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Religion

  • Hospital volunteers anoint the sick with kindness

     Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center mandates an annual educational review for employees and volunteers. Like all mandates, it is not always graciously accepted. However, the option to take the test as a group lessens the angst and even makes it fun.

    I am always impressed with the extent and depth of the questions, despite the fact that they also carry a degree of advertising as a means of corporate public relations. This year was no exception.

  • I take, O cross, your shadow for my abiding place

     Some would say, “We’ve traveled a ‘fur piece’ this Lenten season.” Those who traveled the Lenten Wednesdays at noon for the annual Lenten luncheon worship services, especially, have come from happily standing beneath the cross to find hope amidst hopelessness, happy to shine our light on a world filled with false crosses and desperate situations. We’ve recognized the instability that comes when we build our house of grace on shifting sands. We’ve tasted the futility of erecting those edifices in the face of oncoming tides.

  • Palm Sunday of the Lord’s passion is lived today

     Pastors of many mainline churches, following the Revised Common Lectionary, will proclaim the passion narrative from the Gospels this coming Sunday. Holy Week, the final preparation for Easter Sunday and resurrection, begins with harsh memories, bitter sorrow, the desertion of friends, a fierce sense of abandonment, the cruelty of unexplainable inhumanity.

  • How Can We Find Peace In A Stressful World?

     A recent Time magazine article intrigued me. The topic was mindfulness. More specifically, it was titled “The art of being mindful.”  I stopped in my tracks. Typically, one would imagine this process or action would be considered a science, not an art. One might imagine a list of things to do that would lead to awareness. To think of it as an art changes everything.

  • Found in the valley of death

     Rarely do we wish to speak of it. Always are we looking for ways to avoid it. Society apparently seeks to deny its existence. Death is truly the elephant residing on the dining room table.

  • God, give us wings

     It is a rare and wonderful opportunity to read and review a book written by a college classmate and friend. Rarer yet is the chance to travel deeply into the life and spirit of a woman who has endured, survived, and been transformed by the experiences of two assaults on humanity: the Nazi and Soviet invasions and conquests of the Baltic countries.

  • Life is found in scrutinizing the deep things of God

     How often I have heard someone tell me to lighten up, cool my jets, chill out, or words to that effect! It seems that deep thinking is far less popular an activity than deep sea diving. Do religion, if you want, but don’t be a fanatic about it. Comments or commentaries, reactions or responses to religion’s status quo repel those who would follow a God whose demands are modest ... whose commands are not unsettling. Any tendency to profound pondering is annoying, if not anathema!

  • Lent leads us to streams in the desert

    Annually, the first Friday of March draws attention to the World Day of Prayer, a time to gather as God’s people in prayerful contemplation and petition regarding global cares and concerns. Each year, women of a designated nation prepare the service, which is then disseminated universally and, optimally, used for worship across the globe simultaneously — no matter the time zone. This year, the theme is Streams in the Desert. Its dual focus is on Egypt and the Scriptural story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well.

  • Spend Lenten Wednesdays with God to prepare for Easter

    Lent and springtime have much in common. They both offer remarkable opportunities to stretch after a long winter nap in the cold darkness. They are chances to green up from the dry, dull brownness that marks our withered spirits. Lent is a pilgrimage of 40 days and 40 nights. It takes us from arid deserts to mountaintop heights, from gardens of agony to hilltop crosses. It is a voyage that commemorates authentically passionate living, the sort of suffering that many try to avoid and all know is part and parcel of true life.

  • There is a painful pleasure in being perfected

    With truth in teasing, Hubby Dear has often confronted me with a statement delivered to the air surrounding us. “It must be wonderful to be perfect. One day, perhaps, I will be as perfect as you are.” His sarcasm does not suffer from subtlety! With sword swiftness it cuts through to the heart of the matter, exposing the marrow of my need to be in control. Being perfect — as I was perceived — is in no way identical to being perfected! As Scripture says, my husband catches me, the “wise one,” in the throes of my craftiness.