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. 

Mary Moment

Luke 10:38-42 

 
Have you ever had a Mary Moment? I have. 
 
It happened one Sunday morning as I pulled up to church. It had been a challenging Sunday to make it there – The church was an hour commute from my home, and I had to get the kids out of the house and off to church with my husband before leaving. I was teaching adult education before worship, so I had to be there an hour early. I’d left dishes in the sink, and I was pretty sure the bed would still be unmade when I got home.

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All In

I Kings 15-16, 19-21;
Luke 9:51-62    
 
I first met Ren at a summer music program. We were both playing in the orchestra, me on the French horn, and Ren on the flute. Ren was serious about music; all he wanted to do was apply to music school, get a degree, and play. His father, however, was serious about Ren being a success. He was a chemist, an immigrant who had worked hard to make it in a new land. He thought Ren should become a pharmacist.

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One in Christ

Galatians 3:23-29
 
When I was in high school, I went on a study trip to Washington, D.C. It was a year-round program that brought together kids from around the country for a week to learn about civics, politics and American history. 
 

As soon as we arrived, we kids began the social size up: 


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Three-Person Partnership

Trinity Sunday

In my college dorm, there were three types of rooms: singles, doubles where you shared with a roommate, and quads, where four people shared two bedrooms with a common room between. 
 
Because the campus had some historic old buildings, there were also odd-sized rooms in which they housed three students at a time. These ‘triples’ as they were called, were great from an architectural standpoint —

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Satisfied

John 14:8-17, 25-27
 
The advertisements say it all: Satisfaction guaranteed! Money back if you are not completely satisfied!
 
Has there been a time when you were completely satisfied? Honestly, it seems to be a human impulse to always want more. We can always go a little faster, burn a little brighter, consult one more website, order one more thing on Amazon.

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Jesus and the Red Balloon

Ascension of Our Lord
 
During the years I was a stay-at-home mom, I taught my daughter Stephanie’s pre-school Sunday school class. For the lesson on the ascension of Jesus, I had a brilliant idea: I decided to act out the ascension story with them. First we read it in our picture bibles, and then I brought out a red helium filled balloon with a smiley face on it. I explained that the balloon was Jesus, and that we were going to be his disciples. We would go outside and say goodbye.

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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…


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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


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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


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