This book of meditations provides thoughtful reflections on Christian teachings life and mission as well as helpful guidance on life events from Christian and secular holidays to death and reconciliation. These common sense and thoughtful reflections offer faith with intelligence blending the author's personal experiences with stories of people from a variety of faith backgrounds.
Mary Nelson Keithahn invites us to connect hymns with the themes of Christian living while also inviting us to get to know the people and the stories behind the hymns. A detailed table of contents enables readers to locate meditations for specific holidays scripture verses and moments. This book contains many wonderful nuggets of wisdom that will catch your attention and engage your imagination with imagery that will stick in your mind long after you finish reading.
Mary Nelson Keithahn a graduate of Carleton College and Yale Divinity School is a United Church of Christ pastor and educator now retired and living in Rapid City South Dakota. She still works out of her home as a freelance writer lyricist and hymnwriter. She has written curriculum and worship resources for denominational and ecumenical use numerous articles for religious journals the book and lyrics for twelve multi-generational musical dramas and over a hundred hymns some of which appear in more recently published hymnals and supplements. Her hobby is genealogy and she is working on a history of her extended family. She also enjoys thraveling in this country and abroad. She writes from a lifetime of experience as a pastor's wife mother and grandmother and as a volunteer in various areas of community life.
"This is a little book of wisdom offered in a unassuming and humble spirit. Mary's rich and varied spiritual journey includes several strands of experience that come together beautifully in this well-structured and readable volume. She is a pastor nurtured in the Congregational tradition but ecumenical in spirit. She is living a long and varied life full of international travel yet rooted in the values and straight talk of the Midwestern heartland. In sharing her personal story she draws upon national and international events over the last 70 years that have shaped our time. Finally Mary is a poet - more specifically a hymn writer - with the ability to say in a few well-chosen words what would take most of us many pages to articulate. Through Mary's story we gain insight into our faith journey."
-C. Michael Hawn D.M.A. Professor of Church Music and Director of Sacred Music Program Perkins School of Theology Southern Methodist University
"There are questions our people have been engaging for generations: What is the nature of God? How is God known? What is my purpose in life? What is revealed in the journey through the year with its various seasons and occasions? These questions have been made even more meaningful by generations of thoughtful people of faith who have taken time to meditate on them and share their thoughts with others.
"Mary Nelson Keithahn's volume of reflections at once returns to the ancient questions and queries of our people and offers a fresh turn on our relationship with the scriptures of our people. For those who have invested their lives in devotion the choices of scripture will be familiar but the short essays bring with them a fresh approach or a new twist making each reflection a delight and a surprise. For those who have been alienated by syrupy sweet devotions that appeal to emotion only these common sense and thoughtful reflections offer faith with intelligence.
"Mary brings to this familiar format her deep appreciation for and knowledge of hymnody which enables faithful readers to not only think deeply something missing from many contemporary devotionals but also to sing their faith by encountering not only the scriptures but songs of faith. Mary invites us to connect the hymns with the themes of Christian living while inviting us to get to know the people and the stories behind the hymns.
"Each reflection is accompanied with a short and direct prayer that can be used in a variety of settings.
"This is a book that will find a prominent place on my desk where I will be able to reach it often not just to read but also to loan to others."
- Ted Huffman Pastor and teacher 1st Congregational United Church of Christ Rapid City South Dakota
"Mary's ability to weave sacred stories from scripture with stories from her life makes this book rich indeed."
- Sr. Carol Rennie OSB Spiritual Director Benedictine Center of St. Paul's Monastery