Longhurst: No glib prayers

May 18, 2020 by

During this time of pandemic, many Christians are turning to prayer. But what to pray? It can be especially hard for worship leaders, who wonder how to find the words that speak honestly to God on behalf of...

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Peace be with you — even in lockdown

May 7, 2020 by

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with...

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Pentecost optimism

Apr 20, 2020 by

Easter any other year is one of those Sundays the folding chairs might come out of the fellowship hall and into the sanctuary. Churches should be full to bursting. But not this year. Like the tomb on the first...

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Kraybill: Hope amid pandemic

Apr 6, 2020 by

Fear gripped Alexandria, Egypt, in A.D. 260 as a pandemic pummeled the great city. Along with their neighbors, followers of Jesus endured a plague — perhaps smallpox, measles or Ebola — that some people...

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Kriss: Passion week, Pentecost, pandemic

Apr 6, 2020 by

“Because of the virus.” I mulled the phrase, letting it sink in. I was taking a walk in my neighborhood, where it’s strangely quiet while the blossoms peak. At the supermarket, an intercom voice...

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Rocks that talk, angels who uplift

Apr 1, 2020 by

As a farm girl, one of the spring tasks was picking up rocks from our Minnesota acreage. Before we planted soybeans and corn, the black loam needed to be cleared of rocks. It seemed that the winter snows and...

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Kennel-Shank: Springtime rebirth

Apr 29, 2019 by

As the ground thaws and snow piles yield to beds of dark brown soil, I begin to scan for signs of new growth. For days on end in these colder regions, the earth still holds its riches underground. Finally, the...

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Bible: Want proof of the resurrection?

Apr 15, 2019 by

Oh, for a video camera trained on the tomb on that original Easter Sunday! How perfect it would be to witness the grinding of the grave stone, the genuflection of the soldiers, the gleaming of the...

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Most ancient testimony

Apr 15, 2019 by

Assigned to read Herzog by Saul Bellow, a college student encountered these thoughts on death: What is the philosophy of this generation? Not God is dead, that period was passed long ago. Perhaps it should be...

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Lasting Lenten sacrifice

Mar 18, 2019 by and

What are you giving up for Lent? Like showing up for Christmas Eve and Easter Sunday worship services, Lenten self-sacrifice is one of the few church traditions that still finds some measure of appeal with the...

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‘If you love me…’

Apr 5, 2018 by

After the resurrection of Jesus, there were still things he needed to teach the disciples before his ascension to heaven. The disciples, no doubt, had guilt about their disappearance during his trial, his...

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How do we know Jesus rose from the dead?

Apr 2, 2018 by

How do we know Jesus rose from the dead? We discussed this question at Followers of Jesus Church Atlanta as part of our Easter celebration. How would you answer it? The resurrection is the basis for our...

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Bible: Breakfast with the risen Christ

Mar 26, 2018 by

I wish our Uniform Texts had started with Luke 23:55. In both the Greek New Testament and the NRSV, Luke 24:1 begins with “But . . . they came to the tomb.” What happened before the “but,” and who is...

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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...

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Resurrection reality

Mar 26, 2018 by

As we enter the Easter season, we’re celebrating not merely a feel-good story but an actual event in history. In the person of Jesus, God entered our space and time as one of us. He lived, died and returned...

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Patience, prayer, power

May 22, 2017 by

The weeks following Jesus’ resurrection must have been an exciting time of transition for his followers. “After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them...

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Bible: Mercy wider than we imagine

Apr 24, 2017 by

It’s worth reading the Book of Jonah in one sitting. It won’t take more than five minutes. Getting the details freshly in mind as well as the entire scope of the story can make an old, familiar tale come...

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Are we stuck at the cross?

Apr 10, 2017 by

It’s Holy Week. Sunday we progressed around the church with our palm fronds singing hosanna, reminding ourselves of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. From here we walk with Jesus toward the cross...

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Bible: How can we keep from singing?

Apr 10, 2017 by

“Nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus,” the speaker said. “Nothing at all. Not anything we do — or anything we don’t do.” I pushed the rewind button and played the recording...

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Skeptic’s quest

Apr 10, 2017 by

Thomas, the doubting disciple, doesn’t make the list of biblical role models. But he deserves a second look. Scripture’s most famous skeptic has something to teach us about faith and doubt. The disciple...

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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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7 weeks of celebration

Mar 28, 2016 by

Jesus is risen! When you read this, Resurrection Sunday may have passed, but this is our declaration for the next seven weeks. The organizers of the church calendar understood that Christ’s triumph over...

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The 4 days of Holy Week that shape my life

Mar 23, 2016 by

It’s Holy Week and, for the first time in my professional life, I’m not guiding a church through it. The freshness of simply being a sojourner is allowing me the opportunity to reflect on this sacred...

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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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Resurrection through tears and change

Mar 14, 2016 by

Several years ago during the Easter vigil at Resurrection Catholic parish in my hometown of Johnstown, Pa., I found myself weeping almost uncontrollably. The Saturday Easter vigil is among the grandest of...

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