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Sharing Hope in a Hurting World

We look back on a year of significant changes – not all of them pleasant. There have been devastating hurricanes in the Caribbean and our Southeast, and horrific fires throughout the West. We’ve witnessed mass shootings in Texas and Las Vegas and countless gun deaths that barely make the news. Racial and ethnic tensions are… Read more

The Gift of Peace

Son of God. Savior and Benefactor. Divine One. High Priest. Lord and God. In the first couple decades of the Christian era, these were titles not of Jesus, but of the Roman Caesars. As the Roman state grew from a small republic on the Italian peninsula to a Mediterranean empire from Britain to Palestine, the… Read more

The Importance of the Lord’s Prayer

In this month of Martin Luther’s birth (Nov. 10, 1483), we enter the 501st year of the Reformation with a look at his Large Catechism. Published in 1529, the same year as his Small Catechism for home and family, the Large Catechism is an expanded commentary for pastors and theologians. As we are using the… Read more

Guiding Us to Be One

One challenge of the Reformation is that Catholics don’t understand why it was necessary and Protestants don’t understand why it was tragic. I couldn’t find this quote exactly from Carl Braaten, professor emeritus at Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago, but believe I’ve recalled the essence of it. As we mark on October 31 the… Read more

A Little Faith Makes a Big Difference

A tiny seed. A bit of yeast. Five small loaves and two dried fish. “Little-faith” Peter…. These are some of the images and stories encountered in recent Gospels this summer. They are a reminder that God’s power is not only evidenced in the parting of seas or moving of mountains, but also in the smallest… Read more

From Loss to Life

Last August I borrowed lines from Synod Bishop Mary Froiland to start my letter – this month I borrow lines from ELCA Bishop Elizabeth Eaton. “At the Lutheran World Federation Assembly, a delegate from Russia told this story of freedom in Christ. There used to be a Lutheran church in St. Petersburg. It was a… Read more

A Musical Legacy

After a long hiatus, I wrote last July about German hymn translator Catherine Winkworth, and this year speak again about Latin & Greek hymn translator John Mason Neale, both of whom are commemorated July 1. Neale was born Jan. 24, 1818, in London and educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was considered the best… Read more

What Pentecost Means to Us Today

Happy Birthday! The first Sunday of this month, we celebrate Pentecost, traditionally observed as the “birth” of Christ’s Church, the fiftieth day after his Resurrection when he sent the promised gift of the Holy Spirit upon his chosen apostles, and from the original group of around 120 (Acts 1:15), “that day about three thousand persons… Read more

Christ Lives in Us

Isn’t Resurrection great?!? You’re beyond the power of death, your body can be touched and you can eat bread and fish, but you can walk through walls, appear and disappear at will, hey, even ascend into heaven! Yeah, sure, there are nail holes in your hands and feet and a big open wound in your… Read more

Renewal from Loss

“Don’t it always seem to go That you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.” Raise your hand if you know the next line to this 1970 Joni Mitchell song (and I guess Amy Grant, Counting Crows and others covered it in later years) . . . . . “They paved paradise, put up… Read more