Worship And Wonder

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Rest and Labor

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | September 4, 2018

Happy Labor Day to you! The U.S. holiday reminds me of the Bible’s commandment to rest, particularly on the Sabbath, the heart of Jewish Law. For Christians, Willy Rordorf’s book Sunday continues to be a resource from my seminary days. In it he lays out “the history of the day of rest and worship” for…

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Breathing Our Gratitude

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | August 21, 2018

It’s a wonderful experience when people clap and celebrate the fact that you’re alive! I got to walk the Survivors’ Lap again this weekend during our county’s Relay for Life: something I plan to do annually for the rest of my life. While I celebrated 3½ years healed from cancer, there are cancer fighters, survivors…

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Baptism, Connection, and Christ

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | May 28, 2018

Is interdependency a strength or a weakness? I remember hearing the old adage, “up by my own bootstraps,” as if self-sufficiency were something to be proud of. And as if it were actually possible, too. In this interconnected world it’s hard to even imagine being raised all on one’s own and finding one’s own way,…

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“My Child Is a Flower” Stewardship Songs

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | January 29, 2018

Rev. Dan Damon is an inspired writer of hymn texts and tunes, as well as a seminary teacher, pastor and friend. I was thrilled when he showed me a stewardship song he had written after I preached at his church one day. But his new songbook, My Child Is a Flower, contains many thoughtful, creative,…

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Wonder All Around

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | December 24, 2017

“Wonder all around” is the favorite phrase of Kathryn Shields, a friend and writer. She produces beautiful videos filled with her poetry alongside photographs of God’s intricate creation. This wonder-filled phrase has kept swirling in my head ever since she first shared it with me.                                                      – And especially this Advent/Christmas season, as we hear about…

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For All the Saints

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | November 6, 2017

I tend to feel at home in worship at any church, whatever its denomination, but particularly so on All Saints Sunday. On that day we thank God for the faithful mentors and models who have gone before us. But yesterday I was especially grateful to be invited to my friends’ Episcopal church. Some aspects of…

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Asking for a Clean Heart

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | October 9, 2017

Individual, arbitrary violence has been mounting increasingly in random settings across the United States. The massacre in Las Vegas last week seems like the culmination, where the shooter had a whole line of automatic weapons set up and trained on an outdoor concert crowd, and set them off, one after another. All these events couldn’t…

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Do What for Advent?

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | September 10, 2017

I know: theoretically you planned the fall annual stewardship emphasis back in the spring, but life often intervenes to upset even the best of plans. So now you’re looking for a stewardship theme to fit your revised schedule. And wouldn’t it be great if it had a creative approach and unique timing this year, when…

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The Joy of My Heart

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | July 17, 2017

Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. . . . Your decrees are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart. (Psalm 119:105,111) I stand within a tradition that understands God’s Word – God’s Living Word – as active at the intersection of reading the Scriptures…

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Resurrection Generosity

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | April 16, 2017

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! On this Easter Day, I was thrilled to read today’s meditation from www.generositymonk.com. He cited Franklin Brookhart about “Resurrection Gratitude and Generosity.” Brookhart says: The resurrection of our Lord is the paradigm of the way God works. Resurrection means fullness and abundance of life – all of life.…

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