The Day After

"When the carols have been stilled, When the star topped tree is taken down, When family and friends have gone home, When we are back to our schedules, The work of Christmas begins: To welcome the refugee, To heal a broken planet, To feed the hungry, To build bridges of trust, not walls of fear, To share our gifts, To seek justice and peace for all people, To bring Christ's light into the world." Michael Dougherty From Arise Shine, For Our Christmas Work…

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Advent Hope

We journey through this Advent season with COVID cases being on the rise across the country. With the country and our state setting new case and death numbers almost every day and at an alarming rate. We journey through Advent in the midst of a global pandemic that has hopefully made us realize how interconnected we all are as a people and a planet. We journey through Advent, the season of waiting and watching, waiting for approval of a vaccine, watching how people…

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Mixed Up

Not too long ago, my wife and I sat down to a surprisingly relaxing evening after a tough week and we decided to try and watch one of those wonderful and ever popular Netflix original holiday movies. As is usual with those films, I found myself cringing at the script and acting ability. I found myself say at about the hour mark, “how long, O Lord?” Of course, we both laughed and then continued the slog for another 37 minutes. It’s fun to…

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Raised to Full Stature

“(Jesus) was teaching in a synagogue on the sabbath. And a woman was there who for eighteen years had been crippled by a spirit; she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect. When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said, “Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.” He laid his hands on her, and she at once stood up straight and glorified God.” (Luke 13:10-13) For most of their lives, my great-grandmothers could not legally vote in the United States. My…

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Two Vials of Ashes

It’s been 19 years since the attacks on the World Trade Center (September 11, 2001) and 40 years since Mount St. Helens erupted (May 18, 1980).  Pictured are two vials of ash—one from each event, along with a missing person flyer given to me by the family of Tonyell McDay, who perished in the explosion of World Trade Tower 1.  My life and career came close to both disasters.  I was preaching at Our Savior’s Lutheran in Sunnyside, WA that day in May 1980…

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Losing Touch

“People were bringing little children to him so that he might touch them…” (Mark 10:13a) For me, one of the greatest losses, since COVID-19 hit and changed our lives, has been the loss of touch. I deeply miss being able to hug friends and even shake hands with strangers. I’m lucky in that I have a spouse that I can and do touch and two cats who provide me lots of opportunities for snuggles and pets. Yet I miss the opportunity for those…

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How Prayer Works

It has been a long six, eight months, hasn’t it? Aren’t you tired of this? Don’t you want your summer back, your life back, your economy back? What are we supposed to do with millions unemployed, and now, maybe millions who can’t pay the rent? Or buy groceries? (see video)

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Healing and Acceptance

There is an ancient Buddhist story that tells of a woman—a mother—whose child died. The mother carried her deceased daughter from place to place begging for help—as if she could still bring her back to life. The mother was turned away time after time, as each person she asked could see that there was no bringing the child back to life. Finally, someone told her that if she went to the Buddha, perhaps he could help.So the mother traveled to the Buddha and…

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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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Bringing Laughter Into Your Life

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones Proverbs 17:22 (NIV)Several years ago, I went to a training at St Luke’s about dealing with stressful situations and providing healing care. One concept discussed was the difference between stating a situation is serious verses important. When one states that a situation is serious, you have limited the use of humor or lightheartedness. When one tries to bring humor into a situation that is deemed serious, your humorous attempt…

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