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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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Some questions about heaven

Sep 28, 2015 by

Heaven, what used to be the primary motivator for many to become a Christian, or be a faithful Christian, has fallen on hard times. I discuss each of these questions (below) in my book, The Heaven Promise. I...

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On stories, sadness and spoilers

Aug 17, 2015 by

I was pacing in the living room. My son had been making his way through the Harry Potter series all summer, and he was reading the climactic chapter in the sixth book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince....

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Present at the end

Apr 13, 2015 by

Nobody should die alone. That’s the commitment made by Donwood Manor Personal Care Home in Winnipeg. Donwood, which is owned by eight Mennonite Brethren churches in the city, made that commitment after...

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Holy Week in an unholy world

Apr 3, 2015 by

We call it Holy Week. But it was a terrible week. His trial reeked of injustice. His own disciple sold him out for a few pieces of silver, betrayed him with a kiss . . .  and hung himself. As he was arrested,...

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Blessed are those who mourn

Jan 28, 2015 by

My friend Tim asked me to speak at his church about mourning, and how it can be a pathway to God. It got me thinking that we Americans don’t make a lot of room for mourning. Unlike some other cultures, we...

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A good death

Dec 8, 2014 by

Canada’s Supreme Court is hearing arguments about whether physician-assisted suicide should be legal. Not surprisingly, the issue is heated and controversial. For most of us, it is an academic debate. We...

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His sorrow is splendor

Aug 21, 2014 by

A little girl in our community has died. Suddenly. Unexpectedly. Shatteringly. Nine years old, Christ have mercy. And this is the part where those who call themselves “pastors” are supposed to provide...

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