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. 

The Joy of Finding

Luke 15
 
My mother-in-law Mary is a great finder of lost things. One time when my son Joel was 18 months old she came to visit for three weeks, and before the time was out, she located the play walkie talkie from the ride on truck- in the bushes the stuffed animal joey that went with the mama kangaroo – behind a bureau and my favorite: 6 drink coasters, in the pedals of the pump organ.
 

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Jesus’ Unexpected Family Values

Luke 14:25-33
 
In my early ministry, my colleague and I co-led premarital classes each year.  Our classes always began with a skit about some common marital challenge.  I wrote one called, The Holiday Question, which featured a couple who had recently married and did not choose to attend the family holiday celebrations.
 

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Six Days a Week

Luke 13:10-17 
 
In my first church, I started a Taize service along with a couple of musicians.  We took over the prayer chapel, and covered the altar with candles of various sizes.  Each Monday evening we joined with a dozen other parishioners to sing contemplative songs and petitions written by the ecumenical community in Taize, France.  It was moving and prayerful, and though the number of participants was not great, it was an oasis of peace for those who attended.

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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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