Kennel-Shank: Staying awake in Gethsemane

Mar 27, 2017 by

The cemeteries where members of my extended families are buried are truly places of repose, surrounded by the fertile fields of Lancaster County, Pa. When I visit their graves, I sense that they are at rest,...

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Our wilderness path

Mar 27, 2017 by

The story of Jesus’ 40-day trial in the wilderness is so familiar to us that we can easily read through the account: “He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished”...

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In need of amazing grace

Mar 13, 2017 by

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now I’m found, Was blind, but now I see. I am not the biggest fan of Christian music, but this song always manages to stir...

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Bible: Coming home, where God dwells

Mar 13, 2017 by

Few things are as satisfying as returning home after a long trip. Though I enjoy the exhilaration of travel, I’m usually glad when it’s time to unpack my suitcase and inhabit my own space again. I savor...

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Save the pigs and all of us

Mar 10, 2017 by

Some churches have the best locations. When I lived on the west coast I would gaze longingly at the sight of little churches with ocean views or in the heart of leafy green neighborhoods with fruit stands and...

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Dear President Trump: Provoking God?

Mar 7, 2017 by

Dear President Trump: Lent is a season to reflect upon and repent of all in our lives that is out of sync. The Daily Lectionary readings for today are about provoking. The people provoke God to anger because...

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Supporting life during Lent

Mar 6, 2017 by

If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? — 1 John 3:17 (NLT) I’ve always found it hard to...

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Giving up fear for Lent

Feb 28, 2017 by

I have started observing Lent early. The hate, anger and animosity I see around me is overwhelming, and I think at its heart is fear. What are we afraid of? This is a question I have reflected on a lot this...

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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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Hurrah! God loves us!

Mar 21, 2016 by

Five years ago, I preached on the temptation of Jesus in Matthew 4, and how we sometimes treat life as a test for God. So, if my husband is healed of cancer, then hurrah! — God passes the test, and I know...

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Doing something in an out-of-control world

Mar 14, 2016 by

A month ago I borrowed a chain saw and pruned our church trees. If you want to know why, I need to tell you about my job. I work Saturday night to Thursday night, which means that my Friday night is your...

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Trying silence

Feb 29, 2016 by

Lent is a season for followers of Jesus to seek spiritual renewal, each in our own way. For some of us, renewal may involve abstaining from something. Or replacing something. Or adding something. In the United...

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Are we hungry for more?

Feb 22, 2016 by

I have never really been hungry, at least not by necessity. I occasionally fast a meal (a little more frequently during this season of Lent), and like so many in our society go on a spring diet to try and lose...

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Temptations of ego and fear

Feb 18, 2016 by

“Turn these stones to bread.” “Worship me to gain power over the kingdoms of this world.” “Fall from the pinnacle so we can all watch the angels swoop in and rescue you.” These are the temptations...

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The place of the cross

Feb 17, 2016 by

A couple of weeks ago the Rainbow Mennonite Church choir sang these words prior to our monthly communion service: “Here are symbols to remind us of our lifelong need of grace; here are table, font and...

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Preparing for Ash Wednesday

Feb 9, 2016 by

This last weekend I spent a lot of time getting myself ready for Lent. I de-cluttered my desk, re-organized my prayer gardens and wrote an Ash Wednesday prayer. At the beginning of a new liturgical season,...

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A balancing act in life

Feb 8, 2016 by

Modern life is definitely fast-paced. We have cities that never sleep. We race around until we are about to have a nervous breakdown because we are out of time and energy and there are hardly any items checked...

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Not by bread alone

Feb 1, 2016 by

People do not live by bread alone, Jesus tells Satan when he is tempted in the wilderness. Though Jesus “was famished” — or perhaps because of that — he knows in his body that food is not all that we...

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Get creative with Lent

Jan 27, 2016 by

Lent is only a few weeks away and many of us are already thinking about what we will give up for the season. Once only practiced by catholic and liturgical churches, Lent is now popular among churches of all...

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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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The necessity of finishing

Mar 31, 2015 by

This is from a Lenten series on the seven last words of Jesus. The following is on the sixth word, John 19:30. “It is finished.” It began with a barnyard birth and a flight from a murderous king. It began...

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Giving up my need to be right

Mar 26, 2015 by

Lent is a time to let go of things that hold us back, a time to return to God with our whole heart. As we approach Holy Week this year, I’ve sensed God inviting me to let go of my need to be right, leading...

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United by love, not doctrine

Mar 25, 2015 by

A couple of days ago, with the help of some friends, I planted the early vegetable garden with cauliflowers, cabbages, broccoli, lettuce, Chinese greens and carrots. I use the square foot method — lots of...

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From dust to dust

Mar 16, 2015 by

Before we commemorate Jesus’ death and celebrate his resurrection, we confront the fact that we too will die. During the 40 days leading to Easter, we live in the shadow of Ash Wednesday and of these words:...

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Cold comfort

Mar 16, 2015 by

Late winter — when spring looms close but the forecast remains cold — is an annual opportunity to practice patience. And thank goodness. We need the practice. Small, daily opportunities for...

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