Lift high the cross

May 3, 2018 by

Recently, my friend’s cousin in Palestine was killed. Because we live in a 21st-century world with instant access, I watched on social media as his shrouded body was lifted high in the air and paraded down...

[read more]

Death is a ‘passage’

Apr 23, 2018 by

I object to J. Nelson Kraybill’s implication that using the word “passed” to refer to a loved one’s death reflects an “aversion to death” (“Let Me Sleep Till Christ Returns,” April 9). In my...

[read more]

Choosing a good death

Apr 20, 2018 by

Both of my parents were able to die the way they wanted to: at home surrounded by family. I hope this is the way I am able to die as well. Unfortunately, medical technology, combined with our own fearful...

[read more]

Kraybill: Let me sleep till Christ returns

Apr 9, 2018 by

When my earthly sojourn ends, please say that I died, not that I “passed.” The latter happens to footballs and plates of food. Aversion to death makes our culture prefer euphemism, but followers of Jesus...

[read more]

Awake, O sleeper

Mar 26, 2018 by

When a congregation has a lot of funerals in a short time, the shadow of death looms large. At the same time, the light of the Resurrection shines. Darkness and light, sorrow and hope, compete for power over...

[read more]

‘Remember that you are dust’

Feb 13, 2018 by

This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Growing up in a Mennonite church, I knew nothing about Lent. But when I was in seminary, I worked as an assistant minister in a United Methodist church....

[read more]

King: Uncharted lands

Feb 12, 2018 by

There is a sculpture of Lewis, Clark and Sacagawea on a bluff above the Missouri River in Great Falls, Mont. As they point west, they seem to dream beyond the setting sun. They believe they’ll find lands...

[read more]

Ohio nursing home resident dies of hypothermia

Feb 5, 2018 by

The death of a 76-year-old resident of a Mennonite-run nursing home prompted an investigation by the Ohio Department of Health. Phyllis Campbell was found dead Jan. 7 in the courtyard of Hilty Home in Pandora,...

[read more]

Facing death with laughter

Feb 5, 2018 by

I’m in the process of editing a 20-page essay on the spirit of the Ausbund, a German book of Anabaptist songs still used in some Amish circles. Many of the lyrics tell stories of Anabaptist martyrs. The...

[read more]

Longhurst: Who fears death?

Jan 15, 2018 by

“Why are evangelical Christians and conservative Catholics overrepresented among those who experience higher levels of guilt, regret and uncertainty in the face of impending death?” That’s a question a...

[read more]

Opting to be humanist

Aug 14, 2017 by

The subjects of contention in MWR’s Letters & Comments section leave me in a quandary. Having been a Mennonite Church member for 60 years, and on its payroll for 15, I treasure the love that emanates...

[read more]

Another taste of desert sand

Jul 31, 2017 by

It was the liturgy that first warmed my heart. I tried to be cautious, not to fall in love too quickly. How long should one wait to call a church one’s home? I still don’t know the answer to that question....

[read more]

History: The sun, the moon and truth

Jun 5, 2017 by

“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon and the truth.” Attributed to Buddha, this was Zaida Catalan’s retweet on March 3, her last. Catalan, a United Nations expert from Sweden, died with...

[read more]

A life in pursuit of peace

Mar 29, 2017 by and

Helping people lay down weapons was a thread running through much of Michael J. Sharp’s life. From work with U.S. military personnel in Germany seeking conscientious objection discharges to developing trust...

[read more]

Choose love first

Jan 30, 2017 by

The difference between a death that comes at the end of a long and full life, and one that interrupts things too soon, is subjective. But you know it when you see it. Lately, there has been too much of the...

[read more]

Ohio pastor testified: ‘Don’t give up on prayer’

Jan 30, 2017 by and

In September, Naomi Engle was diagnosed with brain cancer after experiencing problems maintaining her balance. The co-pastor of West Clinton Mennonite Church in Wauseon, Ohio, died Jan. 1 at age 51. She was...

[read more]

A life of total generosity

Jan 5, 2017 by

What does it take to have a life of total generosity? Work. Lots and lots of work. Hard work. Endless work. A relentless pursuit to be and do all that God would have for you. It’s a journey that will take...

[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]

A pilgrim’s sight

Apr 11, 2016 by

As I headed for retreat in Arizona’s Verde Valley, words of Eastern Mennonite Seminary colleague Linda Alley, insights honed as spiritual director, still rang: “I imagine it as a pilgrimage. The journey...

[read more]

Resurrection lite or resurrection light?

Mar 31, 2016 by

Today I am reminded of what Michelle Webster-Hein once wrote: This morning at church I plunked out the four parts of an old hymn while above my chords the congregation’s voices took flight. And I thought of...

[read more]

Death and memory

Mar 28, 2016 by

“More Than a Memory” (Editorial, March 14) reflects deep thoughts about life and death and the implications of the memory of your father [former MWR editor Robert M. Schrag, who died Jan. 26]. When my...

[read more]

More than a memory

Mar 14, 2016 by

Good Friday and Easter look different in the shadow of a loved one’s death. Grief brings Christ’s death and resurrection closer. It magnifies the fears and hopes we normally suppress. Thoughts of a cross...

[read more]

Reflection for All Saints Day

Oct 30, 2015 by

The Lectionary readings for All Saints Day and All Souls day include lovely words and images of God’s care for us and the divine promise of eternal life: “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not...

[read more]

Hope and expectation

Oct 23, 2015 by

There are two kinds of wonder, Hal Shra­der said in a sermon at the Mennonite Church USA convention July 1 in Kansas City, Mo., as he preached on the Luke 24 account of Jesus’ resurrection. One is confusion...

[read more]

Murkiness, comfort and hope

Sep 30, 2015 by

This is the first resurrection story in the Bible. Amidst all the miracles of the Hebrew scriptures — creation and the flood and the plagues and the red sea parting and the water in the wilderness — here...

[read more]