There can be no off days. There are no times when a preacher can just mail it in, saying, “I’ve covered this all before. I’ve said it all before. Perhaps this once, we’ll do something different. Perhaps, this Sunday I will take the opportunity to lay out a vision for the future of this congregation. Perhaps, this time I will get creative and show my prowess for finding the hidden connections of a particular text and how they matrix with the greater Scriptures. Perhaps, I won’t worry so much proclaiming the Word. Just this once, I won’t focus so much on the distinction of Law and Gospel and instead I’ll give some good lessons for reading the Word at home.”

He had not seen his brother in a long time. To be honest, I doubt either of them really regretted the time which had slipped away between them. When they parted it was not exactly on the best of terms. Jacob and his twin brother Esau had a relationship bound up in turmoil and adversity form the very beginning. There was betrayal and fear and stolen birthrights. No doubt there was envy and bitterness and a father’s heart which broke for his sons.

By Cindy Koch

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” Her eyes sparkled and grew a little bigger. Focusing into the future, somewhere beyond our present conversation, she released her hopeful dreams from within. I could see the inspiration of tomorrow lifting every little bit of her countenance. There in her mind she could imagine herself, in the best way, part of a world and an identity that she longed to see. Every so often you might be so privileged to see this glimmer of excitement in a child’s life. Every so often you might be so blessed to witness a moment of inspiration.

By Paul Koch

Ever since my first foray into the study of theology proper, I have heard professors and pastors alike say that the church’s liturgy can operate as a sort of safety net for Gospel. After all, the liturgy contains confession and absolution, leads through the reading of the Word, and culminates in the Sacrament of the Altar. Therefore, if everything else is a complete wreck—if the hymns that are sung are weak and repetitive nonsense meant only to pull at the heart strings; if the people sitting around you are bothersome and annoying little twits; if the sermon preached misses the mark, wandering off into a pointless Bible study or self-help pep talk; you would still have the body and blood of Christ, the forgiveness of sins, the Gospel, so you would be okay.