A Promise of Healing, Freedom, and Joy

Have you ever received a star word? Some churches celebrate Epiphany by passing out stars with printed words to everyone in the congregation. Each star word is different---"delight," "compassion," "giving," or some other word that's meant to be a surprising and beautiful gift to ponder and carry into the new year. Just as the star … Continue reading A Promise of Healing, Freedom, and Joy

We Long for Healing

For 2020, my word of the year was journey, and I thought of it mainly in terms of my journey more deeply into the writing life. I was about to complete my first year as resident author with a liturgical worship community, and looking forward to developing further partnerships with other churches where I might … Continue reading We Long for Healing

The Top 10 of 2020 from April Yamasaki

This week I received a free calendar in the mail along with this note: I've never once felt the need to urge you to throw away something I sent you. But this year, PLEASE, throw away your 2020 calendar. Let's do our part to put this year behind us. In many ways it's been a … Continue reading The Top 10 of 2020 from April Yamasaki

We Need Your Positive Thoughts and Prayers

In the midst of great distress, some say that they no longer want "thoughts and prayers." In the face of tragedy, these words may come across as an automatic reflex offering little comfort or real empathy. They may seem a weak substitute for the concrete action needed to address pressing problems. As one mother whose … Continue reading We Need Your Positive Thoughts and Prayers

Make Haste to Help Us, O God

Twelve days ago my husband had a medical emergency, and while he does feel better now, he is still in the hospital hooked up to various medical things, waiting for more tests and next steps. Any medical emergency is hard, and even harder in a pandemic. In our case, COVID-19 protocols kept us from seeing … Continue reading Make Haste to Help Us, O God

Escaping the Self-Centeredness of Mental Illness

I know better than to blame anyone for being ill. Whether the illness is physical or mental, no one who is ailing needs the added burden of being shamed for it. When my dad's back pain forced him to lie down after supper, that wasn't malingering or laziness. When a friend's depression descends like a … Continue reading Escaping the Self-Centeredness of Mental Illness

Sitting with God

Sitting with God: Show Up, Let Go, Open Your Heart

When I'm tired of words, I find refuge in silence. In fact, as much as I love words, praying in silence has become one of my favourite ways of praying. Sometimes it's a sacred pause to pray before a meal. Sometimes silently praying along in our corporate prayers as a church. Sometimes simply sitting quietly … Continue reading Sitting with God: Show Up, Let Go, Open Your Heart

Reading My Way Through Tsundoku

One of the few Japanese words I know is tsundoku. While it's new to me, it's actually an old word that dates from at least the Meiji era (1868-1912), and it means letting books pile up to read later. Or as we might think of it today, tsundoku is "the art of buying books and … Continue reading Reading My Way Through Tsundoku