Time After Pentecost

  • A Scrappy, Welcoming Kingdom

    My dad’s grandparents met at the Finnish Lutheran Seaman’s Mission in New York City in 1896, where my great grandmother was one of the relief workers welcoming people like my great grandfather, fresh off the boat. The arms of God stretched wide through the Finnish Lutheran Seaman’s Mission, like the branches of the mustard shrub, to provide welcome and shelter and support to my immigrant great grandfather and so many, many more. The Finnish Lutheran Seaman’s Mission eventually became Seafarer’s International House, which continues this work of providing shelter and support to immigrants and refugees and even amidst the pandemic, asylum seekers, some of whose only visitors are the Seafarer’s folk.

    This is the kind of work made possible by God’s persistent planting, the scattering of seed talked about by Jesus in today’s gospel lesson.

  • Christ's Repairing Work

    I want to talk with us today about the repairing of relationships with people and the world around us and the repairing work – the restoration and resurrection work made possible by Christ and a relational, trinitarian God. But, to get to the resurrection part, we need to acknowledge how things get broken in the first place.

    When we are captured by sin we are separated from seeing and perceiving God, and therefore our relationship to God, ourselves, our fellow human beings, and the world around us breaks down. The degradation and destruction of God’s good green earth is an example of what happens when we stop seeing and perceiving God around us – how could we keep pouring pollutants into the air and water and earth if we saw God present in these precious natural resources? Racism and other “isms” are also an egregious example of this break down of relationship and sinfulness. Instead of looking around us and seeing the beauty of and fullness of God reflected in all of the variety of skin colors and other unique characteristics created by God in other people, we as a human race and as individuals have all too often “otherized” and demeaned people in order to gain a false sense of superiority.