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Pastor's Columns

Thoughts from Our Total Eclipse

Pastor’s Column 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time August 27, 2017 “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given the Lord anything that he might be repaid?” from Romans 11:33-36 (2nd reading this Sunday) Because the Eclipse Day was also my day off, I had a chance to survey the news and reactions from the eclipse from across the country (Salem got the most attention because we were the first major city in totality). The most common reaction of people everywhere was that this was a spiritual experience. Honestly, it is hard to put one’s experience into words, but the dramatic drop in temperature during totality was a stark reminder of how very much we tak

The Woman Jesus Ignored (at first)

Pastor’s Column 20th Sunday Ordinary Time August 20, 2017 In this Sunday’s gospel (Matthew 15:21-28) we meet a very persistent pagan woman who keeps asking and asking Jesus for a healing of her dying daughter. Jesus responds by essentially appearing to give her the silent treatment, and then finally answering in a way that indicated he was unwilling to help her. The woman, however, would not give up, because she loved her daughter so much and knew Jesus could heal her if he so wanted. Jesus ends this by commending her faith and making it clear he had been testing her. By appearing to delay in answering, Jesus encouraged her to greater and greater acts of faith, which Jesus finally revealed

Life on the Stormy Seas

Pastor’s Column 19th Sunday Ordinary Time August 13, 2017 Jesus dismissed the crowds, sent the disciples away in a boat, and headed for the hills for some solitude and prayer with God (Matthew 14:22–23). Meanwhile, the disciples were out in the middle of the water, battling a terrible storm on the sea of Galilee. No doubt Jesus was aware of the struggles of his followers. The disciples must wondered about it too – after all, hadn't he sent them out in the midst of the storm? Wasn't Jesus praying up in the hills, where he could look out over the water and see the struggle actually taking place? Jesus watches – but for now does nothing. When Jesus finally does come to the rescue, it is at the

The Transfiguration of the Lord

Pastor’s Column August 6, 2017 The image on this page looks like a picture of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead or perhaps his Ascension into heaven — but it is not. Instead, this is a reproduction of a beautiful mosaic in the dome of the Basilica of the Transfiguration at the top of Mount Tabor in Israel. The way you can tell this is because, in this mosaic, Jesus has no wounds. Here, Jesus has not suffered and died for us yet. Among the many intriguing qualities of the resurrected body of Christ is that Jesus’ wounds are visible. His wounds are part of his glory. They tell us how much he loved us; loved us so much he was willing to suffer and die for us. It is hard to imagine what life in

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