Iconic brushstrokes from Ukraine

By Steve Beard As I watched the evening news during the haunting first few weeks of the scorched-earth invasion of Ukraine, I could not help but see Kateryna Shadrina’s vibrant image of the Madonna and Child superimposed over the video footage on television of mothers...

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Lenten Underground

By Steve Beard It was standing-room-only for the noon Ash Wednesday service at my local church. Ushers were pulling folding chairs out of a closet and people were sitting in the hallway outside the sanctuary. Parishioners were literally standing against the back and...

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On a hill far away

By Steve Beard I was in elementary school when I first grasped that the death of Jesus was a big deal. On Good Friday, my mom and dad signed me out of class in time for the noon church service. It was somber and stiff and formal – but I was out of school for the rest...

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Life Vests and Torpedoes

Some of the most emotional moments broadcast on television are when deployed military parents return unexpectedly to surprise their kids coming home from school, during a musical recital, or at a graduation. Sheer joy boils over and you can almost feel the tight...

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Right hand of a Saint

Looking across the shades of aqua blue water from the northwest coast of Maui, there are two Hawaiian islands seen in the distance. One is Lanai, once home to the largest pineapple plantation in the world. Today, the island is privately owned by billionaire Larry...

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Bright Lights in Montgomery

The sun was bright and unforgiving as I paid my respects at the gravesite of Hank Williams on a bluff in Montgomery, Alabama. A cowboy hat would have helped. The heat was a far cry from the dreary night of January 1, 1953, when much of the South was covered in snow...

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A Grand Story Line in Harlem

“We don’t have long here, children. Our hopes and aspirations may feel limitless, but our days are finite, our experiences fading in the twinkling of an eye,” observed actress Cicely Tyson in her recent memoir, Just As I Am. “Death is a love note to the living, to...

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The Real St. Patrick

While sifting through obscure Spanish colonial records, it was discovered a few years ago that the very first St. Patrick’s Day parade was not conducted in Boston, Chicago, nor New York City. Instead, the Irish feast day was celebrated in modern day St. Augustine,...

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National Treasure

I spent the holidays with Dolly Parton. Well, not literally. Like everything else in 2020, it was all virtual – and it was a whirlwind. Throughout her rhinestone-studded career, Dolly has sold over 100 million albums, starred in countless movies and TV specials,...

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Jack Hayford: Pastor to Pastors

Over the last 40 years, one of the most popular modern day hymns is “Majesty, Worship His Majesty” written by Jack Hayford. Congregations from all denominations around the globe have sung it with reverence and gusto.  Included in The United Methodist Hymnal, the song...

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