February 10-14, 2016
Luke 4:1-13
Romans 10:8b-13
Deuteronomy 26:1-11


Love that hurts
Ash Wednesday

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Wayne Brouwer
The story is told of a young girl whose very best friend lived just down the street. They were playmates and almost sisters, with visits back and forth nearly every day.

When Jennifer was killed in an automobile accident, Tracie and her family were drawn through the same trench of grief. Two families were heartbroken and shared the awful blackness of funeral clothing together.

The day after the funeral, Tracie disappeared for a few hours. Her mother was worried and searched the house and yard in growing concern. When she went out to the street in front of their home she saw Tracie at a distance, slowly meandering toward her on the sidewalk, oblivious to her surroundings.

“Where were you, Tracie?” her mom asked as she strode toward the young girl. “I was worried about you.”

“I was at Jennifer’s place,” Tracie replied. “I was helping her mom.”

“What were you helping her with?”

“Well, neither of us felt like doing much, so I just crawled up into her lap and helped her cry.”

Sometimes we all need to cry, and now and again we need help to do it. In the passages for this Ash Wednesday, tears and repentance and sorrow and prayer and fasting and pain are the order of the day. Joel helps ancient Israel cope with a devastating famine that hints as a harbinger to God’s greater judgments. Paul reminds the Corinthian congregation of his pain on their behalf, hoping to move them to tears of repentance. And Jesus simply assumes that we will give and pray and fast, for in these disciplines our hearts become more fully aligned with the values of the kingdom of heaven....

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What's it take?
Lent 1

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Frank Ramirez
As we begin the season of Lent we might ask “What’s it take?” What does it take for us to navigate through a season of woe to a moment of unexpected yet inevitable joy? The three lections lead us through this question in three different ways.

The Deuteronomy passage challenges us to travel the route of remembrance -- if we don’t remember who we are and how we got here we might be tempted to take a lot more credit for ourselves than we ought. Moses walks the people through their shared history -- one of slavery, oppression, and deliverance.

The apostle Paul, no stranger to biblical nuance, sets a hedge against the temptation to think of our faith as one of achieving great things to win God’s favor! All who call on the name of the Lord will be saved. Great achievements may follow, but it all begins with God’s grace.

And speaking of temptation, Jesus is tempted to complete the course through a series of shortcuts, an alternate path than the will of God. The Adversary presents a picture of an alternate future, one in which Jesus embraces earthly power to achieve greatness. 

Interestingly enough, not only is the first lection from Deuteronomy, but the next two will include quotations from the same book....

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This Week
February 10, 2016
Ash Wednesday
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February 14, 2016
Lent 1
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Looking Ahead
February 21, 2016
Lent 2
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February 28, 2016
Lent 3
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Recent Installments
February 7, 2016
Transfiguration Sunday
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January 31, 2016
Epiphany 4 | OT 4
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January 24, 2016
Epiphany 3 | OT 3
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January 17, 2016
Epiphany 2 | OT 2
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January 10, 2016
Baptism of Our Lord
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January 6, 2016
Epiphany of the Lord
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Commentary
Writers



David Kalas


Wayne Brouwer


Sandra Herrmann


David Coffin


Catherine Venkatesh


Frank Ramirez


Illustration
Writers



Mark Ellingsen


Ron Love


Bob Ove


Frank Ramirez


Bonnie Bates


Bill Thomas


R. Robert Cueni