Black Bart

There was a joke I used to tell (maybe even from this pulpit) about the cowboy who rode into town to find it empty except for the saloon’s bartender. “Where is everybody?” he asked. “They all left,” the bartender said. “Black Bart is coming to town.” Just then the ground shook, the doors flew open, and the biggest, meanest looking gun-toting scoundrel stomped in, demanded a beer, chugged it down, and started to leave. The cowboy said, “What’s your hurry?” “Gotta go,” he said. “Black Bart’s coming to town!” I used to tell that story. Well, it turns out that Black Bart was real. He was a professional thief whose very name struck fear as he terrorized the Wells Fargo stage line from S

Look Who's Doubting Now

If the gospel is really “good news” then sometimes I think the church should publish newspapers with big banner headlines. Today’s newspaper, if you were to pick it up at the door of the church on your way in, would have 100 pt. above-the-fold headlines announcing: “Thomas Vindicated.” Thomas vindicated. You remember Thomas from last week’s gospel. He’s the one who “doubted.” He’s the one who said, “Unless I see the mark of the nails and put my hand in the wound on his side, I will not believe.” So, we have singled him out and have labeled him the “doubting Thomas.” Well, look who’s doubting this week. The rest of the disciples!! The resurrected Jesus stands there in the midst of t

April Fool

Today is April 1st, so …April fool! The ending to the Easter story you were expecting wasn’t read this morning. After the women found the tomb empty and after the angel told them Jesus had risen from the dead, you were expecting the women to rush forth and tell everyone else about it … just like they did in Matthew’s gospel, or Luke’s, or John’s. But Mark doesn’t tell the story that way. In Mark’s gospel, after the angel explicitly tells the women to go and announce the resurrection, it says coldly that “they went out and fled from the tomb … and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. What a dud of an ending. Once, when I was 10, I sent home a postcard from summer camp. My

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Christ the Servant Lutheran Church

The Rev. Dr. Phillip A. Carl

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