A Call to Service

Grace and Peace to you,

My sisters and brothers in Christ

The Good News is,

We are justified by grace through our Faith


What does that mean

For us as people of Faith?

How can we cling to God’s Word

And ignore

What the Creator God is calling us into

To Love one another,

And to do,

Do the work that the Risen Christ has left us,

And what the Holy Spirit burns within us,

This sense of mission and…




Last week,

I posed a question

Whether or not

We are aware

As to the impact of how God has changed

Our lives

Through our personal testimonies

About our Faith?


This tug of war within our hearts

Mixed up in our souls

Of being faithful to God’s Word,

And failing miserably

This dichotomy of saint and sinner

That stews about our subconscious-

This constant anxiety

Have we lived up to God’s standards?


This striving towards spiritual perfection



For acknowledgment

From the Creator God-

Just as we humans

Crave acceptance

That we have done well,

Think about our childhood!

Didn’t we want to hear,

When we hung up that crayon drawing

“Oh how Wonderful! Good work!

Or displayed the “A+” on that test

“Good Job!”

This need for approval

Based solely on our works

Translates over into our faith lives

But its this pressure that we place on one another

This idea that God will only reward us

Only after God has seen us

Hard at work

Or how we have suffered for our faith!


But we somehow keep forgetting

That CHRIST suffered,




We keep forgetting

That the limitations on God’s Grace

And the restrictions on God’s Mercy

Is what Humanity decided


If you don’t accept Jesus Christ

As your personal Lord and Savior

Right this minute,

That God will abandon us, discard us-


Never mind the power of the Resurrection

Never mind that Jesus

Reached out to those

Who weren’t even His followers

Healing them, Forgiving them

Raising them from the dead

Because THAT IS

What God, our Creator

Sent Jesus HERE

To do


And yet,

Christians mistakenly feel that they

Have the audacity to stipulate

Who should be saved

Who should be served at the Table

And who should be left behind


But we are justified by Grace through Faith!


As Lutherans

Proudly adhere to the Gospel,

Here in Romans

We claim proudly

This man called Luther,

Who he was

Who we should mold as our identity,


A man who truly had a Pentecostal FIRE

Who experienced the presence

And power of the Holy Spirit

Who routinely flipped all the tables

Disgusted about how the Church,

Bled the poor

The immigrant

The hopeless


“Save your families souls!

Give us your last dime!”



Who got angry

And called out

The ecclesiastical authorities

On the Carpet

Who took the Gospel message into the streets

Among the people

Who was




In and with his faith-

So then why?

Why do we as followers of Christ, hold back?

Why are we

As Christians

Afraid to get our hands dirty?

Why are we so hesitant to live out

Christ’s commandment?

Why do we find it so easy

To follow the Law

The Apology of the Augsburg Confession

The 95 Thesis



Of the Gospel,






Luther strived to emulate

Jesus Christ

Luther heard God speaking

Into his heart

“Having been justified,


By faith


Peace we have

With God

Through the Lord

Of us

Jesus Christ”


Here is this FREEDOM

Because of the REDEMPTION

Through Christ,

Through Christ’s sacrifice!

That we have the ability to live out our FAITH

That we did not have to hold back,

Or be ashamed,

Because we clearly hear,

God’s Love,

Through God’s Word

Through our struggles

And because we struggle,

God cradles, God encourages, God molds us in Faith

Because we feel God’s presence

We can endure, persevere as a community of Faith!

We are not alone in this fight

For Freedom from the darkness,

From the abyss which tries to drag us down

Telling us we are worthless

From the negativity spewed out of this world

Causing us to turn our backs on one another

Trying in vain to shout down the fullness

Of the Good News of Jesus Christ

That Jesus Christ SAVES!



Because of the Resurrection POWER!

Yes, beloved

We are saved by grace through faith,


What do we do now?

Someone aptly observed

“The doctrine of justification

Does not mean exemption

From the Christian’s responsibility

To serve others,


It assures us,

It proclaims to the world

That we

As followers of Christ

Will serve.


I don’t want Jesus Christ to be my PERSONAL

Lord and Savior,

I do not want to just keep this Good News all to myself




Because I know the Goodness of God,

Because God LOVES ME,


Whether we are immersed in ministry and mission

Or whether we simply surround one another in prayer

Or whether we just share the Good News

Because of the presence of a Risen Christ

Who because of his death, and resurrection

I know, we know

We will never, ever be alone

And Because the Holy Spirit pushes me

Nudges us off that cliff

Into the waters of service, into community

There’s too much that needs to be done

In this place.

In this world.

We, as Christ’s followers

Are called to make an impact

To knit together piece by piece

The beloved community


What is Christ calling you,

Where is Christ calling us

To serve?

Thanks Be to God.


And now for something completely different: #decolonizeallthethings

Do ya’ll realize who I am?

Did you forget?

Are you that blind?








Possessed by the Holy Spirit


Christ centered

Ancestor driven

My question is

Why is my Church

Scared of Me?


Scared of How I dance with the Creator

Demanding that I strip painfully

Who I am

And put on an ill fitting spirit


Labeled Assimilation

Call yourself Christians

When you refuse to follow Christ

Into the ugliness

The Abyss

The Darkness

Where you dumped the beloved community

Where you pushed us into oblivion

Out of the light

That you thought

You deserved

Instead of me

Child of God



My body Sacred

My body a reflection of Christ

Not a reflection of dogmas


Which we cling to

Instead of our Faith

Instead of the FIRE

As the Holy Spirit Burns

Burns away everything

That keeps us from


Burns through classrooms

Burns through the hatred


That we heap on

Oppress through

In classrooms?

Nothing is safe

Nowhere is safe?

Why does my Church

Expect me

To forget ME?

photo (4)

Original poem

My poetry may not be understood fully but this is how the anger pours from my soul. I have chosen, and the Creator chose me to be here in this moment, serving, preaching and proclaiming the healing power of the Gospel and doing what the Risen Christ has commanded. Loving one another goes beyond people’s comfort zones and it means that we have to be intentional about how we live out our faith, publicily; it mean marching into the places of privilege and flipping that table, disrupting the norm and not evermore being silent about the pain of those whose faces reflect the Risen Christ.

This is what we hear in our Seminary Chapel services, when the Gospel is proclaimed so I am amazed when suddenly congregations get angry that the Gospel IS being proclaimed and infuses within who we are as seminarians and suddenly we can’t shut up and we can’t stop pushing the boundaries and demanding change, and we are public witnesses. We demand that worship reflects the entire community, and that our theologians we study and discuss come from every walk of life and that the Seminary, as it professes that it is Lutheran, actually leap off of that cliff, following the Holy Spirit and DO.

That is what it means for me to #decolonizetheSeminary.

We are not all









Upper Class


To decolonize the Seminary means:

That my Seminary, LSTC finally had to address the white privilege and the racism that had affected so many people of Color over the years, making their experiences a living hell in this place that was supposed to be this beautiful bubble-but dripped poison all over them as it bursts.


In my Graduating class, I was the only Woman of Color.


People are excited by my presence and how I will continue to evolve into my Pastoral Leadership.

But are they? Really?

I refuse to be quiet or silent.

That is what #decolonizeLutheranism means

Acknowledge our presence as beloved children of the Creator

Acknowledge that this world is %(%^(^ UP

That Christianity has been used as a weapon to oppress and dominate

That Lutherans refused to do anything in the annihilation of bodies


Of Brown, Black, of Native, of Aboriginal, of Ancient

Of Hurting, of Imperfection

And now,

Because the Holy Spirit has smashed the perfect glass around you

And you are standing bleeding

You are feeling for the first time

And you take those first steps

Towards Justice

Towards Love

Towards Righteousness

Towards Peace.

 Featured Image -- 260









The Holy Spirit

Is dismantling

The norm


The silence




The Holy Spirit,


To Stop



Has grabbed the attention

Of people of Faith

Of people of God

Of people in this world

Shaking us awake



We’ve been far too removed

From what the Risen Christ

Left for us


We’ve somehow forgotten

That Loving one another

Making disciples

Building community

Sharing our story

Is not

A one day,

One hour a week



The Holy Spirit is intruding

And downright rude

Invading our personal space

And without Her,


Left up to our own devices

Would not happen.


Without Her,

Caring for the marginalized

The impoverished

The forgotten

That work,

Would go undone.


Without Her,

Our voices

To cry out for the hurting

To demand peace and mercy for the fallen

To plead for grace and love for the offender

Would be non-existent


Can you remember

An experience

When the Holy Spirit

Made you feel uneasy,


Stoked those fires that dwell within all of us

Fire shut up in our bones

Until we were agitated

To do,

To say



The other day, as I was coming back into the city

We passed the same group of homeless people

Right off of the Dan Ryan expressway


I do the right thing,

I dig into my pocket

I have NO clue what they will do with the money,

But that’s none of my business

Other days, (pause)

I confess I am a jerk

I pass right by them

I act like they don’t exist

I am stuck in my own worries,


But yesterday, when we came to the stop light,

And I listened to the Holy Spirit

Because she nags


And my husband pointed to the bag of donuts we had

We hadn’t touched

Still fresh,

And my husband asked him if he’d like a donut

And there was a brief conversation

Where we shared a laugh with him

And the Holy Spirit shook me

“NOW, do you understand?”

That conversation,

She is NOT going to let that subside

And so what else can I do?

And how can I be more intentional


What is your perception

Of the Holy Spirit?

This image of this Advocate,

But the Advocate,

The Holy Spirit

Will teach you these things

And will remind you..”


Is this Advocate that Jesus speaks of,

Just an advocate for us alone?

That when we fail,

When we sin

When we don’t do what we are called to do,

Because we are stubborn

Or hard-headed

Is this an Advocate so that we stay on God’s good side?


This vision in Acts-

So often we see the depiction

Of people gathered in a room,

With little flames over their heads

Surprised that for once

Captured by the power of the Holy Spirit

They had to be attentive to one another

They were witnesses to hearing clearly,

In different ways of expressing

The Goodness of God’s Love

Through diverse tongues

Probably shocking,

Because before,

Because we, as humanity

Cling to misconceptions

Wrong, unclear information

Instead of realizing,

That the commandment of Jesus Christ

Of loving one another,

As the Creator loves us


From every corner-


“Hurt not others

with that which pains yourself.”


“One should always treat others

as they themselves wish to be treated”


“None of you has faith

until he loves for his brother

or his neighbor what he loves for himself.”


“Respect for all life is the foundation.”


“What is hateful to you,

do not to your fellow man.

This is the law: all the rest is commentary.”



Just as those gathered in that room

In Acts this morning,

We as people of faith gather on the inside

Hiding behind walls and windows

Worrying about why,

People on the outside,

Pass By

Worrying if,

If this place,

Our community

Our faith,

Will survive

Will there a future

Where our children

Can experience the same love

That we have



We worry about if we are keeping up traditions

Worrying about economics

Worry about whether five years from now,

There will be a Redeemer

Worried about when Jesus will come

Worried about when Jesus will come and fix everything.


And Suddenly,







They can’t breathe

They’re souls are enflamed

They all cry out MERCY

In so many beautiful sounds

And suddenly,

They can’t contain themselves



Because SHE,

The Holy Spirit



Into the unknown

OUT into those places

Where all they can do,

Is Testify

To Care

To Teach

To Preach





The bad news is,


Nor the Holy Spirit

Comes to fix anything,

So we can be comfortable

And mute

And individualized


The Good News is,

Jesus loves us,

And send to us

The Holy Spirit

Who causes a whole nother problem

The Holy Spirit comes

To agitate us deep within

That strength,

That courage,

That compassion

So that we can’t help



Because whether we realize or not


Our faith,

Can save a life,

Can inspire someone

Can give someone a sense of HOPE!


To be a witness?

To teach others about the Goodness of God

To be actively in getting immersed in the work we are called to do?

Do you realize,

When Gail shares her love of faith,

And love of this place

With the people she volunteers in the little thrift store


That is the Holy Spirit in action


When Don has absolutely no problem

Greeting and goading folks into joining Redeemer

Because of his DEEP love for this place,

And his faith-


That, is the Holy Spirit at work.

When I go,

Make a nuisance of myself

Telling folks about the wonderful people of Redeemer

How the Holy Spirit dwells here

And how we will roll up our sleeves,

We will do


That is the Holy Spirit!


Thanks Be to God

Creating Holy Spaces for Sacred Conversations about Institutional Racism – Rev. Dr. Linda Thomas, Professor of Theology and Anthropology @ LSTC

We Talk. We Listen.

ThomasLinda sitting“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” – thus begins the writer of Psalm 133. My own school, the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, in response to recent events both in the city and in the seminary, has recently ended an intensive week of lectures, panel discussions, and “Sacred Conversations about Institutional Racism.” All of these things were done with the hope of achieving this unity, this shalom. And my thoughts for this weeks post hope to fill you all in on what’s been going on. These have truly been momentous times for my school, and I have been heartened and strengthened by all of the responses. Please read, enjoy, and share. Let’s keep this conversation going!

Rev. Dr. Linda E. Thomas – Professor of Theology and Anthropology, Chair of the LSTC’s Diversity Committee, Editor – “We Talk. We Listen.”

On January 15…

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What Does It Really Mean to Be Lutheran? – Rev. Drew Yoos, Mission Development Pastor, Light of the Cross Lutheran Church; Bothell, WA

We Talk. We Listen.

ThomasLindaIn a sure and glorious sign of the Holy Spirit at work, #decolonizeLutheranismbroke onto the scene just a few days before LSTC’s Sacred Conversations on RaceThese two forces, thus combined, found their way into the mind of LSTC graduating senior, Drew Yoos – soon to sErving his very first call at Light of the Cross Lutheran Church in northwest Washington state. Coming from a rich, German American Lutheran heritage, he writes with poignant humility on Lutheran identity in the US, and gives a healthy reminder that the Lutheran confession is a global phenomena with globalvoices,and that if conversation between these many voices and tongues of Pentecost were good for the disciples, they will be good for us too. Please read, comment, and share!

“What does it really mean to be Lutheran?”

13226994_10153411300190213_7796207805168199536_n.jpg (image credit: Rev. Jason Chesnut.)

We know from the recent #DecolonizeLutheranism movement on social…

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Funeral Sermon of Catherine Postema

Grace and Peace to you,

My sisters and brothers in Christ

In this time of loss,

Of Sorrow

Of even, anger

Anger at the Whys

Anger at God,

Know that the Creator carries you,

Weeps with you

Enfolds you with a love that never ends

And a Light that shatters the darkness,

Reminding us,

Death is not the end,

Because of the One who comes

With Forgiveness and Mercy

And Grace,

Jesus Christ our Risen Savior and Lord.


 Good morning.

I bring you greetings

from your fellow brothers and sisters in Faith of my community

Of Redeemer Lutheran Church, in South Holland


Where Catherine and her family,

were faithful members.

Know that as you mourn,

So does the Redeemer community,

And where, in our midst

You are always welcomed.


I am always thankful for the opportunity

to share the Gospel with you and with everyone

Whether you are a follower of Jesus Christ

or whether you struggle in your faith-

Know that you are loved, and beloved of the Creator God.


“Blessed are those who mourn,

For they will be comforted.”

The experience of death,

When it rudely and obtrusively comes

Is heart wrenching

Sometimes we find ourselves,



At a loss about which direction we should go,

And what we should do in this moment,

And how we should feel

Because these emotions that flood forth,

Complicate and intrude into the normality

Of our lives

We are almost forced

To come to a standstill

Meanwhile the world continues its journey,

Life flows

And all we want to do,

Is simply stand in life’s pathway

And exhale our lament

“How can you continue on?

Don’t you know what’s happened to me?”


And even when those in our lives,

Those who have made an impact,

Or wisdom we could always rely and lean on,

Or whose presence was a constant in our journey

When our elders,

Are gone

It’s not any easier

Or that it doesn’t hurt any less

Especially when it is our Mother,

Because we all have this unrealistic expectation

That our Mothers,

Our Grandmothers

Like Catherine,

That they are always supposed to be that constant

In our lives

That we look forward to the mundane,

Of picking up the phone and having conversations

Sharing our news and joys,

Driving to visit,

Bringing cards and gifts and our love,

Pouring back our love,

The love and wisdom they have given to us

Simply because, right?

Simply because somewhere in our lives,

The gentle unraveling of a mystery,

Of why

Blossomed and poured out before us

As we were carried among the faithful

Gathered to hear words of comfort,

And the promises of a peace,

That surpasses all understanding

The promises that the Creator God gives to us

In and through God’s Sacred Word.



His presence brought crowds,

They were drawn to Him

Because of WHO HE WAS

And Is

Jesus, The Son of Man,

With every step,

Shook their lives

Freely teaching,

Freely healing

Bringing HOPE

Bringing GRACE

Bringing MERCY

Regardless of who they were

Those crowds who were gathered,

Were the forgotten

Those who were considered weak

Because of health,

Those who were tossed aside,

Because those who were in power

Who had status

Discarded them as useless

Those who were unable to do something,

Or whose righteous anger

Because of how they were treated,

How could they be treated


So harshly

By their own people?

And when they attempted to raise their voice,

To speak out,

Because they had heard God’s Word

They were laughed at,


Until all they could do,

Was weep,

And ask God,

Plead to God



But Jesus brings them Good News!

The Good News that they, among all others

Were truly LOVED

That the Creator had not forgotten about them,

And that who they were:

Those who struggled in their faith,

Who wrestled with the idea of God,

Because life had been so wretched-

That the Creator would Bless them,

Both now, and forevermore

That those who, even in their poverty

In their economic struggles

Tried to do for their neighbor,

And the stranger

That the Creator would Bless them,

Both now and forevermore

Those that leaned on their faith,

Even when life seemingly pushed them to the side

Especially when we cry out to the Why-

Why now,

Why our beloved Mother, Sister, Grandmother

Why did she have to suffer ailments,

Why God, why

Jesus Christ comes to us,

Just as He has come to so many,

In the midst of suffering

In the midst of pain,

In the midst of sorrow

And calls us, Blessed

Because the Good News of Jesus Christ is

This is NOT the END.

Jesus Christ,

Because of His Sacrifice

Shattered the dark abyss of death

We will never have to remain there

Because Jesus Christ is not there!

Jesus Christ stands before graves, and tombs, and resting places




This is the everlasting promise

This is the covenant God makes with us

Through Jesus Christ

Because of God’s UNENDING LOVE

For US!


But that does not mean,

That death,

Let’s be honest

Just plain sucks.

That does not mean

We can’t be angry with God

That we feel personally attacked

When death comes

And robs us

Of those we love.



We are not alone.

And neither was Catherine.

In those moments

Catherine closed her eyes to this world

And The Risen Christ called her,

Called her from that pain,

And she opened her eyes,

To a New LIFE






Catherine, we will miss her

But we know,

She is at peace,

And our covenant with her

Bound together with the Creator God

Is to continue living,

Caring, loving, doing for one another

Just as God has called us

And Christ has commanded us to.

Thanks Be to God.


Revelations in the River of Life

Grace and Peace to you,

My sisters and brothers in Christ

What future does the Creator God hold for Creation?

Where will this spiritual journey lead us?

When will the Kingdom of God be fully realized?

Or is it truly here and now

Because of the overwhelming


Power and Presence

Of the One who washes away all

Jesus Christ, Our Risen Savior and Lord



 Where have you experienced the power,

Of the Creator’s river of life,

Manifested in ordinary waters?

In 2010 while working for my camp,

I experienced canoeing on the Rock River

My whole being shook,

While gliding upon these muddy waters,

How insignificant my physical body seemed

Against the enormity of these depths

Which are teeming full of catfish, bass and walleye

And unknown creatures.


How we as humanity sometimes fail and miss the lesson,

The connectedness that the river has to all of our lives

Nurturing the winding wilderness around us

Cradling our boat,

Moving us,

Even though as humanity we have this misconception

That we have tamed rivers such as these

Simply because we are pushing through?


When have we paused

By these bodies of waters surrounding us

And remembered our baptisms

Giving thanks for our lives

Born from waters?

Perhaps it’s while inhaling the majesty

As we drive over the bridge into New Orleans

These ancient waters,

Moving as one strong rhythmic beat,

A culmination of many smaller rivers

Coming together as one,

Deeper and ancient still

Waters that have witnessed to humanity’s folly

Of trying to conquer it,

Travel over it

Control it

Instead of respecting it

These waters rebel and revolt against our presence

Washing over and healing this Creation

In baptismal waters,

Washing away humanity,

Because of our arrogance,

Because of our sin against Creation


Or even,

Going to Lake Michigan,

Sitting immersed in its waters,

How strangely healing even these waters can be

Even as it tries to heal itself

From the weight of the gravity of this life,

Which heavily leans upon it

Relies on it

To always be here for just humanity’s sake

Because we seem to always forget,

These waters-whatever their names

Poured out from the Creator God

At the beginning of LIFE


When we cannot get close to these sacred bodies of water,

We come here, among sacred people

To be immersed in healing waters

Of Baptism

“We give you thanks

O God

For in the beginning

Your spirit moved over the waters



Created the World

Calling forth LIFE

In which


Took delight”


There is comfort

When we are remembering our baptism

Those promises that we know

That we hear

Ingrained in the Gospel

“Peace I leave you,

Do not let your hearts be troubled”

God will not leave us

Or ever turn God’s Back on us

“By water and Word

You claim us as daughters and sons

Making us heirs

Of your promise

And Servants of all”

Because of the Resurrection

God promises Transformation

“Shower us with your Spirit

And renew US

Renew our lives

With your forgiveness


And Love.”



But I wonder,

How hard has it been,

For our sisters and brothers in places

Such as Flint,

To remember their baptism,

When the waters have been choked of their purpose,

How hard does it become

When we are to be celebrating

Living into

Remembering our baptism

In times that it seems

This eternal River of Life

God’s River

Has dried up?

These days,

The only waters we are collectively immersed

Comes from the wave after wave

Of endless weeping

From woman after woman

Whose names are lost to us,

But could all be called Rachel

Deep in Ramallah

Deep in the ghettoes in Brazil,

Here in Chicago

In the streets of St. Louis

Because of the senselessness of lives lost

That again we, as humanity fail to realize

How connected we are,

How we all came from this River of Life

We come down to the River to pray

For Shalom





Because we have gotten to the point,

Where rivers are just that!

That the presence of God’s River

Has dissipated

From our lives,

That there is no longer reason

To celebrate


Remember our baptism

Especially when our lakes



Their banks and shorelines have receded,

They swell from so much toxicity

That their presence means death to the rest of Creation


And we get the feeling now,

With the surge of hurricanes


Violent thunderstorms


That this precious Earth is finally broken

And that this Earth,

Is trying to heal

Reaching, stretching out

To be reconnected

To the River of Life-


“Those who love me,

Will keep my Word

And the Word you hear

Will not be mine,

But from the Father,

Who sent me.”

How strange and complex it seems

These words from Jesus Christ,

But it clearly spells out

The interconnectedness of God, Our Creator

And Jesus, Our Savior,

ALL LIFE comes from God

ALL LIFE flows from God

And God’s desire,

To be where we are!

What Good News!

We hear this Good News in our Gospel-


We hear this Good News in Revelations-

About this River of Life,

Nothing accused,

Nothing foul

Will ever be found in those waters

Because the Creator and the Lamb

Will be immersed within and throughout

Every drop of water in this new earth

Will be cleaned and whole

No death, no sickness, nothing

But to be in the presence of God our Creator


That is what God truly wants,

Because we are God’s People

We are a part of Creation

We are LOVED,

Isn’t that Good News?


So when we celebrate our Baptism,

We must be reminded

No matter where we are baptized,

Whether in the fierce waters of the Mississippi

Or Lake Michigan

Or even in the River Jordan

Or whether those waters run over

Into our baptismal font

These waters are transformed

Through the Word

Through the Holy Spirit

To Transform US

So in turn,

We begin to Transform this WORLD

It is because of our Baptism

We are called to be witnesses

Just like Lydia,



Just like those disciples,

Who had seen the Lord

Just like those unnamed,

But whose testimonies and stories

Are here in this sacred text

Just like those faithful who have gone

Before us

To dance, to swim, to be immersed

In that River of Life

Who are waiting for us,

To cross those banks

Who await the day,

When that River of Life will swell

And come rushing into this life,

Where Jesus Christ will once more

Shatter suffering, pain

Eliminate forever the darkness that crowds out the LIGHT

And Where the Creator God will gather us

By the River

To Live with US

In the Peace that surpasses all understanding.

Thanks Be to God