Signs of Grace

My mind snags caught on a poem by Jane Hirshfield: Anywhere You Look in the corner of a high rain gutter under the roof tiles new grasses’ delicate seed heads what war, they say I know the poet well enough to be certain that she does not mean to diminish the destruction and horror and injustice and pain that one experiences living in a war zone – any war zone. Rather, she is reminding us that even in such a place, when one is attentive one can recognize signs of grace and newness of life. Think of the sidewalks in the neighborhood around St. Stephen’s church: where they’re not fastidiously maintained, they buckle and crack because of grass and tree roots that insist on growing up between the

Matters of the Heart

I always have problems understanding why God hardened the heart of the Pharaoh in the story of the Exodus. There are other times that God hardens hearts. In the Exodus story, it happens several times. Why, if God was trying to lead his chosen people to freedom, would he harden the heart of the one person who had the power to do anything about it? It turns out that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart after only four of the 10 plagues. Pharaoh hardened his own heart for the other six plagues. Part of the reason I have problems understanding God's role in hardening Pharaoh's heart is that I have problems understanding what a hardened heart means. I was recently reminded of what it means. I've been ser

Holy Martyrs

This Sunday, we will honor the church's first martyr, along with other martyrs of the church. Saints and martyrs are typically associated with specific days. St. Patrick with March 17. St. Joseph with March 19. St. Columba with June 9. St. Martin with November 11. St. Stephen's saint day is December 26. Like the "lucky" kid born on Christmas Day, St. Stephen doesn't get a lot of attention. So, as a namesake church, we have chosen to take the second Sunday of the Epiphany season to recognize St. Stephen. That also falls on the weekend leading to Martin Lutheran King Jr. Day. Martin Luther King Jr. is recognized as a martyr of the Lutheran church, specifically as a Renewer of Society, "having

What I Did on My Christmas Vacation...

I had an interesting conversation with some friends about "holiday” vs. "Christmas." We were all able to identify several things that didn't bother us "because I'm Christian." But when I commented that Christmas is a forced holiday I got some push back. Them: "Nobody is forcing anyone to celebrate Christmas." Me: "Stores are closed, restaurants are closed, government offices are closed. It's a forced holiday." Them: Silence. Change of subject. I would have enjoyed some more conversation on that 😊 I answered the inevitable question, "Are you ready for the holidays?" with my standard answer: "What gets done, gets done." This year I didn't get the advent candles or any of my numerous nativity

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St. Stephen's 

Lutheran Church

To Love, To Invite, To Serve


1301 N Broom Street Wilmington, DE 19806


As a Reconciling in Christ congregation of the ELCA, we believe that the gospel is God's gift to all people, shared unconditionally and without regard to race, gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic or family status, age, physical or mental abilities, outward appearance, or religious affiliation. We seek to live the truth written in Ephesians that Christ breaks down the dividing walls between us and makes us one.


© 2020 St. Stephen's Lutheran Church. All rights reserved.

St. Stephen's Lutheran Church

1301 N Broom Street, Wilmington, DE 19806



We are a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Delaware-Maryland Synod.



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