The Pattern Prayer

“I’ll pray for you,” people often say. But what do they mean by that? What is prayer, anyway? Prayer is a common term, but any room even of like-minded folks picture it in scores of different ways. Little children may imagine saying sentences out loud to an Old Man in the sky; older adults may…

Read More

Lent: Spring Cleaning for the Soul

People in this country’s Snow Belt## know the importance of spring cleaning when they can throw open their windows and invite fresh air in after the enclosed months imposed by winter cold. These days, with extreme weather changes and COVID concerns, many more of us can identify, after feeling locked in our stuffy homes. The…

Read More

Epiphany: Seeing the Light

Have you ever had an “aha” moment when an issue suddenly becomes clear? All the details fall in line and the pattern finally makes sense. It’s hard to explain but a common experience. Sometimes people call it an “epiphany:” a Greek word that means “manifestation,” the appearance of a divine being, or a sudden intuitive…

Read More

Covenant Sunday in Christmas

Happy New Year! Covenant Sunday comes at the very end of the Christmas season, on the Sunday closest to January first. Back in 1755, John Wesley, English founder of the Methodist movement, held his first Covenant Service of worship. Ever since then, Methodists have been encouraged to begin each new year with a portion of…

Read More

The Twelve Days of Christmas

In recent decades across much of the world, the phrase “the twelve days of Christmas” refers to the twelve days before Christmas – as in shopping days to buy presents before Santa’s Big Day. But from ancient times, that proverbial phrase has referred to the days after Christmas Day, together making up the worship season…

Read More

All Saints Day in Pentecost

One special day in the season of Pentecost is All Saints Day. Most Christians around the world celebrate it near the end of Pentecost on November 1 or 2.** So who are the “saints,” anyway? While some denominations have an official process of recognizing them, many Christians around the globe see saints as everyday people:…

Read More

Advent: A Blue Christmas

It seems odd that the New Year for Christians starts in the winter, not in the spring. Springtime would be a natural season for new beginnings when nature is filled to bursting with buds and blossoms of new life. For example, a branch from the Jacaranda tree would be an outstanding symbol of transformation to…

Read More

More About Those Easter Eggs

When you color eggs with your kiddos this year, you are making a long-time historical connection. In ancient times, both Egyptians and Persians dyed eggs to give to friends, much like many Muslims today give colored eggs to their Christian neighbors. In the Middle Ages, people who had kept themselves from eating eggs during the…

Read More

Christmas: Madeleine L’Engle

“When we celebrate Christmas,” says awesome author Madeleine L’Engle, “we are celebrating that amazing time when the Word that shouted all the galaxies into being, limited all power, and for love of us came to us in the powerless body of a human baby. My faith is based on this incredible act of love, and…

Read More

Thanksgiving Prayer

Here is a beautiful prayer we can use as the grace at our Thanksgiving table or as a prayer to give thanks any time of the year. Delightful stewardship consultant Cesie Delve Scheuermann shared it in her Inspiring Generosity column on November 24, 2021. Prayer of Thanksgiving By Vienna Cobb Anderson         …

Read More

Preach Stewardship from the Trinity

Now is a natural time for pastors to be planning their preaching topics for the year ahead. How can we approach stewardship holistically – in its fullness – over the months ahead to include giving money but not let it take over all the other dimensions of stewarding God’s gifts? One helpful way is to…

Read More

Steps to Solitude

It’s good to learn about one or more of the spiritual disciplines – prayer, meditation, Scripture study, and more – but to actually practice them presupposes solitude, or the clarity of mind and heart that come from it. In these days of the pandemic, many may say, “With social distancing and staying home, I have…

Read More

As Wild Geese Fly

Stewardship is the how of living toward God – not the wheels on the bus, but the way the wild geese fly. The way the wild geese fly – not just instinct but also intention: the how of living toward God. The how of living toward God – using what I have for God’s goals:…

Read More

Many Thanksgivings

In Mutuality and Thanksgiving I said, “Thanksgiving is not a season. It’s an orientation of our minds and hearts that naturally flows into a lifestyle of generosity, of mutual giving and receiving.” But the process of giving and receiving is not only a two-way affair. As science-of-generosity researchers have noted, people who know others involved…

Read More

Rhythms of Worship, Part 2

Many of us may be familiar with the terms “Vespers” and “Compline,” used for special evening worship services. But these are actually just two of seven prayer times, or “offices,” that help us remember the events in Jesus’ life and ministry in worshipful observance throughout any given twenty-four-hour period. This daily rhythm is called canonical…

Read More