Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I Am Because We Are

The sanctuary was rocking tonight. We are hosting a mission team from Christ United Methodist Church in Rockford, Il. 99 strong - youth and adults - and they know how to travel in mission. Usually with a group like this you will find a youth pastor, a few adults and little else from home. But this group brought a church - complete with pastor, music director and band, AV system (video and sound) and all any group would need to be in service to God and the community.

The Rev and I really enjoyed being in worship with them tonight. They go out during the day and work hard rebuilding our community and at night they gather in the sanctuary to worship. The worship service was full of energy and great music. We sang, we danced in the aisles, we prayed and we rejoiced in the community of faith. The message tonight centered around the south African philosophy of ubuntu - I am because we are. The pastor did an excellent job of sharing this message of the importance of the interconnected community with her western audience that has been raised on individualism. I thought this message was especially suited to a group who has interrupted their lives to travel to another state to do the dirty work of reconstruction.

Kudos to this group from Illinois. You brought an energy and life to that old sanctuary the likes of which it has not hosted in a long time.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Returning to the scene of the crime

This was a great Sunday for the Rev and me. Rev was invited to preach at Lovely Lane, the church we had attended for almost 20 years and that sent the Rev out to minister.

This is the church that raised our children. I think our daughters spent as much time there as they did in our home. Our older daughter is still a member of this church - refusing to follow Mom to her new church, even though it is just as close to her apartment across town. This is where she sings in the choir and where she feels grounded in Christ.

This is also the church that listened with us when the Rev was first getting that stirring that she needed to follow Christ in a new way. They supported us and, as is the tradition in our denomination, when the time was right, they stood up and said, "this woman has the calling and we are sending her out to serve God." They supported us with their words, they supported us with their love, and they even opened up their purses and supported us with their donations. This is a very special place in our family.

Needless to say - preaching here is not easy for the Rev. The pressure she puts on herself is enormous. It doesn't mater that I remind her that she is loved here and with that love comes forgiveness. The Rev will settle for nothing but her best effort for this congregation.

Well, I'm here to tell you that she did not disappoint - herself or me. She did a wonderful job telling her story of her journey to ordination and thanking this congregation for the very real and important part they took in making that happen. I don't know if they needed to hear it, but I am thankful they gave us the opportunity to share it.

Some Sunday's are very special. This was one of those days.


Saturday, July 04, 2009

A summer's day drive in Iowa

Yesterday the rev and I took a drive in the country. It was a beautiful day for a ride. The temperature was mild and the sky was full of those puffy clouds that look like suspended balls of cotton.

Our destination was "Hoptown" were our daughter will be married this fall. We wanted to visit the historical site were she plans on having the service. This was my first visit and what I found was a pleasant site of an old college long since closed, in a small Iowa village. This will be a very nice setting for the "momentous day".

What I really enjoyed most was the drive getting us there. We took the back roads into the village. It was a newly repaved county road that wound through the hills of northeast Iowa. We wound through the corn fields and the bean fields. The beans still look to be very early but the corn was definitely doing well. Much higher than the old "knee high by the fourth of July" standard that the rev and I grew up with. Now if the prices could just recover a bit, it looks like the farmers, at least in that area, could have a good year.

We wish all of you a pleasant Independence Day and in the true spirit of this day . . .

We wish you peace.