Waking Up in Ephesus

The place where John’s body is buried is bathed in light. Literally. His grave is fully exposed to the rays of the sun from dawn to dusk. And when night falls, it basks in the lunar glow. For a couple hundred years John’s grave was sheltered by the dome of a magnificent basilica, but that …

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Feeling Frayed? Me too. That’s Why We Need Advent

We still wander awed, says Annie Dillard, because this world is dear. And the people in it are beloved. We were made for this word, even in its splintered state. As we take in the ravages of our frayed and nibbled state, we don’t long for an ending. No, we long for renewal.

Perfect Age in an Imperfect World: 7 Blessings for My Son

Seven is the perfect age. I'm sure of it. This morning my seven-year-old son woke up early, padding into the den in sock feet. I can see the sleep still lingering in his eyes as he curls up in my lap, all knees and elbows. I rest my chin in his tousled hair and breathe …

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A View from Way Up High: Summer with Ezekiel & Jeremiah

The broad wooden planks feet warm beneath my feet as I stand leaning on the rail of the deck overlooking the valley. From my vantage point on the high ridge, I can see hundreds of miles in the distance. I watch the clouds gather and darken and roil low on the horizon. Occasionally lightning electrifies …

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Sketches of Love: Postcards from My Father

When I was fresh out of college, I moved overseas. And while I was living in Sofia, Bulgaria, my father used to send me postcards. The internet was still in its infancy (a reality my kids find impossible to fathom), so people sometimes sent real stamped paper mail that arrived in actual mailboxes. Emojis hadn’t …

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The Inestimable Value of Unintentional Mothering

When I was in high school I had a sort of on-again, off-again relationship with God. My mom would often see my navy blue Bible with my name printed on the cover in silver laying on the clothes dryer at the foot of the stairs to my room over the garage. She knew I’d dropped …

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The Arena of Wonder…and Laughter

My grandfather had a shock of white hair and a physique that testified to his love for food and celebration. He was a Baptist pastor born and bred in the Appalachian mountains not far from Hickory, NC. He had seen moonshine devastate so many families in his community that he was a strict teetotaler, but …

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A Flame in the Desert

The way we pray shapes who we become. Our prayers reflect our understanding of God’s work in the past and our hopes about the way God will interact with us in the future. This Egyptian Coptic prayer testifies to the expectation that God walks with believers through the storm, that His presence is a sustaining force and source of joy. And it reflects their desire to become a flame of love.

Lamentations & the Steadfast Love of the Lord

I glance over and see my four-year-old daughter sitting on the couch. Still in her pajamas, she’s coloring happily, a spray of multi-hued markers in reach of her right hand. She’s healthy, she’s safe, she’s here with me. Glancing over to my computer screen I gaze at a photograph of a four-year-old girl in a …

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