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Still Practicing

It's not very often that you want an instant faith do-over. If I think back through my life carefully, there might be only two or three times I could have used a re-do, but this is the only time I recognized I needed one right away. I recognize I need to refer to myself as a "practicing" Christian because the teachings of Jesus haven't fully taken root in my life. This was a faith pop quiz and I think I…
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A Simple Peek

There are certain times in life when Scripture, a sermon, and life all join together to bring some clarity to life. The joining of those three feels like swirling together milk and sugar into a freshly brewed cup of coffee or hitting the sweet spot on the soccer ball as you kick it, putting it into the upper corner of the goal out of reach of the keeper. This in no way diminishes the power of Scripture to speak into…
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The Arms of Christ

My dad died in a car accident five years ago. It made it more strikingly difficult because my husband and I, along with my sister and brother-in-law, were traveling in Europe at the time of his accident. We didn't come to know of his accident until two days after it happened; he died eighteen hours after we returned home. Because of this dramatic situation of his death, I would often reflect that it felt more like a movie script than…
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Martha, Mary, and the Baby

She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks... Luke 10:39-40a (NRSV) It has been more than twelve months since our baby boy arrived. It was close to his due date when I was reflecting on the similar situation Mary, the mother of Jesus, must have gone through. Some of my thoughts wandered to the outskirts of the circle--to those wise men…
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Shifting Focus

My husband and I are expecting our first child any day now. Carrying a child during the Advent season offers one a new perspective on the arrival of the Messiah--and this new perspective has led me to focus my attention not to the center of the nativity scene but to the outskirts. I was busy working one day, putting away gifts we have received from various showers. As I stood looking into our almost full closet of clothes, toys, and…
Gretchen Schoon Tanis
January 16, 2006