Friday, March 30, 2007

Friday Five: Holy Week, Batman!

Reverend Mother says "Well, the Clergy Superbowl is almost upon us, and so, I offer up this Friday Five (with apologies for the irreverent title):"

1. Will this Sunday be Palms only, Passion only, or hyphenated?
Palm and Passion, narrated by Salome. Yes, a dress up event! Beginning by dancing in singing the Hosana from Jesus Christ Superstar and giving out palms, ending with uncertainty in the face of Jesus' death, wondering what will happen next?

2. Maundy Thursday Footwashing: Discuss.
Because we are doing Palm/Passion this year I've chosen to replace the congregation's "traditional" tenebrae service with footwashing preceding our final Lenten supper. I'm told they've "never" done that before, and I did it only once in my student church Hopefully at least one person will allow me to wash her/his feet. Even better, some will choose to both wash and be washed. We'll see.

3. Share a particularly meaningful Good Friday worship experience.
Good Friday at our church is a prayer vigil, each one taking an hour to pray either in the sanctuary or at home. Sitting in the dimly lit sanctuary from 11 pm - midnite my first year as pastor was the best so far, helping me really prepare for Easter by allowing myself to be calm and open to God for that one hour at the end of my very first experience of the insane busy-ness of Lent.

4. Easter Sunrise Services--choose one:a) "Resurrection tradition par excellence!"b) "Eh. As long as it's sunrise with coffee, I can live with it."c) "[Yawn] Can't Jesus stay in the tomb just five more minutes, Mom?!?"

D. None of the above.
I've attended only one and was blown away by the way the sun rose over the trees behind the outdoor Lord's Table just as the pastor spoke the words of institution. Perfect timing!

My congregation does not hold sunrise service and, even if I wanted to, the sanctuary is in use that time of morning by another congregation's praise band for practice. (It's hard enough to get them all there at 10 am for worship!)

5. Complete this sentence: It just isn't Easter without...
Lamb for dinner! Followed by becoming unconscious for 2 days.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Friday Five: Whatcha doin'?

It's Friday! Time for RevGalBlogPals Friday Five. And today's invitation to play is:
Well friends, this is one of those weeks when I simply must work today, which is normally my day off. I know, I know. We may tut-tut all we want, but the fact is, some weeks are like that. So, this week's F5 is simple.Name five things you plan to do today.
Bonus: If today is about "have-to" for you as well, share up to five things you'd like to be doing today.

Gee, I'm not the only one working on my normal day off. It's ok though. Since I enrolled in Spanish for Ministers Class I switched my day off from Friday to Wednesday. Normally, during this 12 weeks of Spanish class, I would go to class in the morning and work in the office in the afternoon. But today I will:

1. Skip class and go to the office for a few hours this morning. The reason for skipping class is #5 which will keep me out of the office in the afternoon. (Don't look ahead, be patient.)
In the office I will:

2. Call to check up on some members who had medical procedures during the week (Why do they always happen on the same day and time in different cities?)

3. Contact our Brownie & Junior Troop Leader to prepare for a belated Girl Scout Sunday Celebration as I was in Arizona performing a wedding on the official Girl Scout Sunday last weekend

4. Get everything I need together for Sunday's church board meeting

5. at 2:30 pm (PDT) visit my ob/gyn oncologist to find out if the 10 weeks of treatments got rid of the precancerous growths. I'm nervous. I've already had 4 surgeries and don't want to face another one. Please pray for me!

I'd LOVE to
1. Go to the malls to take advantage of the many Spring Dress Sales
2. Get a facial
3. Spend some time writing the definitive answer to "What they didn't teach us in seminary"
4. Spend hours on the phone with my friends in other states
5. Anything but go to the ob/gyn oncologist!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Dancing the Weekend Away

I am spent and blessed and spiritually full. What a huge weekend I had, dancing with God the entire time.

First there was the two day Disciple Women's Convocation. What a banquet of blessings we received. We had music that wouldn't let us sit still, speakers who brought us from laughter to tears and back again, young women whose Step routines brought tears of joy, seminars that taught, touched and healed . . . we truly did live our theme - Dancing to the Rhythms of Grace!

RevGal Katherine did a fine job with what she called her "speech sermon thing" during our Saturday evening worship. And the many opportunities for prayer during the Sunday morning service brought special blessings to my heart. Women could light a candle, write a prayer, or have a clergywoman pray with them and anoint them. I was blessed to be one of those clergywomen and I haven't come down yet!

From there I came home to get The Husband and then to an ordination. I am taking a class in Spanish for Ministers, and our teacher was being ordained in the United Church of Christ. I'd never been to a UCC ordination, but everything in the order of service was quite familiar. The service was in Spanish and English, again the music was uplifting and made me use my whole body. The laying on of hands was, as always, an experience direct from the Spirit. Why is it that is so difficult to describe?

And one of my classmates said "I'm part of RevGalsBlogPals and I just figured out who you are!" How cool is that? :-)

So now it's Monday morning and I just want to keep this feeling going. I sure don't want to go in to the office and deal with the administrative stuff. Ah well, I feel so good that even paperwork will be a blessing today.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Friday Five: Artsy Craftsy

1. Would you call yourself "creative"? Why or why not?

For most of my life I would have said No. My mother was an artist and as my ideas of color and composition were very different from hers, she always told me I had no talent. Sad, but true. I wonder how many creative people have been stifled in early childhood just because they saw the world differently?

Today I can say Yes. Partly because other people say I am and partly because I realize that just because the way I perceive things isn't always the "traditional" way that doesn't mean my way is wrong. I love beautiful things and try to create beauty even in such mundane tasks as arranging my dinner on the plate.

My father was an early computer expert who was disappointed in my lack of math skills, and my mother was an artist who felt I wasn't artistic. Now I use the gifts I inherited from them both to create artistic things with my computer. :-)

2. Share a creative or artistic pursuit you currently do that you'd like to develop further.

My two-pastors-ago predecessor had paraments made to match the carpet, not the season. In not very much time at all I made some fairly simple liturgically correct paraments for the church using computer graphics for the designs. They're kind of flat though I would love to have the time to learn how to achieve more complexity designs, using quilting techniques.

I recently made a baby quilt and pillows out of old blue jeans. The recipients love them, but it would be nice to know how to really quilt instead of making it up as I go along. :-)

3. Share a creative or artistic pursuit you have never done but would like to try.

Painting. It's not that I've never done it, but I gave up trying when my less than perfectly realistic paintings and drawings were relegated to the basement. I even registered for a painting class my last semester in college but was forced to change my class schedule when, just before the beginning of the semester, I was diagnosed with cervical cancer and was scheduled for a hysterectomy during spring break.

4. Complete this sentence: "I am in awe of people who can _____________."
make drawings that actually look like the thing they are drawing. :-)

5. Share about a person who has encouraged your creativity, who has "called you to your best self." (I'm pretty sure that's from the Gospel of Oprah.

There are so many now. The first was Maggie, a friend back in Florida. She is the one who taught me about a loving God instead of the punishing one I grew up with, and convinced me that God gave me gifts in order that I might use them. All I had to do was figure out what they were. She encouraged me to try anything I was drawn to do in the pursuit of those gifts. Not to worry about being perfect, or pleasing my mother, or being just like everyone else, but bringing out beauty wherever I saw it, in whatever form was pleasing. Now I try new things and continue working with them if I enjoy them, whether or not my first efforts are "successful." She also encouraged me when I was called to the ministry and was sure I couldn't possibly succeed in college at age 44! She told me I couldn't know what I was capable of if I didn't try and that God wouldn't have called me to do something I wasn't capable of doing.

Thanks to Maggie and others, I know that I am a work in progress, and that God isn't finished with me yet.