Life

Nurture your spirit with these stories and reflections that explore the human experience.

The fabric of the Holy Spirit

The fabric of the Holy Spirit

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott— Every year as Pentecost approaches, I see memes and essays about the nature of the Holy Spirit, about how we should be careful about inviting the Holy Spirit into our lives because we never know what we’re about to unleash. Some essay writers...

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Doing dishes differently

Doing dishes differently

by Jennifer Ginn— During a visit to a parishioner in a rehabilitation facility, I heard someone say: “That dishwasher was 50 years old when it died!” That comment was followed by others’ differing takes on the pleasures of having an automatic dishwasher. One person...

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Dear God, thank you for… Look! A bird!

Dear God, thank you for… Look! A bird!

by Anna Madsen— I am the world's lousiest pray-er. Never been good at it. I’ve gone to workshops, consulted with spiritual directors and even tried praying about it. Didn’t work. Partly, it’s because I get lost in thought during the actual prayer. Sometimes I go into...

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Change is the breath of life

Change is the breath of life

by Elizabeth Hunter— Lately I've been thinking about an old Irish proverb: Change is the breath of life. I remember learning in grade school how a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly or moth. After hatching from a butterfly egg, the caterpillar eats and eats,...

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On the knees, off the chest

On the knees, off the chest

by Heidi Haverkamp— I know a lot of church geeks who like this catchy Latin phrase: Lex orendi, lex credendi. In English, it’s less catchy: “What we pray is what we believe.” In other words, the way we pray (or worship) can speak more loudly about what we believe than...

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Let it bee!

Let it bee!

by Venice Williams— "I really hope you shook out your hair before coming to the dinner table! Mom, you be bringing a whole ecosystem home in your locs,” one of my children would say. “We have to watch creatures emerge from your hair while we are trying to eat!”...

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Why do we need leader guides?

Why do we need leader guides?

by Elizabeth Hunter— I am the one who reads the instructions at my house. You know the saying, “Measure twice, cut once”? As a teenager, I learned from both plywood and fabric what happens when one takes up saw or scissors without measuring carefully enough. When I...

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What do you need today?

What do you need today?

by Cara Strickland— As a preteen I got a magazine in the mail called Brio. It was basically a Christian answer to Seventeen and Teen Vogue. I remember very little about that publication’s content (although I always read it cover to cover), except for one article. It...

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Pandemic waste is a stewardship issue.

Pandemic waste is a stewardship issue.

by Venice Williams Do I have my keys? Is the bin overflowing with seed packets already in the car? Do I have the three-ring binder with the rental gardener forms? Water bottle? Sunglasses? As I review this list of what I need for the morning at Alice’s Garden Urban...

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Just freedom

Just freedom

by Elizabeth Hunter— "Most merciful God, we confess that we are captive to sin and cannot free ourselves,” I say aloud with my worshipping community. Some weeks I slip back into the old wording I remember from childhood: “we are in bondage to sin.” While “captive” and...

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Gathered in love

Gathered in love

by Anne E. Basye— “I can’t breathe.” These three words catapulted anti-racism work to the top of the ELCA agenda last summer. Anti-racism work has been central to the ELCA since 1993, when the churchwide assembly voted to approve the social statement Freed in Christ:...

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Always a child of God

Always a child of God

by Jane Schuchardt and Meredith Lovell Keseley— “You got this,” she whispered to me throughout the day of my beloved son’s funeral and burial. Ryan died by suicide, ending his near 20-year struggle with bipolar disorder. While our family lived in Northern Virginia,...

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Let’s be honest.

Let’s be honest.

by Sarah Carson— It's that time of year again. The days are getting longer. The grass is getting greener. It’s May—which means it’s time for Gather’s annual intergenerational devotional. Many of this issue’s authors share how intergenerational relationships touch our...

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What did you thank God for?

What did you thank God for?

by Susan Sparks– Our church is famous for its catchy signs on the marquee out front. Some of my favorites include: “What happens in Vegas is forgiven here.” “Lower your expectations and claim a victory!” “The secret to life is to eat half, walk double, laugh triple...

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Spring cleaning: order, disorder, reorder

Spring cleaning: order, disorder, reorder

by Anne Basye We've been doing it since time immemorial. No matter how rustic or transitory the shelter, humans—usually female— awaken one fine spring morning to surroundings that suddenly feel dank and stale. Into a sudsy bucket go knives, pots, clothing and whatever...

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“You were messengers of God for me…”

“You were messengers of God for me…”

by Mary Campbell A mom we'll call Carmen and her two daughters fled Honduras after gang members began stalking her oldest daughter, whom we’ll call Ana. The gang’s leader wanted Ana, a teenager, to be his girlfriend. Before this, the gang had threatened the family,...

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Is this what Easter is?

Is this what Easter is?

by Sarah Carson— When my daughter was 18-months-old, I saw an ad on Facebook for a free Easter egg hunt at a local garden center. I couldn’t imagine a more perfect way to spend a Saturday morning than helping my baby toddle through rows of potted plants and blooming...

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The faith community needs to talk about suicide

The faith community needs to talk about suicide

by Sarah Carson— To call 2020 a “difficult year” would be an understatement. From the COVID-19 pandemic, to the economic upheaval caused by lockdowns and safety measures, to the bright light shining on the systemic injustices in America and elsewhere, is there any...

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