Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Babies, Backsides and Reformers

The fourth Sunday on Moses.  A great story of Moses wanting to see God and God stuffing him into a crack in the rock, covering up Moses' face while God passes by and just showing God leaving.  I think it is true that I am not fast enough to get much more of a glimpse than that.  God is always before me and I have a tough time staying free enough to even catch up.  It is an odd truth about ministry.  We run as fast as we can to stay up with God, finally give up and rest for a moment and find God sitting with us.  My Mom taught me this with a phrase she used that I don't think I have quite got -- Stop so you can Go.

This week a baby born into the church.  I have been in younger congregations than this one but it has been a long time since a baby was born into one of my churches.  Holding a one day old baby, all seven pounds and long fingers, and I wonder what kind of church will liven his spirit twenty years from now.

I am getting ready for Sunday at the Lutheran Church.  Everyone remember

10:00  Christ Lutheran Church on Smith Lane, just south of Ray's 

I have found myself thinking about stories of the two founders of our church.  Wildly different styles and temperaments but both working hard to reform a church bound into itself and to bring the church closer to real people.  So many stories I read make me think we need their energy today.  What message of grace would they whisper into the ear of a one day old child born into a church with so few children?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Teaching Talmud to Church

Everyone stomping and shaking the church in the story time being the Holy Mountain. The Ten Commandments to the tune of Twelve Days of Christmas with hand motions by the Choir. And reflections on the process of dialogue that is our Bible -- it doesn't take very long before the Ten Commandments get very complicated in everyday life.

Today God sent us several people needing help, a few who probably didn't need the kind of help they were asking for.

Upstairs, the Scotia Band cleaning up and prepping the upstairs room for their stuff, and downstairs a memorial service.

The Church Council met briefly after the service to get a task force started on Church Development that will follow up on the plan we set for ourselves last week. A whole table at fellowship time was folks who are newly coming to church and perhaps ten out of the sixty or seventy people at worship were exploring the church.

We see in each week all the elements that make a church vibrant -- worship, exploration, questions and imagination, people in need asking, people grieving being surrounded and comforted, church space used in new ways, puzzles to solve and new possibilities to see all the ways God is at work, private conversations, healing touch, and audio-visual equipment sort of working. God grant us the fullness of a church in motion as we are marching to Zion.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Plan

Wow, this weeks has sped by. Sunday was a big day for me: worship, then the plan, then a meeting for Stephen's ministers, then the rain and a nap. We did worship on asking the question: what do we need? I find this a particularly difficult spiritual issue because I understand that we are to ask God for what we need. However, there are a lot of people that don't get even basic needs. However, asking the question of what we really need is essential in good discernment of our paths and is woven all over the Moses story and the Exodus, not just the stories of manna and the story of water in the desert that we did on Sunday.

After the worship, a great potluck -- I got exactly two bites of food. And then we talked about the new development plan. If you didn't get the summary, we posted it on the website (follow the link for "development". (By the way the last newsletter is up there also.) None of the proposals are too earthshattering or make too many changes to what is going on and it seemed like most everyone is either excited about the plan or at least ready for it. So we started initiating things. After the meeting, the Stephen's ministers gathered are are getting ready to teach a small group on dealing with grief and loss.
If you have any comments, you can leave them here. How do you think the meeting went? Chuck already got to work on this and put things into an action plan which is attached to the Plan on the website. Check it out.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Julie and Julia

Yesterday I talked more than listened in the sermon, does that mean I preached? I think it was my first sermon in Fortuna.

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.)
Thank you Nora Ephron and everyone else that made this wonderful, spiritual, movie. You have lifted my spirits, made me laugh and laugh, and reminded me of some things that are very important to me.

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