Author Archives: Renee Schoeller

Weekly Moravian Message May 1, 2016

May 1, 2016 The Peace of Christ What does it mean to have “peace of mind”? Some might say that it means to have security. Some might say that means to have “their wits about them.” Others may say that it means that there is nothing to worry about. In the Gospel lesson for today, […]

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Weekly Moravian Message April 24, 2016

April 24, 2016 Standing By At a retreat I once attended, I found myself struck by a question asked by the retreat leader during morning devotions. I, like many others in my group, had come to the retreat carrying heavy burdens. After helping us recognize those burdens, our retreat leader asked us, “When have you […]

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Weekly Moravian Message April 17, 2016

April 17, 2016 “Are You a Member of the Flock of Jesus?” Jesus walked into the temple, and those who were there gathered around him and said, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us!” (John 10:24). Jesus had already answered that question, but the great majority of […]

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Weekly Moravian Message April 10, 2016

April 10, 2016 Going Fishing after Easter “The Lord is risen! Let’s go fishing!” Wait, that’s not right. If someone in your congregation shouted such profanity on Easter morning, he or she might not be welcomed back. Such a shame. After all, Easter has come and gone. The weather is getting nicer. The pastor’s sermons […]

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Weekly Moravian Message April 3, 2016

Sunday, April 3, 2016 Is Seeing Really Believing? I occasionally feel a twinge of jealousy toward those in the first century. They didn’t have the Internet, cars, germ theory, air conditioning, or indoor plumbing; so I quickly get over it. But while the jealousy lasts, I daydream about sitting down for a meal with Jesus. […]

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Weekly Moravian Message February 28, 2016

Third Sunday in Lent February 28, 2016 Turning Jesus is a hands-on, down-to-earth kind of guy! He lays his hands on folks to heal and bless, he doesn’t shy away from truth-telling, and he loves to use gardening metaphors. The common element in this two-part passage is turning. The word “to repent” means “to turn, to […]

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Weekly Moravian Message February 21, 2016

Second Sunday in Lent February 21, 2016 Under his wings One of the few periodicals my Wisconsin farmer grandparents subscribed to was Outdoor Life, the sportsmen’s magazine. I pored over those pictures and stories as a child, learning more about nature and wildlife beyond the farm. I learned that the prairie chicken, a wild bird of […]

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Weekly Moravian Message February 14, 2016

First Sunday in Lent February 14, 2016 Jesus, the one we can trust Lent, the season to prepare to draw nearer to Christ, begins with this familiar story: “Jesus . . . was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where . . . he was tempted by the devil.” Can we hear this again, with […]

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Weekly Moravian Message February 7, 2016

Last Sunday after the Epiphany/Transfiguration of Our Lord February 7, 2016 Telling the truth that we know What a thrill it must have been for John and James and Peter to see Jesus then—his clothes becoming dazzling white, his face changing, and Moses and Elijah appearing in glory!—a glimpse of a reality far beyond any they […]

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Weekly Moravian Message January 31, 2016

Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany January 31, 2016 Experts Back when I used to travel all over the country speaking at workshops and conventions, there was a saying in the business: “An expert is someone with a briefcase who lives over a hundred miles away.” I saw that played out again and again. I could fly […]

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Weekly Moravian Message January 24, 2016

Third Sunday after the Epiphany January 24, 2016 “The Spirit of God is upon me” Jesus declares in front of his home audience: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim the good news.” That alone is a powerful statement. But it seems to be the second part of […]

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Weekly Moravian Message January 17, 2016

Second Sunday after the Epiphany January 17, 2016 A wedding in Cana In today’s assigned Gospel lesson we have the story of the wedding at Cana. This first recorded miracle of Jesus can be found only in John’s Gospel. Jesus is told by his mother that they have run out of wine. We may not see […]

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Weekly Moravian Message January 10, 2016

First Sunday after the Epiphany January 10, 2016 Baptism by fire “Baptism by fire” suggests a form of initiation by trial, a very difficult entry into some new chapter or experience of life—like your first organic chemistry class in college. On this Sunday, something brand new is afoot. People can sense it. The messianic hope is […]

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Weekly Moravian Message January 3, 2016

Second Sunday after Christmas January 3, 2016 Circles of Influence “He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him” (John 1:10 NIV). I wonder why they didn’t recognize him. Perhaps they were too busy. Perhaps their minds and hearts were focused on other matters. Perhaps […]

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Weekly Moravian Message December 27, 2015

First Sunday after Christmas December 27, 2015   Hide-and-seek or lost-and-found? When we were younger, we played a game called hide-and-seek, or as some say, lost-and-found. One person would go hide; the others would count to ten, then say, “Ready or not, here we come.” Meanwhile the other person tried not to be found. But was […]

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Weekly Moravian Message December 20, 2015

Fourth Sunday of Advent December 20, 2015   Hope for the hurting   As Mary meets her cousin Elizabeth, her heart overflows with praise. She praises God for acting in ways that fly in the face of the assumptions of this fallen world. God favors and honors the very people others overlook (Luke 1:48). God shows […]

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Weekly Moravian Message December 13, 2015

Third Sunday of Advent December 13, 2015 Can you see hope?   What does hope look like? Can you see it? As John the Baptist spreads word that the Savior is coming, the news is electrifying. Crowds leave their homes and close their shops, trekking into the wilderness to hear John’s message firsthand. It is […]

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Weekly Moravian Message December 6, 2015

Second Sunday of Advent December 6, 2015 Hope energizes!   In today’s Gospel lesson, John the Baptist strides boldly onto our Advent stage, announcing that God’s saving power is coming at last (Luke 3:6). It’s a message of radical hope—the kind of hope that just might empower a person to straighten out his crooked ways, to […]

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Weekly Moravian Message November 29, 2015

First Sunday of Advent November 29, 2015 An Advent attitude toward the apocalypse   “Apocalyptic” movies draw big money at the box office. Responding to the demand, Hollywood has shown tireless creativity in envisioning new scenarios for ending the world. This movie genre began with tales of global nuclear devastation, extraterrestrial invasions, and a marauding Tokyo-skyscraper-tall […]

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Weekly Moravian Message November 22, 2015

Reign of Christ Sunday November 22, 2015 What Kind of King? “Are you a king?” “My kingdom doesn’t consist in what you see around you. . . . I’m not that kind of king, not the world’s kind of king” (John 18:36, The Message). Here are pieces of a conversation between a soon-to-be-condemned prisoner and […]

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Weekly Moravian Message November 15, 2015

Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Pentecost November 15, 2015 When? What Signs? “Lord, come for your world!” We hear those words from our grand-parents as they see the signs of the times, as they call it. Jesus goes to the temple for the final time and predicts its complete destruction. One of the disciples asks Jesus if he […]

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Weekly Moravian Message November 8, 2015

Twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost, Festival of Christ the Chief Elder November 8, 2015 Jesus Christ Our Chief Elder News sometimes travels slowly! In the early 1740s it took a while for the great news of the church that Jesus Christ was the Chief Elder of the Moravians, as recognized by a synod in September, to reach […]

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Weekly Moravian Message November 1, 2015

Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost November 1, 2015 Love Is All You Need Hear the commandment that Jesus points out in Mark 12:30: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” This reminds me of a time when I […]

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Weekly Moravian Message October 25, 2015

Twenty-Second Sunday after Pentecost October 25, 2015 Jesus, Have Mercy! It was a day just like other days. It was a day of traveling from town to town. All along the way, the entourage and the masses followed the Master. It was Jesus walking with his disciples—all the while sur-rounded by countless more who all wanted something […]

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Weekly Moravian Message October 18, 2015

Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost October 18, 2015 Who Wishes to Be Great James and John approach Jesus and ask if they may be seated on Jesus’ right and left hand in his glory. “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus replies and then asks the important question: “Are you able to drink the cup that […]

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Weekly Moravian Message October 11, 2015

Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost October 11, 2015 Letting Go In one classic episode of the TV show The Simpsons, the father, Homer, reaching for a soda can, gets his arm caught in a vending machine. Hilarity ensues as he tries to free himself, and even drags the vending machine around for a while. In the […]

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Weekly Moravian Message September 27, 2015

Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost September 27, 2015 Following “Us” “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him because he was not following us.” (Mark 9:38) Following “us”? As I look around today, I see so many times when the “us” in the world can get in the […]

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Weekly Moravian Message September 20, 2015

Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost September 20, 2015 True Greatness What a wonderful story this is about truly great people of God! Jesus has begun to speak about his death, and those who love him have started to argue about which of them will be the greatest when Jesus is gone. It reminds me of the popular […]

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Weekly Moravian Message September 13, 2015

Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost September 13, 2015 Who Do You Say That I Am? This was actually the second question Jesus asked his disciples while they were on their way to the village of Caesarea Philippi. He first asked them, “Who do people say that I am?” Jesus was widely mis-understood, and many people did not […]

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Weekly Moravian Message September 6, 2015

Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost September 6, 2015 Be Opened! I sometimes find myself wondering what comes next. What happens after the characters in Scripture disappear from the page? What’s the next chapter of the story? What happened next after the Syrophoenician woman’s plea to Jesus for her daughter’s healing was answered? What happened next after the […]

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