Saturday, November 28, 2009
I have been recording the worship services for a month now. At some point with a purpose of podcasting the sermon if not the worship service -- can't figure out how to negotiate the privacy issues. But, we are just now starting to take the DVDs we make to people who couldn't make it to the service. And, all of a sudden, we become their saints, their contact to the church community with prayers and songs already a weeks past, but still alive and kicking in the minds and hearts of those who now have access to the whole worship service. The picture is taken for a long way away and that brings some distance, but nearly everyone is amplified in the worship service so the sound is good and clear.
We took communion to homebound this week, an idea gift from Judith in her consultation.
Saints all over the place.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
It is time to go, time to commit, time to move into the future that we can't even imagine. Time to jump.
Jump by Madonna I think this is not computer assisted, I think they are amazing jumpers. It is one of my favorite music videos, great music and it helps me want to leap into life.
That is the Israelites choice because they can't go back to Egypt -- the old traditions that enslave them are now behind and gone. Ahead is the unknown. Since they can't move ahead, God creates a generation of those just holding onto the faith, dwindling and dying out, till a new generation can take the jump. Wow, that sounds a lot like nearly the whole United Methodist Church in the last fifty years. This is a hard scripture!
Remember, next Monday (the 26th) Judith Pruess-Mellow is going to be here consulting with us about how we facilitate our ministry to seniors in our church and out city. What questions would you like to ask an expert in Senior Spirituality??
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
On world communion it is a good thing to do something that makes it seem like the Christian church is actually one. There have been enough stories this week about how we fight with one another. I keep thinking that the way God is going to destroy the world at Armageddon is going to be to lock all the different Christian churches into a room together and stand back. Who needs four horses of the apocalypse? It hurts my heart.
This week I am juggling a house without Harriet with getting ready for my favorite Sunday of the year. Saint Francis in a brand new place. I don't think anyone knows what they are getting into yet -- and of course, neither do I.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
Monday, September 7, 2009
We are starting a series about the Exodus and facing the new world in front of us. I have always loved the Moses story and it has been speaking to me for the two months I have been here. Sermon 1: we get trapped by tradition (Egypt) and it is a process to get out.
I don't know how many people notice the screen. But Christine has been running the computer the last couple of weeks and we are learning new things about it every week, getting better and better. This week, she was getting up hymns for the sing along as fast as people could request them. Great job, thank you Christine!
Harriet, Jennifer and I went to see Julie and Julia today -- again. I loved the movie when I saw it last week or whenever, and loved it more today. No surprise.
- I loved Julie Powell's book when it came out.
- I love Julia Child's cookbooks -- I don't have Mastering the Art of French cooking, but I have two of her Julia Child and Company books. I think I have made everything in them.
- Julia was one of my cooking teachers -- I love her TV shows and have been watching them for a hundred years.
- Cooking saved my life when I was in a bad place. I would watch a cooking show (usually from the Great Chefs series) go out, buy the ingredients and make it that day trying to make it look like the Great Chefs did. As I paid attention to the little details, I fell in love with life again.
- And I adore the fact that the movie is really about falling in love and being in love in all sorts of ways. (The movie is such an oddity. Two married couples, wonderful rounded human beings. No affairs, no stripper bar down the block, the world does not end tomorrow nor do people get gunned down in the street. It takes a long time to get goals met, and loving is something that happens over a long time.)
I know in the church, we are suppose to say that it is just Jesus that saves us. But the fact is that it has always been a non-theological two way street. That is, our theology says that Jesus saves as a sheer act of grace, but we also have to get off our backsides and do something. (The Israelites have to pack and get out of Egypt).
Have you taken on a discipline or project that saved your life? What was it?
picture from http://bookpage.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/julie_and_julia.jpg
Monday, August 24, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Friday, August 7, 2009
I am getting ready to do another conversational and listening sermon this week on waiting for God, God waiting for us, Silence, Absence. Silence and waiting is where we crystalize, let who we are become transparent and clear. I have been thinking a lot about the Cyndi Lauper song as I have been writing. There is a stunning rendition on YouTube of her singing the song in a little studio on an old Howard Stern show. She does it very raw and direct, hunched over a mic singing her heart out. Here is who I am! Wow!
Thursday, August 6, 2009
On the surface, this statement is a bit ridiculous. How can you wait for a supreme presence that is everywhere all the time? How can you wait for a loving presence that is constantly filling you with life? Dietrich Bonhoeffer says something nice in his short book, "Creation". The creating word of God is a continuing word of God. If God was ever to stop saying our name we would utterly cease to exist. So, every aspect of creation is constantly affirmed (or loved) by the Creator.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
In our spiritual tradition, God is found in the community of faith (to be sure everywhere else also, if one pays attention). Our Wesleyan tradition values this affirmation highly. In the beginning, the spiritual path was the small group meetings where people shared their own faith with each other and in the sharing found God's Presence and direction.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
- The Great Commandment: (Deuteronomy 6) "The Lord your God is one and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength." Later on Hillel and Jesus will add "and love your neighbor as yourself".
- The Great Requirement: (Jim's Micah passage) to seek justice, love kindness and walk humbly.
- The Great Commission: (from Matthew 28) "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations".
Saturday, July 18, 2009
- Decaying: both declining and unstable. 51% of the churches in his study fit into this area, and since half the churches in this Conference are under 85 in worship attendance. Stressed leadership and finances leads to an inward looking church.
- Dystrophic: growing but unstable, these churches may offer lots of services to a bunch of folks but have a hard time keeping track of everyone.
- Retrogressive: stable but declining, these churches are often transitional and have limited their focus to be manageable as they decline, or to focus their energies as they are growing from declining congregations.
- Vital: growing and stable, they tend to define membership in terms of the ministries offered.
Monday, July 13, 2009
A bit of chaos today. I sat in the sound booth to see how things work behind the scenes. Things didn't work which gave me the chance to see a whole bunch of people working to try and solve the problem. I could see the care that goes on behind the scenes to make worship a good experience for everyone.
Sitting in the back is an odd experience for me. I like things up front. In the back you can't hear others singing during the hymns so it feels like you are singing alone. But, I get to see more of the caring behind the scenes: the attentiveness of the greeters and ushers, instructions given quietly to help people feel at home, the constant attention given to the service by Val and the others in the sound booth, the people that come in and out of the service for different reasons, the hosts leaving early to set out the feast, the quiet scurrying when things don't work according to plan. People finding a special niche, all their own in service to the worshiping community. Wonderful!
Gerhart Drumm started off his lovely sermon today about the Lord's Prayer with the statement that he was not going to say how to pray the Lord's prayer, but how he prayed the Lord's Prayer. It is a prayer we say in common, but everyone's prayer needs to be different because we are all different and come from different situations. It was like what I saw from the back -- everyone was in worship together, but all the workers at the back had a different way to bring their gifts to the community.
What is my prayer? What is your prayer? How is your prayer different than another's? How is it significant that we have different prayers or similar ones?
What do you think?