St. Gregory of Khantza

We live in a loud world. Noise is everywhere, a barrage of sound and fury. Cell phones are ubiquitous. Privacy isn’t dead yet, but its future is up for grabs. In this hyperconnected world, we must intentionally choose solitude. We need open spaces...

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The Prayer

My cynical side comes out whenever I watch Hollywood celebrities sing carols on Christmas Specials. Do they have a clue when they sing the words, "Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see, Hail the Incarnate Deity." I react similarly when I hear well-known...

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Dan Schutte

Dan answered the knock at his door. It was his friend asking a big favor. He was planning an ordination service and wanted Dan to write a song to accompany the theme of Isaiah 6. "When do you need it?" Dan asked. His friend apologized for the short...

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John Greenleaf Whittier

He thought seriously about running for Congress. He was already an established editor at 25 and emerging as a respected poet. He wrestled with the decision about whether to join the anti-slavery movement. It would surely jeopardize his literary and...

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Thomas Ken

For those who have difficulty sleeping, do you know there is a hymn written expressly for those among us who struggle with sleep? The first verse of this 350-year-old hymn sets the tone for everything that follows in its 14 stanzas, asking God to...

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Wendel Hawley

He was raised in a church that believed only in extemporaneous prayer. Spontaneous prayers were considered more spiritual than written prayers. But when asked to lead the pastoral prayer each Sunday in worship, he changed his mind. Giving careful...

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Yao Nien Yuan

She became ecstatic when a spider joined her in her prison cell. Most of us have little use for spiders, but when you spend six and a half years in solitary confinement, even a spider's company can serve as a harbinger of hope. She watched this...

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St. Ignatius of Antioch

They were different. Peculiar, some thought. An alien cult, perhaps. They did not join in worshiping Roman gods, nor did they participate in the gladiatorial games. Some accused them of being cannibalistic, given their secret rite of ingesting...

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Lewis Bayly

John Bunyan and his wife married in 1648 in a simple service befitting those who were poor. Mrs. Bunyan (history does not record her first name) had two books in her possession inherited from her father. One was titled The Practice of Piety,...

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Gelasian Sacramentary

I associated Ash Wednesday with Catholics in my childhood years. Receiving ashes on the forehead, giving up things for Lent, and refraining from meat on Wednesdays and Fridays were things only Catholics did. Silly me! Ashes have long been used as...

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Prayers for the Children

Jim Jarvis was homeless, living on the streets of east London. He was all of ten years old, an orphan whose mother likely died in a cholera outbreak. Jim attended the Ragged School for poor children. Its founder, Thomas John Barnardo (1845-1905),...

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Johann Hamann

I'm intrigued by the innumerable ways people come to saving faith in Christ. For some, conversion is dramatic and decisive. For others, it is gradual and progressive. Philosopher Johann Hamann (1730-1788) had elements of both in his spiritual...

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Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I have written of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1907-1945) before. Twice, actually. I can't help myself. There are at least two good reasons to return to his prayers. First, there is an abundance of prayers written by Bonhoeffer during his two-year...

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Felix Neff

Insecure leaders can kill an organization. They view competent people as competitors rather than partners in the mission. Insecure pastors are deadly also. Their high need to control and receive endless validation can cripple a church. This is...

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J. N. Darby

John Nelson (J. N.) Darby (1800-1882) was thrown from his frightened horse against a doorpost. The accident in 1827 required an extended convalescence at his sister's home in Dublin, Ireland. J. N. had earlier given up a lucrative law practice to...

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God of Grace & God of Glory

I watched Super Bowl LVIII from beginning to end, nearly four hours’ worth of continuous viewing.  I wasn’t alone in this endeavor.  Analysts report it was the most watched telecast ever.  As a sports enthusiast, I had to force...

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Mozarabic Liturgy

Loving people is hard enough, but loving our enemies is darn near impossible. One challenge I have in praying for my enemies is that my mind often jumps the tracks to dredge up old hurts and resentments. Tell me this doesn't happen to you! When...

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