What is Christian hope?

Aug 28, 2017 by

We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul — Heb. 6:19 Once, I received an email at my church account that claimed to be from a TV network. According to the email, they were seeking Mennonite...

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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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A view of heaven and earth

Mar 17, 2017 by

When I was a kid, I remember envisioning heaven as I sang hymns and praise songs at church. I remember it being a very bright, light-flooded expanse of space with gold floors, in which a huge group of people...

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Youth keep school-kit tradition going strong

Sep 20, 2016 by and

McPHERSON, Kan. — Berg­thal Mennonite Church has passed into history, but its spirit of service lives. Two of its youngest former members have taken the lead in keeping the legacy going. They’ve revived...

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Not a fragile faith

Apr 28, 2016 by

In a recent Bible study, we were looking at John 20 where Jesus appeared to the disciples. Gathered behind locked doors, Jesus appeared in the midst of them and said “Peace be with you.” Then he...

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Christianity’s ‘exaggerated stuff’

Apr 25, 2016 by

“Yes, we are Christians,” an elderly man said on a sidewalk on the Greek island of Milos after giving directions to my wife, Ellen, and me. “But we don’t believe the exaggerated stuff.” The...

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How Jesus rope-a-doped the devil

Apr 18, 2016 by

The phrase “rope-a-dope” refers to a boxing tactic of pretending to be trapped against the ropes, goading an opponent to throw tiring ineffective punches. Muhammad Ali popularized this technique in his...

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The strengths of others

Apr 11, 2016 by

On Easter Sunday, Lutherans said a prayer for unity. The liturgy offered by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America asked the God of life to pour Christ’s “resurrection into the churches. Make visible...

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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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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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Palm Sunday, partisan politics and the power of the cross

Mar 18, 2016 by

We remember it in the church as Palm Sunday. This is the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. It’s the day when Jesus of Nazareth pre-planned a comical, yet prophetic event, in order to fulfill...

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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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Bible: Faith under stress

Mar 14, 2016 by

We cannot always predict how we will act under stress. The Apostle Peter declares he will never desert Jesus but before morning has three times denied he even knows Jesus, the Galilean, who is on trial before...

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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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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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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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Unbind him and let him go

Apr 14, 2014 by

It’s good to be in the light, to be out in the open. But there is a bit of comfort to being in darkness, in the tomb like Lazarus. Because in the tomb, you know the landscape. You know the grooves and folds...

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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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