looking through the windshield.

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Who Moved My Cheese?

Sunday, June 24, 2012 — Nativity of St. John The Baptist — Luke 1:57-67

In 1998 Spencer Johnson publish his amazingly popular book “Who Moved My Cheese.” It remained a bestseller for over 5 years. People still quote it. The book is a playful little parable on change, involving two mice and two “little people” and their hunt for cheese. “Who Moved my Cheese” shows us that change is constant. However, we are afraid to change and find all kinds of reasons not to change. Failing to change in a world of constant change is choosing to die.The book has been a favorite of business leaders for teaching their organizations about change. It reveals that most of us instinctively resist change. It is easy to get comfortable and settled in our routines. However, if your business does not change, you will die.

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LOL - Laugh Out Loud

Sunday, June 17, 2012 — Pentecost 3B — Mark 4:26-34

There is nothing like a good joke. We all enjoy a good laugh. We even have text language for it: LOL. When we get the joke, we simply want to enjoy it . . . and LOL.Likewise, nothing ruins a good joke by having to explain it. At the risk of ruining a good joke, I am going to explain the jokes that are at the heart of the two parables in today’s Gospel. Yes, parables are jokes. The key to every parable is a punch line. It will make us LOL. A joke works when we experience a surprise, something we never expected. We can see that even in a simple “knock-knock” joke. For example, “Knock, Knock. . . . Who’s there? . . . Cash. . . . Cash who? . . . . No thanks but I would like some peanuts?” The punch line is unexpected. We did not expect that this “Knock. Knock” was about nuts.

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A Family Picture

Sunday, June 10, 2012 — Pentecost 3B — Genesis 3:8-15

I never knew my father’s parents, William and Emma. However, I have this old tattered snapshot of them sitting on the front porch of their house in Richmond Heights, Missouri. My grandfather’s large, rough hands are folded on his knees. They are the hands of a man who spent most of his working life as a shoemaker. How odd? Are there any shoemakers in this country any more? His wife sitting at his side seems like a total stranger. Both died long before I was born. However, I see some of myself in their eyes. I also see the eyes of my brothers and my children. I see a pious German-Lutheran couple both naturalized Americans, who were so proud that their son, my father, had decided to go into the ministry of the church. I think of myself . . . and that my ancestors still live on in me.

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The Trinity: How Unprofessional of God!

Sunday, June 3, 2012 — Holy Trinity —

We humans always want to reverse God’s relationship to the world. We want God to be professional in the way that we want to be professional. We fear being dependent on anyone or anything. Success means that we have the power, money and strength to be independent, able to control our own lives, to live and do the things we want to do without having to worry about anyone else.

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