Texts: Psalm 27, Luke 13:31-35

 The image on the bulletin cover is a mosaic inside the Dominus Flevit church.  The church is located on the Mount of Olives, overlooking Jerusalem, and commemorates two occasions in Luke’s gospel:  The one we just read, when Jesus speaks of the people of Jerusalem and compares himself to a mother hen gathering her chicks under her wings.  And when Jesus later approaches Jerusalem and weeps over the city, lamenting that it does not know the things that make for peace.  Dominus Flevit means, “The Lord wept.”

Personally, any Bible story that features a chicken as one of the main characters is one that gets my attention.  Especially when the chicken = Jesus.  I love that in the mosaic the chicken has a halo.  Awesome.  Our three backyard feathered girls are doing just fine through the winter, although their egg production has trailed off a bit.  They’re still saints and miracle workers for turning our food scraps into tasty eggs.

Jesus the hen cries out, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it.  How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen...

Texts: Psalm 91:1-2,9-16; Luke 4:1-13

On our Learning Tour in Palestine we attended a Sunday worship service near Bethlehem.  Our group of 15 Americans made up half the congregation.  The young Palestinian pastor led the service in Arabic, but at the end of his sermon he addressed us in English.  He urged us to remember them when we returned home, to speak about what we had seen and heard.  To tell their stories.  One of the reasons he gave for why this was so important was this:  He said – “Because America is god.”

As startling as this was to hear in a worship setting, it was important to see.  In their world, our country has the power to save or destroy, to give life or take it away.  It was quite a benediction, for us fifteen Americans to leave that small Palestinian church, having just been told that we are sons and daughters – of god.

We told some of those stories during Advent.  Now it’s Lent, and we are inviting God to trouble the waters again, this time closer to home: Race and racism in America.  And not just racism as a matter of improving interpersonal relationships, as important as that is.  But racism as an environment,...

[Text: Luke 9:28-36]

Eve's reflection:

Have you ever had a time in your life when you had to make a life changing decision?   In today’s scripture, Jesus is about to make a difficult decision.  He has been healing wounded people, feeding those who didn’t have any food, teaching people the way that God wants us to live our lives, and gathering disciples to help him do his ministry. All this happened in the region of Galilee.  Now he needs to decide if he is going to the city of Jerusalem. He is also taking into consideration that this is a dangerous place, he might even be risking his life.

Before heading to Jerusalem, Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up a mountain to pray.  

My mom’s family  owns a cabin in the Colorado rockies.  When you go up the mountains, it feels like you can see everything from just that little part of the world. The air is so thin. It’s kind of like you are in another atmosphere. I remember one time when my cousins and I were climbing a mountain in the summer. We were at the top and noticed a pile of snow. Snow in the Summer?...

Text: Psalm 19

Speaker: Ruth Leonard

On the ride to the airport I soak up the sky -the amazing clouds, the vast deep, brilliant blue. Before entering the terminal, I take my last deep breath of Columbus air. I won’t breathe it again until I return. Hours later the plane descends into a brown haze, I land in Beijing, and the sky is no more. Lest you think me overly dramatic, I’ve been doing this since 2003. I have only seen the pollution grow worse,—much worse.

The first time our family landed, we were aware of a smell—an acrid sensation we had never experienced. It permeated everything, but became much more pronounced when we arrived in Xinxiang. You got used to it. You accepted it. If the air cleared for some reason, everyone was happy. A day with blue skies was nearly a holiday. It was a faintish blue, but it offered a hopefulness. But that happened so infrequently I would note it down on my calendar. And we would take a photo.
Xinxiang is southwest of Beijing, about the same distance...

Text: Luke 4:14-30

When did you first realize you were white?

What do you like about being white?

These are two of the questions posed during Damascus Road anti-racism trainings, initiated by Mennonite Central Committee.

The questions aren’t just for white folks.  “When did you first realize you were black?”  “What do you like about being brown?”

When I participated in a Damascus Road training in 2012 and heard that question, “What do you like about being white?” I remember thinking: Hmmm…that roughly resembles a trick question!

Is one allowed to like being white?

I do feel a special appreciation for my mom’s Swiss Mennonite heritage.  That’s OK, right?  I guess most of the music I listen to is from white artists.  Even though I don’t drink much coffee, I do like coffee shops, which, I’ve discovered, did land as the #1 item on a lengthy list in a book called “Stuff White People Like,” just nudging out #2 which was “Religions their parents don’t belong to.”

Is it taboo to bring in biological factors?  I like milk and dairy products and know that people of certain European descent have a higher level of lactose tolerance than other...