Adult Playlists 2022-2023

What’s a Playlist?

A Playlist is a set of activities exploring a topic.  The activities might include reading an article or scripture, listening to a podcast or sermon, watching a video or movie clip. Each month we’ll post three Playlists designed for Children, Youth, and Adults.  All of us will explore the same topic, but the Playlists will be designed for each age group.  You can work your way through the Playlists at your own pace throughout the month.

Remember you can always share your thoughts in the comment section at the bottom of this page.

April Playlist


Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries & Missional Service



Have you seen the commercial featuring Rory McIlroy, Collin Morikawa, and Tiger Woods?  It makes me laugh every time it comes on the screen.  The joke makes fun of McIlroy’s Irish accent and his pronunciation of Forgiveness.  You’ll find a link to the commercial below.  Is it Forgiveness or Fargiveness?  I’d say that Forgiveness goes Far.  Forgiveness heals relationships.  Forgiveness makes us whole.  Forgiveness connects us to God.  Being forgiven and being forgiving goes Far.  Forgiveness is our Playlist Theme this month.  Come and explore how Far Forgiveness can take you.

Forgiveness & Prayer

You’ll recognize the following prayer from the Evangelical Lutheran Worship Hymnal.  It’s often heard at Ash Wednesday Worship Services.  Use it as your guide this month as you work your way through the Forgiveness Playlist.

Almighty and ever-living God, you hate nothing you have made and you forgive the sins of all who are penitent.  Create in us new and honest hearts, so that, truly repenting of our sins, we may receive from you, the God of all mercy, full pardon and forgiveness; through your son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Forgiveness & Scripture

As you explore the Forgiveness Playlist this month, reflect on the following stories and passages from the Bible:
Genesis 37-50—Joseph & Brothers
Psalm 51—Prayer for Cleansing & Pardon
Luke 15:11-32—The Prodigal Son

Forgiveness & Individual Confession & Forgiveness

Spend some time wandering through the Evangelical Lutheran Worship Hymnal, and you’ll find the Individual Confession and Forgiveness.  It’s printed below for you to read the words of Forgiveness.

Washed in water and marked with the cross, the baptized children of God are united with Christ and, through him, with other believers who together form a living community of faith. Although we are set free to live in love and faithfulness, we continue to turn away from God and from one another. Confessing our sin involves a continuing return to our baptism where our sinful self is drowned and dies; in the gift of forgiveness God raises us up again and again to new life in Jesus Christ.

Individual Confession and Forgiveness is a ministry of the church through which a person may confess sin and receive the assurance of God’s forgiveness. This order may be used by itself at times when a congregation offers opportunity or people request the opportunity for confession. It may also be used in conjunction with pastoral care, such as to conclude a counseling session. There is a confidential nature to this order, in keeping with the discipline and practice of the Lutheran church.

The pastor begins:
In the name of the Father,
and of the ☩ Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.

You have come to make confession before God.
You are free to confess before me, a pastor in the church of Christ,
sins of which you are aware and which trouble you.

The penitent may use the following form or pray in her/his own words.
Merciful God, I confess
that I have sinned in thought, word, and deed,
by what I have done and by what I have left undone.
Here the penitent may confess sins that are known and that burden her/him.

I repent of all my sins, known and unknown.
I am truly sorry, and I pray for forgiveness.
I firmly intend to amend my life,
and to seek help in mending what is broken.
I ask for strength to turn from sin
and to serve you in newness of life.

The pastor may engage the penitent in conversation, sharing admonition, counsel, and comfort from the scriptures. Psalm 51 or Psalm 103 may be spoken together.

Addressing the penitent, the pastor may lay both hands on the penitent’s head.
Cling to this promise: the word of forgiveness I speak to you comes from God.

in obedience to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ,
I forgive you all your sins
in the name of the Father,
and of the ☩ Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.

The peace of God, which passes all understanding,
keep your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus.

The pastor and the penitent may share the greeting of peace.

Copyright © 2023 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.

Forgiveness & Duct Tape

I’ve never thought of duct tape as a metaphor for Forgiveness, but that changed when I read the article linked below from Living Lutheran.  A big takeaway about Forgiveness from the article:  “Keep it on hand; apply it unsparingly. By mending a relationship, you will mend your life.”

Forgiveness & Duct Tape

Forgiveness & Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church

The Living Lutheran article linked in the previous section of this Playlist references events at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.  In 2015, nine people died in a shooting at Emanuel in Charleston, South Carolina.  A few years later, several of the surviving family members gathered for an interview to discuss their choice to grant Forgiveness to the shooter.  Click the link below to watch the powerful interview.

Forgiveness & Amnesty Day

Click the link below to listen to a story about one father’s creation of Amnesty Day.  He and his adult children look back on this special day in their house and its origins.

Forgiveness & Amnesty Day

Forgiveness & Power

Steve Hartman is a talented storyteller.  You’ve probably seen his stories on CBS News.  He doesn’t tell the stories of the rich and famous.  Instead, he tells the stories of everyday people doing extraordinary things.  The video linked below tells the stories of several people demonstrating the power of Forgiveness.  From a courtroom to an apartment to a train.  The video is about twenty-five minutes, so settle in for some amazing stories.

Forgiveness & Music

“Create in Me”
Take a few quiet moments to listen to the message in the music linked below.

Adele sings about seeking Forgiveness years later.

March Playlist


Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries & Missional Service



Summer evenings in my neighborhood growing up were filled with three things:  swimming in the lake, catching lightning bugs, or playing hide and seek.  On nights we played hide and seek, neighborhood kids gathered at one of our houses.  We had “boundaries” for our game so we had to hide some place within a certain area.  This usually included several yards and fields in the neighborhood.  We’d play for hours.  When it got dark, each of our parents had a way of alerting us that the game was over.  My dad whistled for us.  We could recognize his calling card several yards away, and we knew it was time to come home.

This month our Playlist theme is Seeking.  Each of us seeks God in our own way.  Some of us through worship, some of us through music, some of us through study, some of us through service.  Some of us even seek God by wandering away for a while, maybe even hiding for a while, but God is always there . . . waiting . . . ready for us when we come home.

Seeking & Prayer

Desert Cross is using materials from A Sanctified Art during Lent.  The following prayer comes from the Lenten Devotional provided by them.  Use it as your guide as you work your way through the Seeking Playlist.  For a link to the devotional, check out the Weekly Update from Desert Cross.  If you need help finding the link, please reach out to me at

God of the Way, give us willing hearts for the Lenten quest that lies ahead.  Remind us that you honor our questions and can be trusted with our longings.  Help us remember that you are seeking us, and we can rest in being found, even as we venture into the unknown.  Guide our steps and bring clarity and love more fully into our hearts. May our way be the Jesus way, whatever steps we take.

Seeking & Scripture

As you explore the Seeking Playlist this month, spend some time reflecting on the following passages:

1 Chronicles 16:11
Psalm 9:10
Psalm 34:4
Psalm 63:1
Psalm 105:4
Jeremiah 29:13
Matthew 7:7
Luke 19:10

Seeking & Living Lutheran

Since the invasion of Ukraine one year ago, Lutherans around the world have worked to support refugees and continue working for peace.  Below you’ll find a link to an article from Living Lutheran that shares some of the work being done to seek an end to the war.

Living Lutheran

Seeking & “Atheist Churches”

Did you catch the heading of this section?  Atheist Churches.  The article linked below caught my eye.  It’s a telling report on faith in America today, and its content made me uncomfortable.  We might ask ourselves how we can reach out to our family, friends, and neighbors who are seeking connections, meaning, and community.  How do we invite them into a life of faith?  How are we showing Jesus to others?  How can we help folks connect in a meaningful way to a faith community?

Atheist Churches

Seeking & Poetry

The following poem comes from the Lenten Devotional book provided by A Sanctified Art.  For a link to the devotional, check out the Weekly Update from Desert Cross.  If you need help finding the link, please reach out to me at

“A Blessing for the the Seekers”
Rev. Sarah (Are) Speed

Blessed are you who turn your face up to the sky,
who open your arms to feel the wind,
who notice all the things that we should notice.
Blessed are you who are fluent in wonder
and familiar with awe.
Blessed are you who, even now, dream dreams,
who have not lost hope,
who swear the glass is still half-full.
Blessed are you who plant trees
and sing the harmony,
who tell the children how this world can be magic.
Blessed are you who
walk and seek
and turn over every stone,
pointing out all the corners and colors
that God lives in.
Blessed are you.

Seeking & Literature

Maybe you want to dive into a book this month that explores our Seeking theme.  Try John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley.  One might describe it as Steinbeck taking a trip seeking America.

Just for fun, click the link below to read a review of the book from 1962.

Travels with Charley

Seeking & Music

“Seek Ye First”
Take a few quiet moments to enjoy the music linked below.

Seeking & Bono

“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”
I’ve been reading Bono’s book Surrender:  40 Songs, One Story.  Each chapter highlights a different song.  In the chapter focusing on this song, Bono shares several stories related to his faith.  In one, he tells about a time he was struggling with some throat issues.  To treat it, he tried hypnosis and reflects on the session where he saw himself walking with Jesus along the Jordan River.  Later he tells another story of taking a dip in the Jordan River with his wife and children while their tour guide watched from the shore.  Throughout the book, Bono shares other stories and thoughts on his faith and how he’s still searching, still seeking God.

Click the link below to watch the original music video with a very young U2.

February Playlist


Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries & Missional Service



I grew up in a small town on Lake Erie.  Our house was three houses from the beach.  We went there all the time during all seasons of the year, but there was ONE rule.  ONE Commandment.  All the parents in the neighborhood had the same rule about the lake and the beach.  We had to have an adult with us.  Like a lot of rules, it was set in place to keep us safe.  Most of the kids in the neighborhood followed the rule most of the time.  One time I didn’t and cut my foot so badly it required a trip to the ER for stitches.  The sand in the cut made it clear where I had been, and my dad wasn’t happy . . . but that’s a story for another day!

This month our Playlist theme is Commandments.  We’ll explore God’s rules, God’s guidelines, God’s Commandments.  Like the rule about the beach, God’s Commandments are set in place for us.  God gives us the Commandments to help us live a better life together.

Commandments & Prayer

The following prayer is a prayer for Daily Renewal from the Spiritual Life section of the Evangelical Lutheran Worship.  Use it as your guide as you work your way through the Commandments Playlist.

Almighty God, by our baptism into the death and resurrection of your Son, Jesus Christ, you turn us from the old life of sin.  Grant that we are reborn to new life in him may live in righteousness and holiness all our days, through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Commandments & Scripture

Let’s take a look at Commandments in the Old Testament and in the New Testament.  Look up the following passages in your Bible:

The Ten Commandments
Exodus 20:1-17

The Greatest Commandment
Matthew 22: 34-40

Commandments & Luther’s Small Catechism

Below you’ll find the section on the Ten Commandments from Luther’s Small Catechism.  Maybe it’s been a while since you looked at this.  If you’re like me, it’s been a long time since my Confirmation, and I could use a review.  Take some time this month to read Luther’s words on understanding God’s Commandments.


The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods.

What is this?  or  What does this mean?

We are to fear, love, and trust God above all things.

The Second Commandment

You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God.

What is this?  or  What does this mean?

We are to fear and love God, so that we do not curse, swear, practice magic, lie, or deceive using God’s name, but instead use that very name in every time of need to call on, pray to, praise, and give thanks to God.

The Third Commandment

Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy.

What is this?  or  What does this mean?

We are to fear and love God, so that we do not despise preaching or God’s word, but instead keep that word holy and gladly hear and learn it.

The Fourth Commandment

Honor your father and your mother.

What is this?  or  What does this mean?

We are to fear and love God, so that we neither despise nor anger our parents and others in authority, but instead honor, serve, obey, love, and respect them.

The Fifth Commandment

You shall not murder.

What is this?  or  What does this mean?

We are to fear and love God, so that we neither endanger nor harm the lives of our neighbors, but instead help and support them in all of life’s needs.

The Sixth Commandment

You shall not commit adultery.

What is this?  or  What does this mean?

We are to fear and love God, so that we lead pure and decent lives in word and deed, and each of us loves and honors his or her spouse.

The Seventh Commandment

You shall not steal.

What is this?  or  What does this mean?

We are to fear and love God, so that we neither take our neighbors’ money or property nor acquire them by using shoddy merchandise or crooked deals, but instead help them to improve and protect their property and income.

The Eighth Commandment

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

What is this?  or  What does this mean?

We are to fear and love God, so that we do not tell lies about our neighbors, betray or slander them, or destroy their reputations. Instead we are to come to their defense, speak well of them, and interpret everything they do in the best possible light.

The Ninth Commandment

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.

What is this?  or  What does this mean?

We are to fear and love God, so that we do not try to trick our neighbors out of their inheritance or property or try to get it for ourselves by claiming to have a legal right to it and the like, but instead be of help and service to them in keeping what is theirs.

The Tenth Commandment

You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

What is this?  or  What does this mean?

We are to fear and love God, so that we do not entice, force, or steal away from our neighbors their spouses, household workers, or livestock, but instead urge them to stay and fulfill their responsibilities to our neighbors.

What then does God say about all these commandments?

God says the following: “I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.”

What is this?  or  What does this mean?

God threatens to punish all who break these commandments. Therefore we are to fear his wrath and not disobey these commandments. However, God promises grace and every good thing to all those who keep these commandments. Therefore we also are to love and trust him and gladly act according to his commands.

Commandments & The Bible Project

Our friends at The Bible Project have several videos explaining the Commandments and the Law.  Click the links below to watch and learn from them.

What is the Great Command?

The Law

Biblical Law

Commandments & Love Thy Neighbor

Do the Ten Commandments need an update?  What does it mean to love your neighbor?  Explore these ideas by reading the article linked below.

Love Thy Neighbor

Commandments & Poetry

“No Man is an Island” might not include a direct reference to the Commandments, but John Donne does emphasize how we’re connected to one another, how the loss of one has an impact on another.  Read the poem below and perhaps you’ll hear a message of how we are called to treat each other.

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

Commandments & The Movies

The Ten Commandments have been portrayed in movies throughout the years.  Sometimes in a frightening way, sometimes in a humorous way.  Enjoy the movie clips below.

The Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston

Ten Commandments with Mel Brooks

The Twelve Commandments?

Commandments & Music

If you guessed that “thou shalt not” doesn’t roll off the tongue in song, you’d be right!  Finding music for this month’s Commandments Playlist was interesting, but here’s a mix for you to check out.

“We are Called”
Luther College Cathedral Choir

“Love Thy Neighbor”
Bing Crosby

“You Don’t Love God if you Don’t Love your Neighbor”
Rhonda Vincent

January Playlist


Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries & Missional Service



As Mike and I left our house one evening last month for an Advent worship service, we noticed the moon coming up.  The moon was full that night, and I learned later it’s called the Cold Moon.  Next to it was a bright light, and I thought it looked red.  I sent a text to a friend with one of those cool stargazing apps.  (I need to get one of those!)  She identified it as Mars.  How awesome is that?  We could see Mars with the naked eye, and it looked red.  Later in the evening, the color was gone, but the planet was shining brightly next to the full moon.

Where are you seeing light these days?  Where is light shining in your life?  Keep these questions in mind as you work your way through our Light Playlist this month.

Light & Prayer

The following prayer comes from Sundays and Seasons, a worship planning tool offered by Augsburg Fortress.  Use it as your prayer as you visit our Light Playlist.

Everlasting God, the radiance of all faithful people, you brought the nations to the brightness of your rising. Fill the world with your glory, and show yourself to all the world through him who is the true light and the bright morning star, your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Light & Scripture

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.’ (John 8:12)

Below you’ll find a link to the Bible Gateway website.  When I entered “Light” in the search bar, 335 results came up.  You’re invited to “wander” through the Bible this month looking for Light.  You’ll find it!

Light & Scripture

Light & Living Lutheran

Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ELCA pastor.  In the article linked below she shares how she sees Light in her children and how we can share Light with others.

Light & Living Lutheran

Light & Living the Light

The following is a link to a Ted Talk by Ryan Brolliar.  It’s titled “See the Light, Be the Light” and in it you’ll hear what inspired his “Music is Medicine Tour” around the country.

Light & Healing

When Mark Potter’s wife was dying of cancer, she encouraged him to keep his “appointment” with the sunrise each day.  It gave him a break from caregiving.  That daily ritual also provided healing after her death.  Click the link below to read how the Light of the sunrise helped him through a difficult time.

Light & Healing

Light & Poetry

Light in literature often portrays goodness and hope.  Dylan Thomas uses Light in “Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night” to portray life.  He writes about fighting for life while acknowledging the inevitability of death.  Some report that he wrote the poem while his father was dying.

“Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night”
Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Light & The Aurora Borealis

I have a friend who has seeing the Northern Lights, the Aurora Borealis, on her so-called bucket list.  I remembered her telling me this when I was working on the Light Playlist, and I started exploring it.  Well, you know how that goes on the internet!  Soon I found myself watching some really amazing videos.

Below you’ll find several of them.  The first one is from CBC News in Canada.  It explains the science of the Northern Lights.  The next two videos are time-lapsed videos.  The first one is from National Geographic and was filmed in Alaska.  The second one is from Night Lights Films and was filmed in Norway.  It’s nearly 15 minutes long and interrupted by commercials, but it’s incredible video.  Enjoy the show!

The Science of the Northern Lights

National Geographic

Night Lights Film

Light & Music

As you can guess, Light is the subject of many, many songs.  Both religious and secular.  Enjoy listening to a few of them by using the links below.

“Christ Be Our Light”—Notre Dame Folk Choir

“I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light”—Concordia Publishing House

“Light of the World”—Lauren Daigle

“Be a Light”—Thomas Rhett

December Playlist


Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries & Missional Service



Take a look at the photographs above. Those are my parents and my siblings. I’m the one in front smiling and showing off my new teeth! How does a woman who grew up in Northeast Ohio end up a Lutheran?  My family’s background isn’t German or Swedish or Norwegian, and no one in our family was Lutheran.  I’m a Lutheran because my parents were Lutheran.  My mother became a Lutheran after meeting my father.  My father became a Lutheran after being adopted by his brother and sister-in-law, my Uncle Dick and Aunt Betty.  Uncle Dick became a Lutheran after meeting Aunt Betty.  How did Aunt Betty become a Lutheran?  She came from a troubled home, and she had a caring neighbor.  A neighbor who invited her into their home and included her in family events.  A neighbor who loved her and introduced her to Jesus.  That neighbor was a Lutheran.  How does a woman who grew up in Northeast Ohio end up a Lutheran?  The answer is simple.  A woman I never met shared her faith with a neighbor several generations ago.

Generations & Prayer

The prayer below is from the daily devotional email sent out by Women of the ELCA.  It’s written by Christa von Zychlin.  Use it as you work your way through the Generations Playlist this month.

Lord God, ageless and eternal, give us grace to see your presence in the young, the old and all the in-betweens. Open our eyes, ears, hearts and hands to practice your love and bestow your audaciously lavish blessings among the generations. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Generations & Scripture

Spend some time focusing on the first chapter of Luke this month.  Look at the ways the theme of Generations shows through in the verses.  Consider the responses of Zechariah, Elizabeth, and Mary.  How does each one demonstrate faith for their generations and for the coming generations?

Generations Logo

The following quote is from Rev. Lauren Wright Pittman, designer of the logo for our Advent “From Generation to Generation” theme. You can see the image at the top of the Generations Playlist.

“When we decided on the theme, From Generation to Generation…, the imagery that kept surfacing was the connective tissue of people through the visual metaphor of a family tree. At first, I was focused on this metaphor’s more literal imagery, like branches, leaves, and roots, but instead, I kept being drawn in to the people. When I started incorporating more representational imagery of people, I found that the result was translating more as a nuclear family or a more narrow idea of family, which we definitely wanted to avoid. I knew I wanted to emphasize the particularity of each person while imaging how their story fits into a larger narrative—one in line with the generative work of God. I drew simplified silhouettes of people in a radial fashion, positioned around a center point. At once this imagery took on a depth of meaning: the lineage of Christ centered around his light, the nativity scene centered around the manger, and the larger movement of God through each and every created being—radiating and growing like a flower. Ultimately, the image represents how we are all connected, our stories are woven together, and each of us has a purpose in the beauty of God’s continued unfolding creation.”

Generations & The Church

Many congregations are looking for ways to mix the generations together.  At Desert Cross we include a couple of intergenerational events in our Sunday morning Faith Formation each semester.  We set aside a Sunday for fellowship where folks of all ages can come together to hang out, indulge in a treat, and enjoy some conversation.  Do you remember Sundae Sunday this fall?  Look for Donut Day in the spring!  We also set aside a Sunday for a service project where folks of all ages can come together to do something good.  Do you remember packing Lunches with Love at our Desert Cross Serves Project this fall?  Save the date for another Desert Cross Serves Project coming up on January 29.

Click the link below to read an article from Living Lutheran.  It shares how other churches around the country are bringing the generations together.

Generations & The Church

Generations & The News

How did the Baby Boomers and Gen Z get their names?  Click the link below for an article from CNN sharing a bit of information on each generation.

Generations & The News

Generations & TikTok

Lily Ebert is 98 years old and has more than a million followers on TikTok.  Lily and her great grandson, Dov Forman, are using the platform to share Lily’s story of surviving the Holocaust.  Click the link below to meet them and see how they’re teaching the younger generations.

Generations & Poetry

Take some time to reflect on the following poem by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

“Generation to Generation”
In a house which becomes a home,
one hands down and another takes up
the heritage of mind and heart,
laughter and tears, musings and deeds.
Love, like a carefully loaded ship,
crosses the gulf between the generations.
Therefore, we do not neglect the ceremonies
of our passage: when we wed, when we die,
and when we are blessed with a child;
When we depart and when we return;
When we plant and when we harvest.
Let us bring up our children. It is not
the place of some official to hand to them
their heritage.
If others impart to our children our knowledge
and ideals, they will lose all of us that is
wordless and full of wonder.
Let us build memories in our children,
lest they drag out joyless lives,
lest they allow treasures to be lost because
they have not been given the keys.
We live, not by things, but by the meanings
of things. It is needful to transmit the passwords
from generation to generation.

Gen Z & Religion

Gen Z may not practice their faith like you or like me.  They’re finding their own way.  In fact, some are gathering faith practices from multiple religions.  Click the link below to read one viewpoint from Gen Z.

Gen Z & Religion

Generations & Film

The 1982 film On Golden Pond starring Henry Fonda, Katharine Hepburn, and Jane Fonda explores relationships across generations.  It’s on my “to view” list this month.  You can watch it for free on YouTube with some commercial interruptions.

Generations & Hymns

“Faith of Our Fathers” is an old hymn.  You can listen to it by using the link below.

Generations & Music

When I was a kid, I remember my older siblings arguing over the stereo during summer days.  Our dad was at work, and both of them wanted to play their albums on the family stereo.  I can remember my sister blasting The Who and my brother playing Cat Stevens.  Here are two of those songs from those days.  Looking at the lyrics, I wonder if they were sending messages to our father.

“My Generation”

“Father and Son”

November Playlist


Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries & Missional Service



I wish I could say I turn to prayer first.  First when I’m anxious.  First when I’m overwhelmed.  First when I’m disappointed.  First when I’m angry.  First when I’m ill.  But, to be completely open and honest, I worry first.  I’m really good at worrying!  That’s what I do first.  I worry.  As we focus on our Pray Playlist this month, I’m going to work on turning to prayer first.

Prayers from Martin Luther

Luther’s Small Catechism includes several prayers to guide us.  Below you’ll find a prayer for morning and a prayer for evening.  Try using these prayers throughout the month as you work your way through the Pray Playlist.

● Morning Prayer
I give thanks to you, heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ your dear Son, that you have protected me through the night from all harm and danger. I ask that you would also protect me today from sin and all evil, so that my life and actions may please you. Into your hands I commend myself: my body, my soul, and all that is mine. Let your holy angel be with me, so that the wicked foe may have no power over me. Amen.

● Evening Prayer
I give thanks to you, heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ your dear Son, that you have graciously protected me today. I ask you to forgive me all my sins, where I have done wrong, and graciously to protect me tonight. Into your hands I commend myself: my body, my soul, and all that is mine. Let your holy angel be with me, so that the wicked foe may have no power over me. Amen.

Prayer & Scripture

The Faith Practices Project has a study on prayer.  It includes readings from Matthew, the Psalms, and Mark.  There are four passages along with reflection questions.  Try focusing on one passage each week this month to grow in your prayer practice.

Prayer & Scripture

Jesus & Prayer

We can learn a lot by looking at the times Jesus turned to prayer.  Click the link below to read about seven such times.

Jesus & Prayer

Foundations of Prayer

In the article link below, Chris Schoon, Director of Faith Formation Ministries, shares four foundations of prayer.  He starts with the Disciples asking Jesus to teach them to pray and explains what we can learn from that.

Foundations of Prayer

Prayer & Misconceptions

Richard Foster, author of Prayer, shares Five Misconceptions about prayer in the essay link below.  Take a few minutes to read it.  You may find some freedom in letting these misconceptions go.

Prayer & Misconceptions

Pray As You Go App

Do you need a prayer tool?  Try the app, Pray As You Go.  It’s from the Jesuits, and Pastor Andrea introduced it to Desert Cross in a Weekly Update a while back.  You can sign up to receive a daily devotion that includes a reading, music, thoughts to ponder, and prayer.  They also offer an online Advent Retreat and a Lenten Retreat.  And you’ll love the British accents!

Pray As You Go App

Prayer & Health

People around the world turned to prayer during the pandemic and found it comforting.  Doctors and scientists have studied prayer and found health benefits of praying.  Click the link below to read about these benefits.

Prayer & Health

Praying through Music

Prayers can be said through music.  Here are a couple such prayers.

“Lord, Listen to Your Children Praying” by Ken Medema

“A Living Prayer” by Alison Krauss

October Playlist


Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries & Missional Service



This may sound strange, but one of my models of faith is someone who never discussed his faith with me.  Instead, he showed me.  Week in and week out.  My dad had us (all four of us) in the pew each Sunday.  We went to church before my mother’s death, and we continued that practice after she died.  There wasn’t a question about it come Sunday mornings.  We were going to worship.  Looking back on it, it couldn’t have been easy.  My dad was a widower before he was forty years old.  He had four young kids.  He must’ve questioned God in those days.  He must’ve wondered at his loss.  He must’ve been overcome by tremendous grief.  And yet, he modeled faith for us.  We prayed before meals, and we prayed at bedtime.  He took us to Sunday School and Confirmation Classes.  He signed our family up to clean the church and to cut the grass.  Without saying a word, he modeled his faith for us.

As you work your way through this month’s Faith Playlist, think about the models of faith in your life.  Also, consider how you’re modeling faith for others.

Faith & Prayer

The prayer below is from Martin Luther.  Return to it as you work your way through the Faith Playlist this month.

Behold, Lord, an empty vessel that needs to be filled.  My Lord, fill it.  I am weak in the faith; strengthen me.  I am cold in love; warm me and make me fervent, that my love may go out to my neighbor.  I do not have a strong and firm faith; at times I doubt and am unable to trust you altogether.  O Lord, help me.  Strengthen my faith and trust in you.  In you I have sealed the treasure of all I have.  I am poor; you are rich and came to be merciful to the poor.  I am a sinner; you are upright.  With me, there is an abundance of sin; in you is the fullness of righteousness.  Therefore I will remain with you, of whom I can receive, but to whom I may not give.  Amen.

Faith & Scripture

Spend some time exploring Faith in Scripture this month.  Below you’ll find a list of texts.  Open your Bible and see where these passages lead you.

Hebrews 11
Psalm 100
Matthew 15:21-28
Matthew 17:19-21
Mark 2:1-12
Luke 17:5-6
Ephesians 2:8-9

Faith & ELCA

A living, daring confidence in God’s grace.  That’s how the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America begins its description of Faith.  Click the link below for the full passage from the ELCA.


Faith & Trust

At times, our faith might waiver.  At times, we might struggle to trust.  How do we get through those times?  One answer:  The faith of others gets us through.  Click the link below to read a devotional about this.


Faith & The Bible Project

God.  Emet.  Truth.  Faith.  Click the link below for a video from The Bible Project explaining how all of this is connected.

Faith & Queen Elizabeth

When Queen Elizabeth died last month, there were many articles about her long life, the future of the monarchy, and the family dynamics.  I found the article linked below about her faith interesting.  Different faith leaders reflect on how they saw Queen Elizabeth follow her faith during her reign.

Queen Elizabeth

Faith & Poetry

Take some time to reflect on the following poem by Wendell Berry.

“The Wild Geese”
Horseback on Sunday morning,
harvest over, we taste persimmon
and wild grape, sharp sweet
of summer’s end. In time’s maze
over fall fields, we name names
that went west from here, names
that rest on graves. We open
a persimmon seed to find the tree
that stands in promise,
pale, in the seed’s marrow.
Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear,
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye
clear. What we need is here.

Faith & The Future

It’s no secret.  Church attendance and church membership are declining.  Across denominations and demographics, the number of people in America identifying themselves as Christian is declining.  You’ll find a link below to an article from Christianity Today discussing a new survey from Pew Research.  Reading the article has me asking a couple of questions.  What do we do with this information?  How do we share our faith with others?  Read the article and see what questions come to your mind.


Faith & Christian Music

Faith, as you can guess, is the topic of many hymns and songs.  Use the links below to listen to a few.

“Come Thou Fount”


“Trust in You”

Faith & U2

Sex, drugs, and rock and roll.  That’s the saying . . . but not all rock bands sing only about these topics.  Below you’ll find an article from a Christian magazine in the United Kingdom discussing faith themes found in U2 songs.  Even better you’ll find links to the songs in the article!  Happy listening!


September Playlist


Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries & Missional Service



When I think of generous people I’ve known in my life, I think of my mother-in-law.  I know what some of you are thinking . . . your mother-in-law?  Really?  If there was a mother-in-law lottery, I won!  Jean was generous in numerous ways.

Like a lot of parents and grandparents who can afford to be, she was generous financially.  Even when Mike and I were hosting dinner, she’d pay for the Thanksgiving turkey and the Christmas ham.  At the start of each school year, she’d buy our kids new shoes and new clothes.  When we were living on one income, she’d show up with a couple packages of diapers.  Jean did all of this without our asking . . . she just gave generously.

Jean also gave her time and attention generously.  Jean volunteered at the local hospital in the gift shop.  Jean was a very quiet, extremely shy person.  I imagine serving in such a public setting was a challenge for her, but she wanted to contribute so she found a way.  When she spent time with our kids, I don’t think they ever thought she had another thing to do but be with them.  When our girls were little, she’d watch the “TGIF” TV line up of silly sitcoms with them.  They weren’t great shows, but the girls liked them, so Jean watched.  When our son was little, she’d spend hours with him playing “shoe store” at her house.  She gave her time with love and generosity.

Generosity of spirit was what I appreciated most in Jean.  When Mike and I married, I became a stepmother.  I wasn’t prepared, and at times it was a difficult transition.  There must have been a hundred things for her to “advise” me on about parenting.  Instead, I only heard encouraging words from her.  She never told me how I should’ve done something or how I should’ve handled a situation.  Instead, she always found a way to tell me something I had done well.  She went out of her way to notice the little things and the small steps of progress.  She was very generous with words of praise when I needed them.

So, when you think of generous people you’ve known in your life, who comes to mind?  If possible, thank them this month.

Generosity & Prayer

The following prayer is attributed to St. Ignatius.  Use it as your guide as you work your way through this month’s Generosity Playlist.

Lord, teach me to be generous,
to serve you as you deserve,
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to look for any reward,
save that of knowing that I do your holy will.

Generosity & Scripture

Below you’ll find a link to the Faith Practices Project focusing on generosity.  It includes a list of passages including Acts 4:32-35, 2 Corinthians 9:6-8, 1 John 3:16-18, and Luke 15:11-32.  Each section is followed by several questions to consider.  Use these passages for personal study this month.  Focus on one passage and one set of questions each week.

Generosity & Scripture

Generosity & The Bible Project

Below you’ll find a video from The Bible Project.  The video explores how God’s generosity started with creation, moved to Abraham, and then to Jesus.  The Bible Project imagines God’s generosity as a party.  Click the link below to join the party!

Generosity & A Way of Living

Click the link below to watch a TED Talk featuring Ami Campbell, co-author of Love Let Go:  Generosity for the Real World.  She shares interesting research about generosity, but she also shares her personal experience seeing “radical generosity” in action.  It’s an amazing story of paying it forward!

Generosity & Surprise Gifts

Do you think only the rich and famous have much to give away?  You’d be surprised.  Click the link below to read about folks who led modest lives and left significant gifts as legacies.  They generously gave away fortunes so that others could benefit.

Generosity & Surprise Gifts

Generosity & Time

Charles Clark is paid to be a janitor at Trinity High School in Euless, Texas, and he takes pride in that work; however, what he’s really known for is the way he generously gives his time to others.  Mr. Clark listens, advises, and loves students at the school, and they appreciate his generous gift.  Click the link below to watch how one man gives away his time.

Generosity & The Tennis Court

If you follow tennis, then you know the US Open is on right now in New York.  If you know me, then you know I’m watching!  Chris Evert’s goals have changed a lot since her days on the court.  These days she’s generously sharing her knowledge on and off the court with kids who love the game.  Click the link below to read about how her self-described “entitled” life led her to this new place.

Generosity & The Tennis Court

Generosity & Music

“All That We Have” is a beautiful hymn reminding us the gifts we have come from God.  Click the link below to enjoy a performance of the hymn.

Click the link below to listen to “Kind and Generous” by Natalie Merchant.

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