Adjusting to a New Reality
While I am officially on vacation (and will be until the end of June), this clearly feels different. Usually Saturday night I review my message for Sunday…not this week. On Monday I get up thinking about the week ahead, and while I’m doing that, my week looks quite different, as it involves packing, support raising and figuring how to sell our stuff…and has nothing to do with the next steps in the life of our church. Just weird.
When we knew for sure that we’d have no church responsibilities in June, the first thing Liz said was that she wanted to visit the Episcopal church in town. The priest at that church is someone I met when we first moved to Ithaca in 1994 (he didn’t remember me…nor would I have expected him to.) In 1994, he was one of the key chaplains at Cornell, I was just getting started. He, like many of the religious leaders had a suite of offices…I had a mail box. (thinking about office space at Cornell is one of those items that remind me of how much work God still needs to do in my life) However, this person was kind enough to allow us to use his space to meet with students on a weekly basis.
I figured he wouldn’t remember me, and admittedly, loaning out his office is probably pretty far down on the acts of kindness he has done in his life, it really meant something to me, and I wanted to thank him for it before we left. After the service, we were invited to the coffee hour, and there he asked Liz & I to remind him of who we were, and what we were doing next…after we shared our story with him, he asked us to share our story with their church, and keep them up-to-date on our progress.
Sadly, I meet enough many church leaders who are so wrapped up in what they are doing, that once they determine a person is of no benefit to them, easily move on. Yesterday I got to spend sometime with a person who just oozes kindness…I want to be like that when I grow up.
Trusting God to Open Doors
Another lesson from yesterday’s church experience was, about trusting God to open doors. As we move to Dublin, we recognize that for this whole crazy thing to work out, God is going to have to open doors…direct us to the right people. Yesterday was an opportunity to see the Father take something where we were “just going to church,” and he turned it into an opportunity for us to share our story, and have receive a series of blessings from the people there. Of course it didn’t hurt that Méabh was there, and not only is she amazingly adorable, but she was the only baby in the place. We all recognize that she is going to be the main way we get to meet people once we get to Ireland!
Praying with My Wife
One area of life that I have consistently been horrible at is family devotions. No need to go into details, but while my “personal devotion time” has been solid for a long time…it’s never moved beyond that. About three weeks ago I started thinking that when our time at the Ithaca Vineyard ended, it would be important for Liz & I to try again. I even had a plan…but didn’t say anything. A week later, she talks about why she thinks we need to finally get praying together working. Pretty cool. So I shared my idea with her & we’ve been practicing it consistently for over 2 weeks now, and it’s the first thing that has really clicked for us. We’ve even begun expanding it a bit.
So here is what we’ve been doing (I actually got the idea from a friend of mine Dave Nixon while I was going through the school of spiritual direction.) In the morning, we read through the divine hours. However, we stop after each passage and pray whatever that passage brings to mind. One of the reasons I love the divine hours, and liturgical prayer in general is that it keeps us from simply focusing on the needs of the day…But each day there is a theme around which the prayers are organized. We’ve even added Compline in over the past few days(prayer right before turning in for the night…although we simply read through them, rather than adding our own prayers.
Maybe you’ve had this working long before Liz & I were able to figure it out…but if not, I thought I’d share something we’ve been pretty excited about.
If you’d like to check out the Divine Hours, you can find them online here.
Random Stuff I’m Thinking About:
– I’ve started reading Jesus Creed, by Scot McKnight. James Cherian suggested it as a series at church & we never got to it…but I’ve started reading McKnight’s blog recently & decided to pick up the books.
– I still haven’t seen a full Red Sox game all year. Keeping up by reading online, but missing sitting down to watch a game.
– It is just me or does it seem like a really really long time since a good movie came out on video?
– One more thought about our church experience yesterday…you know how people see you come in with your baby and let you know where the nursery is so you can take them out if they are fussy. We had a few people come up to us yesterday to tell us, don’t worry if your baby is fussy…it won’t bother us we’re glad she’s here. Probably not a church growth strategy, but it felt pretty loving & welcoming.
Hope your week is off to a good start.