Saturday, March 31, 2007

A Holy Saturday?

It's the Sabbath day- how do we use it well?

The sermon for Sunday is done- which is a great thing given the last few Saturdays, where sermons have been hurriedly put together. Husband and I usually have a deal: that my sermon will be mostly done by Friday afternoon, since he lives in a city 100 miles away during the week. Due to many circumstances beyond my control, Saturday evenings have been filled with prep time rather than relationship time.

But the sermon is done, the outdoor to-do list is long, the exercising has been completed, and... the day is completely rainy and cold.

I guess a superficial movie is in order! We drive aout 30 miles to see a movie, so we are making and event of it: We'll go to the big box hardware store, the co-op, the big box discount shop and continue with a dollop of hollywood- and then make a food network "good eats" meal.

The Sabbath day: filled with shopping and terrible entertainment... I cringe a bit at the above activities. It is an ongoing struggle for everyone I know: How do we keep our days holy when we need to do laundry, gardening, cleaning and shopping?

A blessed Sabbath to you-

Friday, March 30, 2007

Friday Five: Holy Week, Batman!

From the Rev Gals Blog:

Well, the Clergy Superbowl is almost upon us, and so, I offer up this Friday Five (with apologies for the irreverent title):

1. Will this Sunday be Palms only, Passion only, or hyphenated?

We are celebrating Palm Sunday with the reading of the Passion Gospel- all terms are on the front page of the bulletin- I'm not certain folks would know what I was talking about if I called it Passion Sunday... they would be confused, and think it was a Catholic holiday...

2. Maundy Thursday Footwashing: Discuss.

Not nowhere around her, nosiree. We take our shoes off in the presence of others only if we are going into the sauna.

3. Share a particularly meaningful Good Friday worship experience.

When I lived in Moscow, our Good Friday service involved a time of venerating the crucifix. In many protestant traditions we have moved far away from having a crucifix- the actual body of Christ hanging on the cross. We have clean and beautiful crosses, if there are crosses at all in the sanctuary.

The cross was taken down from the front and layed on the steps. We were invited to come up and kneel at the cross, pray and kiss the feet. In the Russian Orthodox tradition, this is a very important and emotional time- and it was for me as well.

4. Easter Sunrise Services--choose one:
a) "Resurrection tradition par excellence!"
b) "Eh. As long as it's sunrise with coffee, I can live with it."
c) "[Yawn] Can't Jesus stay in the tomb just five more minutes, Mom?!?"

B. Going with the middle ground here- hoping for good grounds! Make a good pot of coffee at home, take it to church, finish it after the sunrise service- it's a good addition to the Youth Group Easter breakfast- and continue to drink weak Lutheran coffee up through the other morning service!

5. Complete this sentence: It just isn't Easter without...

Lillies, fresh flowers, organ and piano music, maybe some trumpets, easter breakfast, green eggs, and the yummy Easter Sunday nap right after the juicy ham is shared.

Bonus: Any Easter Vigil aficionados out there? Please share.

I'm sure it's really beautiful, meaningful, lovely, but really... I don't pull allnighters anymore- and if the vigil ends at 2 or 3am why sleep for two hours and get up for the sunrise service?

What about you? What are your Holy Week and Easter loves and traditions?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Forbidden Word

The Lenten Controversy that surrounds the speaking of Alleluia has always escaped me. What's the big deal? (I know my seminary worship professor is likely experience heart difficulties right now.)

But seriously: There are 40 days of lent- there are 46 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter. That gives us Sundays- the day that we celebrate the resurrection each week- even during lent. If you ascribe to high liturgy- during lent - including Sundays- we cannot: say/sing/think Alleluia, have any baptisms, any weddings, or really any kind of celebration.

While I get the importance of steeping ourselves in the seriousness of the season, are Sunday worships ruined by the Alleluia addition? Is this blog in trouble because I am writing it?

Last Sunday we sang Alleluia with abandon- it was only my Catholic Husband who made a big deal out of it- we were celebrating outdoor ministry- and frankly, it's hard to find jump around campfire songs that don't have some form of Alleluia in it!

This post comes from a deeper seeded worry- should I be paying more attention to this liturgical tradition?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Holy Grounds: Muddy ground

It's back full speed ahead into Lent and Holy Week!

It was a wonderful two days-great lakes are beautiful places- but everyone I meet is ready for spring- and the weather sends us snow... a few months too late. So now we are all slushy and muddy.

Hmmm... maybe that is a good reflection place, lent/pre-spring: gospel/muddy and slushy -

We tend to wrap up this time of year in already neat Easter baskets- it's like a spoiler for the movie. It's a good story, but when you know the happy ending, our minds tend to hold that during the rough, dark and dangerous places.

How can we get into the muddiness of lent- the dirty walk to Jerusalem...

Monday, March 19, 2007

My Lord What a Morning

Though it seems like terrible timing to take a 2 1/2 day holiday during Lent, waking up this morning with sunlight over the water, coffee brewing, scones baking (thank you, wonderful husband and partner) and the (electric) fireplace uh, flickering... well 3 outta 4 ain't bad...

Let's just say life is beautiful.

I often forget that just when I think I cannot take the time away- when there is so much to do- when there is so many people who need me- well that is exactly the time when I need to have a morning of good coffee and wonderful baked goods.

As the role of pastor becomes more familiar, I can plan for these much needed breaks- for instance, knowing that a mid-March renewal would make the rest of Lent, Holy Week and Easter a better experience for all, especially the worship leader.

Perhaps that is the Lenten discipline to follow: Giving up my self-fashioned sense of self-importance- giving up worship planning, newsletter writing, council mediating and pastoral visiting for simply two days.

Perhaps this is a road less traveled by us pastor-types? This morning- it has made all the difference.

Friday, March 16, 2007

RevGals Friday Five: Whatcha doin?

From our lovely Rev Gals:

Well friends, this is one of those weeks when I simply must work today, which is normally my day off. I know, I know. We may tut-tut all we want, but the fact is, some weeks are like that. So, this week's F5 is simple.

Name five things you plan to do today.

1. Prepare a funeral sermon for a dearly loved member of my congregation
2. Prepare a Sunday sermon for the grieving dearly loved members of my congregation
3. Begin a newsletter article and council report
4. Blog- it's been too long (checking this one off right now...)
5. Start Holy Week service planning

Bonus: If today is about "have-to" for you as well, share up to five things you'd like to be doing today.
1. Run errands- it's amazing how much calmer life seems to be when I know there is enought toilet paper in the house.
2. Make rather than purchase a dessert for dinner this evening.
3. Steep myself in the Sunday sermon, but too many thoughts are wandering aimlessly in my mind- just crank it out!
4. Snowshoe with the dog in our last 4 inches of snow of the season we just received last night.
5. Drink a good cup of coffee. Church coffee, while always available, is rarely good. Sigh.

How about you?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

International Women's Day

To all the women in my life who lend me strength and grace.

by Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies
I'm not cute or built to suit a model's fashion size
But when I start to tell them
They think I'm telling lies.
I say
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips
The stride of my steps
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please
And to a man
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees
Then they swarm around me
A hive of honey bees.
I say
It's the fire in my eyes
And the flash of my teeth
The swing of my waist
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say
It's in the arch of my back
The sun of my smile
The ride of my breasts
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say
It's in the click of my heels
The bend of my hair
The palm of my hand
The need for my care.
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman
That's me.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Holy Ground

I literally felt like removing my shoes before I entered his hospital room.

The knowledge that a place is holy ground is not always evident, but when we are in the moments that separate life and death, we actually then realize that these two are connected so deeply. Connected by the holiness that has always been there, but is now allowed to grow and encompass a room, a place because the distractions have been removed.

One of his sons asked me how people die: will their eyes remain open? will it be a sudden revelation? will it be violent or peaceful? will he just slip away?

Death is different than birth this way. Birth involves a struggle, almost a violent entrance into the world- no matter which way the child is delivered into this earth. But death- death has many forms. Preparing for death is much different than preparing for birth.

In someways it is like a trip. Many months, weeks sometimes years, even are spent preparing for embarking on a journey. But not as much time is given to the return trip home. So often we are caught unpreparedd for that journey- our bodies sometimes fight it, our mind holds onto the memories we have made during the journey.

But home is the place to which we must return. And when we arrive, we are met with kisses, hugs, and tears- and the lessons we have learned on our journey are shared and absorbed into our new/old lives.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

March comes in like a Monkey?

Though we seem to be the lone area of the midwest that has sunshine and blue sky, the wind is raging outside as the snow, ice and blizzard closes every school, government office and public gathering place around us.

My confirmands prayed for a blizzard last night- And God gave one- just not to us.

It's interesting how much people anticipated this storm. They, quite literally, prayed for a snow storm. It is unusual that we have not yet been snowbound this winter, when usually we are blanketed in snow from November through April.

No matter what the theory of Global warming, it is apparent to me that this earth is heating up. The air currents are changing, bringing storms to places that are not usually prepared for them. And our response is anger, frustration and disbelief.

Why are we so surprised? We have known for years we are changing our earth home.

Hear No Evil. Speak No Evil. See No Evil