“Look! Here Is Water” – A Sermon about God’s Inclusivity with a Surprise Ending

The Unexpected Pastor

18320546_1915395965153373_3150336191418249971_o.pngThe pivotal moment in today’s Scripture story is when the Ethiopian Official says to Philip, “Look! Here is water! What can stand in the way of my being baptized?”

That’s why Philip was there in the first place. But he didn’t know it.

What a surprise to him! He had been appointed to be a deacon in the earliest church, one of the men who oversawthe feeding of widows and the poor. An angel told him to get out of town. to go out on that lonely, almost-deserted desert road. “Get up and go,” the angel had said.

And Philip got up and went.

On that road he had encountered that Ethiopian official, that Ethiopian guy. I don’t want to keep calling him “the Ethiopian guy” so I’ve decided to give him a name – Elias, which, according to an Ethiopian names website, means, “The Lord is God.”

The writer…

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Ash Jumping

Ash Jumping


Forgive me Lord,  I sinned against you, my neighbors and myself.  I have not loved my sisters or myself as you love me.  I’ve sinned.

I am ashamed, have shamed and been shamed.

I’ve been proud and boastful.

Thank you for pulling me out of the ashes.  You never hesitate or deny your love. Thank you for gently dusting me off. Thank you for kissing my ash-filled head and wiping my tears. Thank you for loving me despite my sins.screenshot_20170301-105529

We journey to your cross. Cast our burdens upon your alter. Our sins a pile of ashes.

Praying for a new day, weeping as you sacrifice yourself. We failed your commandments. We failed you. Looking forward to your empty tomb and the promise it holds for everyone you love.

I feel wrapped in your love and forgiveness. Thank you. Amen.

I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes. Job 42:6

Friendly Reminder: How to Treat Refugees

Friendly Reminder: How to Treat Refugees

muslim-girlsThe Christ-like response to refugees:

I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

~ Matthew 25:35-36 (NIV)

 

The American response to immigrants:

statue-of-liberty

Reminder: America prides itself on the first immigrants  ‘found’ this already inhabited country.

Do you need help resetting your automatic response to refugees?

Find out how:

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service

American Civil Liberties Union ACLU

ACLU: We’ll See You in Court: Why Trump’s Executive Order on Refugees Violates the Establishment Clause

This is what Democracy looks like!

Miracle in a Manger

babyWhile in Bethlehem, the time came for the baby to be born, and the mother of God gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them with family or friends.

Luke 2:6-7

Lord, wrap us in your comfort and love. Make sure there is always room in your heart and arms for us to rest. Amen

 

How does Christ comfort you?

Thanksgiving Blessings

Thanksgiving Blessings

Let your gentleness be evident to all. 

The Lord is near

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

The peace of God, will guard your hearts and your minds.

Philippians 4:5-7

Master Chef,

FEED us

Break the chaotic chains of injustice
Untie the cords of persecution
Set the oppressed free
Break our shackles of prejudice

FEED us

You love everyone regardless of
Race
Faith
Gender or
Who we love and embrace

FEED us

Let your light break forth like the dawn,
and your healing gravy flow

FEED us

We cry
You are with us

Break the chaotic chains of injustice
Untie the cords of persecution
Set the oppressed free
and break the shackles of prejudice

FEED us

We lay our anger and pain on your alter.
We seek your light in the darkness

Lord guide us – always

Sharing our food with the hungry
and the poor with shelter—
We clothe our naked brothers and sisters

Loving everyone the way you love us
regardless of
Race
Gender
Faith and
Who they love and embrace.

Wrapped in your love, we give Thanksgiving for feeding us your comfort and grace.

Amen

My Millennial Daughter’s Refreshing View of Trump Presidency

A Millennial’s View: The Unexpected Pastor’s Daughter on the Election

11760138_10207280306031984_6362984565707607752_n-1My 19-year old daughter posted on Facebook last evening a reflection that struck me with its clarity of thought, honesty, and charity . . . more charitable, if I’m honest, than I feel like being right now (although I’m working on it). But sometimes children set the example for their parents. I asked her if I could share her post on my blog, and she said “Yes.” So here it is, unedited by her proud dad . . . 

*deep breath* Okay. Hi friends. I haven’t really posted any of my own thoughts on the election besides videos and posts that I’ve shared, so here goes…

I’m going to start off by saying that to anyone reading this who voted for Trump…it’s okay. I still love and respect you, and an election is not going to change that. I am not going to sit here and call you a racist, or a sexist, or homophobic, or Islamophobic. I’m not going to classify you as a deplorable. And I’m also not going to threaten to unfriend you. I refuse to do any of these things because for one, these actions, to me, would be giving in to the very hatred and divisiveness that I was so against and afraid of happening with this election in the first place; and two, because I simply know that this isn’t true about so many of you. A lot of you happen to be some of my closest friends, who I know very well to be some of the most caring, loving, and accepting people I know. I refuse to let any of that go because of our political choice. Sure, I disagree with you, but first and foremost, I will not stop loving and respecting you as a person.

And here’s the thing, guys. (Yes, I’m talking to everyone now.) Donald J. Trump has been elected to be the 45th president of the United States. Donald J. Trump IS, as much as it pains me to say it, going to be our 45th president of the United States. And I know, I hate it. The man who, as a kid, I just thought of as “the big, mean man who fires people on TV,” is now going to rule our country. And you know what else? I’m absolutely terrified. So many people in our country right now are terrified, and with very good reason. The LGBTQIA community is terrified that their basic human rights are at stake. Our vice president-elect believes in shock therapy, for gods sake. I have several friends who are terrified of being separated from their families, due to our president-elect’s stance on immigration. I have black friends who are terrified of leaving their homes because of the fear and hatred that this election has instilled in people. Muslim women are afraid to wear their hijab in public. Parents are terrified of what it is they’re supposed to tell their children. They’re terrified of sending them to school, where bullying and racism has spiked. Me, I’m terrified of what happens when Obamacare is done away with completely. I’m terrified, what with my “pre-existing condition,” of the prospect of not being able to receive health insurance, and knowing full well that I won’t be able to afford the $30,000 treatments that I need to receive every six weeks, not even including any of my other medications. Our country is absolutely terrified.

But again, like it or not, Donald J. Trump is going to be president. Unless by some miracle the electoral college votes otherwise, it’s going to happen. And I think that, for right now, what our country truly needs is unity. I’ve seen so much hatred and fighting being spread in these past fifteen months due to this election. I’ve watched close friends become enemies, and people from both parties say some really nasty, hurtful things. But the election is over now. The votes have been cast, and the winner has been decided. Like it or not, we need to begin the path to acceptance. I think Hilary Clinton said it well in her concession speech on Wednesday:

“Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead. Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power and we don’t just respect that, we cherish it … I count my blessings every single day that I am an American. And I still believe as deeply as I ever have that if we stand together with respect for our differences, strength in our convictions and love for this nation, our best days are still ahead of us.”

I’m holding on to the belief that the majority of people who voted for Trump are not the hateful, racist, bigoted people that have been described in the media. In fact, I think a lot of the people who voted for him would be just as scared as we are right now if Hilary was elected. (Mind you, I am not making any kind of statement on whether that fear would be justified or not.) I think that our country is snowballing so quickly into hatred on both sides, and I think that we all owe it to ourselves to take a deep breath. Nothing is going to be fixed if we stay divided. Donald Trump is not going to succeed if we don’t show him any ounce of respect or support. I believe it is time right now to come together and begin loving our neighbors, no matter what side we were on in the election. As President Obama said after meeting with our new president-elect, “I believe that it is important for all of us, regardless of party and regardless of political preferences, to now come together, work together, to deal with the many challenges that we face.” And to Trump he went on to say, “Most of all, I want to emphasize to you, Mr. President-elect, that we now are going to want to do everything we can to help you succeed — because if you succeed, then the country succeeds.”

I am not saying that we need to stop speaking up and fighting for what is right. I am not saying that it’s time to give up. I am saying that it is time to accept what cannot be undone, and to work with what we have, and that is each other. The fight is not over, but the hatred needs to end. We need to love our neighbors, and work together to achieve a better America.

I respect Donald Trump and his supporters, and I pray that he makes good decisions, and that he really will, as he claims he will do, work for the American people. (And by the American people, I mean everyone, no matter race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, or otherwise.)

And if anyone needs someone to talk to, or someone who will just listen, I am here for you. I’m scared too, and I love you, and I support you. ❤️