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Tenth Sunday After Pentecost

I always love when Biblical themes show up in pop music. This is the case with a song by 30 Seconds to Mars called “Walk on Water.” The refrain of the song is “Do you believe that you can walk on water? Do you believe that you can win this fight tonight?” Later on in the song the phrase “Do you believe” is repeated over and over again. The references to belief and in particular to Jesus are unmistakable. This song written in 2017 harkens back almost 2000 years to what Jesus does in our...


Feast of Mary Magdalene

Here in the United States, we’re gearing up for the mid-term elections. As the election gets closer, I seem to notice more “smear” advertisements. If you haven’t heard of smear, it is an effort to damage an individual or a group’s reputation. The purpose is to call into question one’s credibility with unverified rumors, distortions, half-truths, or lies. Yet, smear is not exclusive to elections. Even Western Christianity engaged in such abhorrent practices...


Eighth Sunday after Pentecost

The events described in our text for today is not for the faint of heart. I mean, let’s be honest, it’s a little gruesome, actually. It might seem more like a tale from a Stephen King novel than from the Bible. It raises a lot of questions for me. Why did Herod like to listen to John? What was the dance Herodias danced, that could sway her step-father so? Why did Herod follow through on his step-daughter’s request? How exactly was John’s head presented to Herod? Was there decorative...


Seventh Sunday After Pentecost

A couple of months ago I watched the documentary “Minimalism” on Netflix. I’m a junky for documentaries, and this one seemed especially interesting. The description caught my eye with its rejection of American consumerism by emphasizing “less is more,” and of course it’s promise that it would bring me happiness. Who doesn’t want to be happier? In the documentary, the people interviewed had given up material possessions to one degree or another. On the extreme end were 2 men who had quit...


Sixth Sunday After Pentecost

In today’s gospel reading, Jesus met three people – Jairus, an unnamed woman, and a young girl. The theologian David Lose notes that each one is utterly different but so very similar. Jairus was a local Synagogue leader who, by his position, status, and gender, had power, prestige, and comfort. At the opposite end of the socio-economic spectrum was an unnamed woman living with a chronic illness. Not only was she labeled “unclean,” which robbed her from both physical touch and entrance to...


Reconciling In Christ Sunday

I feel that there is one part in particular in our passage for today that those of us here at Wicker Park Lutheran Church can pretty easily relate to. It’s the part where water is getting into the boat… so we have water getting into a place that it shouldn’t be. Does this sound familiar to anyone here? Unwanted water? Maybe? For those who don’t know what I’m talking about I’m referring to the flooding of the basement that has been occurring here over the past few months. It’s why we have...


Fourth Sunday After Pentecost

As humans, we love a good story. When we meet someone new we might say, “tell me your story.” We like to discuss the storyline of that new show. We bathe our children in stories about our family, our nation, and our religion. Even Jesus told a variety of stories...


Third Sunday After Pentecost

There is this quote that I often see, in various forms, that circulates every so often around the internet. It is “A lie can travel half-way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” This quote has been attributed to various people: Mark Twain, Winston Churchill among others. But the original person was Charles Spurgeon in 1859. Now 1859, can you believe that? That is 150 years ago. 150 years! It seems like this quote could easily describe our present time, right? Although...


Second Sunday After Pentecost

The word “sabbath” is central in today’s readings. It’s a word that drips with religiosity and is rarely used elsewhere. In fact, most religions have some kind of “day of rest,” even if they don’t describe it as a sabbath. The essence of a sabbath is to have one day a week to abstain from work focused on benefits for the individual. In the Hebrew Scriptures, or the Old Testament, we learn that over time the Israelites defined what was considered inappropriate on the Sabbath – including...


Holy Trinity Sunday

Listen to Pastor Jason’s sermon from Holy Trinity Sunday here!


Pentecost Sunday

“What does this mean?” That question was echoed in today’s reading from Acts, it’s a question you may have thought while Maria read in French, and often I read John’s gospel with that same question in mind. So, what does this mean?...


Seventh Sunday of Easter

Listen to Vicar Bridget’s sermon from the Seventh Sunday of Easter here!


Sixth Sunday of Easter

Today’s readings were full of one central word: love. To my knowledge, there is only one other place that talks about love more than the church, and that’s pop music. As we step into the wedding season, we might see a couple slowly dance to Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” or we might dance to Rihanna’s “We Found Love,” or perhaps we’ll always remember Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”...


Fifth Sunday of Easter

Jesus’s words are jarring to American culture. According to the “Hofstede cultural dimensions scale,” America is the most individualist country.[1] Individualism is taught from a young age when parents stress self-reliance with solitary sleeping, in comparison to the practice of co-sleeping in collectivist cultures. Playdates in individualistic countries are carefully interspersed with downtime to rest and recover, as opposed to the constant company within collectivist cultures. While...


Fourth Sunday of Easter

Listen to Vicar Bridget’s sermon from the fourth Sunday of Easter here!


Third Sunday of Easter

In today’s gospel, the word “understand” grabbed my attention. Understanding is not mere knowledge, it doesn’t simply come with power, and, frankly, it’s not that pervasive. As one author puts it, understanding requires an “ability to think and act flexibly with what one knows.” In today’s episode, we saw the process of understanding unfold...


Second Sunday of Easter

Listen to Vicar Bridget’s sermon from the Second Sunday of Easter here!


Easter Sunday

Every three years, we hear the Resurrection story from Mark’s gospel. This version is our earliest account. We can think of it as “the original” Resurrection story before Matthew, Luke, and John gave it their own spin. Mark originally ended the gospel just as we heard it today. Mark has no Resurrection appearances, and he doesn’t even try to explain what happens next. It simply ends with three women leaving in silent amazement and terror. Woomp, woomp - what a letdown! After this entire...


Palm/Passion Sunday

Today is a baffling day. First, we process with palms and shout hosanna, meaning “save us.” Then, we hear about senseless torture, and we witness an execution. While seemingly unrelated, this is all intertwined. After all, Jesus’ procession was not a festive parade; rather, it was a protest – a religious and political protest. Jesus rode a donkey to symbolize peace. Jesus built a transformative movement of non-violence. And the people holding branches, they cried for change. But, Jesus’s...


Fifth Sunday in Lent

If I had to describe 2018 with one word, I’d use “unexpected.” Back on New Year’s Eve, I did not expect that we’d have a flood in the church basement. When that famous ball dropped in New York City, I did not imagine Puerto Ricans would still be without power today. When midnight struck, I hadn’t pondered that high school students would take a lead in gun control legislation. So far, it’s been a year filled with surprises. In today’s reading from John, we have an opportunity to explore...