Requests and Promises

I’ve been enjoying thinking about Hannah and Mary today. Juxtaposing the beginning of 1 Samuel with the first chapters of Luke. Two women not yet pregnant. One long married, one just engaged. Both soon with child, singing songs of the Lord’s great mercy. They were ordinary women. At least, that is what resonates with me today.

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Greetings

I love Christmas cards. Photos of new babies, pets, and growing kids. Updates and reflections on the past year. Reminders of friends and family spread around the world. We need each other. 2020 has sharpened our awareness of social hunger. For love, laughter, and support. Small gestures of care convey great meaning, and we delight

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the evening stroll

I used to run. Well– jog– though that word went out with the 80s. But pounding the pavement has been tough on my joints, and at some point in the pandemic, I shifted to walking. It’s getting colder. Darker. More than ever, we need to get outside. But my morning exercise walk differs from a

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Blessings Counted

When I came across an article on the medieval tradition of allegory and CS Lewis as a sensational literary critic, Brian Mustain came to mind. In turn, he shared his Thanksgiving Declaration 2020, which warmed and encouraged me. I am thankful for Brian’s long participation at NCF; I have sought his prayers many times over the years,

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Flowing from My Heart

“Let’s go around the table and each person say what they’re thankful for.”  What a lovely tradition. So why do I balk at it? And feel bad for doing so. I worry that I’m not thankful enough. Which is partly true. Hezekiah Walker’s Grateful plays in my head. Grateful, grateful, grateful,Gratefulness, it’s flowing from my heart Each

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Our Islands

The branches of the bitternut hickory look different from this vantage point, lit by the eastern sun. I love the giant tree that defines my backyard, but I have hardly ever examined it from my bedroom window. Too busy. Always moving. Up and at ‘em from one place to the next. Our rhythms have changed.

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Back Online

Technology has been such a gift these past eight months. The ease with which folks can record themselves reading scripture, praying, teaching, and sharing has enabled widespread participation and connection in our online services. Michael Linder and the musicians have created amazing music that encourages us and enables us to worship. But we longed for

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Election Day

Today we pray. For peace, justice, and mercy. I encourage you to listen (again) to Marty Shupack’s prayer from Sunday’s service for the election. Reminding me of the twelve representatives who each took a stone from the Jordan River to contribute to the collective memorial, pastors and faith leaders of the executive team of the Interfaith Alliance of Champaign County share

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re-remembering

Understanding our story within the larger story of our country, within the much larger story of God’s work in the world, is an ongoing process. Carolyn Vance thinks about her history within this widening context as we prepare for our Thanksgiving offering. May we also submit our stories to the light of God’s ongoing revelation. -Renée

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Nothing More, Nothing Less

I woke up with the word “hope.” There was no apparent reason for this. I certainly hadn’t gone to bed with hope, and today didn’t look much different. Still gray. Same pandemic, same politics. And yet. My hope is built on nothing less(and nothing more)than Jesus’ love/life/bloodand righteousness I had been feeling a bit discouraged.

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