August 20, 2017


Worship this Sunday either at 8:12 am or at 10:45 am. The 8:12 “Light of the World” service is an abbreviated version of the Evangelical Lutheran Worship book service at 10:45.  It always includes Holy Communion.

After the 10:45 Worship come and share with us the Ice Cream Sunday, Sundae!

As campuses open for a new academic year, we feel the energy and the hope that come with the loaded cars.  Hurray!
We also experience longer check out lines and more traffic.  A sign of life!
The first lesson counsels us to ‘do what is right’.  Not just in church.  Not just at home. 
Do what is right to welcome newcomers: in traffic, in line, in wherever.  Do what is right to be gracious and helpful, understanding and directing.

The Gospel for this Sunday seems to offer a similar counsel.  The test of faith is not the purity of what we put into our mouths, but the rightness of what comes out of our mouths.  Yes, even in traffic jams and in long check out lines. 

For further reflection:
What do you sense and feel about this opening week of campuses and will you decide to ‘do what is right’?

O God, with all your faithful followers of every age, we praise you, the rock of our life. Be our strong foundation and form us into the body of your Son, that we may gladly minister to all the world, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

            Isaiah 56:1, 6–8
            Psalm 67
            Romans 11:1–2a, 29–32

            Matthew 15: [10–20] 21–28


SERMON:  “Never a Wrong Time to Do Right”

From Isaiah 56
Thus says the LORD:
            Maintain justice, and do what is right.
From Matthew 15

[(Jesus) called the crowd to him and said to them, "Listen and understand: 11it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles."

FIRST LESSON from Isaiah 56:1, 6–8
Thus says the LORD:
            Maintain justice, and do what is right,
for soon my salvation will come,
            and my deliverance be revealed.
6And the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD,
            to minister to him, to love the name of the LORD,
            and to be his servants,
all who keep the sabbath, and do not profane it,
            and hold fast my covenant—
7these I will bring to my holy mountain,
            and make them joyful in my house of prayer;
their burnt offerings and their sacrifices
will be accepted on my altar;
            for my house shall be called a house of prayer
            for all peoples.
8Thus says the Lord GOD,
            who gathers the outcasts of Israel,
I will gather others to them

            besides those already gathered.

SECOND LESSON from Romans 11:1–2a, 29–32
[Paul writes:] I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. 2God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew.

            29For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30Just as you were once disobedient to God but have now received mercy because of their disobedience, 31so they have now been disobedient in order that, by the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy. 32For God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all.

THE HOLY GOSPEL according to Matthew 15: [10–20] 21–28

[(Jesus) called the crowd to him and said to them, "Listen and understand: 11it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles." 12Then the disciples approached and said to him, "Do you know that the Pharisees took offense when they heard what you said?" 13He answered, "Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. 14Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if one blind person guides another, both will fall into a pit." 15But Peter said to him, "Explain this parable to us." 16Then he said, "Are you also still without understanding? 17Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach, and goes out into the sewer? 18But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. 19For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. 20These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile."]

            21Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, "Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon." 23But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, "Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us." 24He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." 25But she came and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, help me." 26He answered, "It is not fair to take the children's food and throw it to the dogs." 27She said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table." 28Then Jesus answered her, "Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish." And her daughter was healed instantly.








August 27, 2017

The anxious and eager forming of new lives and new groups has begun.  Who am I in this context and among these people?

Residence halls, classes, clubs, teams form.  Those more recently arrived may be expected to toe the line of the group that was formed before they arrived.  Some groups may be more open to include the recently arrived in a new evolving group.

One of the things I ‘preach’, especially at the opening of a new academic year is that in this faith community known as St. Luke, there are not just some new people.  My perspective is that we are all new together because this group has never existed or been together before.  We are all new together.  We need to be open to the gifts that God’s provides through everyone.  That means the group will be different, given the gift mix it has in this form.

But the question is not so much what ‘form’ this group will take but how will this group form – i.e., around what, whom?

In the second lesson Paul offers a caution about conforming to the world and challenges hearers/readers rather to be transformed by the renewing of minds.  Paul calls us to form a community by having a perspective that centers in the will of God. 

Other campus groups in these weeks will form differently – and that is okay. 

On this side of the gorge God calls us to form anew by centering on God’s will.  Blessed forming!

For further reflection

Recall a time you felt like the ‘new person’ in an established group – and you felt uncomfortable and not so welcome.   What would have helped you to be more a part of that group?


Almighty and everlasting God, you gave to your apostle Bartholomew grace truly to believe and courageously to preach your word.  Grant that your church may proclaim the good news to the ends of the earth, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit one God, now and forever. Amen.

Isaiah 51: 1-6
   Psalm 138
Romans 12: 1-8

Matthew 16: 13-20


SERMON: “The con- and the trans- of Forms”

WORD OF THE WEEK – from Romans 12

2Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.

FIRST LESSON from Isaiah 51: 1-6
1Listen to me, you that pursue righteousness,
  you that seek the Lord.
 Look to the rock from which you were hewn,
  and to the quarry from which you were dug.
 2Look to Abraham your father
  and to Sarah who bore you;
 for he was but one when I called him,
  but I blessed him and made him many.
 3For the Lord will comfort Zion;
  he will comfort all her waste places,
 and will make her wilderness like Eden,
  her desert like the garden of the Lord;
 joy and gladness will be found in her,
  thanksgiving and the voice of song.
 4Listen to me, my people,
  and give heed to me, my nation;
 for a teaching will go out from me,
  and my justice for a light to the peoples.
 5I will bring near my deliverance swiftly,
  my salvation has gone out
  and my arms will rule the peoples;
 the coastlands wait for me,
  and for my arm they hope.
 6Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
  and look at the earth beneath;
 for the heavens will vanish like smoke,
  the earth will wear out like a garment,
  and those who live on it will die like gnats;
 but my salvation will be forever,

  and my deliverance will never be ended.

 SECOND LESSON from Romans 12: 1-8
1I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.

  3For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, 5so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. 6We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; 7ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; 8the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.

THE HOLY GOSPEL according to Matthew 16: 13-20

13Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. 18And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. 19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.