Narrative Lectionary: Banquets and Blessings (Matthew 14:13-33)

Yawn…another feeding story…another miracle story.  Because versions of this story show up in the readings so often, the power of the story gets lost in our familiarity with it.  Even the delightful details are familiar – Jesus inviting (commanding?) the disciples to share the work with him, the grass that evokes a new Eden, the… Read More

Friday Festival: After Valentine’s Day

Whether you love Valentine’s Day or despise it, it echoes through our culture, and the feelings linger on even when the day is past.  Our bloggers are looking past the flowers, and past the pressure to be a perfect couple, past the teddy bears and the emphasis on romantic love to something deeper.  This day… Read More

The Pastoral is Political: Money Stress is Spiritual Stress

No one exactly said, “Let them eat cake,” but the recent government shutdown felt that way. Four in ten Americans can’t meet an unexpected $400 expense, we’re often told.  In my experience, the number is probably higher, and people are too embarrassed to say so.  In my younger years, I was one of those people. … Read More

Narrative Lectionary: Highs and Lows (Matthew 4:1-17)

When I visit a nursing home near my church, I say hello to the receptionist, and ask her how she’s doing.  Her answer is always the same.  “The devil is busy,” she says firmly.  Sometimes, if the phone isn’t ringing, she elaborates with news of her family’s struggles, or an illness or a problem she’s… Read More

Friday Festival: What We Embrace

Is it time to join a gym?  Follow up on a New Year’s resolution to quit smoking?  Make friends with Marie Kondo?  Our bloggers are writing about the gifts and challenges of the new year. Thinking about the star words that are often given at Epiphany, as a personal guiding star for the year ahead,… Read More

Friday Festival: Last Tastes of Advent

In these last days of Advent, our bloggers are pondering the empty spaces that remain.  Underneath the tinsel and carols, they’re exploring places of quiet and absence, calling us to a different kind of wholeness. Who belongs in the nativity scene?  Michelle Henrichs is wondering.  She balks at putting the magi into the scene, since… Read More

Narrative Lectionary: Surprise! (Matthew 1:18-25)

If you swab your cheek, and send your DNA off to one of the sites that will analyze it for you, there may be a surprise in store.  People who want to know where in Africa or Europe the family came from have, instead, been finding step-siblings and secrets about their parentage.  Long-held family secrets… Read More

The Pastoral Is Political: Where’s the Village?

“Well, honey, do you think this work is making a difference?” I ask my daughter, Lucy.  As a college student in New York, her part-time job is to be a Democracy Coach for high school students.  Twice a week, she travels to Harlem on the bus to meet with the students, under the wise eye… Read More

Narrative Lectionary: Minimum Protection (Jeremiah 1:4-10, 7:1-11)

Watching the work that people in my congregation do, it’s clear that they’re called by God to use their gifts as teachers or social workers, as parents or attorneys.  Sometimes they say they just drifted into the work they do, not seeing the steps as part of God’s leading.  Other times they have a certainty… Read More

Friday Festival: God Pops Up in the Questions

As the November days grow short, and the light wanes, our bloggers are listening for God, and are asking God – and the rest of us – thoughtful questions. The cold and dark are inspiring Connie Tuttle to think about the gifts of Advent, which mirror the gifts of other shadowy seasons.  “We begin to… Read More