Book Review-Medicine as Ministry


Medicine as Ministry: Reflections on Suffering, Ethics, and Hope

Margaret E. Mohrmann, M.D.


Emotional Response-2

Scholarly Response-3

This book has a price tag from Eden Seminary and highlights that end less than halfway through the book. This book reads like it would be better as a series of lectures and maybe that is why I didn’t finish it in seminary. And even though it is short, it was not a fast read for me.

As I was reading this book, my husband, a pharmacist, was presenting at a conference. The topic was “to dispense or not to dispense.” Pharmacists have a “right to refuse” to dispense a medication. A pharmacist might refuse because the prescription looks forged or the patient has refilled too many times recently. Sometimes a medication would not be dispensed because the pharmacist has a religious objection to the medication. My husband was encouraging the other pharmacists to explore how their faith and scientific knowledge influenced their decision to dispense or not dispense. As I listened to a small group conversation about this topic, I heard absolutes and standing firm in faith. For some gathered, changing the circumstances didn’t change anything.

This is the opposite approach from Medicine as Ministry which argues that each person/patient has her/his own story. We cannot treat or participate in the healing without hearing the story. The parts of the book where she focused on each life story were my favorite parts of the book.

Because there are great ideas in this book, I recommend that we need to see each other as those whom God loves when caring for each other. I want to remember the idea that there are times I am the Samaritan and times I need someone else to be the Samaritan. I want to listen for the stories of each life when helping a person make important decisions. Although I highly recommend some of the ideas from this book, I struggle to recommend the book. It was difficult for me to read and finish despite all the good ideas it contained.

“The question is, ‘How shall I live the life I have?’ Health-seeking behavior is not death prevention; it is life enhancement (21).

“We shall not always–in fact, we shall rarely–get from our reading of scripture either direct answers or magical formulas that solve all our ethical problems. Rather, what we shall always obtain there is a dawning understanding of who God is, of how God acts with us, and of how we, therefore, are to act with each other” (59).

Worship Words-An Easter Benediction


As you go out into God’s world this week, be Easter people! Be those who say, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? Jesus is not here. He is risen.” Be ready to be surprised with what God will do next. Look for the risen Christ in those you meet. Let the Holy Spirit nudge and guide you. The tomb is empty because Jesus is out in the world, and now we must go out into the world too! May the joy and wonder of that first Easter morning live in your hearts today and everyday. Amen.

Baltimore Coffee and Tea

Last month, I found myself in Annapolis with some time to myself. I could have walked through the beautiful capital of my state…I highly recommend this for anyone who has never done this! Instead I did a search of local tea shops and discovered Baltimore Coffee and Tea. This place has two walls full of tea! I ordered a cup of hot tea and was directed to their tea bar where they was a selection of more than 30 tea choices. And if that wasn’t good enough, the server told me if I didn’t like the choices she would pull down any of the teas on the wall for me to drink.
After much debate (and forcing myself not to drink Lady Grey), I picked Eastern Shore Tea Company’s Victorian Rose. It was a wonderful cup of tea. Very smooth and calming. It would be perfect for a fancy tea party. It was also very tasty in my paper cup.

A Prayer in Times of Uncertainty





So much does not make sense in our world today and in the time we remember this Holy Week. We understand how easy it is to be joyful on Sunday. We waved palms and shouted Hosanna! We understand how easy it is to get swept up in the frenzy and soon we are denying who we know and are hiding in fear.

God of All, We do not understand senseless violence. We do not understand hurting others even when we cause the hurt. This week in the church and this week in our world leaves us with many questions.

Faithful God, Give us the courage to ask our questions and not rush to answers. Give us the courage to seek answers through wisdom and patience. Give us courage this holy week as we follow you, Jesus.

We want to follow you and yet we may deny you. We may run away. We may hide. We will be scared. Forgive us and give us the courage to try again.

Be with us this week when the story is so familiar that we forget how difficult it is to remain faithful when uncertainty is all around us. Amen.



Worship Words-Call to Worship-God’s Steadfast Love Endures Forever


As I was reading the Scriptures for this week, the first portion of Psalm 118 grabbed my attention. I began to picture what it would look like and sound like to have a full church reminding each other that God’s steadfast love endures forever. Use your imagination and find creative ways to divide up the congregation to share this good news together this Sunday morning.


One-O let us give thanks to our God who is good. God’s steadfast love endures forever!

All-God’s steadfast love endures forever!

One-Let the right side of the church proclaim this good news.

Right Side-God’s steadfast love endures forever!

One-Let the left side of the church proclaim this good news.

Left Side-God’s steadfast love endures forever!

One-Let the children and youth shout out this good news.

Children and Youth-God’s steadfast love endures forever!

One-Let the adults should out this good news.

Adults-God’s steadfast love endures forever!

One-Let us all whisper to our neighbors.

All-God’s steadfast love endures forever!

One-Let us smile and wave our palms as we say together one more time.

All-God’s steadfast love endures forever!

Tea on the Tiber

Drinking tea forces me to slow down. I cannot gulp down a huge mug of hot tea. I must wait. Last week, I had the pleasure of enjoying a tea party with a dear friend. We slowed down. We savored. We laughed. We talked and listened. And, we drank tea. We stayed so long that we each managed to drink two pots of tea!


I enjoyed Earl Grey Supreme. Yum. I did add a sugar cube to my tea for some extra sweetness. Our server warned me that I’d never be able to drink regular Earl Grey again. I haven’t tested out her theory yet. My tea party friend enjoyed her Black Currant tea. It was a little too sweet for me (says the person who added a sugar cube to her tea).


Our afternoon of fun took place at Tea on the Tiber in Ellicott City, Maryland. If you find yourself in Ellicott City and want to share a cup of tea, give me a call and I will join you.

IMG_4359 IMG_4361 IMG_4363

My pictures from the day include multiple pictures of the sunny room where we didn’t have tea and the library where we also didn’t have tea. We were on the second floor. We did take a walk up the steep stairs to the third floor which is a tea room and play room for children. It made me want to host a children’s tea party!


While I may not be able to enjoy a cup of tea at Tea on the Tiber with all my readers, I do hope this post inspires you to slow down, spend some time with a friend, laugh a little (or a lot), and enjoy a favorite beverage!

Worship Words-A Prayer of Frustration

All of us get frustrated. Maybe this prayer doesn’t reflect your feelings today or maybe it is exactly how you feel today. Whenever you are feeling frustrated, let this prayer be your prayer.


Sometimes I get so frustrated with other people. Why do they say one thing and do another? Why do they hurt each other? Why do they not give enough money to the church and other worthwhile organizations? Why do they ignore the pain in the world? Why do they start arguments and never listen? Why won’t they volunteer? Why do they only care about themselves?

Oh God, I hear you. I am they. These faults I see in others are my faults. Forgive me. Help me forgive others. Help me forgive myself. Ease my frustration with all your children including myself. In the merciful name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.



Worship Words-All That We Let In


Sunday’s Sermon at Takoma Park Presbyterian Church

Scriptures-1 Corinthians 12:12-31a and Luke 4:14-21

For many of you this may be the first time you’ve heard much from me. It isn’t easy to write a sermon that is a get to know you sermon that explains my philosophy about youth ministry and mission trips, what I love about cooperative youth ministry, and ties it all in with two Scriptures from the lectionary. And still I’ve accepted the challenge and am giving it a go.


I believe we are all important members in the body of Christ. For my entire ministry I’ve found myself called to work with a specific portion of the body of Christ-youth. And yet, when you work with youth you don’t just work with youth. You work with the parents of youth, the grandparents of youth, younger and older siblings of youth, church members of all ages who you are working to integrate into the youth ministry while you are integrating the youth into the whole ministries of the church. Working with youth helps you to see how we all fit together to be the body of Christ. We are all needed. We all bring gifts. And yes, sometimes it is difficult when so many gifts are present at once and everyone wants to share their gift or when people don’t seem to recognize the gifts that they bring.


My call and gift is gift-awareness. Recognizing the God-given gifts in others and helping each person discern how to utilize that gift to God’s glory. This requires and works well with another passion of mine relationship building. Usually for me to see someone’s gifts, I must know that person. Relationship building requires time, energy, listening, and patience as we grow to know each other and see where God is moving in our lives. Lest you think I am bragging and listing a litany of my God-given gifts, I am aware that I am not the person you should call for any construction, plumbing, electrical, animal removal, cooking or a variety of other important tasks in the life of the church. This is the message of the 1 Corinthians passage today. Together all of us make up the body of Christ.


This portion of the body of Christ worshiping in these walls, TPPC, covenants with another portion worshiping only a few miles away, CCC, for youth ministry. Youth are typically defined as those who are in 6th-12th grade. During these years, youth will (often) move through middle school and high school and navigate all the challenges and joy that are associated with attending school and preparing for adulthood. Some people believe that this is a time where youth are becoming themselves. I believe that our youth are already called beloved by God and created in God’s image. While helping them to discover who they are and how they’ll use their God given talents in their lives, youth ministry is an amazing opportunity for the whole congregation to be involved in the lives of awesome individuals who help us live out our calling to be the body of Christ.


For me not only is relationship building one of my passions, I believe relationships are the heart of ministry. Youth ministry is the perfect place to develop relationships in ministry. It is as easy as presence, time, and listening. And in a ministry built on relationships time must be spent our relationships with God…faith development is essential. Faith development not just of the youth…but of those working with the youth, family members of youth, and the whole congregation. [Read more…]