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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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Keeping God’s time

Keeping God’s time

by M. E. Stortz As the seminar began, the speaker rushed to the podium, looked around wildly, and asked: “What time is it?” Some of us reached for our phones. Others checked their watches. Still others assured her she was not late. “No,” she said, now calm and at the...

Such a time: My journey with Esther

Such a time: My journey with Esther

by Leila Ortiz— Throughout the years, my faith walk has been a journey with Queen Esther. Even now I sit, pray and wonder: “What does it mean to be called for such a time as this?” Today I come to this question in a daunting season—a time of global pandemic, systemic...

“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...

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...

Circles of friendship

Circles of friendship

by Sonia C. Solomonson— What are your plans for National Women’s Friendship Day (Sunday, September 20)? Oh, you didn’t know? I didn’t know either until I was asked to write this article. Created by the Kappa Delta Sorority in 1999, National Women’s Friendship Day...

How sweet the taste

How sweet the taste

by Sarah Carson— When I made the move from Chicago to Michigan, I knew there were many things I’d miss—my friends, of course, and my second family at Grace Lutheran Church in Evanston, Illinois. I knew I’d also miss my Saturday walks to the lakefront, and being able...

Rituals and routines: We need both

Rituals and routines: We need both

by Jordan Miller-Stubbendick— "Remember who you are and whose you are," my mother would often tell me. When I left the house to go to school or to a sleepover, she embraced me with her arms and her words. Sometimes I squirmed against it, as kids do. “Okay, Mom. I...

God of grace

God of grace

by Catherine Malotky— God of grace, in Jesus’ interaction with Zacchaeus, we see you at work. Zacchaeus was likely not a scoundrel to begin with, though as a tax collector he certainly had to compromise over time to meet the requirements of his job. I wonder: What...

Everything is connected: An interview with Kelly Glow

Everything is connected: An interview with Kelly Glow

by Sarah Carson Growing up in South Central Los Angeles, Kelly Mims Glow learned from an early age just how vastly different people’s expressions of faith can be. “My father was a practicing Baptist,” she says. “And my mother was a Lutheran. On the first and third...

Letting go is also making room

Letting go is also making room

by Kathryn Hauiesen One of my seminary professors kept a phrase written on the classroom chalkboard: “Every loss is a gain; every gain is a loss.” Life seems to consist of an endless cycle of gains and losses. Along with the losses that come in one form or another,...

Interrupted…and invited into something new

Interrupted…and invited into something new

by Deanna Kim Bassett It was a beautiful day in Sacramento, California. My dad was playing golf with my uncles, and I was celebrating my upcoming birthday with the rest of my family by going out for ice cream. That lazy, late September weekend was interrupted by a...

Faith, Sexism and Justice: A Call to Action

Faith, Sexism and Justice: A Call to Action

by Heather Dean Last August the ELCA Churchwide Assembly voted (863-26) to adopt a social statement called Faith, Sexism, and Justice: A Call to Action by a staggering margin. WHAT IS A SOCIAL STATEMENT? Social statements are ELCA teaching documents that help people...

Keeping the feast at the farmer’s market

Keeping the feast at the farmer’s market

by Cara Strickland— When Gather's editors reach out to ask me to write a new, semiregular column on faith, food, and cooking, I couldn’t help but think back to my first encounters with the farmers market. For a long time, I found farmer’s markets intimidating. Even...