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On the Mountain: Comforted / Called

James, John, and Peter must have been quite star-struck on the Mount of Transfiguration as they watched these three heroes of the faith talk together. Moses, who had survived a death sentence, who had confronted an Egyptian mistreating a Hebrew slave, who had told Pharaoh to let God’s people go, who had called forth the…

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How Should We Live?

Isaiah 9:1-4   When the Advent worship planning team looked ahead to January, we were drawn to images of light. And this passage from Isaiah caught our eye: The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined. Oh. We…

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Listening to the Magi

  Last week, I read in the Christian Century about: Christians being imprisoned and beaten in the Mosul region of Iraq. Muslim sheikhs, imams and preachers disappearing at the Kenya-Somalia border. Protestant pastors who had lived in Turkey for years forced out of the country. Members of the B’hai faith being imprisoned and threatened in…

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Herod and the Magi

  The magi, with their fine robes and sparkling gifts, are favorite characters in our Christmas stories and songs and decorations (even if they did show up long after the shepherds). But a careful reading of the text (Matthew 2:1-12) reveals that the magi aren’t necessarily the stars of this beloved story. Based upon stage…

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Halloween Costume Help

I love October–cooler weather, changing leaves, apple cider . . . and, of course, Halloween. I’m actually not a big fan of the horror side of Halloween–I don’t watch scary movies or go to haunted houses–but I love the costumes. I’ve turned my kids into a princess and a dog, an alien and a cheetah,…

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Re-Visiting Zacchaeus

When we are kids, we color pictures of a guy sitting up in the branches of a tree. But when we get older, we know that the really important part of the story comes at the end. When this very wealthy tax collector declares to Jesus, “Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I give to…

The Gospel in Translation

People are drawn to the story of God’s mighty acts, the story of Jesus, not simply for the story itself, but because they hear that story in their own native languages. If the apostles had been speaking Greek, everyone would have understood them—Greek was the lingua franca. But the Greek wouldn’t have been compelling. The…