Bible

Foster your faith with these articles and reflections that explore God’s Word.

Turn it around

—by Karen G. Bockelman Note: In the January/February 2019 print edition of Gather, the last line of this article was mistakenly cut off. A printable PDF of this article is available for download here. Sometimes we need to turn things around. When our daughter was 3 or...

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Am I doing this right?

—by Laurie A. Jungling Several months ago, some members of my congregation gave me a T-shirt that read, “Prays well with others.” I love the T-shirt, but every time I read that phrase, I wonder: Do I pray well with others? Do I pray well alone? What does it mean to...

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Listening to God’s beloved daughters

—by Christa von Zychlin Who’s ever heard of the strong, strangely-named Zelophehad sisters: Mahlah, Noa, Hoglah, Milcah and Tirzah (see Numbers 27:1-8)? Who could possibly wring laughter and empowerment from Tamar’s story (2 Samuel 13:1-22), along with deep, visceral...

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Can we be different together?

By Gwen Sayler— To say that we live in anxious times is an understatement. Harsh rheto­ric fills our airways, and violent actions our news—often pitting one religion against another or el­evating one religion above others. How are we called to respond? Scriptural...

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Reading the Bible for love

by Laurie A. Jungling— Reading the Bible is a big deal. Whether we’re reading it alone or in commu­nity, whether we’re hearing it in worship, engaging in group Bible study or doing personal daily devotions, reading the Bible is im­portant for our relationships with...

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Alleluia! Hallelujah!

by Meghan Johnston Aelabouni— In the last few weeks of my grand­mother’s life, while she was still alert enough to talk with us, she started recalling old memories: her childhood in New Jersey, seeing the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall and a certain snowy night...

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Unexpected neighbors

by Cara Strickland— I have never been beaten and left on the side of the road. But I have been hurt, finding myself in need of both practical and emotional help. In my experience, it’s rarely the people I expect to be able to count on who come to my aid. Like the man...

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Story within a story

by Martha Stortz— Do you remember playing with Russian dolls, those precisely nested toys shaped like bowling pins and painted in bright colors? The largest doll opens to reveal a small­er doll. That doll opens to another. And another. And yet another. Until finally a...

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Our next of kin

by Cindy Novak— Jews and Christians have a unique bond—and are even described as being “siblings” and “next of kin” in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America resources. Since the 1960s, the ELCA and its predecessor church bod­ies have striven to nurture that bond by...

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Studying Scripture

by Karen G. Bockelman— Blessed Lord God, you have caused the holy scriptures to be written for the nourishment of your people. Grant that we may hear them, read, mark, learn and inward­ly digest them, that, comforted by your promises, we may embrace and forever hold...

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I love you. What were you thinking?

by Anna Madsen— I’m not saying that I’ve had a lot of “aha” moments in life, but here’s one that happened for sure: My late mentor and professor, Walter Bouman, taught us that the key for some sort of understanding of “Holy Spirit” might be less “Spirit” and more...

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Thomas and me

by Cara Strickland— “Jesus said to her, Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the...

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Defined by hope

by Meghan Johnston Aelabouni  Three friends sat together one day, reflecting on their lives and imagining their legacies. “At my funeral,” the first said, “I hope people say that I worked hard all my life and that I never let people down.” The second friend replied,...

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When faith doesn’t come easy

by Kathryn Kleinhans “I believe; help my unbelief!” These words, spoken to Jesus by the father of a child suffering from convulsions (Mark 9:24), have been my own prayer longer than I can remember. I was raised in a loving Christian home. My parents brought me to be...

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Jesus the shepherd

by Karen Craigo There is a huge, illuminated print of Jesus on the wall of the guest room where my family of four sleeps at my mother-in-law’s house. My mother-in-law is Catholic, and depictions of Jesus hang or stand in every room. They often show the Savior in his...

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Just notice

by Cara Strickland When I’m overwhelmed by my feelings, my schedule or my circumstances, my therapist often tells me to “just notice.” As I begin to slow down and focus, I see things more clearly. Often, this motivates me to action, but perhaps more often, I am...

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Sisters and brothers

by Angela T. Khabeb I remember a conversation with one parishioner who made an appointment to meet with me in my office. She announced, “Pastor, I want to talk to you about the first sermon you ever preached here.” I couldn’t believe my ears. I asked for...

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Mountains with many faces

by Liv Larson Andrews for saints Florence, Leonard, Thomas and Pamela Over the phone, Grandma Florence’s voice was weary. “I just don’t know if I can do it anymore,” she said. “Do what?” I asked. “Say the creed.” “Oh.” My 95-year-old grandmother explained how she felt...

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