Powell: Where’s the joy in tense times?

Dec 9, 2019 by

An acquaintance said to me, “Another year is almost over. Christmas will soon be here. I can’t get into the spirit with all the divisiveness around me. When will it stop?” She was expressing what many...

[read more]

The face of God

Dec 9, 2019 by

The second commandment God etched in stone warned the Israelites not to imagine what God looked like. There must be no “graven image” of Yahweh. Israel’s invisible God would permit no idols. The rule...

[read more]

Advent: from ranting to singing

Dec 4, 2019 by

Advent is a season of patience and reflection, even confession and tears. It is a time of observing, watching, staying awake. The Isaiah texts that mark this year’s Advent scriptures are anything but quiet....

[read more]

Light emerges out of darkness

Dec 20, 2018 by

In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He existed in the beginning with God. 3 God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through...

[read more]

All we need to know

Dec 18, 2018 by

I don’t know if I have ever been able to convincingly say that I love God. So, I don’t really say it very much. I don’t not love him, but to claim that I love him has always felt like a stretch to me....

[read more]

Waiting for God to act

Dec 12, 2018 by

Advent is for waiting. As we tell the story of redemption through the church calendar we begin our telling of the sacred story, not with doing, not with celebrating, but with waiting — waiting for God to...

[read more]

Bible column: An all-in kind of love

Dec 3, 2018 by

Crack the first windows of your family Advent calendar and you will soon enough hear Mary and Zachariah and the angels in lyric worship and praise. The hour of promise come ’round could only ever begin that...

[read more]

Waiting for Advent

Nov 28, 2018 by

I’ve discovered there are two kinds of people in the world, and it’s one of the deep social divides polarizing the world. On the one hand are the people who put up Christmas trees and decorations on Nov....

[read more]

Our Christian hope

Dec 22, 2017 by

Today I am blessed to celebrate birthday No. 69. Family will surround me; we will eat seafood and carrot cake. It will be a special day. Then comes Christmas. I anticipate celebrating that day, too. And I’m...

[read more]

Kehrberg: Seeking comfort and joy

Dec 18, 2017 by

During Advent, churches wait for Jesus’ birth while discussing concepts like comfort and hope, waiting and watching, peace and joy. Spiritually, I get it. But on a practical level it’s a bit of a joke. If...

[read more]

A ‘Buy Nothing Christmas’

Dec 5, 2017 by

A few years ago some Canadian Mennonites came up with the idea of “Buy Nothing Christmas.” Check out their website at buynothingchristmas.org. With humor they direct you to a “Buy Nothing Catalogue”...

[read more]

Kriss: Waiting with a smartphone during Advent

Dec 4, 2017 by

Advent is about waiting. The two most celebrated portions of the church year, Lent and Advent, both feature a similar framework of preparing and waiting. In Spanish, the verb for waiting (esperar) has the same...

[read more]

Oil for our lamps

Dec 4, 2017 by

In Jesus’ parable of the 10 virgins in Matthew 25, the women get drowsy and fall asleep while waiting for the bridegroom, who is running late. It’s not an Advent parable, but it is a warning for those who...

[read more]

Grow joy this Christmas

Nov 28, 2017 by

The Eternal God planted a garden in the east in Eden—a place of utter delight—and placed the man whom He had sculpted there. In this garden, He made the ground pregnant with life—bursting forth with...

[read more]

Mary’s song: ordained for mercy

Dec 23, 2016 by

This is an edited version of a sermon Isaac Villegas preached Dec. 11 at the ordination service for Theda Good at First Mennonite Church of Denver. Good is the first openly LGBT person ordained in Mennonite...

[read more]

Hanukkah lights at Christmastime

Dec 21, 2016 by

First there was Jehovah — the creator and grand designer of the universe as we know it. Emanating from God was Judaism, the systems of traditions God wanted his people to embrace. Finally, Jesus came as the...

[read more]

Embrace the darkness

Dec 19, 2016 by

Hens lose their egg-laying gusto as the days get shorter. Rather than offer a winter respite to her flock, my wife chose brainwashing over relief. Already in October she festooned the chicken run with...

[read more]

Opinion: At Standing Rock, God heard our cries for justice

Dec 19, 2016 by and

On the second Sunday of Advent, I was part of a historic celebration of the power of nonviolent resistance. At Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, thousands of voices cried out in America’s wilderness. Sunday,...

[read more]

MCC Christmas message: Pray with us for peace

Dec 15, 2016 by , and

Silent night, holy night, All is calm, all is bright Round yon virgin mother and child. Holy infant so tender and mild, Sleep in heavenly peace. Sleep in heavenly peace. Exactly 200 years ago, in the...

[read more]

How to celebrate Advent like Mary

Dec 5, 2016 by

To celebrate Jesus’ coming, Mary did not light Advent candles or put up a Christmas tree. Not that there’s anything wrong with these things. At church, we’re counting the four weeks before Christmas by...

[read more]

Waiting for liberation

Dec 5, 2016 by

Jesus was born into a community of second-class citizens waiting for a liberator. Those who experienced the first Advent endured the weight of oppression — the Roman Empire’s occupation of Judea. Those of...

[read more]

Bible: Saviors and forerunners

Dec 5, 2016 by

The story announcing the birth of John the Baptist begins in Luke 1:5. Both Zechariah the priest and his wife, Elizabeth, lived “blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord.”...

[read more]

Kehrberg: Strategies for Scrooge

Dec 5, 2016 by

Santa knows that we’re God’s children, that makes everything right. — Gene Autry, “Here Comes Santa Claus” I considered writing some kind of reflection on the political climate here in the United...

[read more]

Waiting for God to act

Nov 29, 2016 by

Advent is for waiting. As we tell the story of redemption through the church calendar we begin our telling of the sacred story, not with doing, not with celebrating, but with waiting — waiting for God to...

[read more]

What comes next?

Oct 10, 2016 by

Cooling temperatures and autumnal scenes signal the home stretch of election season for Americans. By now, most are weary of the fear, tribalism and vitriol associated with the presidential campaign. The...

[read more]