Prayer Stations for a Families

Prayer Stations for a Families

Last Sunday we used prayer stations in worship, something we do every couple months. If you’re not familiar with prayer stations, they’re simply tables set up with different prayer ideas. People wander to each station as they like, spending time wherever they feel most drawn. I like them because they lend themselves to intergenerational worship, giving both kids and adults the space to connect to God at their own pace. Like the labyrinth, walking prayer or prayer beads, they also…

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3 Questions for Your Lent Journey (Even if you don’t do Lent)

3 Questions for Your Lent Journey (Even if you don’t do Lent)

So, how’s Lent going for you? Like this?   Or more like this? Did you give something up? Take something on? Scrap the whole idea? I sort of slipped into the season. I got a head start by taking on my spiritual practice a little before Lent officially started. But then things went downhill. By Sunday, I realized I’d already lapsed. Five days in, for those counting. Naturally, I was tempted to throw in the towel then and there. If I…

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In her book Reset Your Child’s Brain, Dr. Victoria Dunckley notes the high number of 11 year olds who feel stress over building a personal brand. Yes, you read that right—11 year olds are feeling the pressure to brand themselves, to develop an “image” that sets a tone for their lives. Now, Dunckley is writing this from the angle of a psychiatrist concerned about the amount of time kids spend connected online, which isn’t my main focus. We share the…

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Sabbath in the Modern World

Sabbath in the Modern World

A lover of all things “old-fashioned” as a child, I read and re-read the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. Most of it struck me as idyllic and charming. Getting water from the well? How lovely. Playing ball with an inflated pig’s bladder? How sweet. Watching as Ma and Pa stood watch at night while the wolves howled outside? How brave. My infatuation with their pioneer life was tempered by only one thing: their draconian observance of the Sabbath. I read Little…

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Ideas to Steal for a Family New Year’s Eve Ritual + 5 Prayers for 2017

Ideas to Steal for a Family New Year’s Eve Ritual + 5 Prayers for 2017

In some churches, a Watch Night service is held on New Year’s Eve. While the service likely originated with the Moravians, it has strong roots in the Methodist tradition. However, it gained new life in Black church communities in 1862 as traditional Watch Night services gave way to a literal waiting and watching for the dawning of 1863, when the Emancipation Proclamation would take effect. So strong is this association that some have associated the invention of the Watch Night…

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Christmas is an Act of Subversion

Christmas is an Act of Subversion

Last Sunday our church had its Christmas pageant. The children dressed up in homemade robes with rope belts and paraded down the aisle. They were adorable in their innocence and my heart overflowed, as it does every year, when the story came to life in their sweet little faces. I love this tradition. Quite frankly, it’s adorable. What’s not to love? Bonus–it also has theological meaning and it serves a pedagogical purpose. My dream would be to do more church-wide…

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Hoping for Hope: A Meditation on Advent

Hoping for Hope: A Meditation on Advent

In 20 days, the days will start getting longer. It feels pretty dark right now, with a bleak November casting its darkness into the holiday season. Some years it’s harder than others to believe that the light is coming again and this has been one of those years. We’d be forgiven if we temporarily forgot that the light always wins. That, in fact, the light is already winning. The trajectory of the earth in its orbit assures us that the…

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Why Gratitude Really Matters

Why Gratitude Really Matters

“I know I’m supposed to be thankful in all things but I’m having a hard time being thankful right now.” The comment came from a patient, a young woman in the hospital from some illness I didn’t understand. I had peeked carefully into our room to introduce myself as the hospital chaplain covering the 4th floor. A young seminary student, I didn’t know nearly enough to be ministering to people in crisis but I did know this: you do not…

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What is Your Name? (A Post-Election Sermon)

What is Your Name? (A Post-Election Sermon)

Reading for the week: Luke 8:26-39, the healing of the demon possessed man A sermon in the “Questions of Jesus” series (Editoral note: I don’t usually post sermons here at my blog, mainly because a sermon is very much a living thing. So much changes in the giving. I’ve been persuaded of the value of sharing more online so here it is, along with an audio file if you prefer to listen. May it be a blessing this week!)  …

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Post-Election Weekend Game Plan Options for Everyone

Post-Election Weekend Game Plan Options for Everyone

You survived the week! YAY YOU. Whatever shape you’re in right now, take a minute to congratulate yourself. This was a tough week. Lord have mercy, let’s figure out how to do democracy better by the midterm elections, shall we? I, for one, have emotional whiplash from all the hurt and pain I’m seeing. (And feeling, because I’m not a robot.) I’d planned to write more about listening and healing our nation this week but we’re not there yet as…

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