Goodbye, 2017.  I can’t say that I’m going to miss you all that much; I think even you’d agree that our relationship has been rather difficult.  As a brand new year begins, I’d like to remind you of some of the things you brought us: We’ve had a whole year now with a president who is objectively unhinged, persisting in his attempts to institute a travel ban that discriminates against our Muslim brothers and sisters.  We experienced the loss of… Read more

Rise Rev. Dr. Amy Butler Luke 2:22-40 Today we’re still talking about gifts, and we’re rounding out our series on Simple Gifts by naming the gift of presence.  You know, not the brightly wrapped packages under the tree, but presence, being intentionally in relationship. It’s loved ones who traveled from far away and grandchildren running around excited and dear friends with whom we share the holiday.  It’s you, right here, sitting in a pew this morning or watching online.  It’s… Read more

When a Letter Isn’t Enough Rev. Dr. Amy Butler Luke: 1:26-38 Imagine my shock this week when I mentioned how I used to use Aerogrammes all the time when I was in seminary and lived overseas, and my younger colleague looked at me blankly. Aerogrammes.  You know them!  They are these crinkly, extremely thin blue papers that you write a letter on, then you fold over and secure the edges?  An aerogramme folds into the exact size of a letter,… Read more

I Will Sing Rev. Dr. Amy Butler Luke 1:46-55   The beautiful words of today’s gospel are Mary’s Song, The Magnificat, a young girl’s treatise about the state of the world and her stubborn insistence that it doesn’t have to stay that way.  But even with the haunting notes of a beautiful song of expectation ringing in our ears, we cannot forget the pain and desperation into which that young, timid voice defiantly sang. She was a young teenager, as… Read more

Demand the Light Rev. Dr. Amy Butler Mark 13:24-37 It was Christmas, 1975, and I began early that year crafting my letter to Santa.  I was five years old and it was the first year I’d written with real words, crooked letters and funny misspellings drawn in crayon, illustrated with my best attempts at drawing a Christmas tree.  I felt an urgency that year, I recall, because there was something I deeply wanted for Christmas.  I was pretty sure, in… Read more

The times, they are a-changing. This is typically the lament of the elders, a group in which I’m pretty sure I’m now included, and it certainly rings through the halls of every church I’ve ever encountered. Nobody likes change, and especially change to the institutions and experiences that provide structure and stability in a changing world full of upheaval. One of the ways our society has vastly changed in just the last 15 years has been the creation of an… Read more

Longing For Home Rev. Dr. Amy Butler Matthew 25:31-46 I went to elementary school at a private Christian school, a small kindergarten through eighth grade program called St. Mark’s Lutheran School, where the pastor of the associated church loomed large in the awareness of all the kids.  Pastor Gundermann not only pastored the St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, he led weekly chapel services at school and was a prominent figure in the community.  With a loud, booming voice and a perpetual… Read more

I proudly call myself an evangelical, though some argue that point with me. The bottom line is that I believe loving God and loving our neighbors can change the world, and that’s good news. Evangelical. That being said, I have worked long and hard to temper the evangelical mindset I was given, a mindset that taught me everything in the world is easily parsed into crisp categories. These categories include but are not limited to: holy, sinful, heavenly, worldly, Christian,… Read more

Money, Money, Money, Money Rev. Dr. Amy Butler Matthew 25:14-30 For most people, talking about money in church is almost as fun as talking about politics at Thanksgiving dinner. I’m not sure exactly why we shy away from talking about money in church; my experience of talking frankly about money with many of you has felt almost like a relief—like we all are secretly wondering how our relationship to what we have impacts our relationships with God and with each… Read more

Early in my first pastorate I found myself leading a church in the process of redevelopment. Because we worked, essentially, in a construction zone, offices were here, there, and everywhere depending on what work was being done where in the building. The senior minister’s study at the time was far away from the other administrative offices, upstairs in a little side room off the sanctuary. Most days it was quiet and peaceful, but occasionally I felt a bit isolated, then… Read more

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