[Welsne_teach] Epiphany 4. Super Bowl

Phil Hirsch MANHATTANHOPE at msn.com
Fri Jan 31 09:48:36 CST 2020

I can't tell you how much my nine year-old self hated the Kansas City Chiefs fifty years ago.  Those Chiefs beat my(!) Minnesota Vikings. I remember vividly the moment Otis Taylor caught that pass along the sideline, avoided the tackler and eventually nailed the coffin shut on my Purple People Eaters, my heroes, the ones that made me feel so proud, so important, so triumphant, maybe even boastful.  Of course, in New Ulm, there were Packers' fans.  Of course--even as a nine year-old--I was proud that my (!) Vikings had handled the Packers and were going to win the Super Bowl.

But my nine year-old self was crushed when my (!) Vikings got humiliated by the Chiefs.  I'm a bit surprised by how much of this all comes back--fifty years later!--because now my Chiefs are in the Super Bowl. I've seen video clips of Otis Taylor a few times.  It quickly evoked my nine year-old self in the basement, watching on the 19-inch black and white TV and weeping that my (!) Vikings lost.

Childish.  I know.  It was so important to me that my(!) Vikings win.

Each of the humans has a deep need for belonging; God created us male and female as the crown of His creation for relationship with Himself and in relationship with and for each other.  The human--if we actually believe, teach and confess that the human is a creation of our Creator--is wired to belong to others.  The ones who can't relate or won't relate are in deep need of  intensive therapeutic care.  They need something profound and powerful to pull them out of isolation and away from the edge of the abyss.  So when someone actually begins to feel like they're a part of something else, especially a part of someone else, it is a profoundly satisfying experience.  The best of human literature celebrates this, explores this, narrates this.

But it's always, always going to end in a heart break.  The other humans always let us down.  We always let the other down.  Joe Namath, the super hero demi-god back in the day, pitifully limps along today toward his own grave.  And what happens when that occurs?  All these attempts to understand and explain the human condition that are on full display at the death of Kobe only underline it the more--the humans are crying out for meaningful belonging, for genuine communion with another.  We have been since Adam and Eve, ashamed in their nakedness, scurried like rats from the presence of their God and Father.  Running away from the only One Who could satisfy their new need to mend the newly irreparable breach between Creator and human creatures.  It's what we humans always do since the Fall--run away from the Creator as He Comes.

But the Father came looking for His fallen ones.  And the One Who had called un-things into being things gave a promise in the fleshly Seed of a woman. Foolish.  Moronic is actually the word that St. Paul uses.  Moronic to the humans who are so desperately casting about for something that looks, sounds, feels like it will win the day.

The One Who opened His mouth on the mountainside, claiming in authoritative speech that the center of the Sermon on the Mount was/is really Himself--that One is to be proclaimed into the hearts of the humans who need so desperately to boast about something.  The God Who Hides has always chosen--over and over again--to use the foolish to shame the wise, the weak to shame the strong.  He chose the un-things to put out of action the things that are--not a single human has a single thing to boast about before his Creator, his Maker. Not one.  No one is noble enough, influential enough to have God seek to curry favor with the humans in the hope that the humans will choose Him as their god.

No.  Such thinking is upside down.  God is the One Who chooses.  And He chose--in Christ--to destroy the wisdom of the wise. He chose to--through the foolishness of what was preached--Christ crucified for the sinners!--to save.  Save. To save you.

Such crucified Christ-centered foolish preaching is what some of you are--grace upon grace--Called to pour into kids' ears in Lutheran school classrooms.  Such crucified Christ-centered preaching is what some of you are--grace upon grace--Called to pour into the assembly's ears.  Such crucified Christ-centered preaching and sacrament distribution is what we all--grace upon grace--get to gather around this weekend.  Christ is our righteousness, our holiness, our redemption.  I am right before God in Christ.  I am holy before God in Christ.  I am redeemed before God in Christ.  I belong because of Him.  Such a thing!  Such a promise!  Such belonging to Someone Who matters so much!

My Chiefs might not win the game.  They might.  My health might never improve.  It might.  The things that look so strong might quickly deteriorate.  They might not.

But I know that the un-things are actually called into being by the powerful Word of God centered in Christ.  His promises are His.  And they don't lie and they carry with them God's gracious and powerful will to save sinners, of whom I am the worst.

"Let him who boasts boast in the Lord!"

In our prayers
-Andrea Smith (daughter of Pastor Bob Smith of Redeemer, Hastings, NE) who continues to recover after complications with her new kidney.

-Mike Vogel at Lord of Life, Thornton, CO on Sunday, February 16

Decision Announced
-Corey Pederson of Gethsemane, Omaha chose to continue to serve there, declining to serve in Belle Plaine, MN.
-Mike Paulsen of St. Paul's, Norfolk, NE chose to continue to serve there, declining to serve in Wyoming, MI.
-Caty Waggoner of Zion, IL chose to continue there, declining to serve St. Mark in Salina, KS.

Pastors Deliberating
-John Koester, of Gethsemane, Omaha to Aurora, IL
-Tim Spiegelberg of Carbon Valley, CO to Calgary, Alberta, Canada
-Jared Oldenburg of Eternal Rock, Castle Rock, CO to Goodview, MN
-Jon Micheel of Prince of Peace, Salt Lake City to Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary for Church History/Homiletics

Lutheran Teachers Deliberating
-Rachel Hahm of Lord of Life, Thornton, CO to Red Wing, MN
-Dan Douglas of Mt. Olive, Overland Park, KS to Christ-St. Peter, Milwaukee, West campus

-David Schultz of Faith in Rising City at the end of the school year
-Mark Voss of Christ Our Redeemer, Aurora, CO 7/31/20

Congregations/Calling Bodies Calling a Pastor

-Shepherd of Peace, Norfolk, NE to Zachary Pudlo of W St. Paul, MN.

-Christ, Beatrice and St. Paul's, Plymouth, NE to Tim Berg of Rapid City, SD.

-Good Shepherd, Kearney, NE to Paul Workentine of Roanoke, VA.  Tom Schneider from Christ in Grand Island, NE is serving the vacancy.

-Mt. Olive, Overland Park, KS to David Naumann of Saginaw, MI.   Jake Jenswold of Rock of Ages, KC is helping with the vacancy.

-Trinity, Winner, SD to Gerhardt Juergens of Tappan, ND.

-Faith in Rising City, NE will meet 2/5 for its first Call meeting.

-Christ Our Redeemer, Aurora, CO will meet 2/9 for pre-Call meeting and then Call 2/16.

Congregations/Calling Bodies Calling a Lutheran Teacher

-Zion, Denver will Call again 2/2.

-St. Mark, Salina, KS will Call again soon for a preschool teacher.

-NELHS to Jon Ross of Doral, FL for Math teacher.

-NELHS to Mark Hesse of Kewaskum, WI for English.

-Gethsemane, Omaha to Chris Haring of Tampa, FL as 3-4th teacher

-Trinity, Waco to Richard Owen III as Principal.

-Zion, Valentine, NE will Call 2/9 for preschool teacher and for lower grades teacher.  (Emma Doble and Hannah Carter are resigning at the end of the school year to take on the vocations of mother and wife, respectively.)

-Christ Our Redeemer, Aurora, CO will Call for middle grades teacher 2/9 at the pre-Call meeting for their next pastor.


-The leaders of Zion, Bonesteel, SD and St. Paul, Naper NE and Beautiful Savior, O'Neill, NE (and the chairman of St. Paul's, Norfolk) met to discuss the potential of forming a tri-parish.

-June 1-3, 2020 the Nebraska District Convention at Estes Park Center

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