Family

Challenge yourself with these stories and reflections about loving both our biological families and our sisters and brothers in Christ.

God bless you, Mom.

God bless you, Mom.

by Lindsay Hardin Freeman MY MOTHER-IN-LAW, GERTRUDE, was one of the kindest people I’ve known. When she stayed with us, she swept the patio every morning. She wiped down the counters and sink every night after dinner. She said she couldn’t do a lot, but she could do...

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For all the saints

For all the saints

by Lisa A. Smith— "Mommy, why did God make it so we die?" my 5-year-oldson suddenly asked. We were sitting together on the sofa. The question pierced me. I reached over to hold him before responding. He has been asking a lot of questions about death lately. It can be...

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The grief puzzle

The grief puzzle

by Ron McCallum— For a year now, I’ve been thinking about grief. Not just my own grief, but collective grief from the pandemic, societal grief over unjust systems, and the grief of my relatives and friends. Grief is difficult. For my daughter-in-law, it came with the...

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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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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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Near the cross

Near the cross

by Elizabeth Hunter— After the imposition of ashes, the kids and I traipse back to the pew. My youngest child stops in the aisle and whispers: “People are staring at my face. …Are people looking at my scar?” His eyes are anxious beneath the inky smudge, the barest...

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Reading with children at Advent

Reading with children at Advent

by Elizabeth Hunter Picture books offer a way for adults near and far to share a faithful story or conversation with a child, especially this year when distance or the COVID-19 pandemic may prevent us from being together. Grandparents, godparents, Sunday school...

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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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“Now, now…” my Grandma Cora would say…

“Now, now…” my Grandma Cora would say…

by Elizabeth Hunter— "Now, now..." my Grandma Cora would say, as a prelude to comfort or warning. I thought of this while reading this month’s Bible study, “The holy ‘now,’” in which Meghan Johnston Aelabouni asks: “What if [Jesus’] warnings are meant not only to...

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The beauty that lies ahead

The beauty that lies ahead

by Susan K. Olson— I suspect that all of us who are lucky enough to have been sent home to work or rest during COVID-19 have come up with unique coping skills. As I write this, a lot of folks have picked up some baking and cooking skills. Some of my friends dove into...

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Blueberry grace

Blueberry grace

by Elizabeth Hunter— "Not fair!" complained my oldest son as my youngest son lifted the last blueberry muffin from the platter. “Why does this salad have leftovers, Mom?” asked my youngest, also with a note of complaint. Before I could respond to either, my oldest...

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I wanted my daughter to feel Lutheran too.

I wanted my daughter to feel Lutheran too.

by Karris A. Golden— It's difficult for me to separate my religious faith from my personal identity. The feeling that I am Lutheran has been with me for as long as I can remember. Not surprisingly, I want my daughter to feel Lutheran too. I admit this desire gives me...

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The reality of mothering

The reality of mothering

by Susie Gamelin—Mother's Day shines on my calendar like the famous green light from The Great Gatsby—the one at which Jay Gatsby gazes longingly each night. I was born on Mother’s Day, during visiting hours. I’ve always thought that I was a thoughtful...

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Lament goes beyond words

Lament goes beyond words

by Nicolette Peñaranda— Before my first call as a pastor, I served as a pastoral intern at a Lutheran congregation and school in Argentina. My supervisor there spoke as much English as I did Spanish (not much). Transcending the language barrier would be key. It’s hard...

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The language of our hearts

The language of our hearts

by Sarah Carson— My friend, Katie, revels in the change of seasons—especially summer into fall. Years ago when we worked together in Chicago, we often walked outside for lunch, and she’d delight in the changing leaves. “Katie,” I’d complain, “Fall means summer is...

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Love my enemies, too?!

Love my enemies, too?!

by Angela T. Khabeb--Jesus encourages us to us to “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you” (Luke 6:27-28).I recently took part in a pastoral leadership class led by a university professor...

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Shalom proclaimer: My father’s wisdom follows me still

Shalom proclaimer: My father’s wisdom follows me still

by Anna Madsen--Shalom is a word that is broad in the extreme. It has to do with wholeness, with fulfillment. Shalom paints a vision of the way things will one day be with all hands helping. Shalom knows of a lion lying down with a lamb, of the thirsty...

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