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Radical Welcome

"God does not discriminate and neither do we" Twenty years ago the Holy Spirit gathered dozens of people to charter a new Lutheran congregation in Westfield. New Joy’s vision was to be a congregation that “welcomes, accepts, values, and nurtures all people wherever they are in their relationship with God.”...

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The Jews in the Gospel of John

The Jews in the Gospel of John

*Image above: ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton thanking Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and Senior Vice President of the Union for Reform Judaism. He spoke at the 2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly. Grace to you and peace, from the One who is, who...

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A New Candle and a New Creed

A New Candle and a New Creed The Paschal Candle At our Easter Bonfire on Holy Saturday, we will light a tall candle called a Paschal Candle. Set on a large candlestick and placed near the baptismal font, this candle is a traditional symbol of the light of the risen...

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The Hope of Leviticus 25, Part 2

The Hope of Leviticus 25, Part 2

The Hope of Leviticus 25, Part 2 As I stated in my previous post, in order for us to understand Jesus’ mission, it really helps if we understand Leviticus 25. When Jesus first preaches publicly in the Gospel of Luke, he claims that the “year of the Lord’s favor” is...

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The Hope of Leviticus: Part 1

The Hope of Leviticus 25, Part 1

The Hope of Leviticus 25, Part 1 [Photo credit: An Idyll of the Deep South, by Aaron Douglas, 1934] Christians often give short shrift to large swathes of the Old Testament. Baked into much of Christian culture is a latent, misguided notion that the Hebrew Bible is all laws and...

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Presentation of our Lord

Presentation of our Lord

Presentation of our Lord The Sunday after the Epiphany (Jan 6) is always Baptism of our Lord. However, with two Sundays back in Advent focusing on John and his baptism at the river, I decided to take a different text with resonant themes. Presentation of our Lord is a "lesser...

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Wealth, Justice, and the Kingdome of God

Wealth, Justice, and the Kingdom of God

Wealth, Justice, and the Kingdom of God For the second week in a row, I neglected to address in my sermon the elephant stomping around the Sunday Scripture readings. Last week I did not speak about marriage and divorce – which were central themes in both the Genesis and Mark...

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Marriage, Divorce, and the Misuse of Scripture

Marriage, Divorce, and the Misuse of Scripture

Marriage, Divorce, and the Misuse of Scripture This Sunday I did not address the elephant stomping around the appointed Scripture – divorce, and by extension, human sexuality and the tortured interpretation history of Genesis 2 and Mark 10. To be clear, no Scripture should ever be used as a “clobber...

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Reverence

Reverence

Reverence In many Lutheran congregations it is a common practice to reverence the altar and the cross (usually positioned in the same place), especially for worship leaders such as acolytes, pastors, and assisting ministers. This act of reverence is usually performed with a slight bow toward the cross and the...

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When Would I Deny Someone Holy Communion?

When Would I Deny Someone Holy Communion?

When Would I Deny Someone Holy Communion? The US Conference of Catholic Bishops is considering a statement on communion practices that could deny admission to the Lord’s Table to politicians who support pro-choice public policies. The Roman Catholic Church carefully stewards the Eucharist, welcoming to the Table those in communion...

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Who Is Our Neighbor?

Who Is Our Neighbor?

Who Is Our Neighbor? Last week we held our first Know Justice, Know Peace Bible Discussion out in the New Joy Pavilion. We began by listening deeply to Scripture – using the Collatio method we’ve used at New Joy for Praying the Psalms.  

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Job Opening at New Joy

Job Opening: Office Manager

Job Opening at New Joy Lutheran The New Joy Personnel Team is actively looking for a person to fill the role of Office Manager.  Please consider sharing this opportunity within your networks, or consider your own call to serve the church in this way. All interested applicants: Please submit a...

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Fasting from the Feast During Lent

Fasting from the Feast During Lent

Fasting from the Feast During Lent Admittedly it’s an odd fast to keep, to give up Holy Communion during Lent. Our church teaches that in the bread and cup of Holy Communion our Lord gives himself to us in a special way. “This is my body, given for you. This...

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Waiting and Worshiping Together this Christmas

Waiting and Worshiping Together this Christmas

Waiting & Worshiping Together this Christmas Our Advent waiting this year feels much more poignant, or urgent, or in-our-face than usual. We’re waiting for Jesus to come – in Bethlehem, in our Christmas celebrations, yes – and also, most importantly, in the promised time to come. This season is designed...

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Pledge 2020

Stewardship 2020

Beloved in Christ at New Joy, As the Israelites were defeated and taken captive into Babylon, they cried out, “How can we possibly sing the LORD’s song on foreign soil?” (Psalm 137:4) Their lament was one of being uprooted and disrupted, and of seeing the promise of the temple and...

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Pastor Chris Duckworth and the Indiana Army National Guard

A Time of Transition

Dear People of New Joy, Ecclesiastes 3 tells us that there is a time for everything under the sun. This month, it is time for me to resign my commission as an officer and chaplain in the United States Army and the Indiana Army National Guard. It has been the...

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