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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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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Why do we eat soup during Lent?

Mar 22, 2016 by

Why do we eat soup during Lent? The question from a church member caught me a bit off guard as I was scrambling to get a few things together for a soup and bread Lenten lunch that our church was hosting last...

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3 reasons I’m not an atheist

Feb 29, 2016 by

The following are some points that I have picked up through conversations with many atheists in both Europe and Canada. That being said, I am not an atheist myself and therefore realize that my thoughts are...

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The triumph of Light

Jan 20, 2016 by

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” — John 1:5 For as long as I can recall, my favorite part of Christmas has been the Christmas Eve service. Growing up, I remember...

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Mysteriously upheld

Jan 18, 2016 by

Experiencing the known world as falling apart is no new thing. That’s what reading Dead Wake, in which Erik Larson tells of the German sinking of the British ocean liner Lusitania and how this drew the U.S....

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Bethlehem: beauty and brutality

Dec 23, 2015 by

The Sunday before Advent, I was preaching in Bethlehem. While there, a Palestinian friend I’ve known for nearly 20 years and who shares my appreciation for Orthodox icons gave me the wonderful gifts of a...

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Christmas celebration as protest

Dec 17, 2015 by

“In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered.” (Luke 2:1) The words are so familiar that we don’t give them a second thought. But this is how...

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O come, o come

Dec 8, 2015 by

I don’t know about you, but the sense of “waiting” this Advent season is feeling much more palpable than in past years. I have certainly had seasons when reflecting back over the year...

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The Bible’s final words

Dec 7, 2015 by

I have a thing about endings. For me, the last few lines of a book or TV show or movie make or break it. The final words are the capstone, a revelation of what the writer believes was really the heart of her...

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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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Hope is a decision

Oct 12, 2015 by

As the forces of discontent continue in our communities, recent headlines have indicated that the South is more racist than other areas. It is easy to regionalize the focus on racial tension while ignoring the...

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What makes a life matter?

Aug 19, 2015 by

It was 36 degrees Celsius around these parts yesterday, which, for many Canadians used to considerably more chilly climes, means a general experience of sticky, sweaty unbearableness that makes us despair of...

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Keep awake!

Jan 9, 2015 by

Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming! — Matt. 24:36-44 Last Friday, a large trailer truck carrying 2 million South African Rands ($1.7 million) worth of Creation Wines...

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Beginning Advent with lament

Dec 9, 2014 by

A cry of anguish is heard in Ramah — weeping and mourning unrestrained, Rachel weeps for her children, Refusing to be comforted — For they are dead. – Matt. 2:18 I first wrote a longer version of this...

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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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