Thursday, February 19, 2015

Sunday's Sermon-ish

Here is the basis of what was preached this weekend. 
The stories took on a different form at each service.  Thanks to people who were in worship who were willing to be examples of God in our midst here and now. 

February 15, 2015

Transfiguration B
1 Kings 2:1-12
Psalm 50:1-6
2 Corinthians 4:3-6
Mark 9:2-9
Please pray with me,
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight O God, our rock and our redeemer.  Amen. 
This morning we find ourselves on a mountain top and not just the mountain that overlooks Robesonia, but a mountaintop with Jesus, Peter, James and John. 
I don’t know about you, but because of my camp experience and travel experiences I’ve seen many mountains.  My native area of New England is home to many hills and mountains.  My summers at camp were up in New Hampshire, in an area called the White Mountain region…we went hiking often. 
Yet all those ranges throughout New England cannot even compare to the mountains I have seen in Alaska.  Wow…that’s all I can say.  They say everything is bigger in Alaska…and there is some truth to that.  The city of Anchorage is surrounded by a beautiful mountain range.  It’s a wonder to see the buildings of the city against the backdrop of the majestic mountains. 
While up in Alaska several summers ago, I had the opportunity to hike Mount Marathon.  Many people run up this mountain each year as part of a’s a tricky course, not well groomed or marked, but people run it for a medal and bragging rights that they have run up and down a mountain.  Well, a few of us thought we would try it out. 
At the base of the mountain, the following notices were posted:

But we went for it, anyway!  Needless to say, we gave it our best shot to get up that mountain.  It was pretty treacherous and tricky…there was lots of slipping and sliding, but once we made it to the top….wow. 

Seriously, the view from the top was amazing…the view was spectacular.  We saw the whole town of Seward and were surrounded by even higher snow capped mountains. 

What a sight to see.  We didn’t want to leave…

Part of the reason we wanted to stay was because we knew the trip down would probably more difficult than the way up.  Part of that was because we didn’t want to leave the beautiful view. 
Who am I kidding?  We were worried about going back down. 
But we couldn’t stay on the top.  While the top of the mountain is a wonderful place to be, it’s not where we are meant to stay. 
While Peter, James and John are up on the mountain, they too see a marvelous sight.  Jesus is transfigured in front of them.  His appearance becomes one of dazzling white.  He is in the presence of Elijah and Moses. 
Upon seeing this sight, Peter is not sure what to do about it. 
He’s in shock…but he knows this is an amazing thing, so he wishes to capture the moment. 
In his confusion and fear, Peter wants somehow to preserve this moment.  As challenging as it is to understand, he wishes to hold onto this moment and never let it go.  He prefers not to leave the mountaintop.  He wishes to treasure this moment. 
I wonder what Peter’s selfie would look like from that mountaintop experience? 
How often do we find ourselves in this situation...where what is happening to us at a certain moment is so wonderful that we wish to preserve it.  We wish that it will not end.  In a way, we wish to keep it to ourselves. 
I was at a concert last year.  It was They Might be Giants.  Billy and I went with John and Tara Clauss.  As the show began, they said, we see some of you recording this show.  We don't mind you recording it...but think of the person behind you and all they can see is your hand holding the smart phone.  Don't be that jerk.  (But they didn't use the word jerk.) But they said...don't be that person...because for one, you block the view of the person behind you.  And two, you pretty much miss the whole experience because you are worried about the quality of the recording.  And I'll add three, when you go to watch the video you will only be able to see what is within the confines of the screen.  You'll miss the 'whole' experience. 
One of the highlights of our honeymoon in New Orleans was the evening we spent at Preservation Hall.  It's the home to a deep history of jazz musicians and concerts.  We waited in line for nearly an hour for a 45 minute show.  As we entered the hall, we got to sit on the last two cushions on the floor right in front of the band.  (The trombone slide nearly hit us during the show.) 
Before the band came in, we were welcomed to this little piece of jazz history.  We were asked to put away our phones and recording devices and were invited to be immersed in the music and experience for the next 45 minutes.  Everybody did.  It's 45 minutes of amazing music, laughter, and applause that isn't repeatable. 
Thankfully we captured the moment in our hearts. 
How many of you wish you could capture a moment like that?  That you were so blown away by the experience that you felt like Peter and wanted to build a tent and dwell there and never leave? 
I pray that that happens in this place week after week. 
That we see Jesus transfigured before us through the bread and the wine of communion and through the words of confession and forgiveness. 
It also happened last week in this space. As Neil and Julieann P. were serving as ushers during communion, SarahAnne was not pleased.  Nicole D. tried her best to soothe the tears, but SarahAnne would not be calmed.  And then, from across the sanctuary, Amy S. walked over and scooped up SarahAnne and just held her in the side of the sanctuary and she was at peace.  It happened....just the midst of communion...Jesus being transfigured as the Body of Christ came together to love and support one another. 
It also happened at Ozgoods on Thursday.  As Pastor Bill, Vicar Tommy and I were out to lunch we saw Alyssa and her kids enjoying lunch. 
Well, they popped out of the booth to wave and smile at us as we ate and when we left, we stopped in to say goodbye.  As we went to leave, Sammie asked mom to get something to give to Pastor was the valentine she had made at story time at the library that morning.  I asked if I could give her a hug and she said yes! 
Not to be outdone, Josie stood up and said I want to give Pastor Bill a kiss! 
(Now, what you need to know is that we were saying goodbye as they were eating dessert.  Ice cream sundaes, no less.) 
Pastor Bill got a bit of chocolate syrup, ice cream and whipped cream with his kiss.  I got a little too.  And just then in those moments, God broke into Ozgoods...into the bodies of two 4 year olds sharing valentines and hugs and kisses.
Can you see it happening?  Where are you seeing Jesus transfigured in your midst?  How are you capturing that moment?  And how are you sharing it with others? 
We are called to see and experience God in this world.  
Gracious God give us the eyes to see, the bodies to feel and the voices to share this amazing news with everyone we meet. 

And now my the peace which passes all understanding keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus and let all god's people say, amen. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

So it begins...

Here it is, Ash Wednesday. 

The Lenten journey begins as we remember from whence we came and to where it is we will return.

Two years ago, I read and journaled through the 40+ days with the book 40 Day Journey with Julian of Norwich  by Lisa Dahill.  Last year, I spent time during the 40+ days taking pictures guided by a word a day for a photo a day.  Although, truth be told, I often was scrambling at the end of the day to find something that fit a word. 

This year, I had hoped to do another 40 day journey, but when I found a different book on Amazon, it wouldn't have been shipped until the end of February.  (This tends to happen when you think about your Lenten practice a week or less before the beginning of the season.) 

I ended up going with Writing to God: 40 Days of Praying with my Pen by Rachel G. Hackenberg.  I'll have to figure out what to do on Sundays, but I'm sure I'll come up with something.  Today's prompt included a poem, a passage from Ezekiel and a question to get the prayer juices flowing.  It was a really cool experience to be guided into putting the prayer on paper without thinking it out first.  I look forward to more prompts and different ways of expressing thoughts, questions and ideas to God. 

Before I did that, this morning, I looked at the Lent Photo a Day Facebook page.   (Feel free to look them up and like them on Facebook.)  You'll see this picture on their facebook page.

Today's word is dust.  My goal is to look at this guide first thing every morning.  And so today I did....and after finishing my written prayer, I snapped this photo.

It all comes back to dust.  

But in the case of my writing prompt this morning, it was dust as a verb.  It got me to thinking and praying about what dust I need God to sweep away out of different areas of my life in order that I may see God and God at work in my life more clearly. 

As this journey begins for you (or doesn't if your faith is different than mine) may you be continue to think about dust.  Whether it reminds you of a mess or the lack of time to clean or the truth of our existence.  

May this season, this journey to the cross, ever and always draw us nearer to God who loves us unconditionally and is always with us. 


Sunday, February 8, 2015

A year in 40 pictures.

It's been a great year.

As I entered my 40s last February I thought about keeping track of fun, amazing, life changing events that I could look through as I turned 41.  It would've been super simple.  A jar and some slips of paper.  Maybe that will happen this coming year.  It didn't happen this past year, but here are some pictures that highlight year 40.

1) Breakfast on my 40th Birthday.  Cap'n Crunch french toast :) (With my husband.) 

2) Just another Friday night at Trinity....with over 100 youth at the West Berks Mission District Lock In.  

3) Quality time with my newborn nephew, Chase, and his amazing mom and dad.  

4) Mmmmmm...local breakfast at Shorty's Sunflower cafe, on St. Patrick's Day.  Carbomb pancakes. 

5) Muppets Most Wanted...with Chris (and just 4 other people in the theater.)

6) Good times with the Andersen family in CT.  
After a rainy day inside at the science center, we posed in puddles.  :)

7)  Second female...1st in my age bracket.  

8) #30daysofbiking Day 8:The reward for struggling with the hills. Downhill, that is, into the 19 mph winds.

9)  My yearly Easter morning breakfast selfie with this awesome lady!

10) Inter-office shenanigans.  

11)  A solid run at the Fox Trot 5K...another placement this spring.  

12)  Trying on my class t-shirt from the 5th grade....and it fits.  

13)  How do you eat a cupcake?

14)  FED at the Pocono retreat. 

15) Spring eats: asparagus quiche.  

16) Staff training devos at Bear Creek Camp.  

17) Yay....Joan and Ted are married!  So we posed for a picture, too.  

18) Senior High Beach retreat truck buddies!

19)  Survival snacks for VBS.

20) A peanut butter problem?  I don't think so.  

21)  Ah...the summer harvest.  Local corn for the fritters and the homemade gazpacho. 

22) Photos with minion balloons at 5th quarter.  

23) Holy hops, batman.  

24) Running the Hartford 1/2 with my awesome our husbands watched in the rain.  

25) That time I finished a porknado. 

26) A PR and 2nd female overall! 

27) Family. 

28) This girl. 

29) Great friends and a football game.  

30)  Sneakers for Sarah in Detroit!

31) Moving (fishing) for people Bible Study.  

32) Face timing with my nephew.  

33) Honored to be this little guy's godmother. 

34)  Walking a mile with the love of my life between tasting chocolates, riding the trolley, making our own candy bar and solving the mystery at the 4D theater in Hershey
And that was all before a tasty dinner at Troegs.  

35) Christmas Eve....sockies.  (Sock-selfies?)  Loved the socks on the acolyte next to me...nearly as much as I adore the awesome gal wearing them.  

36) Believe it or not, I maintained my weight between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day!  

37)  Sometimes I need extra motivation in the morning to get to the gym.

38)  Family (aka the group) gathering for a wedding in New York.  A fun walk mid afternoon.  

39)  The joy of enjoy with friends. 

40) Running a 5K with these two amazing chicks.  One completed her first 5K that day.  The other had a C-section just less than two months earlier.  

An excellent year.  One with miles, smiles, good eats and lots and lots of love.  So thankful for all the great folks in my life.  This is just a glimpse into the past 12 months.  I bet I have several more blog posts worth of photos from this past year.  But this was a fun way to see the year.  Thanks for reading/viewing.