• Mari Larson

    Contributing sermons since Apr 23, 2014
Mari's church

Reformation ELCA
Wichita, Kansas 67206

About Mari
  • Education: B.S., M.A., M.Div., D.Min.
  • Experience: Ordained in 1996
  • Comment to those looking at my sermons: We were told by professors that the job of the preacher is basically to "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." Many preachers are phenomenal at comforting the afflicted. I am much better at afflicting the comfortable.
  • Sermon or series that made a difference: One of my pastors portrayed Saint Francis as a sermon many decades ago. That led me to memorize the prayed attributed to Francis and to read more about his life.
  • One of my favorite illustrations: Once upon a time, at a large Hollywood mansion, a great banquet was held. All the movers and shakers were there – artists, actors, musicians, producers, directors, and others. After an incredible dinner and some great musical entertainment, a famous actor entertained guests by acting out some of his most famous roles. As night began to turn to morning, the actor was getting tired. The crowd’s applause indicated that they wanted more, so the actor consented, saying that he’d do one more as an encore and that it would be a request from the audience. From the back of the room came the raised hand of a retired minister. He said, “Do you know the 23rd psalm?” The actor replied, “Yes I do, and I will give it on one condition – that when I am finished you recite the same psalm.” The minister was a bit embarrassed, but consented. The actor did a beautiful rendition, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall never be in want...” When he finished, the crowd applauded loudly. Then it was the minister’s turn. He stood and said the very same words, but when he finished, there was no applause, only the sound of utter silence and several eyes wet with tears. The actor savored the silence for a few moments and then stood up. “Ladies and gentlemen,” he said, “I hope you realize what just happened here. You see, I knew the words to the psalm, but this minister knows the Shepherd.” Oftentimes, we in the church get hung up on policies and procedures and protocol. Sometimes all of that gets in the way of other things. Let us always remember that what is most important is our relationship with the Shepherd.
  • Family: I am married to Gary and the stepmother of 6.
  • What my parents think of my sermons: My parents are with Jesus, but my mother really liked one of my first sermons and thought it should be published. It wasn't particularly theologically deep, but it was about something she hadn't experienced in small town America. It was about a man and his dog who were often in the alley near the dumpster.
  • What my spouse (really) thinks of my sermons: He is glad that he only has to hear them once, but he too often compares them to my colleague's, and they always rank higher (which shows his bias).
  • Best advice given to me about preaching: Look me in the eye.
  • Hobbies: Gardening and swimming are my stress-relief.
  • If I could Preach one more time, I would say...: Stop making this more difficult than it needs to be. Jesus did the work; just cling to him!
  • Something funny that happened while preaching: The first time I preach in a new location, I do so shoeless (as in, "take off your shoes, this is holy ground"). When that it noticed, it receives some very interesting reactions.
  • What I want on my tombstone: "Thanks God! What a ride!"
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Newest Sermons

  • Preparing For Christmas, John's Style

    Contributed on Dec 17, 2018

    Preparing for Christmas beyond decorating trees and writing cards.

    I have done it, and I cannot undo it. I have equated social media with that/this wild-eyed picture of John the Baptist. “You brood of vipers.” Polarizing. Negative. Scary, even. I hear some of you giggling, and I see you smiling. You know what I’m talking about. There’s a lot of speaking more

  • Free Indeed

    Contributed on Nov 12, 2018

    Reformation Sunday and also Stewardship Commitment Sunday

    We’ve been hearing a lot about freedom lately, and it’s clear from advertisements that there are different ways to define and prioritize our freedoms. Jesus wasn’t a politician, but he was and is accused of being very, even too political. But when he spoke of freedom, he was transcending politics more

  • Two Are Better

    Contributed on Nov 12, 2018
    based on 1 rating

    Sermon for Ecumenical Worship Service

    Perhaps it’s because my childhood was spent on a small farm just outside a small town. My family belonged to a small church in a sea of small churches, 12 of them as I recall, half of which were Lutheran. And so, in my neighborhood, Kevin, Brian, and Karla, across the street, were Methodist. more

  • A Little Faith And A Breath

    Contributed on Jun 3, 2018

    With A Little Faith and A Breath, God Reaches Everyone (This was preached the weekend after the school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas -- that is mentioned near the end of the sermon)

    Dear friends in Christ, grace to you and peace from God our Creator, Jesus our Savior, and from the Unpredictable and Unquenchable Holy Spirit whose presence we celebrate this day. Amen Imagine yourself in the time of Ezekiel. It is about 600 BC. Nebuchadnezzar was about to destroy what more

  • Good Things Happen On The Sabbath

    Contributed on Jun 3, 2018

    While we can agree with Jesus that "the sabbath is made for humankind and not humankind for the sabbath," we are wrong to disregard it.

    In 1986, the good people of Bismarck, North Dakota, thought it was time to overturn or at least soften the blue laws which closed businesses on Sundays. Amid great controversy, Dayton’s Department Store, Target, and many stores and restaurants were to open at noon. Dayton’s and Target were both more