Sunday, April 27, 2008

Runyararo - A Song for Zimbabwe On Easter 6A

Was thinking of writing a prayer but found this on You Tube.
Here are the words:

Runyararo (means "peace" in Shona*):

Hold your hand out, child,
hold your hand out and I'll fill it
I know it's not much, but will it do?

It's a big world and we're two small people in it
If I could change it, I would for you
But all I have is love

Lift your head up, friend,
lift your head and don't you worry
Somehow we'll find a way to make it through

Put your gun down, man, cause we're not here for fighting
We're simply surviving, much like you
And all we have is love
All we have is love

Ooo, Runyararo
Ooo, Runyararo

Let your pride go, sir, let your pride go and help fix this
There will be no claiming, you never knew

Are you watching, world, do you see the people dying?
And are you trying, to do all you can do?
Have you not love?
Have you not love?

Ooo, Runyararo
Ooo, Runyararo

© 2007 Leesha Harvey
She wrote this song after speaking with her Mom who lives in Zimbabwe. She told her many stories of things she has seen in the past few months, and while thinking about these stories this song was born. The photographs are all from Zimbabwe--most of them are ones my mother has taken.
Go listen to Leesha sing this one and some others. Most are original and recorded on her own.
The video
DISPATCH: ZIMBABWE - The Story inspired her as well.

The Gospel scripture today is John 14:15-21

Friday, April 25, 2008

Friday Five: Throughly Post Modern Milly

Singing Owl brings us the revgalblogpals Friday Five;

An Old Versus Modern (Postmodern?) Friday Five

"Yesterday I had two separate conversations in which people were musing about how much change is occurring. The WW II generation, of which my mom is a part, went from horse and buggy to automobiles, saw the lessening, or even the end of many diseases, went from widespread use of kerosene lamps and outhouses (in the country, and most folks were rural) to a totally electrified and plumbed society. The fastest means of communication was a telegraph. The second conversation--gulp--was about MY generation and how much change occurred in the last half of the 20th century. The person said his 13 year old had not seen a vinyl record album until a few days before, couldn't remember a time without cell phones, and on and on.

As for the questions!

1. What modern convenience/invention could you absolutely, positively not live
without? I am not so sure there are utter absolutes, because we are in such quickly changing times. However, I really like my bathroom conveniences, and electricity. I have had enough outhouses, holes in the ground, and no running water situations, including those at churches for a lifetime. That said, if I had to use one again, I would. But I am spoiled by what I have.

2. What modern convenience/invention do you wish had never seen the light of day?
Why? I like tv a lot, sometimes too much and I think it is the bane of our culture and life. My husband says this; "We let it influence us too much and especially our children." This goes with the bonus and I'll put my thoughts on the matter in the bonus section.

3. Do you own a music-playing device older than a CD player? More than one? If
so, do you use it (them)? I still own a record player, yes one of the vinyl playing machines, I also own tape players, don't know where the 8 track is. And we own a reel to reel tape deck that Bob bought in Viet Nam that I think every Viet Nam Vet owns due to the cost being so low. And it still works! We still play the record player sometimes because of some of the records we have, and because we haven't bought them in cd form yet.

4. Do you find the rapid change in our world exciting, scary, a mix...or something
else? I just want to say, "when can I get off this merry go around?" "Stop, the world is spinning too fast." And at the same time, I do find it exciting. I like new things. I like my techie toys. I like being connected with you all, which if we didn't have the changes that we have had; wouldn't be able to have. I love the global connection. It doesn't scare me into being fearful and going into a hole. I just would like sometime to catch up. I always feel behind, and then when I figure something out, we are already onto the next thing.

5. What did our forebears have that we have lost and you'd like to regain? Bonus points if you have a suggestion of how to begin that process. I am not sure exactly what we lost, did we ever have it? I listen to my mom and others who lived through the depression, it was not particularly happy times. I read about times before that, something seemed to be missing during those times too. I don't want to go backward. The 50's and 60's weren't that great either. So what is the answer?
The local paper got around to publishing a study about whether people were happy today or not. Unfortunately, I could not find the article on-line, and that paper was thrown away. It struck me because it talked about that even though we have more, have more money, more leisure time we are not happy. Why? The study seemed to point to that it is what we do with the money, the leisure time, relationships, and ourselves that makes the difference. (Sorry I can't find the study, wish I could. This is the closest I can get to it from WSJ)
I don't know all the answers and neither do the researchers, Psychologists, or Sociologist. But if it is what we do with ourselves, our money and our time, perhaps we start with our own evaluation of how we are utilizing what we have, how we spend our money, our time and ourselves? And then begin to ask what does it mean we spend more money here or there and not here? How does this effect how we feel or live our lives or our souls or our families? Keep a time line of our day or days? Ask similar questions of the data we have written? Perhaps ask our Pastor/Spiritual Director what it means, what needs to change, where to go from here? Keep some form of journal about ourselves and our relationships? Who are we spending time with? How are we spending time with them? Ask those we are in relationship with what they experience with us. Ask our souls what our souls experience and think and feel? Ask our creator ask Jesus about this. I am not saying turn off the tv totally, although I have met families who have done this. But perhaps keep a journal of the watching and what you feel or thought or experienced while watching and the same with family time spent watching and then being intentional about what you watch and how you watch.

The study's data on which activities we enjoy is enlightening. The five professors grouped activities into six clusters, based on the emotions associated with each.

The standout cluster was what the authors label "engaging leisure and spiritual activities," things like visiting friends, exercising, attending church, listening to music, fishing, reading a book, sitting in a cafe or going to a party. When we spend time on our favorite of these activities, we're typically happy, engrossed and not especially stressed.

"These are things you choose to do, rather than have to do," notes one of the study's co-authors, Prof. Schkade of the University of California, San Diego.

The obvious implication: If we devote more time to these activities, maybe we would be more satisfied with our lives. Yet the evidence suggests we've missed a huge chance to do just that -- which may help explain why Americans are little or no happier than they were four decades ago.

Did you ask for a sermon or something? I think I tend to leave out my soul, my children's souls, other people's souls, and forget the sweetness of the relationship with God in whatever I do, whatever I have, and that is what is missing. It is not just a doing it is a being. And now that I have preached to the choir, meaning me, I will now begin with the evaluation process of the above. I will also say, that part of what I have found in my relationship with my peers of rgbps is a connection with my soul and that sweetness of the relationship with God. (That is another post.)

Some useful links: The Happiness Institute's blog
The Happiness Project

Pictures: Outhouse

modern bathroom

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Back from Vacation

Hi friends,
we are back from vacation. We had a great time. I had to turn around quickly and go to an all day training event, that is being required by the conference for those ministers who are moving. It is called the first 90 days, and is a really good workshop. It is based on the book by Michael Watkins with the same name. Then I had a meeting that night at my future church with the Staff Pastor Parish committee. Today I spent all day with staff, getting informed about my future church, roles, expectations. I came back to spending some time with the kids. I will be posting a more in depth post later when I am not so brain dead or saturated.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Saturday post before leaving town

Given that this Sunday is designated as Good Shepherd Sunday,
I am posting the song "My Holy Shepherd"

My Holy Shepherd

C Em F C
[1] My holy Shepherd, He watches over me
He watches over me everyday
C Em F C
My holy Shepherd, He watches over me
He watches over me, everyday

[2] My holy Shepherd, He always understands

[3] My holy Shepherd, He hears my every prayer

[4] My holy Shepherd, He heals my broken heart

[5] My holy Shepherd, He holds me in His arms

[6] My holy Shepherd is worthy to be praised

picture of Shepherd

Friday, April 11, 2008

Friday Five:Moving

Mother Laura at RevGalBlogPals presents the Friday Five: We are right in the middle of a move--only twenty minutes away, but we're still a mix of busy, excited, nervous and surprisingly full of grief about what we're leaving, for me at least. So this week's Friday Five asks about your experience of the marvels and madness of moving...

1. How many times have you moved? When was the last time? Too many times. Lets see, as a child 6 times. As an adult 21 times. Two years ago. I am a Methodist Minister, remember. I am getting ready to move.

2. What do you love and hate about moving? Love: Dejunking, Newness, adventures, new friends, new home, new beginnings. Hate: packing, cleaning, loading, unpacking, cleaning, unloading, did I mention the cleaning? saying goodbye, and trying to acclimate to new systems, and ways of doing things. The stress. Helping the kids understand, and helping them pack and get ready for the move, and helping them with the transition. ( We are right in the middle of all this also, Mother Laura.)

3. Do you do it yourself or hire movers? In my younger single days, when it was just my stuff, I moved it with a little help from my friends. Now, I use movers.

4. Advice for surviving and thriving during a move? Get help as soon as possible for the packing and cleaning and fixing up. That way you are not having to sweat the small stuff and can focus on the big stuff. Make sure you are still taking care of yourself as much as possible; prayer time, sleeping, eating, your regular exercise routine. Make sure you take time to say good bye and get as much closure as possible so you can leave in a healthy manner and have a new start. If you got kids, see if you can have people to watch them or be with them so you can pack. Destress as much as possible. Pack a box of what is important to you and I am not just talking underwear, perhaps a transitional object, candle, something for your soul, your heart, your emotions, your mental well being. Go ahead and find and set up your sanctuary as soon as possible. Have a mantra or breath prayer you can use when things get really tense. Take deep breaths. And find time to play and be silly, let loose.

5. Are you in the middle of any inner moves, if not outer ones? Yes, and yes. As I said we are in the middle of a move with a June 11th deadline, but I have been in an inner move for sometime now to a more graceful place within.

Bonus: Share a piece of music/poetry/film/book that expresses something about what moving means to you. A cartoon about moving as seen above.

A theme song from the t.v. show "The Jeffersons". Ya got to be Optimistic.

or you could have the theme to the Beverly Hillbillies

And since we are house hunting to buy a house this time, I include an old Tom Hanks' movie
The Money Pit. Bob doesn't remember it. But it was the movie he made with Shelley Long, you remember her, don't you? She was in Cheers. The movie was made in 1986. There are several scenes at the You tube website to watch if you want a good laugh.

Geese flying back north and a poem

Yesterday, Bob and I were standing in the parking lot of the church discussing something. I looked up and saw not one but two v shaped formations of geese flying back North. What a beautiful sight. We paused to watch them fly on north. Bob then said, Summer is coming. That night what did the weather channel predict? Yes, more cold weather! And where were our winter coats and clothes? Packed away. We will be unpacking them today.

So as the birds fly back north we will be going Northeast for the kids' spring break to Banner Elk, North Carolina. I will be not blogging most of the week as there is not internet connection where we will be staying, there is in the next town. So if I have time, I'll stop by from time to time.
A poem I found while searching for pics of geese flying. Add yours as well if you like.
Then I saw the wild geese flying
In fair formation to their bases in Inchicore
And I knew that these wings would outwear the wings of war
And a man’s simple thoughts outlive the day’s loud lying.
Don’t fear, don’t fear, I said to my soul.
The Bedlam of Time is an empty bucket rattled,
‘Tis you who will say in the end who best battles.
Only they who fly home to God have flown at all.

BEYOND THE HEADLINES Patrick Kavanagh, Dublin 1943

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

WIM friends check up on me

Wow, I got phone calls, and emails from the women at the retreat wondering where I was and why I wasn't there. Its a wonder they didn't send a posse out after me too. That really feels good to me that they missed me and were that concerned. I missed them too. I called down to Camp Sumatanga to let them know the reasons. And sent an email. You can't call cell phones down at Camp Sumatanga.

I have been taking a bit of retreat here by going to bed earlier, getting the rest I need. I am feeling more rested. I had no idea I was so tired. Headache is going away. My muscles don't feel as tensed up either. Amazing what sleep and rest can do for you.

And I have been reading trying to be quiet, and calm at night. Although I will admit to watching the NCAA women's basket ball tournament. I want to be member of the Tenn. Volunteers women's Basket ball team. Although I am too short, I would be even willing to be the one that goes around wiping the sweat up off the floor. Amazing.

And I had Kate's ball game last night. But I do enjoy being at the ball field and cheering for my girls. At one point I yelled out "Way to stop that ball. Way to go." The girl playing third base was really good at stopping the ball, she just didn't know what to do with it afterward. Well one of the parents looked up at me like I was crazy. And I told the parent, you know you got to affirm them for even trying and learning to play the sports. And then his tone changed and he said that was true. I then started hearing parents cheering the kids for trying at playing. So many on this team, have never played before, and don't know what you do. But they are trying. They lost big time, the other team ran up the score. Oh well, but Kate was a little upset about it, and so we had to talk about it. She told me she needed to practice more, and that I had to get out there and practice with her. So I guess I'll be practicing ball also. But I don't mind, I love playing ball.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

What no retreat?

Well wouldn't you know it, I didn't go.
All day, I kept hearing this thought, "Don't go, stay here."
My visit to the my member in the hospital took a long time, they were giving her blood to build up her strength. And they are trying to figure out what is going on. And She has been going back and forth to the hospital recently. Lots of family was there.

By the time I left it was late and I had a headache. I realized my body and my head did not want to make the long trip down to Camp Sumatanga, even if I wanted to. I stopped by the kid's dance studio where they were having lessons, and told Bob I had decided to stay home. Went home to get some meds and quiet. (Dance studios are noisy places.) Then went to the girl's softball game, which is noisy too. Came home and went to bed early. I feel better this morning, but there is the left over residue from the headache. Got lots to do.

I am sad I missed this retreat, and my friends. The saving grace is that vacation is around the corner beginning on Saturday. I just am going to have to be sure to get some more quiet time and not busy time on the vacation. You know with kids along that's a dream, unless Bob takes them for awhile somewhere. We may have to negotiate this since he will probably want some down time too.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Retreating for a day

Dear friends and family,

I am going away for a day for the clergywomen's retreat "One is the Body"
Women in Ministry Spiritual Retreatto my favorite place, where? Camp Sumatanga. We will be led by a sister clergywoman who has a ministry leading retreats, worship workshops, Kay Mutert called Day Spring. Kay was one of our leaders in the Clergy's Covenant Forums, that I took part in a couple of years ago. She was in charge of our worship times, and did a great job leading us in worship, introducing different ways to worship, and teaching us about personal worship. I missed the rgbp's retreat/BE, so I look forward to some time at this one.

I'll be back though, we got packing, moving, cleaning, ball games, dance classes, homework, etc on the home front.

At the church; I have those in the hospital, homebound, the grieving, and meetings this week.

Please pray for Daddy Bob, my sweet hubby while I am gone, he has a lot to do in the next few days. He is still struggling with allergies or something upper respitory. He is better, but still has something. And like most families, when one of the parents is gone, the children seem to push a little more on the one left behind. We are already outnumbered, so he is going to be really outnumbered. And pray for less anxiety for the kids with me being gone.

Blessings to you all today.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

A prayer for Easter 3

I found this prayer in Alive Now and thought it fit today;

Cloudy Morning Prayer
by Ruth Naylor

Lord, walk with us
on this strange road
to Emmaus. It is so
hard to recognize purpose
and hope in the midst
of broken dreams
and death.

Our hearts ,
torn and confused
cry out to you.
"Lord, walk with us in this
place where earth's dust
swirls up to cloud our eyes
and threatens to choke us."

picture from Emmaus Catholic Ministry

Friday, April 04, 2008

40 yrs ago in Memphis, blood was shed

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase." words by Martin Luther King

This Martin Luther King, Jr.'s last speech

"A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom. " Martin Luther King, Jr.

Here are the words to his last speech. "I've Been to the Mountaintop" by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I was 14 years old when Martin Luther King Jr was killed. I was living in a small town that had just integrated the schools the year before. At the same time it was fighting tooth and nail to keep the blacks in their place as hard as they could.
They did not want them in the churches. In fact the church I went to had voted to not let them in the door, and if they tried to come in, they would be escorted out the door by the deacons.
And yet I can remember the news about him being shot, going to school the next day and the profound somberness at school.
I remember admiring him and reading about what he was trying to do and how he was trying to do it. My grandparents were active in trying to help civil rights to occur. They had a strong sense of justice. I must have learned some of it from them. But then I also knew you did not talk favorably about civil rights or be friendly with blacks back then.
It truly was a mixed up time in our lives. I think of his words and speech I have a dream, and I wonder how much of that dream was fulfilled? I realized what a prophet he was, and how prophets are not wanted in their own country. I wonder what God would have for us now? How God would want us to be now as a country? What would God want me to be doing?

I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant. Martin Luther King, Jr.

from Martin Luther King's most frequently read book, Strength to Love, written in 1963. There is quote from that book at the top of the order of celebration, and, another on the back cover.
"I am convinced of the reality of a personal God. It is a living reality that has been vindicated in the experiences of every day life. God is a living God, with feeling, will; responsive to deepest yearnings of the human heart. (God is the one who) is able to make a way out of no way, and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows. This is our hope for becoming better human beings. This is our mandate for seeking to make a better world. "

Friday Five: Revelation

Sally at RevGalBlogpals brings us the Friday Five on Revelation.

With this Sunday's gospel reading in mind, that wonderful revelation of Christ to the companions on the Emmaus road. I wonder where you might have been surprised by God's revelation recently.

So with no further waffle I offer you this weeks Friday 5:

How has God revealed him/herself to you in a:

1. Book Bread And Wine: Readings For Lent And Easter God kept showing up in this book and even afterward as I would think about what I had read while going through the season of Lent and now Easter. I have also started reading the latest Miss Julia book "Miss Julia Strikes Back"
I see God in this woman's tenacity, her acceptance of people, her struggle with difficult situations, her openess and her learning to love all the while living in a Southern culture with a Southern religion.

Books let us into their souls and lay open to us the secrets of our own. ~William Hazlitt

2.Film Okay, I have to be honest, I just don't get to go to the movies. But we bought the movie; Enchanted. As naive as some of the philosophy was, it did have the idea of loving the person you marry, and showing the person you love them. Plus it has good winning over evil. The woman is the heroine. Some people choose to live in an unreal world and some to live in the real world. A plus was that both Patrick Dempsey and James Marsden are so handsome, and enjoyable to watch. Okay back to the original question; when you watch the struggle the character Nathaniel has with his integrity and choices you can see the transformation that comes in one's life meeting and coming to know Jesus. But if I must be really religious it would be the movie "Into Great Silence"

“On a simple level, movies are the stories and myths—the parables—of our times. There is no other medium or institution today that so broadly intersects our society, and there is no other medium as critical for us to understand. These stories and myths touch upon the deepest hopes of our generation.” God at the Movies A Sermon by Lanny Peters
Pastor, Oakhurst Baptist Church, Decatur, Georgia

3. Song Oh my with all the great music during Lent, Holy Week and Easter, plus music at Emmaus it would be almost impossible to point to just one song that God was revealed through.

Music is revelation; a revelation loftier than all wisdom and all philosophy. Ludwig van Beethoven

4. Another person Again, I got to choose only one? That is near impossible to choose. There are so many that I have seen God in.

The highest revelation is that God is in every human being. Ralph Waldo Emerson

5. Creation Oh the beauty of the springtime blossoms and buds along with the rains.

Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.-Martin Luther

Bonus answer: your choice- share something encouraging/ amazing/ humbling that has happened to you recently! I would have to choose as of right now, it would be how God has been at work in the appointive process, opening doors, paving the way, encouraging me through people, scripture, the Holy Spirit, and unexpected moments. I am truly amazed, humbled and lifted up.

"Some say God is nowhere. Others say God is now here. One space makes all the difference."

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

News Announcement

I am kind of surprised, but the North Alabama Conference Website already has the list of clergy appointments. I mean you usually don't see these until after or right before the June conference. So since it is out, you now know. I am moving to Trinity in HSV to be the Associate.

Tonight, we met to pray for the church, for the Pastor to come and for our moving. We plan to meet now every Wednesday night right before the bible study for prayer. The members felt led to do this, so they began it.

An Easter Walk

I thought this was a good cartoon for Easter 3A.
Aren't we like those disciples walking on the road to Emmaus, Jesus is walking with us and we don't even recognize him. We may be so deep into our own thoughts, or feelings or into ourselves that we miss who is with us? I am probably talking about myself here. I know I miss Jesus when I get so lost in my own thoughts or feelings or self. But we can also find him in our feelings, thoughts, and self as well. However, Jesus was incarnational, and our ministries are to be incarnational. Jesus is often seen in other human beings, in the flesh, real, someone who you can touch, breath, eat with and talk with. May we not miss Jesus today ...... The Back Pew Cartoon
If you want to read some more of my thoughts on this passage; go to my sermon blog, Preaching to the Choir. I'll be blogging there all week about this passage.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

What Cruise?

Well, the revgalblogpals who got to go on our first ever Big Event and Retreat Cruise are back. Sigh, I had hoped to be able to go, but well, duty called. I instead have been doing funerals, and interviews for our Ordination candidates. They call it a retreat, but I am not sure it is much of a retreat. We did have some good worship, and good fellowship. And we had some good candidates. But I am glad to be home. Maybe next year I'll get to go with the revgalblog pals on their next retreat. Now it is time to say good night.