Rev. Joel Hess is the fortunate pastor at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Cadillac, MI, where God’s reality pierces through our illusions by His Word, flesh and blood and gentle waters. He is the author of many half-written projects; a talented musician and artist. His contributions to The Jagged Word deal with the intersection of theology, culture and the arts.
I vividly remember the first time I was asked to preach to a bunch of preachers. Not just preachers, but preachers whom knew the Gospel well and preached it well. They were the ones who taught me the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
There was a time when everyone thought Jesus was nuts, His mom included. The Pharisees accused Him of being possessed and His family thought He was insane. They actually wanted to take Him away, maybe get some help, or hide Him from the public for a little while.
You have probably heard of the widow’s mites. Sadly, we focus on the pennies of the old lady, but forget the old lady, nameless and formless. We crucified those braggadocios Pharisees who loved to be popular, in the spotlight, let alone rich.
Surely we have all heard of the horrors of the holocaust too many times to count. How the Nazis treated people like animals literally blows our minds. Yet American slavery surely comes close to such inhumanity.
Often times friends of mine complain about our practice of baptizing infants. I used to take time arguing the fine points of why. But now I just tell them, “We only baptize infants.” It’s true.
As many of you sadly know, early on in the movie, “The Lion King,” the lion cub Simba loses his father. Fortunately, throughout the movie, we get to hear a theme song called “The Circle of Life” to make us feel better about death.
The greatest joy of Lent is failing at it only to find Jesus has already done it for us!
“Lord teach us to pray.” The disciples begged Jesus for some sort of magical insight to this essential task of discipleship. We still ask that question. Everyone knows Christians should pray. It seems simple enough.
These divisive days are bringing out the worst in pastors and churches. The devil knows just what to do. If he can get congregations and their shepherds excited about anything else except Jesus, he wins.
In chapter 14 of Exodus Moses tells us that the Israelites were complaining. What’s new? God had caused Pharaoh to release them from slavery by the killing of the first-born males throughout Egypt.