Life

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

War impacts a Lutheran-run hospital in the Holy Land 

War impacts a Lutheran-run hospital in the Holy Land 

The war in Gaza had been going on for six months. It was the week before Easter, and the third week of Ramadan. The Old City of Jerusalem, normally packed with pilgrims, seemed deserted. “Look around you; this is not like Easter,” Bishop Sani Ibrahim Azar of the...

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Who dies by suicide?

Who dies by suicide?

By Elise Seyfried Statistics indicate that a person who dies by suicide is most likely to be a white or Native American male, aged 55 to 75. Men are three times more likely than women to die by suicide. But statistics don’t tell a complete story. Deaths of despair...

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Take the first step

Take the first step

Help create a safer world for kids. Did you know that the number of children and teens killed by gunfire in the United States increased 50 percent between 2019 and 2021, and that gun violence became the leading cause of death for U.S. children and teens in 2020? The...

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Emergence

Emergence

By Elise Seyfried SOMETIMES, DURING WORSHIP, we are asked to remember our baptism. We watch the welcome of a little one at the font. We listen to a confirmand’s words during the Affirmation of Baptism. I must confess: These are not my favorite parts of the liturgy. I...

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What critters teach us about faith

What critters teach us about faith

God wants us to take care of our world. My young son Richard showed me that years ago when he found a wounded bird, a Robin, in our backyard. He named it “John”. Richard ran in and said we had to save him. His dad and I realized that this Robin was one of God’s...

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Blue Christmas: Surviving the holiday hype

Blue Christmas: Surviving the holiday hype

Not everyone enjoys the holidays. For some of us, this time of year dredges up fresh waves of grief over our loved ones who are no longer with us. Some worry about pulling off a picture-perfect celebration or the effect seasonal shopping marathons have on their...

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Go-to places for sacred spaces

Go-to places for sacred spaces

By Kathryn Haueisen— I’m embarrassed about how many times I’ve changed my address. Sometimes I’ve moved within the same zip code or to a nearby one. Many times, I have moved far enough that I’ve had to change pretty much every detail of daily life. Whenever that...

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Sing out loud

Sing out loud

By Karen Wright Marsh THE REFORMER MARTIN LUTHER (1483-1546) gave out a great deal of advice, much of it documented in his 3,000 letters to parishioners, friends and family members, princes and commoners. Topping the pastor’s “Don’t” list: lying late abed, gluttony,...

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The blessings of a nap

The blessings of a nap

By Elise Seyfried WHEN I WAS YOUNG, I spent a lot of time with my dad’s mom, my beloved Nana. Nana would rent a cottage at the New Jersey shore for the whole summer and invite our family down for weeks at a time. It was a welcome respite from the brutal New York City...

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All in good time

All in good time

What I love about Ecclesiastes by Anne Basye MY MOM KEEPS A TO-DO LIST. It shows everything she is going to do the rest of her life. When my son wrote these words in a long-ago grade school essay, I was pleased... and uneasy. His assignment was to recommend me for a...

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Dandelions

Dandelions

The miraculous in the common by Jennifer Grant THE GROUNDSKEEPERS have just mowed the park. Walking across the meadow, I kick at thick, matted clumps of grass. Then I spy, a few feet ahead of me, a lone dandelion standing up straight. About six or seven inches tall,...

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Rocking chair prayers

Rocking chair prayers

Sacred time at the back of the sanctuary by Kimberly Knowle-Zeller Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. —1 Thessalonians 5:16‑18 Excerpted from The Beauty of Motherhood:...

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And why has this happened to me?

And why has this happened to me?

The visit of Mary to Elizabeth by Audrey Novak Riley MARY SET OUT AND WENT WITH HASTE to Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, she was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women! And why has this happened to me,...

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The hour is coming . . .

The hour is coming . . .

Jesus said it is now by Lindsay Hardman Freeman Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? John 4:11 SO SAYS THE SAMARITAN WOMAN—a skeptical, assertive, bright soul— who argues with Jesus as do few others in the Bible. Authentic...

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Moms and miracles

Moms and miracles

by Elizabeth Hunter CAN YOU REMEMBER A TIME when a mom or another mother figure turned and gave you “the look”? That look may have communicated something like, I’m not worried about what you just said. And you are going to help me with this now. At the wedding at Cana...

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Breathe on us

Breathe on us

Jesus overcomes all barriers.. by Angela !Khabeb YOU ARE PROBABLY FAMILIAR with the story of “Doubting Thomas.” Thomas is a man on a journey of faith, known by a moniker that he did not really earn. Thomas is the person who basically tells the other disciples: “Let’s...

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My body is not a prayer request.

My body is not a prayer request.

Don’t conflate disability with suffering. by Amy Kenny I AM CERTAINLY NOT THE FIRST PERSON to think of God as disabled. Nancy Eiesland, who pioneered disability theology, imagined God in a sip-and puff wheelchair. After a friend declared that her disability would be...

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Set free

Set free

God’s law connects us to the lives and needs of others. by Katie Hines-Shah IT WASN’T SO LONG AGO that they were slaves. It’s important to remember this, as we read about God’s gift of the Ten Commandments and the people who received them. For generations, the Hebrew...

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