By Tim Winterstein

Here’s one for a long and ongoing conversation. Ordet is a 1955 Danish film (and 1956 Golden Globe Award winner for Best Foreign Language Film) about a family living in a small town in Jutland, where the division between the organized state church and a conversionist sect becomes the catalyst for everyone’s crisis of faith. This is a hard film to watch for people (like me) who have been inoculated to older (purer?) cinema by technological advances, high production values, fast pacing, and color.

By Paul Koch

I love reading John 20:19-31. It is read every single year on the Sunday after Easter in churches around the world, and rightly so. After all, this is the account of our Lord’s appearance to the disciples in the upper room after His resurrection from the dead. This reading contains the tale of doubting Thomas and the longing desire to see and even touch our risen Lord. And most especially, this text answers the question, “now what?” Now that our Lord has suffered and died and risen from the dead, what do we do? Where do we go from here? What is the next step? This is what is presented to us in this incredible text.

By Paul Koch

What a glorious morning! This is what church is all about. This is why we rejoice in the gifts of our faith. Today we celebrate the pinnacle event of the Christian faith. It is the moment that sheds light on everything else. Today we celebrate a new life, a resurrection, a victory over that terrifying enemy we call death. Christ is risen, He is risen indeed, and today is the day that we sing the praises of our God and cling to his promises. Of all the days that you should come to church, this is perhaps the very best day to come. Not that the others are all that bad, but today is Easter! It is the great festival of the resurrection.

By Ross Engel

Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Holy Cow!

I have been a Cubs fan for my entire life. Over the years, I have caught my fair share of crap from people, especially since I grew up in the south suburbs of Chicago where White Sox fans seemed to reign. I grew up listening to Steve Stone and Harry Caray calling the Cubs games (they were so much better than Joe Buck). I even recall quite fondly the WGN pregame intro to Cubs baseball back in the 80s (they used Van Halen’s, “Jump!”). Wrigley Field is a great park to watch a ball game, I even remember how big of a deal it was back in 1988 when Wrigley got lights and had their first night-time ball game!

By Jaime Nava

My wife is waddling around with our second child in her womb. She is in full glow. It boggles me to consider how amazing it is to have a human being growing in inside another. Yet, it happens every day. It is common. There are those who would carelessly destroy such a gift. There are those who would profit on the same death. Yet, as little as some consider that tender life and despite how common it is, it retains all the mystery of God sustaining the human race.

By Ross Engel

My wife walked slowly up the aisle of the church; she was dressed in black, my seven-month-old son James on her hip and my three-year -old daughter excitedly holding her hand. The eyes of all those gathered watched her as they came forward. There was a slight gasp from the front row as she picked up our three-year-old and leaned over the casket so that Eliana could get a better look at “Mr. Art.” After a few sweet words, they took their place, sitting with the rest of the congregation, and awaiting the beginning of the funeral service.

By Paul Koch

At night I read to my son when he gets into bed. We just finished reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. If you’re unfamiliar with the basic story line, the four Pevensie children enter into a magical land called Narnia through the back of a large wardrobe in a spare room. Now, the land they find there is locked in a perpetual winter caused by an evil witch. When one of the children says that winter isn’t all bad because you can play in the snow and of course there is Christmas, they learn to their horror that there is no Christmas in Narnia. The witch’s power makes it always winter but never Christmas.

By Joel A. Hess

Hiroo Onoda was sent to Lubang Island in the Philippines by his Japanese imperial commander during World War II. He was ordered to do all that he could to hamper enemy attacks on the island. There were three others with him.

One day, they came across a leaflet from the local islanders saying “The war ended August 15th. Come down from the mountains!” The few remaining cells discussed this leaflet extensively but eventually decided that it was Allied propaganda trying to get them to give themselves up.

By Paul Koch

If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.” (1 Cor. 15:19) This statement by St. Paul is a treasure. It gets to the heart of what this day is all about. If in this life only we have hope, then what’s the point? Why the celebration? Why all the joy and excitement? To worship a Jesus that brings hope in this life only is the type of Jesus that the world likes. He fits into boundaries of our expectation and He is easily controlled and contained.