The Graceful Exit

Even though it’s been a month since I announced my retirement, the reality of leaving my pastoral call and ending my professional career hasn’t quite sunk in. Yet after preaching my last sermon this past Sunday, it’s becoming more real. Since then, I’ve begun saying goodbyes through phone calls, Zoom meetings and socially distanced visits. I’ve also turned my attention to tying up loose ends in preparation for the next pastor, along with starting to pack up my office.But packing up my office…

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Signs of Love

During a recent walk on the Greenbelt, I came across bright red paper hearts hanging on gates, fences and trees. Each one of these homemade hearts contained a message of encouragement such as “Never Give Up,” “Happiness isn’t getting what you want. It’s wanting what you’ve got,” and “Love Never Fails.” It warmed my heart, that someone had taken the time and energy to lift the spirits of neighbors and strangers who would see these valentines while out walking or biking.When I was…

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Listening for God’s Voice

My sister recently shared an old recording done by the youth choir in the church in which we grew up. When I put the flash drive into my computer to listen, the first thing I heard was a male's voice introducing the choir. It took me several minutes to recognize the voice. It was my father, who was the pastor of the church. I was so surprised at first that I hadn't recognized his voice. It may have been partly because he was…

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Epiphany Blessings

Since the pandemic I have officiated at three baptisms. These baptisms didn't look like any other ones that I’ve presided over before. They weren't held during a regular Sunday morning service. Instead, they were smaller gatherings with mostly just family members present. Two of them were held outside in the Immanuel courtyard and one inside the sanctuary. All of them were with masks and social distancing. What I missed about them, was having the congregation present to be able to offer their promise…

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Hope Springs Eternal

It was the first time in months that I saw a medical doctor smiling on TV while talking about the corona virus. The news had just broken that Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine may be 90% effective. In a world desperate to bring the deadly outbreak under control, this was "hope in a bottle," as the doctor put it. And then today, just as I was about to write this devotion, another company, Moderna, reported that their vaccine, at 94%, had been tested as even…

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Telling the Story

“I love to tell the story of unseen things above, of Jesus and his glory, of Jesus and his love. I love to tell the story, because I know it’s true; it satisfies my longings as nothing else would do. I love to tell the story, ‘twill be my theme in glory to tell the old, old story of Jesus and his love.” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship #661) You might recognize that familiar hymn and maybe you even hummed along as you read the…

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Evergreen Stories

We are now well into fall, and as the name of this season rightly describes, the leaves have begun falling from the trees. I always get a wistful feeling at this time of year. The hopefulness of spring when green buds emerged and grew, has now given way to colorful displays of yellow, orange, and red, which will soon die and fall to the ground leaving bare branches behind. Winter is on the horizon and with it will come colder, darker days. Yet…

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Fulfilling our Vocation

A couple weeks ago we observed Labor Day, a time to reflect on our vocation. Typically, the meaning of that word is synonymous with employment, career, or occupation. Yet Martin Luther had a much more expansive view of vocation. Our primary vocation as Christians is to love and serve our neighbor and the world that God so loves. We do that through our work in the workplace by using the gifts God has given us to the best of our ability, and by…

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The Power of Love

My niece recently shared this picture of her husband looking at their newborn baby. I was so taken by his loving gaze, and how he seemed at once mesmerized and delighted by this amazing gift of life they had just welcomed into their family. I remember looking at my own sons in the same way after they were born, especially when I held them in my arms while nursing them. I would just stare at their tiny faces and hands with deep love,…

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Changing Direction

“So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; everything old has passed away; see everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:17-18Last Friday afternoon my husband and I were on our way back to Boise after spending a few days up north in the beautiful C’oeur d’Alene area. The rain and clouds finally cleared, so we took advantage of the sunshine…

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Do Not Be Afraid

The more we fear (in the sense of showing reverence and awe) and love God, the less we fear everything else in life. The more we turn to God remembering what God has done for us, the more we will be able to face our fears and act with courage. As we affirm that there is indeed a force greater than fear at work in the world today.

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Righteous Anger

“Then [Jesus] entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling things there; and he said, ‘it is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers.” (Luke 19:45-46) I wouldn’t normally pick the story of Jesus overturning the money changing tables in the Temple for a devotional reflection. But I think it’s important to remember that Jesus had emotions just like the rest of us. And one of those emotions was anger.

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Online Small Group Discussion: “50 Years of Ordained Women”

2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the Ordination of Women in the Lutheran Church in our country. What led up to this momentous change in the church?How did the Spirit move from "what would prevent us?" to"why we must"?What have been the struggles and the joys of women's leadership within our Lutheran expression of Christianity?Come and explore these questions and bring your own questions and observations in this 5-session series beginning on: Wednesday June 3 continuing through July 1 at 7:00pm on Zoom.…

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God’s Plan

The Gospel reading this past Sunday included one of my favorite verses from the Bible, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” Jesus says in John 10:10.  I love this reminder that God wants the best for me and for everyone. God’s plan for us are lives that are lived to the fullest with all that Jesus came to give us—love, peace, hope and joy. Another favorite verse of mine comes from Jeremiah 29:11 “For surely I know the…

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Touched by Grace

“Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with [the other disciples] when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.’ A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the…

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Clothed in Christ

“What are you wearing right now?” That was the first line of a story I heard on the radio last week in an interview with a fashion editor of a major newspaper in our country. With many people now working from home as they shelter in place during this pandemic, a lot of folks are staying in their pajamas all day long. Yet maybe that’s not always the best thing, was the gist of the story. The first week staying at home it was…

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