Monday, February 8, 2016

Sermon Audio 2/7/2016, Transfiguration of Our Lord C

Lutheran Church of the Savior, Kalamazoo [Link to]

Transfiguration of Our Lord, Lectionary Year C

Paul accuses his opponents in Corinth of wearing a veil to keep themselves from being transformed by an encounter with Jesus. What can we learn from this critique? Are we open to having our lives transformed by Jesus? 

As always, listen here, use this link, or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes by searching "Tengwall."

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

February 2016 Newsletter Article: Welcoming Syrian Refugees

The life-blood of the world
is shed in mindless war;
and fam’lies desire a home
where conflicts cease.
With all the world we lift our hands
in hope to you, O God of peace.

-  Juan A. Espinosa; tr. Martin A. Seltz, “The People Walk,” ELW 706

Syria, the war-torn nation and its eight million refugees, have been all over the news in recent months. The plight of millions of families caught between warring factions, between a bomb and a gun, has captured hearts and news cycles.

Surprisingly – or maybe not, if we consider the power of the Holy Spirit – our lectionary readings have also featured Syria during that same time. My sermon on Christmas Eve, of all times, focused on the fact that Jesus grew up in the Roman province of Syria. (You can listen to it on the web.) When Joseph and Mary took Jesus to Egypt on the run from Herod, they were literally Syrian refugees. In the Gospel lesson on a recent Sunday, Jesus himself references Naaman the Syrian, the foreign military leader whom the prophet Elisha had healed of leprosy. Jesus reminds the people of Nazareth, only 50 miles from the Syrian capital of Damascus, that sometimes God favors these Syrian “foreigners” over the people who know themselves to be God’s own.

In 2016, Lutheran Social Services of Michigan will be among the organizations resettling Syrian refugees in Kalamazoo. Though it has been decades since Lutheran Church of the Savior has helped settle a refugee family, it seems the time has come for us once again to engage in this vital Spirit-led work. We have many partners already engaged in this work, including the aforementioned LSSM, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS), and local congregations and organizations.
On Tuesday February 16th, the normal 1:00 pm meeting of the Kalamazoo Conference of ELCA clergy will modify our usual structure to welcome ecumenical partners and lay people to Lutheran Church of the Savior for an informational meeting on resettling Syrian refugees. Our special guests that day will be LSSM’s Chris Cavanaugh, director of refugee resettlement for western Michigan, and Rev. Nik Schillack, LSSM’s church relations director. You are welcome to attend this meeting, and to bring your friends.

Our Lent Wednesday education hour (6:00 pm to 7:00 pm, preceded by a light dinner and followed by Holden Evening Prayer) will focus on the refugee situation using Bible study and informational materials from LIRS. We may have the opportunity to welcome LSSM’s Rev. Schillack and other staff back for another information session on one of our Wednesday evenings, which should be especially valuable as many of us will be unable to attend the previous daytime meeting.

Then in March Kalamazoo will really get the ball rolling. On the evening of Sunday March 13th Interfaith Peace and Justice will be hosting their annual interfaith worship service at First Congregational UCC downtown. The keynote speaker will be Dawud Walid, Executive Director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, talking about Islamophobia and the Syrian refugee crisis. Following the service, a reception will feature representatives of LSSM and Bethany Christian Services, two of the organizations bringing Syrian refugees to Kalamazoo in 2016. This is an excellent opportunity for us to learn more about refugees and our partners in the ministry of refugee resettlement.

Additionally, a group of area Christian clergy recently wrote a letter to the Mayor and City Commission encouraging Kalamazoo to formally resolve to be a welcoming community for immigrants and refugees. Watch for the letter in the Kalamazoo Gazette and on The Kalamazoo City Commission meeting on Monday March 7th offers an opportunity for Kalamazoo to take this public step even beyond our religious communities.

Syrian refugees are coming to Kalamazoo, and we have the opportunity to use our resources for the gospel work of partnering to resettle families looking for a new beginning. In the coming months, we will have many opportunities to learn about the situation and how we can follow Jesus by becoming involved.


Pastor Andrew 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Sermon Audio 1/31/2016 4th Sunday after Epiphany C

Lutheran Church of the Savior, Kalamazoo [Link to]

4th Sunday after Epiphany, Lectionary Year C

Presidential election season is upon us. Lord have mercy! In some ways this process brings out the worst in us, so we turn to Jesus (and Jeremiah, and Paul) to help us figure out how to engage in a helpful way. 

As always, listen here, use this link, or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes by searching "Tengwall."

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Sermon Audio 1/24/2016, Third Sunday after Epiphany C

Third Sunday after Epiphany, Lectionary Year C

The Holy Spirit drives Jesus to publicly introduce his entire ministry as grounded in Isaiah's words of good news to the poor and release to the captives. For those of us who claim to follow Jesus, this is a powerful example. 

As always, listen here, use this link, or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes by searching "Tengwall."

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Sermon Audio 1/17/2016, 2nd Sunday after Epiphany C

Second Sunday after Epiphany, Lectionary Year C

Jesus' first miracle of turning water to wine is a powerful display of God's grace poured out for all people. What about the people who would rather just have the water? 

As always, listen here, use this link, or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes by searching "Tengwall."

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Sermon Audio 1/10/2016, Baptism of Our Lord C

Baptism of Our Lord, Lectionary Year C

In preparation for our annual Congregational Meeting today, we remember how the Holy Spirit consistently surprises the church. 

As always, listen here, use this link, or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes by searching "Tengwall."

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Sermon Audio 12/24/2015 Christmas Eve

Nativity of Our Lord I - Christmas Eve

As always, listen here, use this link, or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes by searching "Tengwall."

Peace is one of the central themes of Christmas, from the title Prince of Peace in Isaiah to the angel's declaration of peace on earth to the shepherds. So why does the story of Jesus' birth also include one of the least-peaceful names in our world today?