Saturday, May 26, 2007

Veni Sancte Spiritus!

Tomorrow is Pentecost. I can hardly wait. I am a huge language junkie. Pentecost is the day for us language people. We can get away with all kinds of stuff.

In worship tomorrow, a youth will read the first lesson in Spanish, a retired pastor will read the second lesson in Norwegian, and I'll read the gospel in French.

The hymn following the sermon will be Veni Sante Spiritus ("Come, Holy Spirit) - one of my favorite hymns sung by one of our best soloists in multiple languages with the congregation repeating the refrain in Latin.

Then, to top it all off, the benediction will be chanted in Hebrew thanks to this awesome site.

Venga Espirito Santo! Viens saint-esprit!

Veni Sancte Spiritus! Komm Heiliger Geist!

Come Holy Spirit!

Monday, May 21, 2007

3 Updates, 1 Post

What a week. A few times in the last few days, I've found myself thinking or saying, "Yep, that'll blog." So here you go, a bit of real life humor to get you through your Monday:

Story One: Lock and Key
Rab and I spent the better part of Sunday cleaning out and organizing the basement of the Cute Gray House. The basement has been a dumping ground for the last few months and, being hidden away from the view of visitors, it was the last room to receive some much needed attention.

We cleaned, we assembled shelves, we moved hazardous materials out of harm's (and Minky's) way. At one point, Minky was "helping" us by chipping away at one of the exterior walls with a hammer. Rab asked him to stop numerous times and finally Minky had had enough. Minky stomped up the stairs yelling and slammed the door. Rab and I both sighed in relief...until we heard the lock turn. There we were, locked in the basement with the dog with no way out (the previous owner saw to it that all the doors and windows of the basement were sealed shut).

After talking Minky down a bit, we convinced him to get the key and explained where the key was hidden. He came back with the key but was unable to make it work. We asked Minky to go get Sony. Sony, we could hear through the vents, was upstairs watching TV and did not want to be disturbed. After yelling up the vents for him to come help, he stomped down the stairs with the best heavy-footed, groaning, prepubescent walk known to man. He came to the door and was unable to unlock it. We asked him to go get our neighbors and ask them for help. Instead, he went into his best prepubescent hopelessness and went back upstairs to continue watching TV! After 5-10 more minutes of Minky trying the lock (and the dog crossing his legs), Minky said resolutely, "Don't worry, Mom, I've got an idea." These are never good words when they come from Minky...

Next thing we knew, Minky had figured out that he could unscrew the lock from the door frame (pretty ingenious if you ask me). About 10 more minutes later, we were freed. Of course, this entire story is better in person, but this at least gives you a glimpse of our Saturday adventures.

Story Two: Last time I checked
Yesterday, we went to see Shrek 3. Afterward, Rab and I told the kids we had to run a couple errands. The boys moaned and groaned in response, very aggravated that they'd have to tag along. "We don't want to," they whined. "We hate errands," they moaned. "We're not going," Sony declared. "Hmmm...." I responded, "Last time I checked, you weren't the mom or the dad." Minky responded, "Yeah, well last time I checked you didn't buy us any soda or popcorn at the movie."

Story Three: Minky and his illnesses
Last week was our first sick-free week in 15 weeks!  Yea, us!  If Minky would have had his way, though, our sick-streak would have continued.  One morning last week, Minky tried to convince me he was really ill.  Strangely, the symptoms kept moving...stomach, head, throat, you name it.  I went upstairs at one point and came down to find him leaning over his barstool, with a puddle of spit beneath him on the floor.  "See!"  he exclaimed, "I am sick!  Look at the barf!"

Later that day, Minky had OT at school and was supposed to go back to his classroom afterward.  When he was 5-10 minutes late, his teacher, 
Mrs. Matter-o-Fact, assumed the occupational therapist was just taking a little extra time with him.  When 20 minutes rolled around, Mrs. Matter-o-Fact called the OT who said she'd sent Minky back to class 20 minutes ago.  Mrs. Matter-o-Fact called the office and found out that he had sent himself to the nurse's office (why didn't the nurse or the office call his teacher????).  When Mrs. Matter-o-Fact went to claim him in the office, the entire office staff was convinced that he was indeed ill.  They were pampering him and feeling sorry for him.  Reportedly, he was in his element.  Mrs. Matter-o-Fact didn't buy it and told him he'd just have to work with his headache anyway.  Five minutes later, he was goofing off as if he'd never been ill.  He even told Mrs. Matter-o-Fact, "Wow, I feel so much better now!" Funny how lucky that boy is - he experiences miracle cures all the time!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

"Who Are We to Stand in Front of Your Dreams?"

Last night at Church Council, I presented a proposal asking that my continuing education funding/time be spent on spiritual direction training.  Normally, I wouldn't run continuing ed offerings before council.  In this case, though, the training involves three weekends a year - including Sundays.

After having reviewed the written proposal and explanation in advance, the members of council asked a few questions.  Mostly, they wanted to better understand spiritual direction as a concept and practice.  Then, there was unanimous approval to support the proposal.

Looking back, I think my initial reaction was one of call... I responded with, "Are you sure?  You do understand this means I'll be gone 3 Sundays a year in addition to my vacation Sundays."  The headline above was the first response, followed by, "We'll survive without you...(grin) you're not indispensible."

So here I stand, humbled, called and about to embark on a 3 year training process in pursuit of yet another calling.  Thanks be to God?

Monday, May 14, 2007

The View From the Porch

Yesterday was graduation at the Castle. I feel an affinity with the class that graduated because I transferred in at the same time that they began. It was so great to be with them as they reached this milestone. It was also so weird to realize that it has only been a year since I was in the same spot. It feels like a lifetime ago.

Sitting on my old front porch afterward with Rab, it was easy to pretend no time had passed. It was so easy to set aside the congregational life and the grown up pastor responsibilities that are part of my every day life now. I sat on that porch, like I had so many times before, and caught myself expecting to see Mark or the Brink of Disaster or Sally or even PMC or any other myriad of people coming down the Kinder hill any minute. I watched my kids joyfully run around the circle, laughing and connecting with old buddies.

As I reveled in all the happy and warm memories (forgetting the struggles, of course), I leaned into the freedom of that space. Then along came my gaggle of little girls - my buddies. They began picking dandelions and any flower they could and bringing them to me. As my hands overflowed with the growing floral arrangement, little Naomi said, "We're giving you all these flowers because we really love you and really, really miss you." It was the best Mother's Day gift anyone could have given me.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Another Minky-ism to Brighten Your Day

Yesterday, Minky was feigning illness.  First, he woke up and said he had "the strep throat" (why the definite article, I'm not sure).  Then when I didn't buy it, he said his tummy hurt.  Then a headache.  Yet, somehow, he found the energy to play heartily with the dog outside.  

I got him dressed and fed then we hopped in the car.  He thought he was going to a meeting with me.  When we pulled up at school, he threw a minor fit and wrapped his arm around the van door armrest.  After about 5 minutes of prying him out of the van, we headed into school.  All of these sweet kids kept cheerfully saying good morning to him and he just scowled back.  I whispered to him, "That's really no way to make friends, Minky" to which he responded with a growl, "Shut up."

I asked the teacher to step into the hallway for a minute so I could fill her in on the seriousness of his many and varied ailments.  She told me that the other day, she had a riddle on the board that asked, "How do you get a day off from school?"  Minky, not one to normally volunteer an answer, enthusiastically raised his hand and said, "That's easy...pretend you're sick!"

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Children's Sermons Can Be Risky

In the last 4 weeks, 3 of my children's sermons have gone awry at the second service.

A few weeks ago, the paperclip floated without any problems at the first service. At the second service, the paperclip didn't float until the 4th attempt (The children's sermon theme changed to a lesson in patience...). The week of Easter, the supposedly hard boiled egg was soft boiled and made a bit of a mess on the floor as it landed on the floor after being thrown in the air (In a sense, this only enhanced the theme of how God surprized us with the empty tomb). Last week, I played it safe and did a talk-only children's sermon.

This week, at text study, we were talking about the Acts text regarding the Jewish Christians and the Gentiles. The Gentiles were labelled as unclean and were disliked. I told my colleagues that it reminded me of how people react when I tell them we have a pet rat. Legolas is the most snuggly, clean and loving pet, but people assume he is dirty, mean and ugly. My colleagues challenged me to bring him in for the children's sermon...

I took up the challenge. At first service, predictibly, all went well. At the second service, Legolas decided to pee all over me. As my tweener girls screamed out, "EEEWWW!" I responded, "It's ok - it's just pee."

I have now spoken the words "damn" (twice) and pee before the assembled people of God. I'm sure my seminary professors would be bursting with pride.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Alive...just busy

Last summer, I would never have considered such a long period of time between posts. My how things change when one is gainfully employed!

Life is good. It's also busy. Ear infections, strep throat and various illnesses (we're going on 14 consecutive weeks with one thing or another, folks!) for the boys, a commuting husband who is home Fridays-Sundays, and the continual mommy-pastor balance make up the reality of life here in Jerusalem.

I found out the other day that Rab has become the topic of small town gossip because he's rarely here and never in worship ( sweet Buddhist guy). Apparently, there are rumors going around that he is a trucker. Ha. Let 'em keep talking! Who knows what they'll come up with next.

The honeymoon of the first months of pastoral ministry is beginning to fade. Some days I find myself near tears, heavy laden with the burdens, worries, and responsibilities far beyond my comfort zone or control. Other days, I'm amazed with the effect a quick visit or kind word can have not just on someone's day but on their very life. There seems to be much drama in this pastor gig - sometimes I probably bring it on myself, other days it seems to find me.

I've had some interesting run ins with the old guard of Jordan. Any and all changes, even the ones underway before I began and ones that did not come from me, are being labelled as my agenda. One unfamiliar hymn in a service brings about exaggerated comments like, "I never know any of the hymns in worship anymore!!" It's easy to get worn down by the comments.

At the same time, though, I have amazing committee members, a wonderful council, and a fantastic text study group. Tonight, the Worship committee met at my house because our new sitter/nanny is on vacation. How awesome is that?! A job where my roles can co-exist.

Now and again, I've been able to slip away to the Castle and gain some necessary space, time, and insight. Those times also provide for such wonderful re-connection with beloved friends. I love the times I get to escape to the Castle for awhile - to a place where my first name is not "Pastor."

So, overall, life is good. Sometimes it's tough being a grown up with such a grown up job. Other days, most days probably, I feel pretty lucky to be called to a position where I can be both a mommy and be employed. Some days, just getting through the next hour is all I can expect of myself. Other days, the time flies by because of all the fun and joy.