Author Archive

The Prophets' Candle

November 29, 2020

I've discovered an Advent wreath tradition where the first candle to be lit is "The Prophets' Candle". That got me thinking: All Advent themes must get their flame from "The Prophets' Candle". Otherwise it's impossible to grasp the true …( read more )

Creatures On Alert

November 22, 2020

During our evenings, my husband and I have enjoyed watching nature shows on television. We marvel over the professional, hi-tech motion photography depicting the world of wildlife. Recently, however, I felt the need for a break. It was …( read more )

Pleasure Or Duty?

November 11, 2020

"During those horrific wartime days, did you view your role as pleasure or duty?" That question never entered my aunt's mind during World War II while she was hiding Jews on the fifth-floor tuberculosis ward of the Dutch hospital that she …( read more )

A Contagious Passion For Scripture

October 22, 2020

That morning, my 94-year-old friend wasn't interested in small talk. She opened my phone call with these words: "I've been reading the Bible every morning! I want to cover whole books at a time! I love it!" She continued, "I just can't …( read more )

An Autopsy Of Dead Faith

October 5, 2020

Recently, while studying research on dementia diseases, including Alzheimer's, I learned that scientists have discovered abnormal clusters on the brains of dementia victims. These microscopic plaques and tangles seen in dying nerve cells …( read more )

Meet Our Dinner Guests

September 21, 2020

Today, I'd like you to meet Chippy and Red, our regular dinner guests this summer. Chippy is a chipmunk; Red is a red squirrel. They live in our backyard and join our evening meals on the deck. It didn't start smoothly, however. Red kept …( read more )

The Epic Question

September 5, 2020

"Oh no! What shall we do?" This, I'm convinced, is the epic question of all time. "What shall we do!?" It's not a question that we ask while we can handle things. We ask it when we're stuck. And that's when we're open to unimagined …( read more )

The Boundless Word Of God

August 25, 2020

"God writes the Gospel, not in the Bible alone, but also on trees and in the flowers and clouds and stars." – Martin Luther I once viewed the Word of God as simply a system of laws and rules to obey. At least, that's what I absorbed …( read more )

The Illusion Of Privacy

August 13, 2020

The other day, I received two emails from Google. The first one mentioned my privacy features; the second displayed my recent whereabouts on a Google map, as tracked through my cell phone. Both emails required my response — to protect my …( read more )

Rediscovering The Vintage Skill Of Cheerfulness

July 24, 2020

Recently, I explored a long-abandoned rural shack, the early home of a friend's parents. Inside, beneath the dusty rubble, we discovered boxes of clothes untouched for 50 years, mostly well-protected from the elements. I giggled with …( read more )

Our One Guaranteed Freedom

July 4, 2020

As our pandemic lingers, people naturally yearn for former freedoms — including public worship. Mixed feelings abound over such matters. Restless tension grows between restraints and freedoms. As in any polarized situation, we can easily …( read more )

The Moral Way To Eat

June 26, 2020

Recently, I heard the following advice from a scientist explaining digestion: Before eating, pause and take a few moments to be thankful. This allows your brain time to signal your parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for …( read more )

A Repurposed Royal "We"

June 16, 2020

Our use of pronouns can be rather fuzzy. Our "we" may mean "you", as in "Johnny, we mustn't throw toys!" It may mean "they", as in "We won the game!" Or it may mean "I", as in the royal "we" where monarchs use "we" to imply "I". That's …( read more )

Two Hovering Clouds

May 29, 2020

Today, I'm thinking about two humongous clouds, both hovering over us. One cloud is a tiny virus engulfing the world in its ominous shadow. We've all paid plenty of attention to that cloud. But how much attention have we paid to the other …( read more )

That's God Knocking At Your Door!

May 13, 2020

My annoyance over telemarketers has occasionally caused me to answer legitimate calls with a rather unfriendly tone. Once, I even hung up on someone. How rude! Thankfully, that person called right back. That got me thinking: How often …( read more )

The Gripping Silence Of Jesus

April 8, 2020

Suddenly, it was quiet! Your heart skipped a beat. Until now you hadn't paid much attention to the children's playful chatter. But now the silence grips every fibre of your being. That's the power of silence. Perhaps you've experienced …( read more )

Stay Put!

March 24, 2020

"Sit!" commands the dog's master. Next comes what is truly impressive: The dog instantly lowers its hind legs and stays put. All the while, its eyes remain fixed on its master. It stays nearby, always sensitive to its master's moves. …( read more )

It's Against My Religion!

March 12, 2020

You've likely heard the phrase, "It's against my religion", used as an excuse to avoid unpleasant tasks. You'll also know that religions tend to have forbidden practices. That's true across the branches of Christianity. Can you think of …( read more )

But The Lord …

February 25, 2020

Oh, that shifty word, but! It has an uncanny way of reversing everything. For example, you just heard your superior list several remarkable qualities in you; and then comes that word, "but". You brace yourself, for whatever comes next …( read more )

The Unbaked Cake

January 28, 2020

Here's a riddle for those of you familiar with church tradition: How are cake recipes and church bulletins alike? You'd likely agree that both list ingredients to be assembled and enjoyed. But did you remember the fire? Yes: They both …( read more )

Packaging For The Gift

December 22, 2019

Last Christmas, I especially enjoyed the seasonal festivities, with vibrant colours, lights, socials, music, and so forth. It's surely the richest, most enchanting time of the year. Furthermore, the season gives us opportunities to do the …( read more )

When Good News Is Not Newsy

December 13, 2019

I suspect that you've noticed that good news rarely makes "good" headlines. That could be said for Jesus's birth — and also for those shepherds who experienced the angels. It could be said today for countless individuals in remote …( read more )

Making Room For Jesus

December 4, 2019

In former years, when my young family went visiting, I sometimes had to find a place for our baby. I'd use whatever worked: laundry basket, dresser drawer, cardboard box — wherever my infant would be safe, comfortable, and nearby. I …( read more )

Pests: Pure Annoyance Or Pure Joy

November 18, 2019

"Consider it pure joy…" "And what's this?" asked my husband, as I handed him a platter of apple slices. He wasn't pointing to the fruit, but to the wiggly creature which had obviously escaped from it. The poor thing looked lost and …( read more )

Thanksgiving: The Mark Of A Christian

October 14, 2019

One day, as the tale goes, an atheist hiker encountered a formidable grizzly bear slinking towards him. Terrified, the hiker broke into a run and tripped. As the bear descended upon him, he cried, "O God!" Instantly a voice spoke: "You …( read more )

If They Could Talk, What Would They Say?

October 5, 2019

"If these blueberries could talk, what would they say?" asked my 13-year-old granddaughter as we busily picked. With insightful imagination, she answered her own question: "They'd say, 'Pick me!' wouldn't they?" Her answer provided an …( read more )

Nothing Much Really

September 20, 2019

It was nothing much really, just a smile and a wave. Yet, I'll never forget it. That hot day, we were driving through one of many construction zones on our trip. Traffic had been reduced to a single lane with long waits. My eye was drawn …( read more )

God's Transfer Switch

September 4, 2019

While reading this verse, the picture of a transfer switch suddenly popped into my mind! A transfer switch is mounted near the electricity panel in a building that has a generator for backup power. The switch is a safety device which …( read more )

Alone In The Universe

August 25, 2019

This title, from a children's musical, reflects a common theme for kids' songs: the search for meaning in an unwelcoming world. Each year, I discover such lyrics through my involvement in Summer Music Camp. The lyrics may not resonate with …( read more )

Playing Church

August 11, 2019

When I was five and my brother was four, we'd play church. We dressed up just like the grownups. My brother was the minister, and I was the organist. He'd stand on the kitchen table with a book in his hands (often upside-down) and preach …( read more )

Discontent: Holy Or Unholy?

July 25, 2019

Discontent can be a destructive energy that harms us physically, emotionally, and relationally. It may be a symptom of ingratitude or an inability to accept one's lot in life — never having "learned to be content whatever the …( read more )

From Blessing To Curse

July 9, 2019

To my horror, I discovered that the white spring flower flourishing in my garden is on the list of invasive species. This delicate, six-petalled flower called "Star of Bethlehem" has been a blessing in England, but here, it "got away" and …( read more )

Our Treasury Of Friends

June 26, 2019

Have you considered adding your friends to your list of assets? That's what they are — in some way or other. I'm learning to value friendships through watching older folk express their commitment to each other. They check on each other, …( read more )

 



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