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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Good Friday with children

Mar 11, 2016 by

It’s difficult to know what to do with Good Friday when you have little children. I’m always a little itchy about skipping from Palm Sunday to Easter with no worship that centers us on Jesus dying. At the...

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The gospel of enough

Apr 15, 2015 by

The following sermon was preached at Germantown Mennonite Church in Philadelphia, based on Acts 4:32-35. I hate to break it to you, but despite those verses in Acts, the church never really held all things...

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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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Holy Week is hard

Apr 2, 2015 by

I love involving children in our Palm Sunday worship — letting them parade around and wave palms while the adults sing our Hosannahs. And I really love to celebrate Easter with children — with baskets and...

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Undeserved Easter

Mar 30, 2015 by

The story of Christ’s death and resurrection is a study in humanity’s shortcomings. It seems designed to contrast a divine plan with mortal mistakes. There is the parade of offenses in the garden before...

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Pacific shore is holy ground for Easter baptisms

May 12, 2014 by and

VANCOUVER, B.C. — The chilly spring waters of the Pacific Ocean didn’t deter 29 people from plunging beneath the surface this Easter as a public witness to the truth and power of the gospel. On April 20,...

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Easter: Actually it’s 50 days

May 2, 2014 by

Easter is not one day. It is not a week. Easter is not 40 days. Easter is actually a season of 50 days in the churches’ calendar. Is this pure ecclesiastical pedantry? No. Easter is the season where the...

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Mary at the foot of the cross

Apr 28, 2014 by

As we experience another Easter season, I’m thinking of Mary, the mother of Jesus. I know, she’s not the first biblical figure who comes to mind at this time of year — we tend to associate her almost...

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You don’t know what it’s like

Apr 16, 2014 by

One day, three conversations. 1. I’m at a function where my job is to give a short devotional and prayer before the meal. Pastor-y stuff. I’m trying to be witty, disarming, light. I make some throwaway...

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If you want to be subversive follow Jesus through Holy Week

Apr 15, 2014 by

It’s Holy week and Jesus’ journey towards the cross has begun. Many of us have already processed around the church on Palm Sunday, and bought our Easter eggs and hot crossed buns, diverting our...

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Got Jesus?

Apr 14, 2014 by

Passion Week, particularly Easter (or Resurrection Sunday), is the most sacred event for most Christians. We pause to reflect on the significance of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Jesus has fulfilled God’s...

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Unfinished Easter

Apr 14, 2014 by

Mark’s Gospel ends too soon. Or so it seems. “Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.” What happened to the happy...

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Death consumed by life

Apr 14, 2014 by

There is a spark of God hidden within each one of us. For some the spark only smolders and smokes, layers of ash encasing the glowing ember. For others the spark is hard to see, for it has ignited flames of...

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Divine child abuse?

Apr 10, 2014 by

This is an excerpt of the sermon Harader preached on John 19:31-37 on April 6. Read the sermon in its entirety here. I attended a discussion recently with Mennonite theologian J. Denny Weaver. He wrote The...

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A donkey, not a warhorse

Mar 20, 2014 by

Zechariah offers good news for a people at war. Their deliverer has come! His feet have trod on the necks of his enemies, and his followers can rest in the knowledge that their world has been set right....

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