Listening to God’s beloved daughters

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 anger? Who would dare declare that God sometimes speaks in a woman’s voice—smack in the middle […]

Can we be different together?

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 stories of sibling relationships and rivalries offer helpful resources in our quest to […]

Reading the Bible for love

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 God, neighbors and ourselves. The Bible is the primary way God’s […]

Alleluia! Hallelujah!

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 she spent during World War II decorating the church […]

Unexpected neighbors

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 on […]

Story within a story

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 family of dolls gath­ers in front of you, smiling happily […]

Our next of kin

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 combatting common misinterpretations of Judaism, identifying areas of potential co­operation and fostering […]

Studying Scripture

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 fast to the hope of eternal life, which you […]

I love you. What were you thinking?

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 “Holy.” Spirit, he said, is a […]

Thomas and me

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 disciples, “I […]