Posts tagged ‘religion’

We found it and my radical Lord

Since we moved, one of my big concerns was finding a church where we fit in.  I mean, our church in Colorado Springs was one of the hardest things to leave behind.  We had friends there, people that we knew we could count on for anything.  Even when things were difficult within the church we knew that we were loved and, I hope, people knew that we loved them and would support them even when we disagreed on the way things were being handled.

I’ll admit, the first Sunday after we moved in, I malingered…alot.  I was too tired to go to church.  God saw how hard I had worked that week to get everyone settled and happy and ready to start school the next day.  He would let this one slide.  Right?

Well, of course He let that one slide.  But I couldn’t.  I knew the reason I didn’t go to church that Sunday was really that I was feeling sorry for myself.  I didn’t want to meet anyone.  I didn’t want to put the effort into finding this part of our new home.

I thought about it all the next week.  But I didn’t do anything about it.  Just some good, old fashioned ruminating.

I don’t know what actually lit the fire under me.  I do know that Saturday night I sat down with the phone book and looked up the denomination of church that we are interested in.  I found 2 that were apparently close by.  So I called to see what time their services started and since it was late in the evening I could do this without making any human conact, no commitment.

We decided we would try the church that was the closest to our new home the next morning.

When I woke up on Sunday morning (an hour before the alarm went off) I was full of those first-day-of-school butterflies that I always used to get.  I almost decided I was too sick to go to church again.  Instead, I made a big breakfast and reeted my family with a cheerfulness I wasn’t feeling.

When we got to church, Bubba was insanely a bit clingy so I figured this was probably not going to be our new church home.  But Bubba and Lullibell left for children’s church without much ado and I settled back with hubby to listen to the sermon.

The sermon series was on scary stories of the Bible…I like a good scary story…so I figured this could be interesting.  The story they were talking about was Joshua and the wall at Jericho.  The sermon was really good and Pastor John made a couple of really good points that I could feel God drawing to me.

Then we picked up the monsters and Bubba announced that this was the best church ever and he would never go to a different church!  SOLD!

Today PJ started a new series on the Revolutionary and Radical Sayings of Jesus Christ.  Now, I don’t know about you but, I really like the idea of Jesus being this, wild eyed radical, bucking the system, saying these insane things about God and love and grace.  So again the sermon series was very interesting to me.

This morning, the sermon was called “Self Must Die” and is cited from Matthew 16:24-25.  For me the two major ideas that I have been kicking around in my head were the quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer that PJ cited and the idea of what is my “cross”.

Bonhoeffer said that “security is man’s biggest idol.”  Wow…that really struck me.  I would do anything to make sure, above all else, that my children are secure…then next is myself and hubby…I mean anything…scary, huh?

And the cross…what is my “cross”?  Pretty much everyone I know reads the verse Luke 9:23 and thinks of carrying a cross of burden.  But today Pastor John asked us to look at out cross as God’s will for us, his plan or desire for us.

Funny,  I have been struggling with that very question recently.  So tonight I went to the study group about the sermon to hear more.  I was not provided with a flash of light and an awakening that gave me all of the answers.  I was however more clear on what I need to think about over the next few days and I felt more peaceful than I have in a very long time.

I am happy when I am with my monsters doing Momma things.  I am happy when I am being of service, helping others, loving my neighbor.  I believe that somewhere in those two things is my cross, God’s desire for me.

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Hmmm…Not so much

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Who knew?!?!?!?!  Seriously though—If you ever attended one day of Sunday School you could score at least 50 % on this thing!  And it doesn’t tell you which questions you miss…that is what I wanted to know!

All of Creation

Today the monsters went to a one day Vacation Bible School at my momma’s church.  It is a teeny little white church on a windy little road affectionately known as the dam road (no, not misspelled, the road ends up at a hydroelectric power dam).  The morning dawned terribly foggy but the sun rose with such a vengeance I definitely knew it was July.  The fog burned off quickly but there were remnants left as we drove to the church, shimmering under the boughs of the trees and making every thing look just a little greener.

After depositing Lullibell and a very weepy Bubba at the church I headed toward town to drop off some slightly overdue library books.  Another winding path of a road.  In one curve I slowed down for animals crossing the road—a beautiful doe and twin fawns.  The mother stopped and looked at me with all the authority of a crossing guard.  I waited and watched her and the beautiful babies finish crossing the road and scramble up the bank.

On the way back from the library I decided to go back the same way.  A bit further up the road from where the deer had crossed there were 6 turkeys flapping and fussing on the side of the road.  There was one that was at least 3 and a half feet tall. Amazing.

There is a piece of property along the road that I have long admired.  In the front corner of the lot, by the road a stand of turk’s caps lilies grows.  I had slowed to check those for blooms when I realized there was a very large chimpmunk sitting in the one sunny patch on the road looking at me.

I am constanly amazed by the beauty that surrounds me.  I felt truly blessed by the simple show of nature this morning.

Shaky ground

Recently with all of the unsettled feelings I have been having my faith has been a bit shaky. I have felt very poor in spirit and have really been leaning on my friends to keep me grounded spiritually. I believe that God has really been watching out for the monsters lately as their momma has been checked out.

If I can let go of the despair and resentment I am feeling then I can see that there is a method to the madness that my life has become. This is what I work toward every day. This is the solid ground that I am able to find and stand on when I give all of the worries over to God and just do the next thing in front of me.

I carry this quote around with me just about every where I go. It helps me see that things do make more sense when I slow down and work on faith and not my own will.

The fruit of silence is prayer.

The fruit of prayer is faith.

The fruit of faith is love.

The fruit of love is service.

The fruit of service is peace.

~Mother Theresa

Mary, love, and grace

In my ladies book and Bible study the other day we read a story called “Love Casts Out Fear”. It was a short story written about Mary Magdalene and her trip to the tomb on Easter Morning. The story describes Mary’s fear of being arrested for tending to Jesus’ body, her deep sadness at seeing his body broken and bleeding, the first time she met Jesus, and his appearance to her first after His death.

According to this story, their first meeting took place on a day when Mary was suffering terribly. The seven “demons” that were possessing her were in full force that day and she had broken free of those tending to her. At this point Mary was the lowest of the low in society, a woman, and a sick one at that. Mary was contemplating hurling herself into the well in the town when Jesus saw her, wiped the blood from her face and cast out the demons. After that, Mary became what some call the disciple to the disciples.

For me Mary is the ultimate example of why God sent His son to us. The first person to see Jesus alive on the first Easter morning was Mary. Before Mary women had very low position in religion. And now, the Son of God is appearing to a woman and asking her to spread His message first. Before this no one uttered the name of God because it was too holy and above the common man. Jesus brought the grace and love of His Father to everyone. I don’t need to go to a priest or rabbi or whatever to converse with my God. He is always right there available to me. Open to me.

And I don’t need holy relics. The history is there to be seen. Much of what is written can be backed up with archaeological data. That’s great. I find all of that very interesting and fun to learn about, read about and study but it is not a necessary part of my spirituality. I can accept much on faith. And I can do this because I have felt the grace and love that is what God gave me when Jesus appeared to Mary on the first Easter morning.

What’s your life’s ambition?

My friend was telling a story last night about a visit with her family.  The sisters were talking about their life’s ambitions.  Now, this friend of mine is a very hard worker and I really think that she has it all together but she felt uncomfortable at the start of this conversation as she has always thought that she was far less ambitious than anyone in her family.  But her answer to the question-what is your life’s ambition?-really struck me and I think she is onto something here.

She told her sisters that her life’s ambition is to know and learn to trust God and to love and serve people.

How amazing is that for ambition?

The weight of the world

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Yesterday when I was dropping Bubba off at pre-Kindergarten I was slightly distracted. For no particular reason, really. We were on time and maybe a few minutes early. I was applying for mom of the year so I thought I might ought to wash the blue paint from the day before off of his elbow and talking to another mom on the way in.

But when we walked through the door I got the feeling that something just wasn’t quite right. It was kind of like the ol’spidey senses were tingling. I had a very serious gentleman that worked a very serious job of personal protection (bodyguard to presidents and Margaret Thatcher at points during his career) tell me one time to never, EVER ignore that feeling. So I quickly rushed through the entry of the church and back to the safest part of the building-the preschool area. The tinglies went away and I cleaned Bubba up and sent him into his classroom.

When I started back toward the entry I stopped in the office where I was greeted by Reverend Ann and Kristin, our secretary. They both seemed a bit unnerved and I could hear yelling coming from the men’s room across the hall. Apparently a mentally ill gentleman had come in off the street and confronted/cornered the diminutive Reverend Ann in the office hallway. He was very agitated and threatening in her direction. He was also talking about hearing voices and told the ladies in the area to just ignore these voices if they heard them.

A member of our congregation came in and gave Reverend Ann the opportunity to move to what she considered safer ground and the man left the area (the staff thought he had left the building). Minutes later when the yelling in the bathroom began we knew that this was not so. The gentleman confronted a dad dropping off his child at the preschool and refused to move on. After a few moments of yelling and brushing his teeth he did finally leave the building and the property.

I thought about this gentleman much of the rest of the day. He was very obviously stricken with some form of mental illness. Just from the brief look at him that I got, he looked capable of inflicting harm on any of the women that he had confronted on his path through the building.

I have been unable to reconcile my feelings about this since yesterday. On the one hand there is the mission of our church. The mission statement is “We welcome and serve in the spirit of the living Christ”. Did that man come into our church because he could feel our welcoming? Did he actually feel welcome when he came inside? Did he get any relief from “the voices” once he was with us? How could we have helped him more?

I was thankful he left under his own power and that it was not necessary to have him removed. I am also grateful that no harm came to him or any of our staff or anyone using the building at the time. For me, there is this eternal circle of wishing that I could have done more to help this man, wondering what this would look like and keeping myself and the people around me from coming to harm.

Any thoughts?