Welcome to Grace Notes! You can find an archive of my preaching and writing here. I welcome your comments and questions, as I always enjoy conversations about faith.
 
Grace notes are actually tiny notations in classical music that indicate a quick note decorating the melody. Grace notes always lead to the main thing. In my spiritual walk, the main thing is the grace of God in Jesus. This grace is God’s unequivocal gift of acceptance and love for you and me. That’s what fuels me, and that’s what I write about.
 
I look forward to sharing with you and hearing from you in this blog – and I hope you find the words and ideas here to truly be Grace Notes, filled with God’s grace. – PJ
Pastor Julie is a student of yoga and a lover of singing, a low maintenance housekeeper and a potluck foodie, a wife and proud mother of two young adults, and a passionate voice for connecting faith, daily life, and scripture. Born and raised in Columbus, she studied religion and music at Oberlin College and Conservatory, and received her MDiv from Yale Divinity School. Pastor Julie served four parishes in Connecticut before returning to her Ohio roots to become Epiphany’s senior pastor. 

Unlikely Lutherans

Fifth Sunday of Easter: Acts 11:1-18 

I was at the Lutheran retreat center Holden Village, watching the homegrown 4th of July parade. Among the kids pulling wagons, homemade floats, and the volunteer fire brigade was a woman with jet black hair, dark red lipstick, and sleeve tattoos covering both arms. She was with the Old Testament teaching professor I had been enjoying all week, and the two of them were singing a parody of “Lift High the Cross” about crabby Lutherans

We are so cross…


Read more...

The Impact of One Life

Fourth Sunday of Easter: Acts 9:36-43

 

Helen was the coordinator of the prayer shawl ministry. She got women together on Thursday mornings to knit and pray over the shawls, which were then given to people in the parish and beyond who needed healing or prayer. She was especially good at inviting new women into their circle–often women who had


Read more...

Healing Betrayal

Third Sunday of Easter: John 21:1-19

 

Do you remember your first love?  The first person you fell head over heels for? It is an all encompassing feeling, as if you could eat, sleep, and breathe that person. 

 

Now maybe you are one of those people who marry their first sweet heart. But most people


Read more...

Tactile Learning

Second Sunday of Easter: John 20:19-31
 

I remember the moment well, though it was 20 years ago.  I was changing my daughter’s diaper, and she reached out to touch the lace on my bathrobe as she lay on the change table.  I was surprised; her brother never did that.

 

I think of it now as a first hand


Read more...

Men in White and the Power of Remembering

Easter Sunday: Luke 24:1-12

 

One of my favorite movies from my teen years was the comedy Men in BlackTommy Lee Jones and Will Smith play two undercover agents of the Men in Black, who monitor intergalactic immigration and regulate visits from alien life forms to Planet Earth. Of course, it is all top secret – the public would panic if

Read more...

Behold Your Mother

A few years ago, a good friend of mine almost lost her son. He was using dangerous street drugs, and even though he was in and out of treatment, could not seem to get clean. Things seemed to take a turn for the worse when he caused a terrible car accident, and wound up in prison.
 

Read more...

Joy and Sorrow

Palm Sunday: Luke 19:28-40, Phil 2:5-11

 

My mom stood at the window, looking out toward the airplane on tarmack.

Our Swedish exchange student, Karl, was boarding the plane, heading home.

There was no way he could see us, and we couldn’t see him through the tiny airplane windows,

Nonetheless, my mom was still waving.


Read more...

My First Vigil Service

I remember my first Easter Vigil. The bonfire and silence; the long service of readings and the flickering of the candles. We were in a small chapel with so many candles and people crammed in that we were dying of heat. It seemed to go on forever. Story after story of the faith was told, by youth, by adults, by the elderly. Finally, we moved from the chapel to the narthex, right outside the sanctuary of the church. The font was there, ready for baptism. Another person’s life was to be wrapped into the stories of faith.

Read more...