By Paul Koch 

Today is the celebration of the pinnacle event in all human history. Today we rejoice in the great working of God who interceded at a specific moment in time to overturn the power of darkness and sin and death. This is the dawn of a new day and the promise of something better. In the beginning of human history, mankind rejected the Word of God and set out on their own journey in opposition to their Creator. They ate the fruit of the forbidden tree so that they might become like God knowing good and evil, and know it they did. And so, is seems, do we all. And with that knowledge came punishment and brokenness and selfishness and pride and anger and a whole host desires that pervert and destroy relationships. But today we confess a gift that comes through a different tree, the tree of the cross. There your Lord died, and he died for all that deserves death and punishment in this world. He dies so that there might be life, so that there might be hope for you.

By Paul Koch

How is this night unlike all other nights? It is a significant night to be sure, but just what is it that makes it so important? Well, for starters, this night marks the initiation of the great events of our Lord’s passion. If you were to say that our Lord’s story is one that points ultimately to his death and resurrection on Easter morning, then this night is the moment when things begin to hone down and become focused. In fact, I think it would be fair to say that this night is what everything has been leading up to. Everything from our Lord’s birth in the little town of Bethlehem, to his Baptism in the Jordan River, to his transfiguration before his disciples, all of it has been driving towards this night.

By Jeff Pulse

The Old Testament reading for Maundy Thursday, March 29, 2018, is written in the second book of the Torah, Exodus. The text appointed for this special service is Exodus 24:3-11 and is the strange account of Moses and 70 elders (along with Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu—perhaps Joshua) being called up the Mount of Sinai to eat in the presence of God. The language used indicates that this is the full manifestation of God, not simply the pre-incarnated Christ. However, the question is, “How can this be?” Sinful men cannot look upon the face of God and live, and yet here these men are doing just that and not dying. This account is one of the places where God breaks His own rule. We have seen this with Moses as well when God shows him his backside. It is important to remember two things in this regard. First, God is the One who makes the rule. Therefore, He can opt to break it; man does not have that right or luxury. Second, whenever God does break one His rules in the Scriptures, it is always on the side of grace. Therefore, we need not fear that one day God will wake up and destroy us, hate us, or abandon us because He decides to break a rule/promise.

By Paul Koch –

Once again, we have made it to the beginning of the most fantastic and profound week in the church year. A week of unique movement and excitement, a week of great devotion as we move from somber reflection to joyful celebration. Today, our church started the worship service outside the sanctuary and processed into the house of our Lord signing, “All glory, laud and honor to you, redeemer, king, to whom the lips of children made sweet hosannas ring.” Today, we recall the great triumphant entry of our Lord into the city of Jerusalem all those years ago. The reason we make a big deal about it is because he entered that city for a distinct reason. He didn’t come just to be celebrated and revered. He came to make a stand to face his opposition, to be betrayed and suffer and die on a cross. The same people who shouted “Hosanna” will ultimately be found shouting, “Crucify him, crucify him!”

By Paul Koch

Tradition is an important part of our lives. Sometimes we scrape against our traditions, especially if they are in our way, or somehow slow our progress. Of course, there are traditions that we don’t really understand, and so we would rather not worry about them. Yet traditions are important. They carry with them an ancient understanding of things, a working of the world and our place in it. Our traditions are how we can evaluate new things, how we can understand worth, and even how we chart the future. No matter how cutting edge and modern you might be, we all have traditions that we value. All of us have traditions that we think should be upheld. In fact, we all know that when long held traditions are done away with, there will be consequences. Therefore, older generations will shake their heads at younger ones when they change a tradition because they know it will lead to something unpredictable.

By Jeff Pulse

Our Old Testament text for Lent II, February 25, 2018, comes to us from the first book of the Torah, Genesis. The text is Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16 and is the establishment of the covenant which is marked by the Sacrament of Circumcision—although the actual verses dealing with circumcision have been left out of the pericope. This is unfortunate because the cutting of the covenant (berith karat) includes the mark of the covenant in the flesh: circumcision. We even have the language that indicates that everyone who is not “cut” shall be “cut off” (vs. 14).

By Jeff Pulse

The Old Testament lesson for Lent I, February 18, 2018, is from the first book of the Torah, Genesis. The text is Genesis 22: 1-18 and is not only the well-known, much discussed account of Abraham’s sacrifice of his son Isaac, but it also holds a special reverence among the Jewish people who refer to it as the “Aqadah,” which in Hebrew is “The Binding.” The reason this account stands out for the Jews is the unique circumstances that surround it. The Abrahamic covenant is in great danger because the LORD has called upon Abraham to sacrifice his only son, the son in the Messianic line. In addition is the peculiar kind of sacrifice; Isaac would be the ONLY living sacrifice in the Old Testament.