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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...

Creating for Christmas: Lutheran artists bring their gifts.

Creating for Christmas: Lutheran artists bring their gifts.

Symbolic of the first gifts the wise men brought to the baby Jesus—gold, myrrh and frankincense— the tradition of gift-giving has long been associated with the seasons of Advent and Christmas. While we know Christmas isn’t about the tangible things, many of us hope to...

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...

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...

Advent is a threshold.

Advent is a threshold.

by Elizabeth Hunter— A few months ago, my dad’s friend, who is a carpenter, removed a drafty old exterior door from our 75-year-old house. Although I missed the solid, sturdy feel of our old door, its lock would sometimes stick, and I’d secretly feared a burglar would...

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...