J. Mary Luti

A retired seminary professor

and United Church of Christ pastor.

She can’t help herself.

She just keeps talking.

And posting,

for whatever it’s worth.


85 thoughts on “About

  1. Linda Gerber

    Thank you Mary Luti, for being the outstanding person you are. Your devotional today in the UCC online daily devotions was so meaningful and I will read it again and again, trying to keep on my shoes to stay on the track. Please continue leading the way. Blessings to you.

  2. Bette Mulley

    Dr Mary, your Aug 29 Daily Devotional was inspiring! I have felt so empty when communion is celebrated with small cup and wafer are given out!
    Let’s have a pot luck and take it out to share it with homeless and doing it together. Also asking what we can do together to make their lives better!

  3. Anne Stock

    Just wanted to thank you for your writing Daily Devotions for UCC and especially for todays—August 20, 2022. It was exactly what I needed to hear

  4. Karen Kosky

    Mary – I read your Daily Devotional from 6/4 with tearful astonishment & am clinging to them.

    Two days prior, I was told my stage 4 cancer had metastasized to my brain (after 2 years of diligent, exhausting, scarring treatments.) My thoughts immediately fast-forwarded to what I might miss if my time to go is soon. My daughter’s high school graduation. My son’s first pitch in college. A cross-country trip with my husband and our new camper.

    While not exactly the origin or intent of your full message, these words have been an emotional lifeboat the past few days:
    “The worst things imaginable happen. Yet, somehow, by grace and grit, we’re still here, weary and scarred, but breathing, more or less upright, taking nourishment. We’re not done yet. Not done blessing, singing, giving thanks. Not done washing feet, feeding, consoling, emptying jails. Not done multiplying justice like bread. Not done feasting at the table of life.”

    I may be done soon (though I believe even after death we’ll never be ‘done.’) But I’m not done here yet. Thank you so very, very much for your words & that reminder.

  5. Al Ward

    I am a retired UM pastor and working part-time with the Chapel staff at High Point University (NC). We would like permission to use the Invitation to Communion from your Easter Day Service (With Communion) for our Easter Sunrise Service.

  6. susan pennock

    I love your writing! I am a UMC minister. I would like permission to use your communion liturgy “Do This [Luke 22:7-23]” for our Maundy Thursday service. Blessings to you on your ministry!

      1. Heather

        I too would like to use your liturgy for Maundy Thursday – I am a minister in the United Church of Canada – and it will be shared (with your permission) with 4 congregations that worship synchronist together in person and online

  7. Virginia Felton

    I always appreciate your writing on the UCC Daily Devotionals. I have recently become interested in Christian Contemplative Traditions and would like to purchase your book “Teresa of Avila’s Way.” Unfortunately I can’t seem to locate a source for it. Are copies still available for sale? Thank you.

    1. Amy

      I also would be interested in finding a copy. I don’t think I can afford the two I found on ABEbooks for over $200. I see the book is out of print. Thank you for being a place I always pause when I read your work. It is a real gift that I return to again and again.

      1. sicutlocutusest Post author

        Amy, I wish I could help. I have one photocopy and I suppose I could make more and send you one, but it would violate the copyright laws… Maybe a library has a copy and you could get it through inter-library loan? I dunno….

        On Fri, Feb 11, 2022 at 9:28 AM Sicut Locutus Est wrote:


      2. Mary Luti

        Amy, I wish I could help. I have one photocopy and I suppose I could make more and send you one, but it would violate the copyright laws… Maybe a library has a copy and you could get it through inter-library loan? I dunno….

      3. eimiamy

        Thank you for the idea. We will see what comes of an ILL request and if that does not work out, I will simply trust there is enough. Blessings and gratitude.

    2. sicutlocutusest Post author

      I wish I could help. I have one photocopy and I suppose I could make more and send you one, but it would violate the copyright laws… Maybe a library has a copy and you could get it through inter-library loan? I dunno….

      1. Bernard Uzi Weingarten

        If there are none left, you might want to ask an attorney if photocopy would be a copyright infringement, and if revising and publishing on kindle with your own copyright would be permitted.

  8. Mark Petersen

    My journal is always available with plenty of space when your devotional thought enters my mailbox. I simply wanted to tell you how grateful I am when your presence, compassion, and writing stimulates my inner spirit to write, preach or teach with a nugget that you co-create with the Holy One. Mark

  9. Lawrence Van Heusen

    For the past few years I have profoundly benefited from reading your careful writing on UCC Daily Devotional. You at identify core meaning with such sensitivity and insight, it always leaves me inspired. Incidentally, I became such a fan that I tried to track down your book on St. Theresa and I had to get it through interlibrary loan from Brooklyn, 400 miles away. Well worth it. I am a retired social worker living in Buffalo with my husband and attending UCC Church of the Nativity. Thanks for your gifts.

  10. Tim Dunaway

    I just read your devotion, No Idea, in my daily UCC email. I had to find a way to let you know that it resonated very deeply with me. I am always astonished at how confident some speakers can be, claiming to know the mind of God! I actually perceive it as a weakness in their faith, that they can’t simply love God as the mystery, the Creator, and remain as the Created. Thank you for saying “we don’t actually know much”. What I do know is more than enough. Thank you.

  11. susan pennock

    Hi, I just stumbled onto your sight and am thankful for this gift. I am a pastor in the UMC and wonder if I can have permission to use, ‘Do This’ Luke 22, during worship, giving you credit. Again, what a blessing to find you!

  12. Barbara England

    Good day! I have been using the UC see devotional Draw Near this year for my advent journaling and have just read your selection titled DIVINIZED. I am very curious to read more about this concept, this word. Can you recommend some thing you have written? Thank you.

    1. sicutlocutusest Post author

      Hi Barbara,
      I haven’t written a lot about divinization (also know as theosis), but here’s a link to a good overview of this ancient patristic doctrine. https://reformedjournal.com/deification-truly-ecumenical-concept/
      It is most commonly associated with Eastern Orthodoxy, and is tantamount to its central doctrine of “salvation”–but it also well known in the West, although overshadowed by substitutionary and other kinds of more legalist atonement theories. Google it!
      Enjoy exploring this beautiful idea,

      1. Barbara England

        Thank you! I will do that today and appreciate your response. I will enjoy this beautiful day and look forward to reading more of your works.

  13. eimiamy

    Dear Mary,
    Your devotionals sustain me. I so appreciate your depth and how you envision scripture in light of our human realities. Yesterday’s spoke to my family so deeply. Thank you for reminding us that the journey is long and perfection is less holy than desire.

    Peace to you

  14. Bob Braman

    Just a note to tell you I gain much from your Stillspeaking devotionals. I’m a retired UCC Pastor, a mystic with an evangelical heart and a peace-and-justice determination. You are a gem and I thank God for you.

  15. Stephanie Gerlofs

    I just read “Feeling for Nineveh” in the Lenten Devotional. You have a wonderful gift of words. Thank you for making me smile, reread, and really reflect on the story of Jonah. What an accomplishment in 6 paragraphs!

  16. Rev. Lynn Morgan

    Thanks for making your reflections and sermons available. I came to read something to help me think and now I’ve found myself insinuated into prayer. You’ve been a blessing.

  17. Amy

    Mary, may I call you Mary, thank you so much for your beautiful words. I have been reading and exploring your posts on Advent and Christmas. I may adapt your style for a Christmas Eve message. You are so creative. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  18. Annette Mott

    Mary, I just found your blog, doing an internet search for a presentation you gave at the Connecticut Conference of the UCC in October of 2014 entitled “Be Quiet. Be Indifferent. Remember That You Die. Three Practices for Living into Change.” I am an interim pastor in Maine, and did not attend that conference, but somehow came across the article in 2015 or 2016. I printed it out but did not think to save the document. I can no longer find it on the WEB, and I would like to share it with the three other ministers who are in a peer interim pastors group with me. Do I have your permission to do that, and do you have an electronic version of it available?
    Shalom, Annette Mott, UCC Interim Pastor

  19. DrDon Hartfiel, DVM

    Detrich Bonhoeffer and I always knew, since age 13, that we would study Theology. He did. I didn’t, officially. Now I find myself a 74 year old DVM (Veterinarian) who can’t get enough! Thus The Holy Spirit has lead me into Perichoresis, to befriend Wm Paul Young, to The Mirror, and to bury into UTube study of Our Father, Papa, His Amazing Son Jesus, and My Best Friend The Holy Spirit! And now You!
    I’ll have more, thank you!
    In His Name, DrDon (aka FrDon, BrDon)

  20. Jo

    Catholic who surfed on in here after someone linked me to your Christian seder essay. Have bookmarked you! Always thrilled to meet Christians of good will from every faith. God bless!

  21. Gregory Warnusz

    Grace and peace, Mary. Google images directed me to your page https://sicutlocutusest.com/2013/03/18/preaching-isaiah-50-4-9a-the-suffering-servant/
    where the image atop the page has the credit
    –Image by Marcella Paliekara
    I’d like your permission to use the image on a webpage of my site, http://lectorprep.org. I’ll credit Marcella and you, with a link to this blog, and, if you wish, to https://revgalblogpals.org/.
    Thank you. Godspeed your service to the church.

    1. sicutlocutusest Post author

      Hi, Gregory, Sure, use it with attribution. My only concern is that I really don’t know where the image cam from originally, and I haven’t been ab;e to locate the artist to ask permission for my own use–I attributed with all the info I had, which wasn’t much. No need to link back to me, but thanks, anyway. M.

      1. Gregory Warnusz

        Thank you, Mary. I, too, tried to find the artist on the web. There are a few references on art-for-sale sites but she has posted no images there.

  22. Lani Bortfeld

    Dear Rev. Luti,

    I’ve been receiving the UCC Daily Devotionals for four or five years now, at a time when my own UCC church was entering into a time of self-destructive behavior where human voices were louder than God’s. Many of them come at exactly the right moment, directly bringing God’s message into my home and my being. I have come to know that your devotionals will feed me in this way: thank you so much for writing them! Chalk it up to human nature (or my own) that I never wrote until today, when I actually disagreed with something you said. I’m sorry for that, but am not sorry I’ve found this wonderful site in the process!

    In today’s “Joseph’s Tears” I do so appreciate your expression of the difficulty of forgiveness. I’ve chosen “Forgiveness” as my personal theme this Lent, and the more I seek on this topic, the more I find. First of all, let me be clear: I don’t have anything as horrible to forgive as Joseph or as my friend who is a victim of parental abuse. But I do struggle with hurts from folks I’ve trusted, so your thoughtful piece was very helpful.

    What jumped out at me (because, as I’ve said, your writings always elicit a resounding “Amen!” in my heart) were your words about Joseph’s tears: “…the sad past remains. Nothing can change or repair the damage.” Agreed, the sad past does remain and can’t be changed, but I believe it can be transformed and the pain can diminish, in God’s time and with God’s love. Our perspective on wrongs committed against us changes as we seek to hear God’s voice and submit to the Divine Presence. The pain takes up a much smaller space as the warmth of God’s love takes root in our soul and as we get a glimpse of the God’s-eye view. And pain can be transformed when we share it with another, giving them the courage to tell their own painful story and reach for healing.

    Thank you for enriching my Lenten journey,

    Lani B.

  23. Sandy Dovala, Administrative Assistant Trinity Lutheran Church

    Greetings, Trinity Lutheran Church, Vermilion would like to utilize the Greeting and Invitation from your Maundy Thursday 2013 post. May we have permission and what credit should we utilize? Thank you.

  24. Pat Saxon

    Dear Mary, The blessings of Holy Week to you! I first encountered your writing in the UCC daily devotions. While, as an English teacher (now newly retired), I have always appreciated your gifts of expression and the rhetorical force of your writing, it was the pieces where you spoke into the hard times that I most needed. On the morning you called us to the foot of the cross as we neared Christmas after the Newtown tragedy, a choked cry released into tears as I took in your words, and we read aloud your painful and powerful truth in our Advent Class that night. Now you are one of my “go to” women (along with Barbara Brown Taylor) in my own devotional writing for the Cathedral of Hope, Dallas—for the beauty, wisdom, and theological truth to which you bear witness. And friend after friend receives email forwards of your pieces labeled with “Another wonderful Mary Luti.” I have only recently discovered your blog, but I will return often to this rich resource and to your voice and vision. If you are ever in Dallas, please come worship with us—or preach for us!

    I hope the “fan letter” quality of this response isn’t too embarrassing, but as a woman of a certain age, it is important to express my gratitude to those near and far who have shaped by faith as well as my writing.

    Grace and Peace, Pat Saxon

    1. sicutlocutusest Post author

      Thanks, Pat–so good of you to write! I’m red-faced, but not ungrateful, for your kind words! I don’t get to Dallas often, but don’t be surprised to see me if and when I do. How could I resist such a lovely invitation?

  25. sicutlocutusest Post author

    I understand that, but when some comments demean others, I feel that I have to exercise some ‘moderation.” I don’t want people insulted on my blog, period. Given the limited time I have for overseeing that, it was my decision to end the thread.

    1. sicutlocutusest Post author

      I hope you will not assume that I deleted it as some sort of personal statement. If you read my final comment on the page, you will see that I have decided to bar all further comments; I’m not singling anyone out. I simply cannot keep up any longer with the volume of comments coming in, more than several of which have been demeaning to others, not informative and respectful. I do not like to suppress discussion, but it was my judgment that it would serve no purpose to keep the thread open, so I am deleting all further replies, even though we may miss some stimulating ideas as a result.

      1. mevashir

        No matter. Your post stimulated my thinking and allowed me to share with my own readers my thoughts on this important topic. By the way, you do not necessarily have to respond to blog comments. You can allow your post to serve as a catalyst for others to discuss the issue. You do not need to try to control this process.

  26. mevashir

    Mary: your post about Passover Seders really stimulated my thinking. I am disappointed that you deleted my comment but in the end I realize that I have profited while you and your readers have lost out.
    Interesting discussion at this blog: https://sicutlocutusest.com/2014/04/11/no-christian-seders-please/

    I posted this comment but the author deleted it:

    I have had lots of experience leading Passover Seders both at college as a member of Hillel and in Israel as an ultra Orthodox Jew. The Seder was a high point of the year for me. I would prepare for about a month and utilize one of the modern Haggadot that have excellent commentaries. I always would get frustrated trying to balance the teaching portion with the need for the participants to eat and to finish up before midnight, as Jewish law requires.

    For many Jews, Passover is virtually their only link to Jewishness. They have little understanding about the meaning of the symbols. They don’t know about Elijah as forerunner to Messiah, since most Jews no longer believe in a personal Messiah but rather in a kind of nebulous Messianic Era (if that much!).

    I think the book by Dr. Humphreys provides excellent insight into the Passover conducted by Jesus. The lectures by Scott Hahn and Brant Pitre also provide insight into the connection between the Final Supper and the Eucharist. (I am not Catholic but have appreciated many Catholic teachings.)

    The problem for followers of Jesus is that for us Passover is tinged with sorrow. Since our Paschal lamb has died, I don’t think we can fully share the joy Jewish participants have in recollecting their Exodus from Egypt. Our joy is not complete until Easter Sunday when our Lord has risen from the grave, confirming retroactively that all He said and taught was true and that He truly is the Lamb of God who comes to take away the sins of the world.

    Jewish people tend to overeat and get intoxicated on Passover, something that the Gospel discussion of the Final Supper clearly averts by the various unusual things Jesus introduces into the meal: foot washings, New Covenant on Bread and Wine, prediction of betrayal, and departing for Gethsemane where He experienced agony in the garden. None of these poignant things are reflected in the conventional Jewish Passover.

    Whenever the Final Supper actually took place, the Jewish nation was eating its Passover Meal after Jesus had been brutally executed and was not lying in the tomb. Their joy contrasted sharply with the grief of Jesus’ followers and His mother. This grief is captured vividly in Mel Gibson’s film The Passion of the Christ when both Marys are reciting verses from the Haggadah while huddled in darkness and expecting the worst for Jesus at the hands of His enemies.

    So my reservation about Christian participation in Passover is that they cannot share in the unmitigated joy the Jewish participants are experiencing at this ceremonial meal and also most important of all this Jewish meal omits the New Covenant that Jesus taught without which we have no share in Him and no portion in the World to Come.

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  30. Lucy Ijams

    By the grace of the FB page of the Rev. Joe Cleveland (of Syracuse, NY, recently of Belmont, MA,) I found your site. “Saints be praised!” You are ever wonderfully writing in the liturgical style I knew and loved at ANTS. I enthusiastically tell people about the Church History II class in which we read novels, lo some twenty years ago. I still resonate with your question in my middler review about genuine humility/low self-esteem. I will bookmark sicutlocutusest.com Grazie mille

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  32. Patricia Steely

    I just read my Stillspeaking Devotion and I wanted to thank you for sharing your thoughts. I find this blog online and thought I would communicate with you here.
    Your thoughts on the Boston Marathon Bombing beautifully expressed what I was feeling. Although my heart is heavy with grief for the participants and their families, my heart breaks daily at the reports of innocent people being slaughtered in Afganistan and other places. 30 people were murdered at that wedding (three times more than the death toll in Boston!) yet there is a righteous perception that when it happens on our soil it is somehow a more grave injustice.
    Thank you for writing something I could relate to. I am sad and broken at the wounds we cause each other, but I remain hopeful due to the hearts and hands that reach out to heal.

    1. sicutlocutusest Post author

      Thank you for your kind words, Patricia. I am getting some not unexpected pushback about the devotion–some people feel it was ill-timed and that I should have written something more prayerful and comforting, that it’s too soon to be speaking the way I did. I understand that sentiment of course, but my heart was broken for more than Boston (I am a Bostonian by birth and upbringing, and I g to Old South Church, the church that sits at the marathon finish line, by the way). I was hearing so much “us and them” language that I felt a need to address it. I guess I just believe that Christ’s commandment to love the enemy (the one who lives inside us as well as the ‘other’) doesn’t run on a schedule of appropriate times and inappropriate times. Not too pastoral, maybe, but…. anyway, I am glad you found something to relate to in the devotion, and thanks again for writing.

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  35. Carol Lashnits

    Hi Mary! So happy to have found your blog.
    You probably don’t remember me…..but you were very inspiring to me while at ANTS from 1987-1992. I have been becoming a mystic, much as it scared me way back then. Blessings! Carol Lashnits

    1. sicutlocutusest Post author

      Carol! Of course I remember! Seems like eons ago, but those years were memorable in so many ways! Isn’t it wonderful the way our deepest fears sometimes turn out to hold the key to a grace-full life? Blessings back at you! Courage and grace, M.

      1. Carol Lashnits

        It WAS eons ago. I was emailing Sharon Van der Laan yesterday….talking about memories of you and Dan Novotny. Yes, memorable times for sure!!

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