Biblical Emotions

This week’s series of readings are worth a careful review.  Each passage is fraught with emotion. 

We hear about fear and apprehension in Jeremiah.

Shame, hope, and confidence from the Psalmist.

There’s a whole lot of patience, kindness, envy, arrogance going around in ancient Corinth.

And in Jesus’ hometown, we learn how quickly emotions can change.  In this case, from amazement to blinding rage.

So tell me again: why is it that so many say, “the Bible just doesn’t speak about anything that applies to my real life”?

I invite you to ponder, this weekend, how each and every human emotion is part of the story of God.

Dear Lord, you created our innermost emotions.  Reveal, through your people, the one emotion you deemed the greatest:  love.  Amen.

Finding Your Place

Do you have favorite Scripture passages?  Apparently, Jesus does.  When he goes to his hometown synagogue, the scroll of Isaiah is handed to him.  He unrolls it to just the spot he wants to read.  Jesus reads what we now know as Isaiah 61:1-2 and 58:6.  Powerful words.  Gospel words. 

Then Jesus sits down, and gives a nine word sermon:  “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 

It might seem like a regular Sabbath service to some.  Until Jesus was able to take an old scroll and quickly find everyone a place in the story. 

Finding your place is always Gospel, don’t you think?

Jesus, we pray that you would translate the Scripture in our hearts, from old words to new life.


A Statement from the Parents of Ben Larson

Some of you have been following the news of a senior Wartburg seminarian, Ben Larson, who is presumed dead in Haiti.  He, his wife, and his cousin, all seminarians together, traveled to Haiti on a J-term service trip.  His wife and cousin survived and are in the process of traveling home.  There is more on this story here and here.

Ben’s parents, both pastors themselves (in fact, his mother served as the first female bishop of the ELCA in the LaCrosse Area synod) are now located in Duluth.  Ben lived for a time in Rochester during his mother’s tenure as Synod Minister in our SE MN Synod. 

The family could have used this space to talk about their own grief; they instead speak of the Haitian people.  I find the final paragraph of this statement so incredibly moving and thought-provoking.  -pastorhh

Jan. 14, 2010

6:30 p.m.

A personal statement from Pastors Judd and April Larson

As an infant Benjamin Judd Ulring Splichal Larson was wrapped in the arms of God in the waters of baptism, and from those waters, his life was an outpouring of love and joy, laughter and play, in response to God first loving Ben.

Ben’s love of God, walking in accompaniment, passionately loving others, listening and learning from those who are poor across the globe, drove his serving.

We give thanks to God for the incredible joy of knowing Ben.  His laughter, playfulness, passionate heart for those who are hurting was manifest in his daily life.  He delighted in the privilege of serving and knowing God, laying out his life in joy.  

We are blessed by still being able to hear Ben‘s music.  His father Judd says, “If you want to know Ben, go to his music.“  In his tender music remains some of the treasure that is Ben:  what he believes, what he cares about, his deepest soul.

Most of the people who died in this deadly earthquake in Haiti are the poorest of the poor in this hemisphere.  Ben went to Haiti to teach theology and scripture in the new Lutheran Church of Haiti; but more deeply to learn from these people loved by God.  In his young death his life joins the bodies of the poor.  In the Haitian rubble Ben’s life joins these dear beloved people of God:  all those parents crying for their children; young widows calling out for their husbands; new orphans searching for their parents. 

God have mercy on us.

Give Us a Sign

On Sunday, January 17, we will be beginning a series of Adult Forums covering the 7 signs in John’s Gospel.  Part of John’s Gospel is known as the “book of signs” and we will, together, be considering each sign and how it relates to the person and work of Jesus Christ.

The first sign in John is the wedding at Cana.  Is the abundance of wine just a nice way to share hospitality?  A cool party trick to impress some new friends?  Or is it a hint at a greater manifestation of reality, that God is filling the containers formerly used for purification with banquet-sized rejoicing?

Bring your thoughts to the Fellowship Room on Sunday.

God of love, flow freely.  Multiply your grace and overflow the containers of each human heart.  Amen.

ELCA Relief for Haiti

Our ELCA is already on the ground and in the process of mobilizing support for Haitians devastated by earthquake on Tuesday, January 12.  Please click on the link below; you can read more, and even donate online by credit card to ELCA Disaster Response.They promise that “100% of your gift will be used in full to bring life sustaining support to this crisis.”

Prayer for the people of Haiti

Loving God, in the communion of Christ, we are joined with the trials and sufferings of all.  Be with those who endure the effects of the earthquake in Haiti.  Protect those in the path of danger.  Open the pathway of evacuations.  Help loved ones find one another in the chaos.  Provide assistance to those who need help.  Ease the fears of all and make your presence known in the stillness of your peace; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

Family Worship

On January 10, 2010 at 10:30, First Lutheran launched a new style of worship for one Sunday of the month.  Targeted to engage our youngest members, this service is for anyone

Family Worship coincides with the first Sunday of each Sunday School Rotation (often the first Sunday of the calendar month).  The congregation also pioneered its first-ever Sunday School choir; ages ranged from 3 year olds to 9th grade.

More about Family Worship is posted in its own page on the blog (refer to the tabs above, or to the “Pages” listing to the left). 

And now, some pictures…

Processing to Sing

It took a while to get everybody in front!

Listen to all those beautiful voices!

Prayer for Epiphany

Lord God, on this day you revealed your Son to the nations by the leading of a star.  Lead us now by faith to know your presence in our lives, and bring us at last to the full vision of your glory, through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  AMEN

Lutheran Book of Worship, pg 15