Friday, July 9, 2010

e-mail to lgbc, our church

lgbc will gather at 1507 grantbrook this saturday evening. Snacks out at 5:30--Bring some to share if you'd like. Dancing-singing-shouting worship (Read a little loud and a lot kid-friendly) at 5:45. Worship continues (possibly calmer and quieter) at 6:00 p.m. After worship, at least some of us will head out to GirlShow which begins at 8:00 (Kelly Nygren performing on Saturday evening--along with many many other female artists. In fact, on Friday night of GirlShow, our own Cynthia Miller is one of the featured photographers! (We'll be there on Friday night too--Let us know if you'd like to meet up to go together.
See for more details on GirlShow.

Looking ahead: August 7th, we'll do a pot-luck dinner and catch up on stuff: For example: reports from those who've been distributors of Mercy Funds for the past year and decisions about where to go next with that experiment in corporate stewardship. Also, finalizing finally the monthly giving to Heartline ministries in Haiti. And you never know what else will come up--Pray and seek God's word for our community in decision-making. It's not just a business meeting--there will be food! And more importantly, some great stories of God at work.

The next part of this e-mail is confessional. I feel like I need to put it out there for the whole postcard readership but feel free to stop reading if it's just too much information for you!
Over the past few weeks, I have been spending more time seeking out the Holy Spirit and His purposes for us as a community. Here is the biggest thing I have been struck by: We exist to worship God. That's why we're gathering together as one little chunk of the Body. Paul and I had some great worship times during our car trips. Those hours have changed some of our daily patterns already. I was very convicted by the sudden realization of one way our community life has changed: When I used to plan/lead worship at lgbc, when someone else was doing the teaching, I would spend at least 3 or 4 hours during the week just worshiping and seeking prayerfully choosing each song, scripture, and reading. Eventually, leading worship became a responsibility (?) that was passed around. Often we figure out who's doing it the day of the service, and I know that if it falls to us, Paul usually rapidly picks some songs while I finish cleaning the living room. Wow--that's a pretty big change, but it happened by tiny degrees. So--I feel that I am being called to plan/lead worship on Saturday evenings again. I am unspeakably excited about the opportunity. So--if you are interested in playing an instrument and/or whatever else, send me an e-mail. I will plan to e-mail at least a song list to you by Friday each week--hopefully sooner in the future. At any rate, we do want to apologize to you as part of our community for letting this foundation get so shaky. God's mercy--that's all we've got.

Father and An Excellent Day

So I picked up the Madame Guyon classic, “Experiencing the depths of Jesus Christ” in a used bookstore in some little town in West Virginia. I had read about her, but had not read her own writing. Already I can tell she is going to be an important teacher for me. I'll probably want to write more about her later, but this is my first aha moment.
Particularly for those who cannot read, she says, “Begin with the word, 'Father.' As you do, let the full meaning of that word deeply touch your heart.” Attempting this, I realized—as I have less consciously many times before-- that the word 'father' does not actually have much meaning for me. I've never used the word father in reference to my own dad or anyone else's who I know personally. I never say, “He's a good father”--I say “He's a good dad/parent/daddy.” For me, father is a formal and distant word, and –oddly, I know,--very British.
I have always felt enormously blessed in my comfort with God as dad because my own daddy is truly one of the most godly people I've ever known and his love for me has always been undeniable, deep and wide.
Interesting, then, to find that I stumble on the word father. So . . .
“Begin with the word, 'Daddy.' As you do, let the full meaning of that word deeply touch your heart.” Oh. I get it. Or at least I begin to.

Exceptional Day
I kind of struggled against vacation this year. It seemed so unreasonable to pay a sub to teach my summer classes, to spend precious hours shopping to fully stock our house before leaving town, to prepare to be away from our church for two Saturdays, to trust that our household would function without us for an extended period of time. But the thought of me in Dallas while Paul and Bri were in Virginia for over a week pushed me over the edge, and I agreed to go after all.
Since Bri was off to hang with Paul's mom and then meet us near Virginia, Paul and I had a long road trip together. More time than we have spent just the two of us in ages. I finally got into the vacation mode and planned out where we would spend each night on the way to Virginia. Paul discovered that the place where we would spend Friday night, Charleston, West Virginia, was actually having its annual Festivall while we were there. I delightedly checked the schedule and planned accordingly.
Thus, we pulled out of Jackson on Friday morning to begin a fantastic day. Having mostly run through our audiobooks on day 1, we ended up talking about worship and worshiping together for a big chunk of the drive. We found cheap or free refills on drinks throughout the drive and enjoyed our peanut butter sandwiches in the car. Lovely, lovely. We pulled into Charleston, a town we had loved when driving through once, checked in and headed immediately to the Sing-Along-Sound of Music! We ended up parking across the river from downtown and walking over the bridge looking at water taxis while jazz wafted up to us. We made our way to the theater just on time and got our goody bags: a bell, a plastic sprig of eidelweiss, a square of curtain fabric, a glow stick, and a popper (for the first time Maria and the Captain kiss). Then we got our instructions about cheering for Maria, barking at Rolff, hissing at the Baroness (although one contingent at the front followed every hiss with “It's not her fault!”) saying aawww at Gretel's cuteness, and yelling, “Liar!” whenever someone tells a fib. Amazing how well I know the lyrics to all those songs. Fun to sing them badly with a theater full of other fans. Hilarious to hear comments: Our favorite audience comment was when Maria was comforting the heart-broken Leisl--”You'll see, you'll fall in love again one day and everything will be wonderful--” Huge audience roar: LIAR! Followed by rolls of laughter. So much fun. Then we walked back across the bridge in the moonlight and drove to our perfectly acceptable little hotel room.
The next morning, we headed to downtown and meandered through the art fair. Blocks and blocks of tents sheltering a wide array of artists. Cool kids' area where we missed Brianna greatly. But someone let Paul make a whirlygig for her and someone else gave us the kit for weaving her own coinpurse. Not actually being kids, we didn't push to do the marbling or clay or tambourines or hats. Didn't even see all of the kid options. It was fun to see all the different art, talk with a few artists, and overhear the conversations between locals: 'I didn't know you wrote—Is this your first book?' and 'I haven't tried your idea yet about painting vegetables—maybe this summer.' We also found an excellent bookstore along the way—In addition to a wide enough assortment of interesting books to make us wish we had hundreds of dollars to spend on books for everyone we know, there was a coffee shop, an art gallery, and a clay studio. Check that off on our list of things that make a city a perfect place to live. We had an amazing local pizza for lunch and headed on through beautiful mountain roads. Really just one of my favorite days ever. Not to mention the sheer joy of spending that much one-on-one time with the love of my life. Sweet.