Life

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

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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Never alone

Never alone

Elizabeth Hunter— I remember hearing the news about a 28-year old mom from Missouri who became ill with COVID-19, 26 weeks into pregnancy with her second child. She was intubated, sedated and placed on a life support machine. While fighting for her life and her baby’s...

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Strong shoulders

Strong shoulders

by Linda Post Bushkofsky These words are for all who participate in Women of the ELCA. I’m specifically writing to white women like myself who are the overwhelming majority of this organization, but it’s important for the women of color in Women of the ELCA to read...

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Called by name

Called by name

by Halcyon Bjornstad Often, when I introduce myself as Pastor Halcyon, people assume that Halcyon is my last name. In college, people I met presumed that I was a foreign exchange student from Norway. I was complimented on how well I spoke English. When I meet people...

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A future shaped by gratitude

A future shaped by gratitude

by Julia Seymour— Climbing the stairs at bedtime the night before Reformation Sunday, I smelled something suspicious. I followed the scent back down to discover that a toilet had backed up and flooded a significant portion of the basement. Wading into the mess, I shut...

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Down the rabbit hole

Down the rabbit hole

by Helen J. Hollingsworth— Before I joined the Lutheran church back in my early 20s, I flew to a tiny island in the Caribbean. It was my first mission trip, sponsored by the denomination to which I then belonged. I arrived on the island, full of Holy Spirit vigor and...

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Saints and sinners: Can we believe we are both?

Saints and sinners: Can we believe we are both?

by Anna Madsen— The word "saint" has this refreshing thing going for it: It defines a person based on the best of who they are rather than the worst. And who, I ask you, doesn’t want to be known for what we do right instead of what we do wrong? I, for one, like the...

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The shape of what’s to come

The shape of what’s to come

by Sarah Carson— I vividly remember the moment that summer began to turn to fall this year. My daughter and I were in the car when I spotted a patch of red leaves high above the road. “Uh oh,” I said. “What, Momma?” my daughter asked. “That tree is turning red. It...

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God’s time didn’t mean what I thought it did

God’s time didn’t mean what I thought it did

by Rebecca Eve Schweitzer— I learned two things about time: that God didn’t want us to waste time, and that God would work things out in God’s own time. The Christian tradition in which I grew up considered “wasting time” to be a sin. Verses of scripture were...

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