Daily Devotionals

The following “Daily Devotionals” are provided through the

United Church of Christ Website.

To read the full devotional, please click the Title of the devotional and you will be directed to the UCC website. We only keep the current month listed on this page.


Not Just For Funerals

God fills our cups, not just until there is enough, but until they overflow with so much goodness that we can’t help but share it.


Guilty

It occurs to me that my guilt reflects vanity and weak faith. Taking responsibility for one’s actions is good; nagging guilt, however, is evidence of self-absorption, turning away from God. 


Holy Spirit Super Power

You have the very best superpower of all: the Holy Spirit. The power of grace. The power to dream. The power to choose solidarity over privilege, and understanding over judgment.


The Years the Locust Has Eaten

Pain and oppression have lasting consequences, scrawled across generations, written into our bones. So God images true restoration: of meaningful reparation, of healing down to the bone.


All Together

After Easter, the disciples gathered together often, trying to make sense of life without Jesus.


Interrupted

Your call to follow Jesus may put you at risk. It may make you naked, vulnerable. It may make you the target of trolls. Amidst it all: get your rest, love your God.


Willows

Mending broken relationships is not only personal, it is our work as stewards of God’s creation. There is more that can be mended than we know.


Depression

“Jesus, have mercy.” I say it out loud and Depression turns his head, shushes me. “Jesus! Have mercy!” I say it louder this time to the Healer who is holding a hand out to me.


The Greatest Superpower

Jesus sent the seventy out two by two, not one by one. That makes friendship the greatest superpower in the universe.


Guests among Guests

If our churches aren’t very inclusive, it might be because we have mistaken ourselves for the Giver of the Feast. We’re not hosts extending invitations. We’re guests among guests.


Not Easily Dismissed

Paul knew that he and Silas had been treated unjustly, and he insisted that the city officials acknowledge their injustice. Is this a biblical precedent for reparations?


Unannoyed

I bet there’s somebody in your church whose way of pointing to God embarrasses you. You cringe when every time; you long for them to stop. But maybe God likes their way of praising.


Bread

Each of us needs something to hold or hug or wave so we remember the people and places we love, so we remember the reasons we march and keep vigil. 


The Happiest Place on Earth

The church is not perfect. Our messes are often on grand display. But there’s something about the sweaty realness of Here that is preparation for There—for God’s envisioned kin-dom.


Missing Out

No matter how bad things are now, missing their natural progression can be even worse. God, grant us the gift of one step after the other.


Down with Chaos!

God of majesty and might, bring order to chaos, understanding to confusion, and your sweet peace to every place of disruption.


A Revelation Revisited

We do not need a structure and a steeple to be the Church today. We are the embodiment of God’s purpose, promise and power at work in the world.


New

God’s capacity to make all things new—especially when all our hope is gone and our own resources are spent—is the heart of the gospel. “Impossible” is where this God begins.


Selling Purple Cloth…for Jesus

I’ve learned that the passionate voice inside me (which can sometimes sound like an arrogant twerp) is rarely calling others to greater faithfulness. It’s calling me.


Noticed

When I don’t fit in with the crowd, or I can’t see my way clear, I try to get a better view of Jesus. If Jesus noticed Zacchaeus, surely he notices me, too.


Remembering to Praise

If this is the last day before tomorrow, what else should I be doing but praising God?


Gates

Where is the gate of righteousness at our southern border? Who will offer God’s protection? How far are the righteous willing to go to care for children? May God help us with answers.


Seed Investments

We invest in the gospel by faith, not knowing what or when or if the investment will pay off. Lord of the harvest, free us from the need to see the results of our service and our love.


With All Your Mind

Who taught you to love God with all your mind?


Lazy Sundays are the Worst

What does it mean to be saved from aimlessness?


Confusing Christ

“I would go to church, but I don’t like Jesus all that much. He’s confusing.” I wonder if Jesus would be less confusing, and the church more attractive, if his followers were more committed.


They Will Know Me by My Love

God’s checklist and my internalized checklist of shame are incompatible. I don’t have to fit into rigid boxes to be part of the beloved community.


Sovereign Submission

Each sovereign nation must submit itself to the sovereignty of global peace and international justice. It is the only recognition that can save the planet and the people on it.


Threat

When Christ says, “I’ll come in and eat with you,” it sounds like a tender pledge. But it’s more like a threat: a threat of barrier-breaking intimacy, a threat to disrupt every caste.


Making Great Bread

I’m not sure that becoming a new creature is something that gets done once and for all. In fact, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t. Becoming a new creature in Christ is a full-time job.


Just One

I come from God and will return to God. The psalmist’s highest aspiration is to be one sheep in God’s flock. Not the best. Not the wooliest. Not the bleat-ing-est. Just one in God’s many.


Make a Joyful Noise!

What noises accompany the activities that bring you joy? Maybe it’s an instrument or voice, the hum of a sewing machine or the rasp of a pencil. Make a joyful noise to the Lord!


From Guru to Gospel

Every Christian is called to be a finger pointing to God—whether or not we live out the gospel perfectly. We worship the Creator, not the creature.


Here’s the Steeple

Hear the many prayers of gratitude from those who look to church to keep from running aground in the fog or during a moonless night. Amen.


Good Pleasure

No one ever comes to me seeking “don’t worry” platitudes or a privilege-centric “be not afraid.” They are worried, panicked, grasping at straws … and I am not Jesus.


Messy Sheep

Sheep are a mess. The evidence of their presence turns a pasture brown. Clearly they are thoughtless, clumsy beings who need to be led in right paths. I could sympathize.


Kayaking in the Cold

The river wants to flow where it wants to flow. God’s grace and mercy are like that. Grace wants to go where it wants to go. Mercy wants to flow widely.


No More Deaths

It is legal to leave water for non-human animals in the desert. Leaving water for humans who crossed the border illegally is a federal crime. O God, may love never be criminal. Amen.


The Bible’s Church Growth Plan

What if church growth was less about a plan or a program and more about an orientation, an attitude, a way of being? What if the most attractive feature of your church was peace?


Jury Duty

God, sometimes I am as oblivious and heartless as Saul. Thank you for knocking me off my horse to see how I have hurt you, and your beloveds.


No One

Let us pray for those who have no one to pray for them. For some people, the Spirit’s intercession is not Plan B. Her sighs are the only plan to lift their loneliness to God.


The Door Is Still Open

John of Patmos saw an open door in heaven, an open channel through which faith could operate boldly and imaginatively. God has left that door open for each of us.


I Wish I Were a Simpleton

God, for every compromised pleasure I have lost, you have a thousand perfect ones in store. Reveal some to me now, so that I can stop whining. Amen.


Transitions

Ours is a God who knows the journey, who is on the move, who goes ahead of us. You will be upheld. You will be sustained, in your going out and coming in. Trust this.


With a Love that Casts Out Fear

“‘Do not be afraid.’ Yes, the lilies of the field will be adorned and the birds of the air will eat. And how much more does your Creator love you? You will be well. Read more of today’s Daily devotional by John C. Dorhauer


Spirit Prompts

“The Kin-dom of God needs your Spirit-prompted vision. Do you see trouble? Write it. Beauty? Write that. Solidarity? Write that, too. Or speak it, or draw it, or sculpt it.” Read more of today’s Daily devotional by John A. Nelson


A Slogan for All Seasons

“God, we remember all workers today. Forgive us for the ways in which we take workers for granted. Give us the courage and wisdom to ensure safe and healthy working conditions for all.” Read more of today’s Daily devotional by Marilyn Pagán-Banks


Where Are Your Wounds?

“When the risen Jesus appeared to his disciples, he bore his wounds. Are we bearing the wounds of something worth fighting for? They are the sign that we fought the good fight.” Read more of today’s Daily devotional by Tony Robinson


Superpowers

“It has never been easy to be a follower of Jesus Christ. It was never meant to be. We don’t have superpowers, just faith, and it is enough.” Read more of today’s Daily devotional by Richard L. Floyd


The Breath of Praise

“On Hawai’i’s coast, I have seen and heard the majesty of earth’s own breath. Inhaling and exhaling, in destruction and in creation, what can it do but praise the LORD?” Read more of today’s Daily devotional by Eric Anderson


Believe It or Not

“If Peter had believed immediately, he might never have gone out to see for himself. Instead, he let his unbelief pull him forward. Where will you let your unbelief carry you today?”


Wrapped

“In intimate encounters with the holy, I desperately want to cling so tightly to my protector, my maker. I’m terrified that if I don’t, something bad will happen. But Jesus already knows that God’s embrace on us never yields.” Read more of today’s Daily devotional by Kaji Douša


A Resurrection Recount

“Fasting and prayer were Lent’s spiritual disciplines. How about a Resurrection Recount for Eastertide? In the 50 days ahead, let’s take time to recount the God’s deeds in our lives.” Read more of today’s Daily devotional by Talitha Arnold.


Rejected … then Resurrected

Kenneth L. Samuel

No rejection is indicative of our divine destiny. The power of the resurrection is the power to step outside the molds of safe assimilation to be the authentic presence God created us to be.


Dead

Mary Luti

We hold our breath and wait: “For the world now groaning, is there life? Is there life for you, Holy One?”


Last Tuesday

Quinn G. Caldwell

Some of us look away from Good Friday violence because we’re too pampered to handle it. Some of us look away because we’re tired of seeing it every day on the streets and in our homes.


Commandment

Emily C. Heath

Jesus could have said anything at the last supper. He could have told his friends to avenge his death. He could have raged about the unfairness of life. Instead he said, “Love one another.”


Silent Wednesday

Jennifer Brownell

More and more, we live in front of cameras and screens, surrounded as much by the witness of the cloud as a cloud of witnesses. How do we live when Jesus is your only witness?


The Name Beyond Names

John A. Nelson

The-One-Who-Enlarges takes on those who would make God small. The Creator-Who-Is-Still-Shaping-Me defies those who think in terms of caste or tribe.


A Pound of Pure Nard

Talitha Arnold

Perhaps Jesus could love because Mary had loved him. She anointed his feet; he washed the disciples’. She poured out her love in a costly perfume. He did the same for the whole world.


Donkeys and Disciples

Vicki Kemper

Sometimes ignorance is bliss. Sometimes it is easier to be donkey than disciple.


Out of the Mouths of Babes

Vince Amlin

God, give me the eyes of a child to see the richness of my life. And keep the party going.


Unlikely Bed-buddies

Matt Laney

You know grief and loss. You’ve been hurt a thousand times. As impossible as it might feel, trust that blessing is already embracing your anguish and that God will indeed turn the page.


“You’re a Fool”

Lillian Daniel

We bear a lot of pain in the name of love. As Christians, we do that for one another, in order to remember that God is doing it for us.


Growth Mindset

Molly Baskette

We are all lifelong learners, Jesus says, and there’s only one Teacher. So if you think you’re wise, get over yourself.


Why Did Jesus Bother?

Tony Robinson

When our plans and predictions go bust and our expectations aren’t fulfilled, God is still God.


Speak Life

Marchaé Grair

There is no gospel that leads to the killing of the soul. The Spirit calls for us to speak the words that set people free, not the words that keep them in their chains.


A Change of Heart

Richard L. Floyd

The metaphorical heart is a matter of life and death. The heart is implicated in the choices of lovers and fools, and who among us hasn’t been both at some time in our life?


Extravagance

Tony Robinson

Extravagance can scare us. It scared Judas. And extravagance—God’s extravagance—can save us. Mary understood this and did not fear the extravagant mercy of God.


Souls in Prison

Kaji Douša

Maybe we start to accept the things we really should not, growing accustomed to being so enclosed that we risk forgetting what it means to be free—if we ever knew it.


Inseparable

Kenneth L. Samuel

The season of Lent is the season of love’s endurance. Love can endure disappointment, pain and even disloyalty. But love never endures the separation of termination.


From the Complaint Department

Mary Luti

How long, O Lord? We need the world you promise. We need you to vindicate our sticking with you all this time, to redeem our suffering and crown our deaths with life.


Rogue

Quinn G. Caldwell

God, your world is full of wonders and mysteries. Let me not be too quick to dismiss them, and let me, at least sometimes, believe them before it’s wise.


Saying So

Emily C. Heath

I didn’t learn about testimony from church. I learned about it from people in recovery who told me their stories when I was newly sober.


Sola Gratia

Jennifer Brownell

Maybe you struggle to be assured that grace is boundless and that you are sufficient just as you are. If so, take heart. You are not alone. I am with you. Many people are with you. And God, no matter what, is with you.


Holy Invitations

John A. Nelson

What is most real, most connected with the life-giving breath of Holy One is all around you, is with you now, ready to carry you to fullness of life.


Get a Move On

Talitha Arnold

Has your enthusiasm for Lent’s journey worn off? You can do it. The journey is hard, but keep going. Something like Easter is waiting.


Never Again

Vicki Kemper

If God can have a change of heart, so can we.


Two Kinds of People

Vince Amlin

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who are blessed and those who are also blessed.


No Prophets in the Family

Matt Laney

Sometimes the experience of Jesus way-back-when blocks our ability to recognize him here-and-now.


Sloths Are Not Slothful

Lillian Daniel

Creator of all Creatures, thank you for feeding our various needs at our various speeds.


Worldly Wisdom and God’s Foolishness

Molly Baskette

Human wisdom says: “The one who dies with the most toys, wins.” God’s wisdom says: “What do people gain from all their toil under the sun?”


The Big Sound of Eternity

Donna Schaper

The truth about eternity is that it is connected to now. There is no later when it comes to eternity. It is not a bargain nor can it be postponed.


From Light to Sugar

Kaji Douša

Fasting from the profits of the world is too hard to do without fervent prayer and radical generosity. So often, we climb upon the backs of others in order to reap our short-term rewards. But at what personal cost?


Let God Do the Talking

Marchaé Grair

So often, people with good intentions try to speak about the heart of God without seeking God. Are you ready to seek?


God Will Not Be Left Without Witnesses!

Richard L. Floyd

Across generations, there is a story of good news of the God who remains faithful.


Love and Let Go

Tony Robinson

What happens when a career, a building, a gift, a treasure, is surrendered or lost? Who are we then? Is God still God?


Interruptions

Donna Schaper

Not knowing what to do next is often the best platform for finding the unusual. Holy One, permit us to understand interruptions as sacraments.


Still on the Chase

Kenneth L. Samuel

God is the love that never leaves us alone.


Getting Things Right

Donna Schaper

The pivot from suffering to joy, from pursuing “right-ness” to pursuing community, is found in the choice to love, even if all we have is a little love left in our broken hearts.


Holiness Code

Quinn G. Caldwell

Listen, and I will tell you a mystery: God doesn’t love your rules. God loves God’s people.


Boasting of Grace

Emily C. Heath

Far from what I thought Christians believed when I was growing up, it turns out that God doesn’t require perfection from us in order to love us.


Would You Rather?

Jennifer Brownell

Worry or regret seem to choose me in the middle of the night. Invariably, I choose them back. Maybe it’s time to try something different—to see the steadfastness of God’s presence with me the whole time.


A Promise that Bears Repeating

John A. Nelson

A wise friend said that as soon as you say, “It can’t happen,” the possibilities you have not yet seen start to shrivel and die. So stretch your imagination. God is there and then, here and now.


A God Who Can Take It

Talitha Arnold

We don’t have to pretend everything is okay when it isn’t. We don’t have to protect God from our anger or anguish. God can take it.


Blessed Wilderness

Vicki Kemper

Lent is a time to learn who and whose we are, to prepare for what is to come, to create a life-shaping bond with the Holy One that not even death will be able to break.


In Body or Spirit

Vince Amlin

We confess and pray: Defier of Labels, teach me to meet my neighbors in their fullness.


The Choice to Rejoice

Matt Laney

The discipline of rejoicing is an act of resistance when injustices and struggles pile up. If we do that much, we triumph.


Parents are Dreamers, Too

Lillian Daniel

Dream big, bold, and brave. God bless the dreamers, young and old, and bless the lands their dreams carry them to.


Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust

Kenneth L. Samuel

On this Ash Wednesday we are mindful of the ashes from which we were created.


Bottle

Quinn G. Caldwell

God knows that behind every revenge fantasy and every bit of righteous anger and every unholy wish for our enemies’ demise lies some ancient hurt or old wrong or fresh wound. And God bends down from on high to gather our tears.


Partners

Mary Luti

Still, you can’t offer Mercy to an enemy every week and not start to mean it, even a little. You can’t put Healing in someone’s hand for months on end without something rubbing off.


Not like Raffi

John Edgerton

God give me the courage to be a vessel for Your light, a channel for Your grace, a laborer in the vineyard of Your peaceable Realm.


Come By Here

Elsa Cook

Hope can feel impossible and maybe even absurd. But hope is more than issues and ideas. Hope is where we find God.


Abusers

Kaji Douša

The most effective prayers for abusers are offered from the strength garnered with distance. Pray with your cheek far from the strike and find your strength.


Homeless

Donna Schaper

Congregations are soup kitchens for the spiritually hungry, shelters for the spiritually homeless, nests for the baby bird in all of us.


Sin and Sickness

Kenneth L. Samuel

God let your deliverance be manifested in our decisions. Amen.


Your Will?

Tony Robinson

Sometimes people are skeptical that we can ever really know God’s will. But maybe the real problem is that, if we ask, we don’t like the answers we get.


Trading Guilt for Grace

Marchaé Grair

Divine One, extend your grace to me and help me extend that same grace to myself. Amen.


Do Not Fret (Easy for You to Say)

Talitha Arnold

Trust. Do good. Take delight. Commit to God’s way. Take the next step, and trust that God is with you.


Handle Your Business

Marilyn Pagán-Banks

The work of restorative justice teaches us that we can and should take the time to hear one another, to acknowledge any harm done and all hurt experienced, to create space to be held accountable, and to do the work necessary to restore the relationship.


Actively Waiting

John A. Nelson

Even now, while the mess and muddle seem to reign supreme, the Holy One is carrying the day.


Make Me a Living Blessing

Ashley Harness

Holy One, help me remember I am blessed so that I might be a living blessing.


A Simple Question

Emily C. Heath

I wonder what Jesus would ask congregations who have been kicking the metaphorical can down the road for years and years, bemoaning a culture that has passed them by, blaming a changing world for declining membership. “Do you want to get well?”


Yes. Period.

Jennifer Brownell

Dance and feast and laugh and shout and share the good news and love one another. Because our Savior says yes.


Unfinished Business

Richard L. Floyd

The Christian life is more like gardening than it is like cooking. You plant seeds, you water and tend your garden, and you wait for God to give the growth.


Planted

Molly Baskette

God, I’m thirsty. I long for rest. Show me the way to Your water, and give me permission to stay there. Amen.


Whose Body? Our Body!

Phiwa Langeni

What if the Body of Christ unapologetically cared for its mentally ill parts and its youthful parts and its kinky parts and its rural parts and its non-binary parts?


Community Care is Self-Care

Chris Davies

We’re intimately connected, one to the other, and God is the energetic thread of love that binds us together.


Glory, Given

Quinn G. Caldwell

Glory isn’t itself unless you’re giving it away. Give it to God, and the whole world will blossom with beauty.


Turning Thirty

Mary Luti

Find the work that is seeking you. Find it, step out in trust, and do it.


Some People Are Saying…

Vince Amlin

In the UCC Pension Boards’ Next Generation Leadership Initiative, I was taught to listen past the specific content of criticism to its relational context.


Sensual

Rachel Hackenberg

Sure, maybe it’s a poem about God.


Nobody Likes a Grumpy Giver

Kaji Douša

Your pastor probably doesn’t think they’re so good at raising money.


The Book that Will Set You Free

Dawson Taylor

I will never forget sitting in front of Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa.


On the Road Again

Donna Schaper

A lot of people get a glossy look in our eyes when we say, “I really want to do more traveling.”


The Love You Can’t Keep

Marchaé Grair

On The Good Place, Eleanor is devastated when her soulmate Chidi has his memories erased to avoid sabotaging an experiment.


What They Didn’t Tell You About Baptism

Matt Laney
Whether you are dunked or sprinkled, baptism is the entry-point of Christian life.


Smooth Talker

Lillian Daniel

In the human economy of emotion, love feels conditional, and communication is the currency.


Multiple Choice

Vicki Kemper

The widow of Zarephath had a choice to make: Use what little she had to make one last supper for herself and her son or, instead, use it to feed the bossy prophet who promised his God would provide.


Things I Miss At Home

Kenneth Samuel

The lyrics to Cherrelle’s 1988 hit song are disturbing, yet they express a reality that few of us can deny.


Opportunity to Testify

Jennifer Brownell

The 2016 presidential election unleashed a spasm of violence


There’s More

Tony Robinson

“With God, there’s more: hope for the discouraged, challenge to the smug. God gets the last word.”


Huh?

Jennifer Brownell

God hears you, even when I can’t.


Word Problems

Matt Laney

Gratitude plus generosity equals abundance for all.


Anamnesis

Mary Luti

Communion is our uprising, our resistance.


Fear Not for the Body

Molly Baskette

God is not safe. God may be good, but God never promised us absolute physical safety and security.


All Things to All People

Elissa Johnk

Being everything to everyone usually means nothing to anyone.


With Faith as My Shield & God as My Witness

Kaji Douša

God will shield the part of you that no one can reach. God will witness the violence you have known. God will bring you peace.


Innards

Quinn G. Caldwell

I’m trying to follow Jesus instead of my heart.


Confessions from an All-Nighter

Kit Novotny

When Jesus broke bread that night with his friends, it wasn’t the bread of anxious toil but the bread of life.


Mystery and Magic

Kenneth L. Samuel

Explore and savor the wonder and the magic of love’s garden. Anything else is madness.


Follow Me

Traci Blackmon

Whenever I read the gospel accounts of how Jesus organized The Discipleship Movement I am reminded of how important it is to understand the roles of both leader and ally.


Too Much and Too Little

Vince Amlin

I always have the feeling I’ve said more than I intended to and less than they wanted me to. Too much and too little


Missing Peace

Donna Schaper

There is no peace or economic security. What is missing?


Procrastinators Unite…Tomorrow

Marchaé Grair

Leaning in to God’s plan for me isn’t always easy because I am a control freak.


Rich Food

Matt Laney

When God goes to battle for you, Her weapons of choice are a white tablecloth, a few forks, and a goblet.


Free For All

Vicki Kemper

What is the Spirit’s transforming power worth to you?


God, is it Ever Going to Happen?

Patrick G. Duggan

Like walking and chewing gum, you can have faith and doubt at the same time.


Epiphany

Mary Luti

Even a faint light is light. Even a slight unveiling can illumine the world.


Shoes

Tony Robinson

How will you carry the message of peace far and wide this year? Myself, I think I’d opt for some really good running shoes.


Barefoot on Holy Ground

Emily C. Heath

When Moses comes close to the burning bush God tells him to take off his sandals, because he is on holy ground.


What’s in the Sauce?

Kaji Douša

What is the church serving? Is our offering sweet? Is it lukewarm? Is it barely palatable?


The Long Winter

Molly Baskette

God of every season, help us to love the hard seasons for their own sakes.


The Waters of Life

Talitha Arnold

God promises not to forsake migrants. Neither should we.


Too Old To Be Right

Quinn G. Caldwell

What would happen if, instead of being so damn smart all the time, we trusted someone once in a while?


Worth

Darrell Goodwin-Moultry

What if we believed we were chosen, for this day and for this hour, and that we are worthy?


Death on the Factory Floor

Lillian Daniel

Raise your hands higher to bless the whole world in love and light.


Finding Jesus Imperfectly

Christina Villa

Thank God there’s more than one way to be right.


Satisfied

Vince Amlin

Know you are enough, because God is enough.


Praying for Presidents

Rachel Hackenberg

We pray that those in leadership might love the work of peace more than the work of war.


Global Respect

Kenneth L. Samuel

Defense of the weak, deliverance for the oppressed, and relief for those in poverty: these are the deep needs of our common humanity, no matter our national differences.


By Works Alone

John Edgerton

The constant pursuit of new possibility and new beginnings is holy.


Make Every Moment Your Midnight 

Marchaé Grair

When the clock strikes midnight on Jan. 1, it’s as if time stops. 


All Things New!

Richard L. Floyd

Lately I’ve been hearing the saying “It is what it is!” more and more.


Keep on Singing

J. Bennett Guess

Cicely Tyson, who starred in the Broadway revival of The Trip to Bountiful, won a Tony Award at age 88 for her stirring portrayal of Mrs. Carrie Watts, an elderly hymn-singing, hymn-adoring woman who wants nothing more than to see her family’s home in Bountiful, Texas, one more time before she dies.


Between Us

Donna Schaper

I am often corrected by others.


Universal

Rachel Hackenberg

Let the sun and moon beam with pride: God has come!


Puzzled

Molly Baskette

These two short verses are all we have to describe the child Jesus between eight days old and tweenage 12 years.


The Day After Christmas?

Tony Robinson

It’s a bit of an anti-climax, isn’t it? The day after Christmas?


Merry Reincarnation Day

Matt Laney

Occasionally, I’m asked if I believe in reincarnation.


We are the Miracles

Marchaé Grair

I am a miracle.


Say It Again

Mary Luti

Every Advent, the prophets remind us that God is disgusted by piety divorced from justice.


Touched

Molly Baskette

I followed the hugs.


Suicide Watches

Donna Schaper

Have you ever been on a suicide watch?


Who’s On First?

Tony Robinson

One of the things that can be tough in a work environment is having multiple bosses.


For the Peace of Jerusalem

Kaji Douša

In the din and danger of the First World War, Sir Hubert Parry was charged with writing a new song.


Gaze

Quinn G. Caldwell

It’s a good time of year for stargazing, assuming you’re in the northern hemisphere (if you’re in the southern hemisphere: Hi!  We love you from up here!).


Armor for Advent Times

Emily C. Heath

I don’t like the image of militarized Christians much, and I never want to encourage the idea of Crusades-like armies.


Holy No

Matt Laney

In college, I wanted to be an actor.


Two Sons

Molly Baskette

My children are growing up to have all my same preferences and prejudices, just like I planned.


The Time is Ripe

Vince Amlin

As I write this (months before you will read it), it’s hard to conjure up the sights and sounds of December.


Stand Down

Mary Luti

Jobs that require you to do nothing but look are really hard: cops on stakeouts, soldiers on watch, TSA agents scanning carry-ons hour after hour.


In the Meantime

Kenneth L. Samuel

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were no gap between our prayer petitions and the granting of our prayer petitions?


Who Are You?

Vicki Kemper

How often, when standing at the crossroads of hope and fear, have you let your cold feet keep to the safest path?


Watch Out

Kaji Douŝa

In Season 3 of the Coen Brothers’ series Fargo, the chief villain says, “The problem is not that there is evil in the world. The problem is that there is good. Because, otherwise, who would care?”


The Thief of the Lord

Tony Robinson

When we suffered a burglary I found myself feeling naked and vulnerable.


Nearby

Quinn G. Caldwell

Almost 500 years ago today, a man named Juan Diego was walking on a hill just outside a young Mexico City, when he was stopped by the apparition of a young woman.


Scattered by Persecution

Donna Schaper

One persecution is a lot like another.


The Fearful Listener

Marchaé Grair

I’m a great listener.


Expect the Unexpected!

Richard L. Floyd

Many of the scripture readings for Advent are full of such warnings and dire forebodings.


Start Early

Matt Fitzgerald

A member of my church lost her husband to brain cancer two years ago.


What a Comeback!

Kenneth L. Samuel

After he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer, the now late Senator John McCain came to the Capitol to take part in the crucial health care vote.


Undivided Attention 

Vince Amlin

My daughter is two-and-a-half and still not talking much.


Trust

John A. Nelson

“I don’t think much of your God,” said a Bible study participant.

Matt Fitzgerald

A member of my church lost her husband to brain cancer two years ago.


What a Comeback!

Kenneth L. Samuel

After he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer, the now late Senator John McCain came to the Capitol to take part in the crucial health care vote.


Undivided Attention 

Vince Amlin

My daughter is two-and-a-half and still not talking much.


Trust

John A. Nelson

“I don’t think much of your God,” said a Bible study participant.


Finding Rest 

Emily C. Heath

I love the Common English Bible’s translation of this well-known text.


The “Yes” in “No”!

Darrell Goodwin

Hearing “no” at times feels unfair and not right.


Cursing Figs

Mary Luti

You read that right. Jesus cursed a fruitless fig. And it died.


God of Refuge

Marchaé Grair

We who love Jesus can’t stay silent as the U.S. Border Patrol attacks asylum seekers with violence and tear gas.


Recipe for Desperate Times

Jennifer Brownell

We gathered out of desperation, because we did not know what else to do.


When Life Is Good

Bob Thompson

It’s been quite a year for my wife Linda and me.


Leaning into the Dance

Kaji Douša

Wikipedia claims that the UCC is “liberal-leaning.”


Hope is a Verb

Elsa Cook

‘We going to hope somebody,’ Grandmama would say.


Thankfully Holding Your Tongue

Matt Laney

Few of us will have roasted tongue for Thanksgiving, but maybe we should.


Geraldine

Christina Villa

As a teenager, I had a summer job in a nursing home kitchen, where my boss was Geraldine the cook, a tiny, perpetually aggrieved woman who seemed to me to be at least as old as the patients.


Ancient Faith

Donna Schaper

Icelanders think that elves inhabit rock piles, the beautiful stacks of stone that stood in the way of a new road.


Judgment

Kenneth L. Samuel

I know it’s not a very liberal or progressive notion.


The Blessingway

Talitha Arnold

Tapahanso draws deeply on the Dine understanding of hozhoni, a word that means both beauty and blessing.


Comfortable

Quinn Caldwell

A man plants a vineyard (aka “God creates the world”).


A World Beyond Gender

Molly Baskette

In Genesis chapter 1, God created humankind—companions for God, and for each other, “male and female God created them.”


Finding Heart Again

Liza M. Neal

Lately losing heart is a daily struggle.


Stomp on Satan

Vince Amlin

In middle school, my youth group stopped at a small country church for worship one Sunday on our way back from a mission trip.


Laughing, Singing and Dancing Our Way to Resilience

Rebecca Voelkel

It was Christmas morning 1987, and I was in the remote, mountainous Salvadoran village of Santa Marta as part of a small delegation of North American Christians and Jews.


A Difficult Love

Tony Robinson

I live in the blue-bubble of Seattle. We all hate Trump.


Did Jesus Know?

Kaji Douša

Their tithes wouldn’t have seemed as insignificant to them as they were to Jesus.


Distributing Jesus

Mary Luti 

We imagine Jesus handing that loaf down the table, disciple to disciple.


Whataboutism

Matt Laney

“Whataboutism” (also known as “whataboutery”) is the attempt to dodge an accusation by charging the accuser with wrongdoing.


Not for Nothing

Vicki Kemper

Have you ever noticed how often the good news comes wrapped in what feels like bad news?


Go Along Easily

Dar Mikula

Recently, as part of my work as a newly certified nursing assistant, I was asked to sit with a man who has primary progressive aphasia.


Exposed

Kenneth L. Samuel

I grew up with a rather unfavorable view of tattletales and snitches.


No More Strategies

Quinn G. Caldwell

Naomi sends Ruth out to glean in the fields, and in a move that women everywhere will recognize, strategizes about how to protect her from being “bothered.”


On Not Loving My Neighbor

Jennifer Brownell

Over a decade ago, on the first day we moved into The Little House in the Suburbs, the guy who lives across the street knocked on the front door.


How to be a Neighbor

Richard L. Floyd

Just before the parable of the Good Samaritan, a lawyer tried to trick Jesus so he asked him, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”


She Is Someone

Marchaé Grair

There’s a popular meme circulating that says: “She’s someone’s sister/mother/daughter/wife.”


For All the Saints Who Love Halloween

Lillian Daniel

At least on my block, All Saints Day is overshadowed by Halloween.


Death Beckons . . . and Heals

Anne Hoffman

You are bone tired.


It Was My Parents

Tony Robinson

The other day I stopped at a point on a trail in my beloved Wallowa Mountains where we had scattered the ashes of both my parents.


Self-Sustaining Justice

Kenneth L. Samuel

Human history is littered with just causes and noble campaigns that have fallen by the wayside.


All Ears

Mary Luti

On the day Jesus left Jericho for Jerusalem, he restored a beggar’s sight.


The Right Question

Donna Schaper

At our annual all church retreat, we always ask an opening question as an ice breaker.


Pointing

Quinn G. Caldwell

Life with our two-year-old is a pretty even balance, most days, between heart-exploding love, hair-tearing frustration, and waste management.


Do Not Want

Martha Spong

Fall came late to South Central Pennsylvania, where the first half of October felt more like August this year.


You Get One, Too

Ellivette Mendez Angulo

I have never been a regular talk show aficionado, but I remember my excitement the first time I heard Oprah utter the magical words, “You get one, you get one, you alllllll get one!” on her Annual List of Favorite Things.


Gospel Values

Jennifer Brownell

I was excited when I scanned a headline recently indicating that a group of pastors had put out a statement on social justice.


For Free!

Richard L. Floyd

Do we take for granted those things in life that come to us for free?


Whines of the Bible

Molly Baskette

The setting: eight church folks sitting outside on a Northern California patio, drinking a nice chardonnay and reading the book of Exodus. Ambient temperature: 72 degrees.


Roll Call

Vicki Kemper

I don’t know what happens when people die, though I’ve accompanied enough people through the process to believe there is something—and, more important, someone—on the other side of the veil.


Savoring Seasons

Emily C. Heath

In the part of New Hampshire where I live, fall is unfolding, with all of its New England charm.


Practice Your Metaphors

John A. Nelson

Perhaps you have run into the tension between a literal and a non-literal reading of scripture.


Whacking Away the Vultures 

Talitha Arnold

Chapter 15 of Genesis tells an odd story. It also tells the truth.


Anthem Protests Old and New

Quinn G. Caldwell

I bet you’ve seen their picture.


Let the Spirit of the Lord Rise


Naps of the Bible

Maren C. Tirabassi

Jacob ran, scared to death of his brother Esau who was … huge.


What We See When We Look

Donna Schaper

There is an annual lighting of the Catskill Mountain Fire Towers, usually early in the fall.


Word and words

Matt Laney

Have you ever noticed that the Bible is called “the Word of God” (capital “W,” singular) instead of the words of God (lower case “w”, plural)?


Pray-Full Solitude

Valerie Bridgeman

Rage-fatigue and compassion-fatigue plague people committed to justice based in the life, ministry, and calling of Jesus.


Delicious

Mary Luti

Adults overthink everything.


The Silence of Our Friends

Emily C. Heath

Have you ever had a friend let you down?


I’m More Spiritual than You Are

Tony Robinson

Reading the New Testament letter of 1 Corinthians is a little like reading someone else’s mail.


Lonely Hunter

Vince Amlin

Loneliness kills. Literally.


When Touch Is No Blessing

Kaji Douša

But who will get the candles, we finally remembered to ask.


I Don’t Believe in “Fly Over” States

Lillian Daniel

From the gothic stone pulpit of Duke University Chapel, in North Carolina, I introduced myself to the large cathedral-sized congregation: “Greetings from Dubuque, Iowa.”


Life and Death

Kenneth L. Samuel

Among the faithful, death has always held a certain fascination and a certain attraction.


The Unity of the Spirit in the Bond of Peace

John Dorhauer

In a world so prone to disunity, so intent on noticing the differences that appear between one person and another and exploiting that, you see the beauty in every human being.


How to Change Your Mind

Molly Baskette

The foodie author Michael Pollan recently penned a book about a different sort of edible: psychedelic substances.


Complicit

Marchaé Grair

Forty-five consistently vows to “Make America Great Again.”


The First Gender Assignment Surgery

Matthew Laney

The Hebrew word adam (ha’adam) is not a gendered name. Adam means “human” or more precisely, “earthling.”


Forgetting Water

Mary Luti

At a recent baptism, somebody forgot the water.


God On Our Side

Tony Robinson

In his anti-war anthem, “With God on Our Side,” Bob Dylan hammered home how often God is invoked to sanction the most ungodly of human causes and wars.


Interrupting Power

Rachel G. Hackenberg

During the 180 days of King Ahasuerus’ big bash, Queen Vashti was throwing her own party.


Stand

Kaji Douša

At the end of one of my favorites of my grandfather’s sermons, he shouted: “Even if you stand alone, stand!”


Genre

Quinn G. Caldwell

I have a mentor and colleague who, every time somebody asks her about reading or studying the Bible, says, “Genre matters.”


The Elusive Presence

Richard L. Floyd

James makes knowing God sound easy, but I’ve never found it so.


Resisting and Attracting

Kenneth L. Samuel

According to the wisdom of Proverbs, our thoughts determine our reality, “for as a person thinketh, so is he/she.” According to the Buddha, what you think you become; what you feel you attract; what you imagine you create.


Even Cheaper Grace

Vince Amlin

My old therapist claimed we tend to ask exactly the wrong questions of ourselves.


Of Dirt and Air

Jennifer Brownell

Today is the autumnal equinox.


Renovation

Donna Schaper

Chartres in France employs a digital light show to express what divinity enters the important cathedral.


Underestimated

Marchaé Grair

Do you ever feel underestimated?


God, Rid Me of God

Matt Laney

Every so often someone will confide this to me: “I’m not sure I believe in God anymore…”


Start With One

Vicki Kemper

Jesus tells the Parable of the Lost Sheep to help us understand how precious we are to God: How the Good Shepherd cannot bear to lose even one beloved one to predators, thieves, lousy judgment, a poor sense of direction, or plain bad luck.


Extinction Behavior

Molly Baskette

Anyone who has ever trained a puppy or raised a child knows the power of consistency in engraining new behaviors or habits in them.


Change Your Mind

Mary Luti

Here’s a story about words and deeds.


Beforeness

Tony Robinson

Chances are good that you’ve heard this verse, or a version of it, prayed before many a sermon.


In Good News and Bad

Emily C. Heath

Earlier this year I had a health scare.


Making the Case

Kaji Douša

The Syrophoenician woman was bold to make her ask of him.


O Lord—How Long?

Christina Villa

Everyone has their favorite scripture texts, and this is one of mine (along with “How long, O Lord?” from Psalm 13).


What Have You to Do With Us?

Talitha Arnold

Jesus had just come out of the wilderness, called his first followers, and was in the middle of his first sermon in Capernaum.


Poor

Quinn G. Caldwell

Am I the only person who worries when the Bible says this type of airy fairy thing about the poor?


Signs of God’s Reign

Richard L. Floyd

When the early church heard about the healings that Jesus had done, they understood them as signs that the long-awaited reign of God had begun in him.


When the Cause of Death is Suicide

Lillian Daniel

When the cause of death is suicide, the living are left with the questions: Why? What did I miss? Could I have prevented it? Was it my fault? Was there a note left behind?


Refuge, Not Retreat

Kenneth L. Samuel

Almost daily now, our sensitivities and sensibilities are being assaulted with cascading reports of gun violence and human massacre, here and abroad.


Less Banjo

Vince Amlin

“If this were our church,” my copastor and I are fond of saying, “there would be more banjo.”


First Day of School

Jennifer Brownell

We gather the children at the door on the first day of school – their faces shining or scowling, in new school clothes or tattered jeans, with fresh haircuts or last year’s shag.


Holy Habitations

Donna Schaper

Are church buildings an asset or a liability?


Loving Anger

John A. Nelson

Anger gets a bad rap.


Whisper a Prayer

Marchaé Grair

I was surprised when I started humming this song recently as I shuffled around my apartment.


Jesus is Lord

Molly Baskette

“Lord” language for Jesus has been out of vogue for a while, at least among a certain swath of progressive Christians.


No Doubts? I Doubt It!

Richard L. Floyd

Martin Luther didn’t care much for the Letter of James.


(Ir)Rational

Quinn G. Caldwell

Bad news, friend: you are not a rational person.


Heart to Heart

John A. Nelson

He is mentioned five times in the Bible, once as a companion of Paul and four times as Paul’s emissary.


Be Subject

Martha Spong

My son is getting married next spring, at the church where he was baptized and I was ordained.


You Are What You Eat

Matt Laney

Remember that time your pastor said something controversial in the name of the gospel and people got all huffy and threatened to leave the church or stop giving?


The Good, the Bad, and the Not Great

Donna Schaper

We need healing from our immigration battles. Healing may mean to help America be good again, rather than great again.


Jesus Was a Donor

Dwight Lee Wolter

Eleven days after doing everything possible to save his life, the family decided to withdraw life support.


Greater than Our Hearts

Mary Luti

I know that the angry God of this psalm is unwelcome.


Perspective

Tony Robinson

Sometimes you feel alone.


It’s My Birthday

Kaji Dousa

I have several friends who mark the anniversary of their birth by…setting aside a whole month.


Waiting Tables for the Lord

Emily C. Heath

A clergy person once asked me if they needed a publicist.


Flesh and Blood

Vince Amlin

My three-year-old daughter is fascinated by the macabre.


No Worries

Christina Villa

Josiah was one of the kings of Judah and an ancestor of Jesus, according to the genealogy in the gospel of Matthew.


Keeping An Eye

Jennifer Brownell

I used to be certain exactly who Paul is talking about here.


God’s Righteousness and Ours

Richard L. Floyd

The concept of “righteousness” was important to Ancient Israel’s self-understanding of their covenant with God.


Rested, and Ready to Fight

Molly Baskette

Late August begins the panic and dread that we have not enjoyed summer as much as we should have.


No Fear

Vicki Kemper

After looping my dog’s leash around a post, I stepped into a shop for a cup of tea.


Here I Am!

Jo Deen Blaine Davis

My office is in a building open to the public (the church) and my door is open to all.


Unanticipated

Quinn G. Caldwell

Paul did not do a good job of anticipating the Internet


Praise, Always

John A. Nelson

Writing devotionals several weeks or longer before publication, it’s unusual to know just what will be happening on the day these thoughts will fly out through the ether.


Who Would Jesus Troll?

Marchaé Grair

Access to social media has revolutionized the way we communicate.


Snowflakes

Matthew Laney

At some point in the recent past, the word “snowflake” received new meaning.


Compassion in the Desert

Talitha Arnold

The Christian faith really isn’t all that complicated.


Walk in the Light

Donna Schaper

How often do you make a decision about which side of the street or path to walk on?


Don’t Gather All the Grapes

Kenneth L. Samuel

These days, there is a certain tyranny that accompanies utmost efficiency and accountability.


Mercy

Mary Luti

Maybe you followed the recent story of twelve boys and a coach trapped in a cave.


August 4, 2018

6: 8

Tony Robinson

I’m a little worried that this wonderful verse is becoming a progressive prooftext.


August 3, 2018

Filthy-Footed

Kaji Douša

My feet are looking awfully filthy.


August 2, 2018

Joy as Resistance

Emily C. Heath

Alice Walker once wrote that “Resistance is the secret of joy!”


August 1, 2018

Filled with Fury

Vince Amlin

I’m a rule follower. Give me a rule, and I will follow it.


July 31, 2018

Body of Christ

Mary Luti

The Central African Republic (CAR) is rife with anti-Muslim violence.


July 30, 2018

Unknowing

Quinn G. Caldwell

Mystery might be good for mercy, I think.


July 29, 2018

#BathshebaToo

Jennifer Brownell

This time, I read her story and I celebrate her courage.


July 28, 2018

Worthy

Marchaé Grair

Sometimes, I struggle to believe in my own worthiness.


July 27, 2018

Who Are You Wearing?

Kenneth L. Samuel

Have you noticed that people will often notice what you’re wearing before they even notice you?


July 26, 2018

Your Accent Gives You Away

Matt Laney

I grew up in a small town on the coast of Maine.


July 25, 2018

Oh, How I Love Jesus

Tony Robinson

I was never really sure I loved Jesus. Or maybe I was never sure what that meant, to say “I love Jesus.”


July 24, 2018

Rules for Radical Sabbathtarians

Donna Schaper

I just returned from a luxurious three month sabbatical, escaping New York’s hard winter for North Miami Beach.


July 23, 2018

Everyday Virtue

Richard L. Floyd

People frequently conflate religion with morality, as if they were the same thing.


July 22, 2018

Life

Kaji Dousa

I know that it has been a comfort to many to think that God has “taken” the lives of the ones they have loved and lost to death.


July 21, 2018

Terrible Signs

Rachel Hackenberg

In Cleveland this past winter, in the middle of February, we enjoyed a full week of spring-like temperatures in the 60s.


July 20, 2018

The Thing with Feathers

Talitha Arnold

A rooster lives a few houses down from my house in Santa Fe.


July 19, 2018

Company Policy

Vince Amlin

“I’m sorry. That’s against our policy.”


July 18, 2018

Is the Lord Satisfied with Me?

Christina Villa

Every day on my drive to work, I used to pass a crumbling brick church with grime-covered windows and a tiny patch of dirt and weeds out front.


July 17, 2018

It’s a Metaphor, Nicodemus!

Lillian Daniel

Literal thinkers drive me crazy.


July 16, 2018

Costs of Discipleship

Vicki Kemper

I don’t know why God would kill a man who tried to keep the ark of the covenant from falling over—or why King David would think Uzzah’s death was God’s doing.


July 15, 2018

Ever Burning

John Edgerton

Promises like these from the Psalms are grand and wonderful.


July 14, 2018

The Joyful River and the Road of Resistance

Emily Heath

On the Monday of the week when this country reached the point of literal children being held in literal cages at the US/Mexico border (or at least became aware of it), I found myself fly fishing on a river near another border: the Canadian one.


July 13, 2018

Under Trees

Mary Luti

Years ago, several Israeli contractors overseeing the construction of the separation wall were prosecuted for stealing Palestinian olive trees.


July 12, 2018

License

Quinn G. Caldwell

Why can we so rarely manage to be the people we want to be, to consistently act the way we resolve to?


July 11, 2018

(Not) Widely Known

Jennifer Brownell

At the silent vigil, we are to walk three times in silence around a building.


July 10, 2018

Addicted to Guilt

Marchaé Grair

“You’re addicted to feeling guilty,” she said.


July 9, 2018

Something To Boast About

Kenneth L. Samuel

In the blockbuster movie, Black Panther, T’Challa returns to his native African home of Wakanda in order to replace his deceased father as king.


Juny 8, 2018

Tether

Matt Laney

My wife and I took a hot air balloon ride to celebrate our first year of marriage.


July 7, 2018

No Turning Back

Tony Robinson

This is one of those stories that makes me think Jesus would not have done well in pastoral ministry.


July 6, 2018

Lumieres Retrouvez at Chartres

Donna Schaper

The cathedral at Chartres is undergoing a major renovation.


July 5, 2018

The False God SUCCESS

Richard L. Floyd

The apostle Paul spent years traveling around the Mediterranean world sharing the Good News of what God had done in Jesus Christ.


July 4, 2018

Oh Say Can’t You See?

Kaji Dousa

As the waves rocked the boat, as the panic set in, as it seemed that all would shortly be lost, the disciples were incredulous.


July 3, 2018

Love Your Nature As Yourself

Molly Baskette

As we move into the heat and joy of summer, you may not be headed to church camp, but here’s a little church camp come to you.


July 2, 2018

Telling the Truth

Talitha Arnold

Quick and easy. That’s what the prophet Hananiah promised the Israelites’ return from exile would be.


July 1, 2018

Won’t You Be?

Vince Amlin

I have bad luck with neighbors.


June 30, 2018

Another Kind of Closet

Donna Schaper

In Newport, Rhode Island, the local radio station advertises that anybody can come directly to the fire house for free support if addicted or using drugs.


June 29, 2018

Stone

Quinn G. Caldwell

I sort of fell apart during my first semester of college.


June 28, 2018

We All Have Our Moments

Kenneth Samuel

I totally understand the push to live in the moment. To totally show up in real time is always needful.


June 27, 2018

How We Heal

Mary Luti

The truth about human beings is that we’re broken.


June 26, 2018

God’s Tiny House

Matt Laney

A camel squeezing through the eye of a needle is pure absurdity, something more befitting of Monty Python than Holy Scripture. How do we explain this?


June 25, 2018

I Hope You’re Somewhere Praying

Marchaé Grair

“Praying” has been a healing anthem for me as I struggle to define how or if I can forgive those who have hurt me to my core.


June 24, 2018

Topsy-Turvy

Richard L. Floyd

The received truth in our society is that the strong must prevail over the weak, and the rich must prevail over the poor.


June 23, 2018

Bad Words

Martha Spong

There has been a lot of airtime given recently to whether particular words are allowable when critiquing public figures.


June 22, 2018

NOT IT!

Kaji Dousa

Have you decided whose fault it was yet?


June 21, 2018

Asking for Help

Jennifer Brownell

Between work and parenting and caring for a disabled husband, being the protagonist in my life story is sometimes tiring.


June 20, 2018

Four Thousand Six Hundred Forty-Five

Mary Luti

They didn’t die in Maria’s wind. They weren’t swept away by waves. Lightening didn’t shock them dead. They weren’t ripped from life by falling trees and flying debris.


June 19, 2018

[Not] Prepping for the Zombie Apocalypse

Vince Amlin

My wife’s doomsday plans always begin with the basement sinks.


June 18, 2018

Is Nothing Sacred?

Christina Villa

One Sunday at a church I was visiting in New England, the time had come in the worship service for “Joys and Concerns.”


June 17, 2018

The Insights of Isolation

Lillian Daniel

At my own popularity peak, most of my friendships were not mutual but transactional, based on what I could do for other people.


June 16, 2018

What Really Matters

John Edgerton

King Amaziah had a stressful job.


June 15, 2018

You Can Always Pray

Talitha Arnold

“You can always pray,” Khaled said as he drove from Amman to Petra. “Even if a person can’t fast, do Hajj or give charity, they can always pray.”


June 14, 2018

The Story of the Point

John Nelson

One particular moment from math class — four decades ago, mind you — still remains vivid.


June 13, 2018

Staying Power

Tony Robinson

Have you had a huge break-through? Has your church cast off paralyzing fears? Have you gotten clean and sober? A big victory at the ballot box? The job you always wanted?


June 12, 2018

Great Awakenings

Donna Schaper

Who is in charge of great awakenings?


June 11, 2018

Stand

Quinn G. Caldwell

Fifty-five years ago today transpired what, depending on your point of view, was either a heroic stand against the forces of social decay, or an appalling attempt to block the forces of progress.


June 10, 2018

The Last Best Word

Bob Thompson

One of my favorite desserts is my wife Linda’s Ice Cream Sandwich Dessert.


June 9, 2018

You Do Not Answer

Mary Luti

Some people think that the goal of spiritual practice is to experience God with them and within them.


June 8, 2018

Never Fear

Matt Laney

“They think you walk on water!”


June 7, 2018

Saying Goodbye to Abuse

Marchaé Grair

I was in the infancy of healing after an emotionally abusive relationship ended when I started reading All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks.


June 6, 2018

Good Trouble

Richard L. Floyd

Jesus was often in trouble with the authorities because he regularly, and quite intentionally, broke the religious rules of the day.


June 5, 2018

I feel, I need, I ask

Molly Baskette

From the moment Moses asked God’s name, God showed us how to make an “I statement,” clearly defining the self, with no frills or caveats: “I am who I am!”


June 4, 2018

Not HIM!

Kaji Dousa

Why would you ever talk to them?


June 3, 2018

The Voice of God

Jennifer Brownell

I recently heard that a childhood family friend, Sister Rosemary, died.


June 2, 2018

Dead of a Broken Heart

Emily C. Heath

One of my hobbies is genealogy.


June 1, 2018

Things that Can’t Separate Us from the Love of God: Part Two

Vince Amlin

Paul’s list of things that can’t separate us from the love of God in Christ is pretty exhaustive.


May 31, 2018

The Great Reversal

Bob Thompson

For 25 years, I’ve walked past two paintings on the wall of our church’s largest Sunday School room, which doubles as a parlor and chapel.


May 30, 2018

This Little Light

Vicki Kemper

I like the spiritual “This Little Light of Mine” as much as the next person, but lately I have been trying to sing it more thoughtfully, and with some humility.


May 29, 2018

Surely God Was In This Place

Talitha Arnold

Jacob could probably be forgiven for not knowing that God was in the desert where he’d spent the night with only a stone for a pillow.


May 28, 2018

What Must Take Place After This

Jennifer Brownell

I once heard of a woman who, in the hours before death claimed her, couldn’t find her luggage.


May 27, 2018

Asking for Directions

Matt Laney

Before the service started, he wanted to mail a letter.


May 26, 2018

Hatred

Quinn G. Caldwell

For my money, this is one of the trickiest of Jesus’ teachings.


May 25, 2018

Freaky Future

Molly Baskette

I was hiking in the mountains with two sages recently, both age 12 and female.


May 24, 2018

Glory

Tony Robinson

Have we got it backwards?


May 23, 2018

Locked In

Donna Schaper

This passage has a sense of mystery as well as joy. 


May 22, 2018

Now That Looks Like You

Kenneth L. Samuel

Recently a friend of mine recommended that I follow a certain course of action in dealing with a potential adversary.  The advice seemed reasonable, applicable and definitely understandable to anyone with full knowledge of the situation. 


May 21, 2018

Inside Spirit

Mary Luti

In this activist denomination the Holy Spirit is often imagined as a divine wrecking ball, smashing oppression and clearing the debris of injustice.


May 20, 2018

Your Sons and Your Daughters Shall Prophesy!

Richard L. Floyd

On that first Pentecost the crowd thought the disciples were drunk, but they weren’t drunk, they were “inspired.


May 19, 2018

Does God Exist?

Marchaé Grair

A rabbi on the show Transparent wants to start a family, so she is devastated when she experiences a miscarriage.


May 18, 2018

And from this Corner . . .

Kaji Douŝa

In my social settings, the person whose faith leads with commandments is pretty sure to find themselves isolated in a corner. 


May 17, 2018

What a Miracle Feels Like

Christina Villa

This sentence from Mark is just one example of the peculiar way the Bible often has of describing extraordinary events.


May 16, 2018

Who We Once Were

Emily C. Heath

Recently someone I respected and cared about did something pretty hurtful.


May 15, 2018

Both-And

John A. Nelson

In many Bible passages that contrast “world” and “spirit,” it can seem that the Bible takes sides: bad world; good spirit.


May 14, 2018

A Continual Remembrance

Vince Amlin

As I packed my office at my last church, I gathered loose index cards from every conceivable surface.


May 13, 2018

Sacred Voting

Jennifer Brownell

Here we are in the very first chapter of the very first book about the very first church, and just about the very first action those very first believers undertake is…an election..


May 12, 2018

Authority

Matt Laney

The last time you received communion the pastor might have said something like, “The body and blood of Christ given for you” or something less graphic, more poetic, and just as appropriate such as: “The bread of life and the cup of hope.”


May 11, 2018

The UCC Anti-Jesus

Quinn G. Caldwell

There never was a less-UCC vision of Jesus than this one.


May 10, 2018

Heard Mentality

Molly Baskette

Jesus, no fewer than six times in the gospels, utters his now-famous dictum, “He who has ears, let him hear.”


May 9, 2018

Remember

Tony Robinson

“I don’t need, every Sunday, to be reminded of my responsibilities,”


May 8, 2018

Hidden in Plain Sight

Donna Schaper

In 1940, the entrance to the ancient French Lascaux Cave was discovered by 18-year-old Marcel Ravidat.


May 7, 2018

Out of Sync

Rachel Hackenberg

Many of us are notoriously capable of functioning out-of-sync, of living contrary to the rhythms of our own bodies and spirits.


May 6, 2018

For Joy

Mary Luti

So it was all about joy. 


May 5, 2018

We’re Still Learning

Richard L. Floyd

The disciples had expected great things from Jesus when he ushered in God’s glorious new reign on earth.


May 4, 2018

Choosing Justice

Marchaé Grair

When a person oppressed by the evil of racism proclaims “Black Lives Matter,” you have two choices—you can validate their pain or you can condemn them for speaking it.


May 3, 2018

Say Their Name

Kaji Douša

Sitting in challenge with this text from Isaiah open on his lap, the unnamed “Ethiopian eunuch” had questions. 


May 2, 2018

The Forgotten God

Emily C. Heath

One of the reasons I identify so strongly as a Trinitarian, a person who believes that God is Parent/Creator, Christ, and Holy Spirit, is my love for that last “person” of the Trinity.


May 1, 2018

Transplants

Vince Amlin

Watching Erick work, I’m in awe.


April 30, 2018

Good is the Flesh

Vicki Kemper

Not to put too fine a point on it, but . . . hogwash. Hooey. Balderdash.


April 29, 2018

Wake Up! 

Talitha Arnold

“Are you a god?” the disciple asked the Buddha. “No,” he replied. “Are you a saint?” “No.” “Then what are you?” the man asked. The Buddha replied, “I am awake.”


April 28, 2018

The Greatest of all Shrubs

Jennifer Brownell

I first moved to the Pacific Northwest from the (very) Northern Midwest two decades ago.


April 27, 2018

Big Lust

Matt Laney

In a 1976 interview with Playboy magazine, a former U.S. president admitted that he had “looked on a lot of women with lust” and had “committed adultery in my heart.”


April 26, 2018

Narrow/Deep

Quinn G. Caldwell

As I get older, I find myself sometimes hyper-aware of the narrowing of possibilities for my future.


April 25, 2018

The Death of Whiteness and the Five Stages of Grief

Molly Baskette

A year or so ago a Facebook friend asked me to relinquish my whiteness.


April 24, 2018

With

Tony Robinson

I’ve been wondering, could God’s real name be “With”?


April 23, 2018

Samuel and the Elders

Donna Schaper

Philosopher and political theorist Herbert Marcuse, 1898–1979, said that, in his time, we had developed an “authoritarian ritualization of discourse.”


April 22, 2018

Are We There Yet?

Kenneth L. Samuel

For many persons, the final words of the celebrated twenty-third Psalm speak to the heavenly abode of an eternal resting place.


April 21, 2018

Lower Power

Mary Luti

The Bible says God is “up there.”


April 20, 2018

“We Shall Walk Through the Valley in Peace”

Richard L. Floyd

The “shadow of death” is a colloquial saying in Hebrew meaning “mortal peril.”


April 19, 2018

Sorry, That’s Not My Gift

Tony Robinson

I’m having second thoughts on spiritual gifts.


April 18, 2018

5 Intentional Minutes with God

Ron Buford

A Facebook intermediary connected me with Beverly, a dear college friend and symbol of so much of who I am – someone I’d not seen for more than 20 years.


April 17, 2018

Heavy Lifting

Emily C. Heath

I recently started lifting weights again after a several months long break.


April 16, 2018

Is Pride Something to be Proud of?

Lillian Daniel

Although many people don’t know it, the famous expression “Pride goes before a fall” comes from the Bible. 


April 15, 2018

We Did Tell You …

John A. Nelson

What’s it going to take, for you to accept the good news? 


April 14, 2018

Pedestals

Vince Amlin

I am standing at a table which holds the oldest telescope in America.


April 13, 2018

Selah

Jennifer Brownell

“Well, I sinned with my husband just last night!”


April 12, 2018

God Loves Complainers

Matt Laney

Sometimes I want to give God parenting lessons.


April 11, 2018

Idol

Quinn G. Caldwell

“Papa?” I hear my seven-year-old calling curiously from upstairs, where we’re supposed to be playing Legos.


April 10, 2018

Fingerprints of God

Molly Baskette

Life has been very messy lately.


April 9, 2018

Facing the Heat

Tony Robinson

If you want to make a difference, you will face some heat.


April 8, 2018

Remove the Pews for Easter’s Beauty

Donna Schaper

What we really hold in common is beauty, not money or objects.


April 7, 2018

Freshness

Kenneth L. Samuel

Our ears know the difference between harmony and cacophony.


April 6, 2018

Nothing New

Mary Luti

Forty days.


April 5, 2018

SHARE!

Richard L. Floyd

My son and daughter were born 20 months apart and so played together as children.


April 4, 2018

Remember Me

Marchaé Grair

I don’t know if I’m supposed to break the “fourth wall of writing devotions.


April 3, 2018

Satin-Lined Coffins

Molly Baskette

I was at the hospital with the family when their elderly mother died.


April 2, 2018

All There is to Say

Emily C. Heath

On Easter Monday the big celebration is over.


April 1, 2018

Rejected . . . then Resurrected

Kenneth L. Samuel

There is nothing cute about being rejected.


March 31, 2018

What Could They Possibly Do?

Donna Schaper

Joseph didn’t have to give Jesus his tomb, but he did.


March 30, 2018

Bearing

Quinn G. Caldwell

The Oceti Sakowin camp had been there for months by then, full of Water Protectors resisting proposed plans for the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross a dammed section of the Missouri River not far from the lands of the Standing Rock Sioux.


March 29, 2018

Do This

Kaji Douša

How far are you willing to let God go?


March 28, 2018

Take a Dip

Vince Amlin

I remember the feeling when the principal came into my classroom.


March 27, 2018

Who Owns You?

Matt Laney

Obviously, the answer was, “No way!”


March 26, 2018

Seeming Unseemly

Jennifer Garrison Brownell

Scholars always seem to say something, well, scholarly about this passage, like, “In first century Palestine, the act of wiping Jesus’ feet with her hair would have been an act of unseemly immodesty by Mary.”


March 25, 2018

Triumph of the Weak

Kenneth L. Samuel

Today we mark the triumphal entry of Jesus into the city of Jerusalem . . . riding on a donkey.


March 24, 2018

The Enemy at the Table

Vince Amlin

There is a restaurant in Pittsburgh called Conflict Kitchen.


March 23, 2018

Christian Privilege

Emily C. Heath

It has become quite common for some American Christians to believe they are being persecuted for their faith.


March 22, 2018

God’s Surprising Choices

Tony Robinson

A friend of mine did a sermon series she called “The Ten Essentials.”


March 21, 2018

Tell Me What You Want, What You Really, Really Want

John Edgerton

In my prayers, I often err on the side of praying for things that I could do myself.


March 20, 2018

Jesus’ Syllabus

Mary Luti

I know a professor who’s delightful in the classroom.


March 19, 2018

Love Lifted Me

Marchaé Grair

A minister at my childhood church used to start many of his sermons with a song called “Love Lifted Me.”


March 18, 2018

Lazarus is Dead

Talitha Arnold

Lazarus was dead: to begin with.


March 17, 2018

The Morning Watch

Kaji Douša

Sometimes when I read the Psalms, I skip over the laments.


March 16, 2018

On Death

Quinn G. Caldwell

One way that many talk about what happened in the Garden of Eden — which is to say, one way to talk about the human condition, why it’s so fraught and difficult — is to say that when Adam and Eve ate the fruit, their disobedience, their sin, made death enter the world.


March 15, 2018

Living Word; Living World

John Nelson

The bold, ancient Revelation to John repeats the even more ancient vision of Ezekiel.


March 14, 2018

Viriditas

Molly Baskette

I remember the first time I realized, about 32 winters in, that the trees where I lived in New England lacked foliage fully six months out of every year.


March 13, 2018

We Make too Much of this Poor Life

Matt Fitzgerald

Jesus is demanding.


March 12, 2018

Diving Deeply

Donna Schaper

I live a very safe life and am white enough to trust the police.


March 11, 2018

The Enemy at the Table

Vince Amlin

There is a restaurant in Pittsburgh called Conflict Kitchen.


March 10, 2018

Billy

Matt Laney

Mark doesn’t name the guy so let’s call him “Billy” because he’s a combination of Bill Gates and the late Billy Graham.


March 9, 2018

Grief’s Binoculars

Jennifer Garrison Brownell

My favorite nine-year-old tells me it freaks him out to look at his friend through binoculars held backwards.


March 8, 2018

Talked To Your Neighbors Lately?

Kenneth L. Samuel

The presidential election of 2016 was another stark reminder of how deeply divided we are as a country.


March 7, 2018

Living Water and Leaky Containers

Richard L. Floyd

When you live in the desert you know the difference between green and brown, between wet and dry.


March 6, 2018

Strange gods

Emily C. Health

God’s warning comes too late for most of us.


March 5, 2018

Letting God Be God

Tony Robinson

If Jonah weren’t so sad, he would be really funny.


March 4, 2018

Evangelism for Millennials

John Edgerton

Say what you will about millennials (or better yet, talk to us instead of about us, it’s only polite), but we know something about evangelism.


March 3, 2018

Had To

Mary Luti

Of course he didn’t have to go through Samaria. Most Jews wouldn’t have—it was enemy territory.


March 2, 2018

Why We Worship

Marchaé Grair

I’ve been a church worship leader for decades so I’ve heard every imaginable element of the “worship wars.”


March 1, 2018

Go Back or Go Deep

Talitha Arnold

Two choices: Go back to Egypt or go deeper with God, i.e., deeper into the wilderness.


February 28, 2018

A Tale of Two Jesuses

Kaji Douša

Tracing his finger on the ground, he changed everything.


February 27, 2018

Do Non-Organic Parents Not Love their Children?

Quinn G. Caldwell

Few people are as cruel as parents can be to each other online.


February 26, 2018

Petulant People; Perplexing God

John Nelson

Long journeys can reveal, deeply, the nature of the traveler.


February 25, 2018

Midlife Babies

Molly Baskette

Every once in a while, something (or someone) happens to us that forces us to confront everything we thought we knew.


February 24, 2018

More than a Gentle End

Matt Fitzgerald

Our Book of Worship has a section titled “Order for the Time of Dying.” What wishful thinking.


February 23, 2018

Diving Deep

Donna Schaper

T.S. Eliot wrote that we are “Distracted from distraction by distraction.”


February 22, 2018

Family Resemblance

Vince Amlin

Flint-knapping is the process by which a stone core is shaped into a hand axe or an arrowhead.


February 21, 2018

Jesus is Coming, Look Busy!

Matt Laney

This verse, one of the very last in the Bible, makes me think of two bumper stickers: “Jesus is Coming. Look Busy!” and my favorite: “God is coming …and she’s pissed!”


February 20, 2018

Some of it is Your Fault

Jennifer Brownell

There is so much wrong with the world, and some of it is your fault.


February 19, 2018

Chicken Soup for the Soul

Kenneth L. Samuel

As a prank, I, along with four of my college senior class colleagues conspired to steal the bell that was stationed at a corner of our college square.


February 18, 2018

Did God Say?

Richard L. Floyd

Our scripture lessons for Lent feature a wily bunch of tempters, the serpent, Satan, the devil, who pose questions that cast doubt on the truth of God’s Word.


February 17, 2018

The Greatest

Emily C. Heath

Humility isn’t in vogue in our culture.


February 16, 2018

Asking for Help

Tony Robinson

I once asked Jim Forbes, a professor of mine at Union Seminary, to help me understand the difference between predominately white and predominately black churches.


February 15, 2018

God Still Rules

Kenneth L. Samuel

Rage and rulership are not often mentioned in the same sentence.


February 14, 2018

Showered with Stars

Mary Luti

One by one they came, listened, received. But halfway through, I faltered.


February 13, 2018

Hide it Under a Bucket, NO!

Vince Amlin

When I took my twin five-year old nieces down to the beach on Thanksgiving, I intended for all of us to just dip our toes into the water.’


February 12, 2018

Until the Tenderness is Real

Matt Fitzgerald

When you pray, how do you begin?


February 11, 2018

Justify

Quinn G. Caldwell

They call it l’esprit de l’escalier.  It’s French for “the spirit of the stairs,” or more to the point, “the stair wit.”


February 10, 2018

Pronouns

Vicki Kemper

I have been learning about pronouns lately, how some people stick with the “she” or “he” they’ve had since birth but others prefer “they” or “xe” to reflect who they truly are.


February 9, 2018

Well, Shut My Mouth

Lillian Daniel

I was tempted to skip this particular reading, or to follow it with nothing but a blank screen, the visual version of a woman being silent in church.


February 8, 2018

Have You Been to The Mountaintop?

Tony Robinson

Before Lent begins and the shadows deepen, there’s a flash of light: Transfiguration on the mountaintop.


February 7, 2018

Is this Healing Balm for Me?

Marchaé Grair

These are some of the responses I received to “10 Ways to Actively Reject Your White Privilege,” a Facebook graphic based on a blog post I wrote.


February 6, 2018

Functional Atheism

Molly Baskette

A lot of us claim to believe in God, but then act as if everything depended on us, on our efforts and wisdom, on our ability to keep all the little planets of our concerns in perfect orbit around the great blasting sun of our inner control freak.


February 5, 2018

Memory Work

Tony Robinson

Psalm 145 is an alphabetic acrostic poem, which means that each verse is keyed to a letter of the Hebrew alphabet.


February 4, 2018

Once We Were Strangers

Richard L. Floyd

The various summaries of the law in the Bible include strangers as people to be especially cared for.


February 3, 2018

The Word that Shapes Us

Talitha Arnold

The Connecticut congregation I served for six years used it, so I did, too.


February 2, 2018

Building

Kaji Douŝa

Most people who pass our church suspect that it is closed.


February 1, 2018

Out of the Depths

Emily C. Heath

My first call out of seminary was to a children’s hospital.


January 31, 2018

There Will Never be Another Now

Ron Buford

“Don’t miss this special time right now.”


January 30, 2018

The Next Generation

Tony Robinson

As we grow older, what’s our job?


January 29, 2018

The Sinai Sabbatical

Matt Laney

Rev. Moses was gone a long time on his Mt. Sinai sabbatical, and the church got impatient.


January 28, 2018

Know-It-All

Vince Amlin

I was walking with my friend Quinn in an unfamiliar city.


January 27, 2018

You Will Have Trouble

Vicki Kemper

Does your church cause such a holy ruckus that your neighbors beg you to leave? Or do they even know you’re there? 


January 26, 2018

The Beginning of Wisdom

Emily C. Heath

A few years ago I began adding something new to my prayers every evening.


January 25, 2018

“Follow Me”

John A. Nelson

Really? Jesus said “Follow me” and Matthew walked away from everything and followed?


January 24, 2018

Walking Trees

Mary Luti

This is the only time Jesus asks the person he’s healing whether his efforts are producing the desired effect.


January 23, 2018

Giving What You Have

Kenneth L. Samuel

One Sunday, an irate woman announced to some members of our congregation that she would be leaving our church and changing her membership.


January 22, 2018

Written By Committee

Jennifer Brownell

“Ok, ok,” I’ve heard said (or said myself) in more than one committee discussion about written policies or procedures,  “Can someone volunteer to work on this and bring it back next time?


January 21, 2018

Fishing in the Anthropocene

Donna Schaper

The Anthropocene age – the one now, where humans are dominant to a self-destructive degree – is forcing us to reconsider animals.


January 20, 2018

Untouchable

Tony Robinson

A cruise ship passenger emerged onto the deck.


January 19, 2018

Scorched by Holy Fire!

Richard L. Floyd

The prophet Jeremiah wasn’t the kind of guy you would invite to your Christmas party.


January 18, 2018

Follow Me

Donna Schaper

The W-2 forms are filling up the mailboxes.


January 17, 2018

Paragons, Problems, and Possibilities

John A. Nelson

We’ve heard this one, more than once.


January 16, 2018

Truth and Power

Kaji Douša

He was there for the inauguration, standing before him for the prayer service.


January 15, 2018

You Can Keep Your Cheap Gratitude

Lillian Daniel

Have you ever noticed that the authors of gratitude books have pretty awesome lives?


January 14, 2018

Holy Spirit Who?

Matt Laney

That Paul could size up a church in no time.


January 13, 2018

Your Eyes Saw My Unformed Body

Vince Amlin

This year on All Saints’ Day we hung up a picture of our son, Simon.


January 12, 2018

Evolve

Quinn G. Caldwell

At some point, Disciples turn into Apostles.


January 11, 2018

Say By Letter and Do When Present

Jennifer Brownell

Back in the dark ages – I’m talking about the late 1990’s now – my husband-to-be and I were courting long distance.


January 10, 2018

The Reveal

Quinn G. Caldwell

John gets a lot of attention for his big personality: the outfit, the food, the yelling, the insults, the splashiness.


January 9, 2018

Sibling Empathy

Mary Luti

When my mother turned ninety, she entered her funeral instructions on a form entitled, ‘In the Event of My Death,’ a phrase she found amusing, as if death were something that might happen, or might not.


January 8, 2018

Here Comes the Judge

Kenneth L. Samuel

I remember the first time I was summoned to appear in traffic court for a speeding ticket and some unpaid parking violations.


January 7, 2018

Well Pleased

Vicki Kemper

Every year it is the same.


January 6, 2018

Lost and Found

Donna Schaper

It takes more cultural competency than I have to appreciate being covered by a multitude of camels.


January 5, 2018

The Easter Chicken

Tony Robinson

I once heard a story about an “Easter Chicken.”


January 4, 2018

Signing up for the Loyalty Program

Richard L. Floyd

Many of the companies I do business with, such as on-line retailers, airlines, and hotel chains, have “loyalty programs.”


January 3, 2018

For All That Will Be, Yes!

Talitha Arnold

Dag Hammarskjold wrote this affirmation in January, 1953, a few months after becoming the second Secretary-General for the 8-year-old United Nations.


January 2, 2018

God’s Not Done With You Yet

Kaji Dousa

Someone once joked to me that advertisers lose interest in us once we hit 25 years old.


January 1, 2018

New Year, Old Me

Emily C. Heath

It’s that time of the year when every website, magazine, and Twitter feed is selling January 1st-dated potential.