Seasons

Feed your spirit with these stories and articles that explore the milestones of our church year.

The meaning of “Hosanna!”

The meaning of “Hosanna!”

by Julie Seymour— When I see a painting of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on the colt, sometimes it looks to me as if he has indigestion. It’s a strange look for someone who is receiving a parade in his honor. Or maybe it’s not so strange, if we think about the message...

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Into the wilderness for Lent

Into the wilderness for Lent

by Sarah Carson— It's 4:30 in the morning, and I am Googling, “What does it mean that Jesus was led into the Spirit by the wilderness?” Oops. I take a sip of coffee and hit the “back” button on my browser. “What does it mean that Jesus was led into the wilderness by...

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“This was not on my list.”

“This was not on my list.”

by Susan Sparks— Growing up in the south, I learned many important lessons: The word “hey” has a minimum of 19 syllables. Okra can be a side dish, an entree or a dessert. And you must always, always write a thank-you note. No matter what the gift. My first year out of...

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Our vocation: It’s about learning to sing

Our vocation: It’s about learning to sing

by Mihee Kim-Kort— When my kids were a little younger they said all kinds of things in response to the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Today my sons will still say things like play for the Steelers or the Golden State Warriors or be an engineer....

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The road to Bethlehem

The road to Bethlehem

by Audrey Novak Riley— There are likely thousands of pieces of art—from greeting cards to Renaissance masterpieces— depicting the holy family on the way to Bethlehem for Jesus’ birth. Gentle Joseph leads a sweet little donkey with meditative Mary on its back. A...

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Advent ache

Advent ache

by Julia Seymour— Christmas—the stretch of holy days, not the holiday—is the shortest church season we have. The twelve days of Christmas make for a season shorter than even the briefest time after Epiphany, no matter how early Lent begins. Lent itself is 40 days. The...

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Save a seed to save yourself

Save a seed to save yourself

by Venice R. Williams— It's that time of year when it feels like time is running out. So much remains in the ground, longing to be harvested. The collards and kale, standing strong and sturdy, can wait. Acorn squash and Harvest Moon pumpkins have stolen the spotlight...

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Change is the breath of life

Change is the breath of life

by Elizabeth Hunter— Lately I've been thinking about an old Irish proverb: Change is the breath of life. I remember learning in grade school how a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly or moth. After hatching from a butterfly egg, the caterpillar eats and eats,...

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Let it bee!

Let it bee!

by Venice Williams— "I really hope you shook out your hair before coming to the dinner table! Mom, you be bringing a whole ecosystem home in your locs,” one of my children would say. “We have to watch creatures emerge from your hair while we are trying to eat!”...

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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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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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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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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...

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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...

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What did the risen Christ look like?

What did the risen Christ look like?

Several years ago, a friend and I attended a midday matinee. I can’t remember much about the movie, except that it was a delicious pleasure. I remember moving from the inky blackness of the theater, out the front door and into the dazzling light of a late...

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