Thursday, April 27, 2006

I received a gift today

Not of the physical type -- but I was witness to a sacred moment.

It was Dr. Hackett's last class this afternoon. We are at the end of the semester -- perhaps the beginning of the eschaton?

He expounded funeral practices in the chapel today -- a lecture of end things. He teaches with panache and dignity. -- and impecable fashion sense. Half way through the lecture, Don Saliers paused in the open doorway of Cannon Chapel before he addressed the class. After a few humorous remarks, there was a subtle change in the mood. He and Dr. Hackett stood perhaps twenty feet away and Don said, "in these few waning moments, I came to say fare thee well."

In a motion full of grace, he raised his outstretched arm holding open his hand in a dancer's gesture to Dr. Hackett. Ted reached out his hand -- and even though they were twenty feet away from one another, it was Michealangelo's hands -- God and Adam. Don said "without you, dear friend, it would have been only half the journey. Untill me meet again."

Ted could say nothing, but his eyes were bright. He just smiled that little smile he has and they looked at each other. After a moment, Don turned on his heel and left.

It was a moment before we could get back to the lecture.

The presence of God was with us.

It was sacrament.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Complete And Total Procrastination

the A to Z meme

Accent: Upper Piedmont. Really.
Booze: Merlot
Chore I Hate: All of them -- seriously, I cannot think of a single one I like. Washing Dishes? Laundry? Catbox duty? -- I suppose the worse for me is Cleaning the Refrigerator. Can we just buy a new one??? Please??
Dog or Cat: Little Kitty. 18 years old. O-o-o-ld.
Essential Electronics: Which are NOT essential? The iBook is essential, as is the iPod, the Dell, the WD 250 gig hard drives (at least 3, don't you think?), the keychain wireless detector, the Jump Drives (in assorted colors, to match the liturgical season.) The power inverter in the car so I can plug in many electronics at the same time. Oh yeah, and the cameras. Essential.
Favorite Cologne(s): Chanel No. 5
Gold or Silver: Diamonds.
Hometown: Atlanta GA
Insomnia: Frequent
Job Title: Minister of Christian Ed and Media. I think I want to be Minister of Spiritual Formation. And Mommy.
Kids: Two
Living arrangements: Yes.
Most admirable trait: I can usually talk to anyone about anything. (Least admirable trait -- bonus): Conflict avoidance
Number of sexual partners: Yes.
Overnight hospital stays: maybe 2? Delivery of Children.
Phobias: burning the house down with the curling iron, iron, crockpot, oven, dryer, etc... or leaving a door unlocked.
Quote: "Not in a thousand years will man ever fly!" 1902 by Wilbur Wright
Religion: Christian; UMC
Siblings: one
Time I wake up: when I HAVE to get up.
Unusual talent or skill: I can look very very innocent ...
Vegetable I refuse to eat: Artichokes, like what's the point?
Worst habit: Procrastination heh heh heh
X-rays: teeth, sinuses, leg, arm -- wait, that was the cost.
Yummy foods I make: Chili, Grillards, veg-beef soup
Zodiac sign: about 3 foot square

I'm winding down

Reaching the home stretch of the semester. 4 of 5 newspaper articles DONE. Photographs shipped to editor for inserts. One 20 paper paper done, one in progress, one final and a short 2 page paper -- for this week. Then one Christian Ed project, one paper describing my own personal paradigm for preaching. Finishing touches on THE BOOK.

I think I'll take a break next.

I don't think I've ever written so very much in such a short period of time, but it means all my words have been used up and this well is dry. Dry, dry, dry.

I think I'll take a silent retreat when this is all over.

Friday, April 21, 2006


This year's shoes.

Last year's shoes.

The year before last year's shoes.

Am I in a rut?
Maybe this year I'll get these!!

And some of these (in all the liturgical colors.)

And (boring) some of these:

(OK, I'm mindless right now. Holy Moley Week burned out most remaining brain cells.)

Thursday, April 20, 2006

OK, I'm finished

with the boring paper about funeral practices -- and I didn't include either a New Orleans Jazz Band OR the Taiwan Funeral strippers (either of which would make a funeral much more interesting), I'm behind on my 5 (five) articles for the newspaper, my review of the new SS brochure and my video for the VBS meeting tonight. My eye is sore and swollen still. Time for drugs.

Meantime, for your enjoyment, here is the video I'm using to start the VBS planning meeting....

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

I had surgery on my eyelid

yesterday. I had a small growth/tumor/something or another near the inside corner of my eye. It's taking a while for me to feel better -- I think it's a combination of the stress of Holy Week and the anesthesia. I took this a while back -- you can't even see it. It developed in less than 6 months. Hmm...

Back to bed for a while.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

A Picture is Worth 1000 Words

So here are some pictures.

The Media/Sound "Booth" without a booth.

We had 8:00 worship in the Sanctuary, 9:00 in the Chapel and 9:30 and 11:00 here in the Fell-Worsh-Nasium. Four sections of chairs, pews along the sides and the bleachers. We can seat around 900 if full.

The Donkey with which we wrestled last Sunday.

My office sometime last month. There is now a nice big comfy chair and ottoman (BIG Chair) and more pictures on the walls. Along with a bigger stack of papers.

Friday, April 14, 2006

So totally light and fluffy

this posting will be.

I've been spending a lot of time at the church the last few days (for some reason...)
What are the absolutely NECESSARY things to keep there?

I have in my little closet:
complete makeup bag, hairbrush and hairspray
toothbrush and toothpaste
panty hose
clean shirt/top
grubby shirt
basic black jacket (to instantly "dress up")
bottles of water
basketball and Hello Kitty Kick ball
200 spools of ribbon
hammer and picture hanging hooks
folded up shopping bags (all Cokesbury, of course)
Video camera
Still camera
box of assorted cables
Communion Lunch box with the elements

What do you have in your closet at work? (OK, your WHATEVER at work?)

Thursday, April 13, 2006

A Comment

on an old posting -- specifically on a poem about Maundy Thursday. And I quote:

Your prayer? poem Sounds Very Dark to me. Concentrating on the Minor theme and missing the Real Message of this season, which is Jesus Christ gave us The greatest gift of all times!!!

We all, are or have been dead in our sins! but if you accept Jesus as your savior by asking forgivness, You will remove the blackness in your life, better yet You'll one day get to live in a sinless world with a new body that will never grow old and be in God's presence for ever. All because of Jesus Sacrfice at the Cross!! and because he Arose from the dead!!

I find this interesting. I grew up in a tradition that was not very liturgical -- and one that skips directly from the "Hosannas!" to the "Hallelujahs!" -- blithely going from Palm Sunday to Easter. No Ash Wednesday, no Lent, no Maundy Thursday, no Good Friday. From one high point to another high point without hitting the valley below.

As I grow older and I grow in my faith and understanding, I begin to wonder if there is more of value in walking the entirety of Jesus' walk -- to walk the Via Dolorosa and encounter the full suffering of Christ before we move onto the glory of the resurrected Lord.

It's a matter of balance -- the bitterness and suffering of the Via Dolorosa offset by the sweetness and glory of the empty tomb. We risk seeing only a part of the story; a tapestry is made of both light and dark threads.

Fred Craddock always stresses the importance of letting each part of the story stand for itself -- and I must agree. He says:

The mother picks up the child and says—in the oldest myth in the world—“Let me kiss it and make it well.” . . . She picks up the child, kisses the skinned place, holds the child in her lap, and all is well. Did her kiss make it well? No. It was that ten minutes in her lap. Just sit in the lap of love and see the mother crying. “Mother, why are you crying? I’m the one who hurt my elbow.” “Because you hurt,” the mother says, “I hurt.” That does more for the child than all the bandages and medicine in the world, just sitting in her lap.”

“What is the cross?” Craddock asks. “Can I say it this way? It is to sit for a few minutes in the lap of God, who hurts because you hurt” (Cherry Log Sermons: Why the Cross).

To sit and suffer WITH -- to sit in the darkness of Good Friday to know suffering before we sit in the light of the Resurrection.

Or (to quote another favorite preacher) It's Friday, but Sunday's coming.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Wonderful Wednesday

Today we enter fully into that mad rush we call Holy Week -- with our Lenten Lunch.

Then I go shopping to get the rest of the stuff I need for our Seder Meal tomorrow night. (The list has stuff like "brown paper bags," "assorted fingertip bowls" and "new LCD projector bulb." Assorted and random.)

For our Seder, I'm putting the responses on the big screens and we are going to have a live camera feed onto the big screens. Probably not necessary since we are going to have only about 100 people, but it will be good practice. (Shoot! Still no one to run the Media -- hmmm.... Since I'm going to be at the head table, along with the kids and the Sr. Pastor's family, I'll see if the Dear Loving Husband (Jack of all Trades) will do it... It's better than donkey wrestling (the donkey was stubborn on Sunday. Imagine that, a stubborn donkey.))

For Friday, we have the Tenebrae I wrote last year with some music changes.

For Saturday -- Easter Egg Hunt and Labyrinth Walk.

For Sunday FIVE services. Full Media at two -- again, hard to be two places at one time, I sure hope I have a helper....

So, now for the prayer time and then begins the time when I rush around like a chicken with its head cut off -- or rather, time to play whack-a-mole -- time to borrow LGF's trout.

I start with one of my favorite hymns -- one that I'm singing today at our Lenten Lunch.

Into the woods my Master went,
clean forspent, forspent,
into the woods my Master came,
forspent with love and shame.
But the olives they were not blind to him.
the little grey leaves were kind to him,
the thorn tree had a mind to him,
when into the woods he came.

Out of the woods my Master came
and he was well content;
out of the woods my Master came,
content with death and shame.
When death and shame would woo him last,
from under the trees they drew him last,
'twas on a tree they slew him last
when out of the woods he came.

-- Sidney Lanier, 1880*

*Lanier, the “poet laurete of Georgia,” earned his degree from Oglethorpe College. In 1879, he was appointed lecturer on English literature at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. This hymn first appeared in the Methodist Hymnal of 1905. He was raised a Methodist with a strong Presbyterian mother -- growing up around Macon, Georgia. When Lanier moved to Baltimore, he lived a somewhat more liberal life -- both as to creed and conduct -- he wrote: "If the constituentsand guardians of my childhood-- those good Presbyterians who believed me a model for the Sunday-school children of all times -- could have witnessedmy acts and doings this day, I know not what groans of sorrowful regret
would arise in my behalf." His family mostly lived south of Macon and into North Flordia. He was also an accomplished concert flutist. He became first flutist in the Peabody Orchestra in Baltimore, Maryland in 1873, and in 1876 he wrote a cantata for the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. At least one of his descendents is a concert trumpet player. He was only 39 years old when he died.

Music and God were intertwined for Lanier. Lanier believed in the religious value of music; it was a "gospel whereof the people are in great need, -- a later revelation of all gospels in one." "Music," he says, "is to be the Church of the future, wherein all creeds will unite like the tones in a chord." He was one of "those fervent souls who fare easily by this road to the Lord." Music tended "help the emotions of man across the immensity of the known into the boundaries of the Unknown." He would have composers to be ministers of religion. He could not understand the indifference of some leaders of orchestras, who could be satisfied with appealing to the aesthetic emotions of an audience, while they might "set the hearts of fifteen hundred people afire." The final meaning of music to him was that it created within man "a great, pure, unanalyzable yearning after God."

Monday, April 10, 2006

Morning Prayer

What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul.

To God and to the Lamb, I will sing, I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb, I will sing.
To God and to the Lamb Who is the great “I Am”;
While millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing;
While millions join the theme, I will sing.

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your loving-kindness;
in your great compassion blot out my offenses.
Wash me through and through from my wickedness
and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Against you only have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight.
And so you are justified when you speak
and upright in your judgment.
Indeed, I have been wicked from my birth,
a sinner from my mother's womb.
For behold, you look for truth deep within me,
and will make me understand wisdom secretly.
Purge me from my sin, and I shall be pure;
wash me, and I shall be clean indeed.

Dearest God,
Your Son took on the form of a human and became humble
for our sake. He became a servant
for our sake. He humbled Himself even unto death
for our sake. He went not onto joy, but first suffered pain
for our sake. He walked the way of the cross
for our sake. He bears the dreadful curse
for our sake. He took on death just
for our sake.

God help me walk the way of the cross
Help me be a witness to the light
Help me speak of Your glory
Help me serve Your people
Help me live as you would have me to live.

Purge me of sin. Wash me and make me clean as snow.
For You. Amen.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

recurrent dream

I'm having a recurrent dream recently.
Do you remember the silly "bop the gopher" game at the arcade? Where there are four pop up gophers and you have to bonk them with a big padded mallet?

Well, I dreaming that I'm bonking away and someone adds 4 more gophers -- then 4 more and then 4 more -- until I'm surrounded by pop-up gophers and I just can't bonk any faster.


Friday, April 07, 2006

While writing for our Seder Service

(Passover meal, for those in the know), I found this lovely set of finger puppets.

Yes, my kids want to play with Plague Finger Puppets. Especially the "Boils" and "Death of the First Born" ones.

Or perhaps we will pass over this lovely retail item.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Too Much To Do

I'm making lists

I'm doing the Imperative list today.

But in the mean time, some random thoughts:

Martin Luther wrote, "The Passion of Christ should not be acted out in words and pretense, but in real life."

The Seven Last Words:

1. Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34).
2. Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43).
3. Woman, behold your son: behold your mother (John 19:26 f.).
4. Eli Eli lema sabachthani? (Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34).
5. I thirst (John 19:28).
6. It is finished (John 19:30).
7. Father, into your hands I commit my spirit (Luke 23:46).

Stabat mater dolorosa
iuxta Crucem lacrimosa,
dum pendebat Filius.

At the Cross her station keeping,
stood the mournful Mother weeping,
close to Jesus to the last.

Cuius animam gementem,
contristatam et dolentem
pertransivit gladius.

Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,
all His bitter anguish bearing,
now at length the sword has passed.

O quam tristis et afflicta
fuit illa benedicta,
mater Unigeniti!

O how sad and sore distressed
was that Mother, highly blest,
of the sole-begotten One.

Quae maerebat et dolebat,
pia Mater, dum videbat
nati poenas inclyti.

Christ above in torment hangs,
she beneath beholds the pangs
of her dying glorious Son.

Quis est homo qui non fleret,
matrem Christi si videret
in tanto supplicio?

Is there one who would not weep,
whelmed in miseries so deep,
Christ's dear Mother to behold?

Quis non posset contristari
Christi Matrem contemplari
dolentem cum Filio?

Can the human heart refrain
from partaking in her pain,
in that Mother's pain untold?

Sunday, April 02, 2006

There are Sundays

And there are Sundays.

So much to say. So little energy. Almost baptized a baby with grape juice (I'm glad we checked out the pitcher first), a classic kid-moment during a baptism that was UBER embarassing for Mom (so embarassing I can't even blog it), Senior Pastor melted part of his robe during communion -- I pinched out the smoldering hole and he didn't notice.

We have Extreme Spring Break Camp!!! (not my exclamation points) tomorrow. I'm going to mix the sound -- something I've not done in a long time.

Oh, and I'm editing a book.