Jesus the Gardener

In the Gospel of John’s account of the resurrection, Mary Magdalene mistakes the risen Jesus for the gardener. But that doesn’t really feel like a mistake at all. A gardener, much like Jesus, tends to and coaxes forth new life. A plant, much like the resurrection, springs from a seed that is planted deep in […]

The Chosen: A Jesus Show Worth Watching

Until I saw The Chosen, the only shows or movies I had seen featuring Jesus were in one of three categories: boring, educational, or satirical (remember this vintage 21 video? It still makes me laugh). Now I can add a fourth category: thought-provoking and enjoyable. 


Everyone imagines themselves as the hero of their own story. Especially every child — and I was a child. They all imagine themselves as heroes. That’s not a new thing; it’s like that here in your twenty-first century American lives, but it was like that where I lived, in Nazareth two thousand years ago, as […]

“I Believe the Women”

With great understanding, Wisdom is calling out as she stands at the crossroads and on every hill. She stands by the city gate where everyone enters the city, and she shouts: “I am calling out to each one of you! Good sense and sound judgment can be yours. Listen, because what I say is worthwhile […]

Jesus on the Big Screen

While I was serving as a camp chaplain this summer, a young woman asked me if I could recommend a Jesus movie. Her question surprised me at first: I wasn’t aware of a demand for Jesus films from teenagers. But we were at the end of a very deep conversation about her faith, and she […]

From Death to Life

Editor’s Note:  This may be difficult to read if you have pain around not being able to have a child or to breastfeed. Holy Week is a powerful time.  It is a time to tell a powerful story.  It is a time to tell stories of death turning to life. My body has often felt […]

Bent Over Backward

A couple of weeks before Christmas, I threw my back out. When I say “out,” I mean O.U.T. Sitting still was a struggle and an unintentional turn of my torso had my body writhing in pain. I blame it on too many church committee meetings and the endless onslaught of emails that keep me hunched […]

Hopeful Signs: An Advent Sermon on John 1:6-28

We expect some of the same things around Christmas: the same message, the same songs, the familiar traditions of it all.  We still have to work to prepare the way of the Lord.  For my family, this Christmas is different.  Advent is different.  Pregnancy has made it so, and I have come to understand that […]

Emmanuel: God is (Still) With Us

Earlier this week, I ran into Jesus on Facebook. I was scrolling aimlessly through my news feed, and saw that my friend Rev. Tisha Brown, who pastors a UCC church up in Madison, had posted a video with this note: “This is incredible – not only feeding but loving the poor. I wish I was […]

The Details of Advent

by Lara Blackwood Pickrel When I was a little girl, Advent was my absolute favorite time of year. It is true that part of the excitement had to do with the promise of gifts under the tree – but my love for the season went far beyond a desire for presents. Looking back, it is […]