• 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!"
Browse All

Newest Sermons

  • 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

  • More Than A Slogan

    Contributed on Feb 19, 2017
    based on 1 rating

    We all know Micah 6:8, but there's a lot more to the message than just a T-shirt slogan.

    In the marathon subculture, T-shirts are everything. As a runner, you become a billboard for 26 miles, or 13, or 6, or in my case 3 miles. When I participated in my first 5K, I had to wear the shirt provided by my gym (since they paid the registration fee), but most of the time, each runner more

  • Radical Hospitality

    Contributed on Feb 19, 2017

    Launching from Jesus' call to love our enemies and be perfect, this sermon speaks of love and welcoming.

    In 1979, Tim Hansel published a book entitled "When I Relax I feel Guilty". Included in the book is this raw and provocative tidbit. "I would like to buy three dollars’ worth of God, please. Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a more

  • Impossible

    Contributed on Mar 27, 2016

    Throughout history, many people have had doubts about many things. It is no wonder there were doubts about the resurrection.

    Throughout history, some very smart people have said some not-so-smart things, and thanks to the internet, they will never be forgotten. For example, Thomas Watson, the Chairman of IBM said in 1943, “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” When something new more