By Paul Koch

“Will you instruct both young and old in the chief articles of Christian doctrine, will you forgive the sins of the those who repent, and will you promised never to divulge the sins confessed to you? Will you minister faithfully to the sick and dying, and will you demonstrate to the Church a constant and ready ministry centered in the Gospel? Will you admonish and encourage the people to a lively confidence in Christ and in holy living?”

By Cindy Koch

Turning sideways, no one could see the little hole in the hem of her favorite dress. Sometimes the other kids would make fun of her when they noticed her clothes up close. Not always clean, not always in the best shape, she was painfully aware of which posture to take in each of her three outfits, so no one could see the imperfections. Today, a bent leg, pinning her right hip against the brick school wall would protect her from the scrutiny of the other third graders during recess. This one, though, was her favorite because it had long sweatshirt sleeves. She crossed her tiny arms, imagining she had a warm, wooly blanket wrapped around her, counting down the seconds before the bell called them all back to a bright, ordered classroom, out of the gray, unfriendly mist.

By Cindy Koch

Dear Lord Jesus,

I know that I am a sinner. But I only can conceive of a tiny piece of my sin and failing before You. I know there is a right and a wrong that You desire, but I continually choose the wicked path. I don’t really even understand the good that You want from me. Even my best works and my most pure thoughts are soaked with evil and selfishness. My every thought, action, and deed works against Your wisdom. I can’t recall, nor will I ever know, every sin from my past that has offended You and my neighbor. I know that I am stumbling in unrighteousness even now as I say these words out loud. I know that I am a sinner, but I do not fully understand how deeply corrupted I really am.

By Tim Winterstein

Troubled Water (2008, streaming on Amazon Prime) is really a brilliantly made film. You know the whole thing is going to collapse and fall apart between Thomas and Agnes, but you don’t know when. That tension builds and builds, even when there is nothing tense happening in a given moment. And the way the story is put together brings even seemingly unimportant events to their true significance.

By Paul Koch

I often joke around with some of my colleagues that the reason I default to the historic liturgy of the church along with an established lectionary system is that I’m lazy. I don’t want to try and figure out some sort of creative thematic series, so I just open up the book and follow the next lesson that is prescribed. I don’t have the confidence to write out my own confession or proper preface nor the time to do so, so I just use what has been used since long before I was ordained into the ministry.