pegkerr: (Fealty with love valour with honour oath)
I went to adult bible study before church. Pastor was talking about today's text from Isaiah, which he was basing his sermon text upon rather than today's Gospel text. It's the famous part, often called "The Peaceable Kingdom." Here's the text:

1Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse,
And a branch from his roots will bear fruit.

2The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him,
The spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The spirit of counsel and strength,
The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.

3And He will delight in the fear of the LORD,
And He will not judge by what His eyes see,
Nor make a decision by what His ears hear;

4But with righteousness He will judge the poor,
And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth;
And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth,
And with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked.

5Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins,
And faithfulness the belt about His waist.

6And the wolf will dwell with the lamb,
And the leopard will lie down with the young goat,
And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together;
And a little boy will lead them.

7Also the cow and the bear will graze,
Their young will lie down together,
And the lion will eat straw like the ox.

8The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra,
And the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den.

9They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain,
For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD
As the waters cover the sea.

10Then in that day
The nations will resort to the root of Jesse,
Who will stand as a signal for the peoples;
And His resting place will be glorious.

Isaiah, 11:1-10
This is a text often used during Advent because Christians recognize the shoot from the stump of Jesse as Christ, descending from the house of David. (As usual, I raised my hand and spoke about my habitual irritation that the first chapter of Matthew traces Jesus's ancestry, from father to son ONLY--no women here--through Joseph back to David. And wasn't that pointless, since the story of the virgin birth means that Joseph had nothing to do with Jesus' ancestry. As usual, Pastor acknowledged my point and moved on.) Pastor went on to mention that people reading this in Isaiah's time would take this as being about a newly crowned king, like, say, Hezekiah. I looked at the description of the ideal king here ("The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him,/ The spirit of wisdom and understanding,/The spirit of counsel and strength, / The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. / And He will delight in the fear of the LORD, / And He will not judge by what His eyes see, / Nor make a decision by what His ears hear; / But with righteousness He will judge the poor, / And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth"). That doesn't sound a lot like Trump, I thought, sadly considering the recent election. He is so gullible that he bases his reasoning on every baseless thing he sees on the internet, and as for judging the poor and deciding with fairness for the afflicted, no. He sounds like the opposite of that. And the peaceable kingdom sounds like the opposite of Trump's America.

As Pastor continued, I idly started flipping back further to look for references to David and stopped suddenly when a bit of poetry jumped out at me from the middle of a passage of prose. I looked at the top of the top of the page, and read "The parable of the trees." Now, trees, as readers of this blog know, is a subject of particular fascination for me, but I didn't remember this at all. Here is the bit that caught my eye, which is taken from Judges 9:8-15:
“8The trees once went forth to anoint a king over them.
And they said to the olive tree,
‘Reign over us!’
9
But the olive tree said to them,
‘Should I cease giving my oil,
With which they honor God and men,
And go to sway over trees?’

10
“Then the trees said to the fig tree,
‘You come and reign over us!’
11
But the fig tree said to them,
‘Should I cease my sweetness and my good fruit,
And go to sway over trees?’

12
“Then the trees said to the vine,
‘You come and reign over us!’
13
But the vine said to them,
‘Should I cease my new wine,
Which cheers both God and men,
And go to sway over trees?’

14
“Then all the trees said to the bramble,
‘You come and reign over us!’
15
And the bramble said to the trees,
‘If in truth you anoint me as king over you,
Then come and take shelter in my shade;
But if not, let fire come out of the bramble
And devour the cedars of Lebanon!’
Read this commentary here.

My goodness, I thought. That's Trump, that's absolutely Trump. Read the verses around the parable, too, Judges 8:22 through the entirety of Judges 9 and the wikipedia entry here. He won his throne by treachery, climbing over a heap of bodies (think the Republican primary and then the general election). He is like the bramble; the other trees bore fruit, but the bramble bears only hurtful thorns, and when the other trees turned to him, he revealed only a penchant for selfish ambition and treachery. And that's what Trump has done, too. All he has for us is thorns.

And note the manner of his death: After cutting a swath through and killing thousands of his own people, he is hit on the head by a woman who throws a millstone down on the top of his head from the top of the tower he is besieging. Get this, he beseeches his armor-bearer to kill him so that he wouldn't be known as a man defeated by a woman. I guess treachery goes hand in hand with misogyny.

If the parable can be truly be applied today, putting Trump in the role of Abimelech, it suggests that Trump and the Republicans will end up destroying each other. And the Republicans should have seen it coming, but no, they started with treachery, and started robbing people and jostling for power, causing Trump to take revenge, and so they will reap what they have sown.
pegkerr: (Default)
Remember this post, when I talked about how our church presents each high school graduate with a hand-knotted fleece blanket in their school colors? A friend from my church sent me a picture from the ceremony:

Delia Blanket Blessing

I am both proud (and a little sad) that this day has arrived. She has worked SO HARD to get through high school, and for a long time, it was a tough, tough slog, but she did it! And now my last little fledgling is about to leave the nest.

Will try to post more pictures later.
pegkerr: (Delia)
Delia has decided not to be confirmed.

She agonized and went back and forth a lot on this in her inimitable Delia manner, but finally made the final decision last Wednesday night. I'm sad about it, but not surprised. Rob is not a church goer at all, although he was amenable to both girls being baptized. I have always believed it's a child's own decision, and I would never force her to do this if she didn't want to, and she doesn't. She says she simply doesn't believe. I admitted there are times that I have difficulty believing myself.

From now on, I'll be going to church alone. It's a lot lonelier way to do it. It's one reason I wished my sisters and my parents and I lived closer to each other (we're about a half hour apart), so that we could attend the same church. For most of my life going to church has meant going with family. Of course, that day would have come someday only, and now it's just a little earlier. But she may never have that as a part of her life. Of course, that may change. Either way, I will she will always be in my prayers.
pegkerr: (Default)
We always sit in the front row, on the left side. Dunno why, but we always do. Pastor often pleads with the rest of the congregation: "Why don't some of you move forward; we have lots of empty seats up here." These pleas always fall on deaf ears (some of which are literally deaf; we have a large number of members in their eighties).

Today, in the middle of the first hymn, Fiona looked around us, leaned over to me and said, "We have a blast radius."

I stopped singing, somewhat stunned by her comment. "What?"

"Look." I turned around and saw what she meant: the church was rather empty (subzero weather today) and there wasn't anyone sitting anywhere within twenty feet of us. I looked back at her--and cracked up.

And I continued to giggle sporadically about it throughout the entire service.
pegkerr: (Default)





I love this story.

[livejournal.com profile] knitmeapony sent out a tweet that alerted me to this one.

From blogger Tim Schraeder here.
A couple of months ago I interviewed Nathan Albert from the Marin Foundation about Mercy, Justice, and the GLBT Community. It generated some interesting dialogue around a tough issue… how does the Church communicate God’s love to the gay community?

This past weekend Chicago, along with many other US cities, celebrated Gay Pride with a parade. As a part of the weekend, Nathan and a group of over 30 Christians from various Chicago churches went to demonstrate at the Gay Pride Parade with the Marin Foundation.

Their demonstration was much different, though.

While the most vocal “Christian” presence at the parade was in the form of protesters with “God Hates Fags” signs, Nathan and a team from the Marin Foundation took a different approach… they chose to apologize.

The volunteers wore black t-shirts with the phrase “I’m Sorry” on the front and held signs with messages of apology, on behalf of all Christians, for the way the church has treated the gay community.





While the ultimate message Jesus came to preach was one of love, grace and compassion, we’ve sadly misrepresented Him and alienated sons and daughters from their Father’s embrace… and I’m so excited to see how Nathan and his team took a different, humble approach and in the end, did something far more powerful than preaching or shouting… they showed love.

Nathan posted a story from the Pride Parade outreach on his blog that absolutely needs to be heard…Here’s some excerpts…
What I loved most about the day is when people “got it.” I loved watching people’s faces as they saw our shirts, read the signs, and looked back at us. Responses were incredible. Some people blew us kisses, some hugged us, some screamed thank you. A couple ladies walked up and said we were the best thing they had seen all day.

Watching people recognize our apology brought me to tears many times. It was reconciliation personified.

My favorite though was a gentleman who was dancing on a float. He was dressed solely in white underwear and had a pack of abs like no one else. As he was dancing on the float, he noticed us and jokingly yelled, “What are you sorry for? It’s pride!” I pointed to our signs and watched him read them.

Then it clicked.

Then he got it.

He stopped dancing. He looked at all of us standing there. A look of utter seriousness came across his face. And as the float passed us he jumped off of it and ran towards us. He hugged me and whispered, “thank you.”

I think a lot of people would stop at the whole “man in his underwear dancing” part. That seems to be the most controversial. It’s what makes the evening news. It’s the stereotype most people have in their minds about Pride.

Sadly, most Christians want to run from such a sight rather than engage it. Most Christian won’t even learn if that person dancing in his underwear has a name. Well, he does. His name is Tristan.

However, I think Jesus would have hugged him too. It’s exactly what I read throughout scripture: Jesus hanging out with people that religious people would flee from. Correlation between then and now? I think so.

Acceptance is one thing. Reconciliation is another. Sure at Pride, everyone is accepted (except perhaps the protestors). There are churches that say they accept all. There are business that say the accept everyone. But acceptance isn’t enough. Reconciliation is.

Reconciliation forces one to remember the wrongs committed and relive constant pain. Yet it’s more powerful and transformational because two parties that should not be together and have every right to hate one another come together for the good of one another, for forgiveness, reconciliation, unity.

What I saw and experienced at Pride 2010 was the beginning of reconciliation. It was in the shocked faces of gay men and women who did not ever think Christians would apologize to them.

I hugged a man in his underwear. I hugged him tightly. And I am proud.




What’s so cool about this story is that when Nathan posted the picture it lit up on Facebook and someone recognized Tristan and Tristan got in touch with Nathan yesterday afternoon. He said that all he could talk about from his experience at the Pride Parade was meeting Nathan and all of the Christians who were there to say they were sorry.

He was moved and he and Nathan are going to meet up later this week for coffee.

That’s what it’s all about. Who knows what will happen or what will come of this, but one life was impacted and countless seeds were planted in the hearts of many.

Pray for Tristan and Nathan’s conversation and pray that this will be the beginning of a movement of reconciliation between the Church and the gay community.

Huge props to Nathan, Kevin, Andrew, everyone at the Marin Foundation, and those who courageously joined them this weekend in taking Christ’s love to a place most Christians would run away from. Thanks for being an example and setting a high bar for the rest of us to follow.

How is your church communicating to the gay community? Maybe we need to start with a humble apology.



UPDATE: Many people have responded wanting to do something similar in their cities, so the Marin Foundation is making the “I’m Sorry” t-shirts available. Details here.
pegkerr: (Default)
Have you ever had the experience when someone makes a passing comment about their past that TOTALLY surprises you? It happened tonight to me.

There's a guy at our church the girls and I have spoken with because he's into martial arts, too. He's a fourth degree black belt, but in a different discipline than ours, so we've never taken classes with him; I'm hazy about what, exactly, he studies. I've been told by several people that he's extremely good. He's offered self-defense classes for women for free to church members upon occasion. I knew that he's worked for the city for the past twenty years or so. Something to do with programming traffic lights, I think.

Tonight, we went to the Lenten Soup Supper and sat down next to Jeff and struck up a conversation with him. He's a really nice, friendly guy. I told him about Fiona's form at school yesterday, and the conversation was friendly and lively, meandering from topic to topic. And then, out of the blue--I can't remember how on earth we got to that point--he said casually, "You know that I used to snatch people to deprogram them from cults, didn't you?"

My jaw dropped. "Really?!"

"Oh, yeah," he said casually. "I was the muscle. My job was to grab them and throw them in the van and then keep them from leaving. I rescued about a hundred people over the years. I only lost one who went back."

He then spent about a half hour telling us the most amazing stories about the period of time from when he was eighteen till he was twenty-eight. He'd fly all over the country, paid by the target's parents, to snatch them. He snatched people from the Moonies, Scientology, The Way, and other more obscure splinter cults. He told us about the time he and his partner flew to Chicago because they knew the kid was going to a wedding. So they grabbed the kid, but they didn't realize that EVERYBODY in the wedding was involved in the cult. So the entire wedding party turned on them, but he still managed to get out of there, carrying the kid on his back, kicking and screaming and clawing all the way. "Girls were the worst," he said, "'cause they'd be especially scared. I mean, here I was, this big guy grabbing them out of the blue and they didn't know why until I threw them in the van and they saw their parents there. And I wasn't allowed to hurt them, of course."

"Did any of them ever injure you?" I asked, fascinated.

"Nah, because they didn't know what they were doing, exactly. Not the way guys did when I fought them in cage matches."

And THAT led to stories about his fighting career. He fought in Madison Square Garden. He was a bouncer in a bar. He's had his nose broken so many times he had the cartilage replaced with plastic. He was a bodyguard to celebrities, the chief one, the one of last resort, closest to the stage. He said Tina Turner, for example, always asks for him when she comes to town.

I couldn't help but marvel. Here's this nice guy who sits in the pew behind us every week, who's talked about reading his Bible on the bus on the way to work each day, who had this whole other wild life and I knew nothing about it.

Tell me about someone you've known for awhile who took you totally by surprise with amazing stories about their past.
pegkerr: (candle)
is "Come, Be Our Light." All the hymns yesterday included the light in the darkness theme. The alter looked beautiful, with bare branches decorated with small white lights.

Awesome.

They also put a big beautiful collage of photographs in the Narthex, shaped sort of like a light burst, showing different aspects of the mission of the church. I ended up talking during the fellowship hour with the woman who came up with the idea about soulcollaging.

I definitely go to the right church.
pegkerr: (candle)
I have been thinking a great deal about this article ever since I read it. Time Magazine has published a report about the inner life of Mother Teresa:
On Dec. 11, 1979, Mother Teresa, the "Saint of the Gutters," went to Oslo. Dressed in her signature blue-bordered sari and shod in sandals despite below-zero temperatures, the former Agnes Bojaxhiu received that ultimate worldly accolade, the Nobel Peace Prize. In her acceptance lecture, Teresa, whose Missionaries of Charity had grown from a one-woman folly in Calcutta in 1948 into a global beacon of self-abnegating care, delivered the kind of message the world had come to expect from her. "It is not enough for us to say, 'I love God, but I do not love my neighbor,'" she said, since in dying on the Cross, God had "[made] himself the hungry one — the naked one — the homeless one." Jesus' hunger, she said, is what "you and I must find" and alleviate. She condemned abortion and bemoaned youthful drug addiction in the West. Finally, she suggested that the upcoming Christmas holiday should remind the world "that radiating joy is real" because Christ is everywhere — "Christ in our hearts, Christ in the poor we meet, Christ in the smile we give and in the smile that we receive."

Yet less than three months earlier, in a letter to a spiritual confidant, the Rev. Michael van der Peet, that is only now being made public, she wrote with weary familiarity of a different Christ, an absent one. "Jesus has a very special love for you," she assured Van der Peet. "[But] as for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great, that I look and do not see, — Listen and do not hear — the tongue moves [in prayer] but does not speak ... I want you to pray for me — that I let Him have [a] free hand."

The two statements, 11 weeks apart, are extravagantly dissonant. The first is typical of the woman the world thought it knew. The second sounds as though it had wandered in from some 1950s existentialist drama. Together they suggest a startling portrait in self-contradiction — that one of the great human icons of the past 100 years, whose remarkable deeds seemed inextricably connected to her closeness to God and who was routinely observed in silent and seemingly peaceful prayer by her associates as well as the television camera, was living out a very different spiritual reality privately, an arid landscape from which the deity had disappeared.
I have never entirely venerated Mother Teresa, as she supported many tenets of the Roman Catholic church that I simply cannot accept. But learning this about Mother Teresa has made me feel an unexpected kinship with her, and I have been brooding about that this week.

What I have been thinking about specifically is something that I have talked about with Kij occasionally over the years. I have always wanted my living to follow an ethical framework. I am, in fact, a Myers-Briggs ENFP ENFJ: the "F" (as opposed to "T") means that my mind operates on a "Feeling" axis rather than a "Thinking" one. But I have had to accept that how I live my life cannot be guided by how I feel about things. This is partly because I am subject to periodic bouts of depression, and so my feelings, which can occasionally be out of whack, are not a sound guideline. But more, I have come to feel that actions, if I wish to be ethical, must be guided by will, not by feeling.

Love is shown by actions, not by how one feels. I live out my love for my spouse not by how I feel about him but by how I treat him. Same with my kids. Same with God. It is painful, however, when these are dissonant. I have been thinking about what ethical questions it raises when this dissonance stretches on and on. Apparently these questions have been raised about Mother Teresa, too. If she experienced her relationship with God as being an endless silence, does this not mean, as some atheists have suggested, that she simply lacked courage to face what she should have realized as the truth, based on her own feelings: that there is in fact no God? Or was it in fact greater courage to continue on in obedience to what she felt was God's will, despite feeling no support or guidance from her God at all?

My depression seeps into many areas of my life: my faith, my marriage, my parenting. How do I live my life, despite it? What things must I continue to do, no matter what I feel? What must I keep doing, even if my feelings tell me that I am being a fool, that all is hopeless?

Much to think about.
pegkerr: (candle)
Yesterday was the special portion of the service at my church for people who struggle with mental illness. I wrote about this last year, but I'm posting about it again for people who are new to my journal. This year, I was asked to participate, and I was glad to do so.

To start with, there was a table in the narthex, covered with informational packets, brochures, and books about various mental illnesses that members of the congregation were encouraged to take. It was staffed by the congregational representatives for mental illness issues (we have several; all of them have had family or personal experience with mental illness. The congregation leader for this mission has a daughter who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, and she has been doing this as her mission to the church for nine years.)

During the service, the pastor had a children's message where he talked to the children about mental illness, explaining simply that just as people can become sick with a cold or a flu, they can develop a sickness in their minds, but that God loves and supports us at those times, too. The candle lighting was explained to them.

Then the mental illness outreach leader came up and made some introductory remarks, and then three of us came up to speak for three minutes each. I spoke about depression, another woman spoke about being bipolor, and a man spoke who was obsessive compulsive.

Next, members of the congregation were invited to come up and light a candle for either themselves or someone else they know who is living with mental illness. This is, apparently, done traditionally in this church every year on the first Sunday of October.

Here are the prayers said during this point in the service:  )

The congregation was then invited up to the front to light candles for themselves or people they knew struggling with mental illness. The hymn sung at that time was "Make me a Channel of Your Peace." I would say about forty people came up to light candles at each service. What a simple, lovely thing to do at this time of year, when the darkness is growing, and it is time to pull out my Seasonal Affective Disorder light box. It comforts me to know that my church is a source of light for me during dark times.

I was moved to tears during my three minute talk as I thanked the church for their outreach to people like me, and I am told that many others cried, too. During the sermon, the pastor also touched upon these topics, and personally thanked me and the other two speakers by name for providing disciple leadership on this issue. After the service, he had me and the other two speakers accompany him out to the narthex afterwards to greet people afterwards. Many, many spoke to me afterwards to thank me and tell me their own stories: My brother committed suicide. I take medication for panic disorder. My daughter is being treated for depression. We held this service portion during both services, and the adult Sunday School forum, in between the two services, was about mental illness, led, again, by the mental health outreach coordinator. She covered depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, and schizophrenia.

My church rocks for doing this.
pegkerr: (Default)
Can anyone suggest an appropriate confirmation gift idea for my nephew/godson? I need to get it today; the service is tomorrow afternoon. Thanks.
pegkerr: (Default)
"Today the Gospel of Judas got its first public outing at a news conference, and it is on display at the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C. It will eventually return to Egypt to be housed in Cairo's Coptic Museum. It is also available online, in Coptic and English, and is the cover story of the new National Geographic magazine.

But while the document is a real one, is what it claims also true? Did the New Testament Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John get it wrong? Did Jesus ask Judas to betray him?"
Read the entire story here.

Fascinating.
pegkerr: (All we have to decide is what to do with)
Today at church forum (the adult education hour) we had a presentation by Gordon and Betty Olson, who founded Lutheran Partners in Global Ministry.

I realized with a start as they started to tell their story that I knew who they were, because their story made a great impression when I first heard it over a decade ago. I read about it in my St. Olaf College alumni magazine in 1991. Betty and Gordon Olson's son, Tim Olson, a 1989 St. Olaf College graduate, was an aspiring architect. Right after his graduation, he went to Africa to the Central African Republic to supervise an effort to build a Lutheran church in C.A.R.'s capitol city Bangui. His girlfriend came to visit him there in 1991, and they took a short trip to visit a game preserve. On the way back, they were waylaid by bandits, who shot both Tim and his girlfriend. The girlfriend survived, but Tim died of blood loss about thirty minutes later. He was only twenty-five years old.

His family was devastated. The church was completed, and named in honor of their son, St. Timothy Lutheran Church. The family came over to be at the dedication, and what they saw in Africa moved them to start an organization which would further the work for which their son gave his life, connecting individuals and congregations to better people's lives. They build churches and schools, and sponsor very poor children to give them an education.

It was quite an experience, listening to these two thoughtful people, who had emerged from the crucible of such bitter grief with a burning sense of mission to make the world a better place. And they have done so.

Tell me about something good that you know of that has come from a tragedy.
pegkerr: (Fiona and Delia)
At my church's educational hour for adults today, we had someone from the Search Institute come to speak to us about the work that they do. Search Institute is an independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide leadership, knowledge, and resources to promote healthy children, youth, and communities. The heart of their mission is that they have identified 40 developmental assets which their research has shown helps children thrive. The more of these assets these children have, the healthier they are, the better they do at school, and the more leadership roles they take. Their research has clearly shown that the less assets children have, the more likely they are to get involved with violent confrontations, alcohol, drugs, and early sexual activity.

The Search Institute's research shows that children do best if they have at least 31 of the 40 assets, but that at best 9% of children do. They work to help families, schools and communities develop the assets so more children are supported. An example: one school in the St. Louis Park community (where the Search Institute is based) posted a computer printout with every student's name in the school, and they had the staff (other than teachers, i.e., cafeteria staff, custodians, librarians, teachers' aides) put a dot by every student's name that they knew well enough to know their name and start a conversation. About 25% of the student had 7 or 8 dots, about 25% had one or two dots, and all the rest had no dots. So they divided the students who had no dots and assigned them to the various staff people, who served as invisible mentors, going out of their way to strike up conversations and learn about them, to make them feel welcome at the school. They said that the improvement at the school was truly remarkable: less fights, more involvement in extracurricular activities, more school spirit and higher grades.

Take a look at the list of assets and tell me, what are you doing to mentor or look out for a child who is not your own kid? Lurkers, for once I would like you to speak up, too, for you, too, can make a difference in a kid's life!

[Note: I didn't have the survey to give her, but I did give the list of assets to Fiona. At a rough guess, she thought that she had 35 of the 40, so I was pleased.]
pegkerr: (A light in dark places)
I'm on the Advent planning team, and I'm going to suggest to the choir director that we sing this rendition of Silent Night at the Christmas eve service.

We really need it, in this time of war.

(Peace, Peace/Silent Night by Rick & Sylvia Powell).
pegkerr: (candle)
My church had a simple ceremony today which impressed me quite a bit. When I arrived there this morning, there was a table in the narthex, covered with informational packets and brochures about various mental illnesses. It was staffed by a woman who was, I was told, the congregational representative for mental illness issues. I had a long talk with her; she has a daughter who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, and she has been doing this as her mission to the church for nine years.

Then, during the children's message, the pastor talked to the children about mental illness, explaining simply that just as people can become sick with a cold or a flu, they can develop a sickness in their minds, but that God loves and supports us at those times, too. The candle lighting was explained to them. Next, members of the congregation were invited to come up and light a candle for either themselves or someone else they know who is living with mental illness. This is, apparently, done traditionally in this church every year on the first Sunday of October.

Here are the prayers said during this point in the service )

The girls asked to go up to light candles for Kij. I had planned to light one for her myself, but since both girls asked to go, I told them fine, and stood with them as they lit them. I decided that one candle was for Kij and one was for me. I would say about forty people came up to light candles. I felt moved to tears as I watched them there, flickering before the congregation, when all were seated again. And what a simple, lovely thing to do at this time of year, when the darkness is growing, and it is time to pull out my Seasonal Affective Disorder light box. It comforts me to know that my church is a source of light for me during dark times.

We will be joining the church, finally on October 30. There is no doubt in my mind that we have found our true new church home.
pegkerr: (Default)
Today was the first Sunday of our annual two-week Festival of the Arts at my church. Over the years, the church has highlighted a wide range of artists. One year it was a photographer who traveled around Minnesota taking stunning photographs of the little country churches we have in this state, one year it was a fabric artist, a member of our church, who designs and creates intricate banners from felt that look like stained glass windows.

This year, the committee decided to honor all the members of our creation who create art, so they invited everyone to submit their work for the two week gallery held in our downstairs fellowship hall. There were hand made quilts, wood working projects, metal sculpture, charcoal sketches, acrylic paintings, photographs, necklaces, and more. A whole range of ages were represented, from cartoonists in their early teens to quilters in their 60s and 70s. It was fun: we wandered from one end of the hall to the other exclaiming, "Look at that! I never knew he could do that!

Instead of a sermon, we had a presentation by members of the local chapter of the Swedish Nyckelharpa Association, and Swedish folk dancers. "What's a nyckelharpa?" you ask, as well you should. It's a very strange instrument I'd never heard of before. It sounds like a very resonant violin." Informative, and along with the folk dancers, great fun. Next week, the festival will conclude with a special choir concert.

We admire great art that has been produced by artists in past ages for the glory of God. I wish that more churches were as far-sighted as mine, remembering that artists working today need encouragement, too, and holding events regularly to celebrate their work.

Cheers,
Peg

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