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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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See My Lawyer!

Sunday, May 27, 2012 — Day of Pentecost — John 15:26-27; 17:4b-15

The legal profession has always been a lightning rod of controversy and a source of contention. William Shakespeare in his play Henry VI once recommended that we ought to kill all the lawyers for all the harm they do. Much of the criticism and ridicule that is directed at lawyers is unfair. It reflects more the distortion of a stereotype than the truth of reality. Who of us, if we were in trouble, would not want a lawyer? If we were the target of an unfair accusation, would not be grateful to say, “See my lawyer?” Today we celebrate the birth of the church on that first Pentecost when (according to our First Reading from the book of Acts) in the midst of tongues of fire, the sound of a rushing wind and miracle of many languages the Holy Spirit was poured upon Jesus’ disciples. In today’s Gospel Jesus calls that Holy Spirit . . . a lawyer.

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Beyond the Golden Rule

Sunday, May 13, 2012 — Easter 6 B — John 15:9-17

Some things in life can be commanded and some cannot. A general can command his army to charge into battle to defend its country, but cannot command them to love their country. A boss can command his workers to meet certain production quotas, but he cannot command them to love their jobs. A parent can command that her child eat her spinach, but she cannot command her to love her spinach. Today we command children to remember their mothers, but we cannot command them to love their mothers. We can command many things from people, but one thing we can never command from them: their love. We love because we choose to, because we want to, because we GET TO.

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Thicker than Blood

Sunday, May 6, 2012 — Easter 5 B — Acts 8:26-40

The family is the single most important influence on the lives of children. We love our families. We would die for our families. If your family was threatened or your children were in danger, you might kill to protect them. There appears to be no limit to our love for our families, even if it means sacrificing ourselves for them. Why? Because there is nothing THICKER THAN BLOOD. Our family, our “blood,” is the source of our name, our values, and our identity. Our family is where we go when we have absolutely nowhere else to go. Our family takes us in when everyone else has rejected us.

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