Thursday, April 26, 2012

I don't know what's going on with bath and body manufacturers, but
I'm getting rather tired of not being able to find body wash and lotion
that doesn't smell like a fruit. Do I want to shower first thing in the morning
and walk around smelling like a pomegranate, a fig,a pear, a peach, a cucumber or a
melon? Not really. If I want to smell fruit, I'll go to the produce section
of the grocery store and sniff away.
Personally, I like clean, fresh scents like linen, fresh cotton, rain,
maybe a hint of lavendar, but not a rose bush.
They used to make such scents as serenity, energizing, calm, etc.
Most of the scents that are out there are really awful and turn me off.
So, I do use some basic, pedestrian products that at least don't make
me sick from the smell and leave me smelling clean and fresh.
I also stopped using a shampoo brand that I've used for years once
they stopped that variety and marketed a whole new one whose smell I
could not abide.
A note to you, manufacturers of shampoos, body washes and lotions,
make more pleasant scents that aren't over poweringly fruity and run
some marketing tests to see whether the smell of your product is not
a turn off rather than somehing pleasingly pleasant.
I's a small thing really but something I use daily and I want it to
be a pleasant and enjoyable experience and not something that starts
my day off on the wrong note.

Friday, April 20, 2012

RGBP'S FRIDAY FIVE - INTERNET CONNECTIONS Isn't it interesting that on this day, Blogger has gone to a new look and I've had navigate the new look and where to find everything and Friday Five is about internet?!!! 1. Do you use social connections, like Facebook, Twitter, Linked-in or whatever else there is? Describe how you use it/these. I use Facebook for family and friends, to touch base. I don't use Twitter at all. 2. Do you text on your cell phone? Work, friends, family? I am on a basic plan with no texting or internet connection. I have a landline and a computer. Until they make a cell phone that you can use for overseas calls without charging an arm and a leg, I won't be using the cell for my actual phone. Even the calls to Canada are outrageous compared to our landline plan. I am looking to the day when American cell phones can work overseas so if you are travelling on business or pleasure you can use your phone. All this technology and they can't come up with a workable solution that isn't so expensive? 3. Do you play any games? Which ones? Nope. I play a version of Solitaire on the computer. 4. How do you predominantly use the various electronic devices you possess? The cell phone for calls when I'm out and about. When I lived away from home while serving a church my cell phone was my phone. Too bad it was an LG which never could hold a charge for very long. I was constantly recharging that one. My Samsung is much, much better. 5. How do you feel about blogging? Are you as involved in blogging as when you first started? What facilitates your blogging? I still like to keep up with it. Although, not as often as I used to. I usually write about my present experiences and how they tie in spiritually, but not always. Bonus: Anything you want to add. You might like to discuss what helps you most in your vocation with internet connections. I'm pretty much a cheap Luddite when it comes to technology. I believe cell phones could be cheaper to use. I am sure that one day, cell phones will replace most computers, it's just that they are harder to type on than an actual keyboard. I have trouble with getting my pictures onto the computer and so don't post any. Some day, when I have time, I'll have to try and figure it out. My challenge at the moment is getting familiar with the new blogger interface. Sigh. Always something new.

Monday, April 16, 2012

This past Sunday was the first time in years that I did not lead a Joy Sunday on the Sunday after Easter. It felt a bit odd. But as I sat with the congregation's position, their frustrations, hurt, confusion, anxiety, fears, and fragile finances, they were simply not in a place yet, to celebrate Joy Sunday. Make no mistake, I believe they need to celebrate Joy Sunday. They need to reconnect with the joy of their faith, with the joy that the Resurrection of our Lord brings to us and to the world. But, they are simply not there yet. I retain hope that they will come to that place.
It was especially apparent after the last council meeting even as I played with the idea of a modified Joy Sunday and my sermon.
I chose instead to focus on Thomas and the risen Christ in their midst, who tells them twice in this passage: "Peace be with you." God's Spirit drew me to those words of Christ's peace of forgiveness, peace of love, peace of the joy of his risen presence, peace of grace, peace of hope that I knew they needed to hear and be with.
It all went well. The paschal candle was lit without incident, communion went well with everything decent and in order and even all the hymns that were joyful and mentioned joy, all worked together very well. It was a good worship experience.
I look forward to celebrating Joy Sunday again, sometime, wherever I may be serving. And in the meanwhile, I will look to the joy of my faith and scatter joy wherever I serve in subtle and not so subtle ways. I will save the bottles of bubbles and kazoos and know there will be a time to come when
they will be used and needed.
I am still mulling over Still by Lauren F. Winner. I enjoyed her book immensely, resonating the dark night of my soul with her experience of God's hiddenness. The Great Silence I have been living through is echoed through her book. Her retelling of the Eucharist with an elderly couple, the husband who could not eat and whose wife ate the wafer for him was touching and perceptive.
I especially liked her location lectio divina and hope to incorporate that type of lectio in my own faith life.
It was a wonderful read and I could not wait to get her next thoughts.
Surely our faith journeys are unique and there are those times when God is hidden or silent but never absent. It is helpful, encouraging and inspiring to read of other's experiences and how God continues to be present to us, connect to us and draw us into God, even in times of hiddenness, dark nights, and silence.
Truly I appreciated not only receiving this book, but Lauren's offering and honesty in living through this time of her faith journey. May it encourage all who go through times of doubt, silence, and distance from God.
I am better for having read it and will continue to refer to Still. From Still, I can take heart, and continue to listen for and speak to the Great Silence who I know is still with me.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

is what the American Presidential campaign is today. It shames me and makes me angry. It should shame and anger us all.
The May Reader's Digest noted that one campaign can cost a total of 707 million dollars, nearly a billion dollars!
61 million in travel
65 million in staff
435 million in advertising
54 million in operations
30 million in fund raising
28 million in polling
34 million in events
For a grand total of 707 million dollars that could go to reduce the deficit, fund health care for children, seniors, and the indigent, and other programs.
What are we doing, folks? Other countries have time limits on campaigns and spending limits on campaigns, like Ireland.
Campaigning should be limited to three months and a cap set on spending.
Candidates would still have time to debate, hold their convention and we would be spared wasting countless millions of dollars, more negative and untruthful ads on TV and radio, and an end to countless automated phone calls from politcal people, and polling companies who interrupt our dinners, our family time, etc.
In what manner is this good stewardship of money or time or people?
So much more can be done with the money wasted on campaigns and the time spent on campaigning to address the problems in our country and to build up our nation.
We should be ashamed as a country and put an end to such wastefulness. The campaign should not be run or won by who has the most money, but who is most competent leader for each party.
It all has gotten insanely out of control and I grieve over our wastefulness. I think God grieves as well.

Monday, April 09, 2012

What Happens When a Presbyterian Serves a Lutheran Church at Easter -
It all started off well with an Easter breakfast where there was an overabundance of food. I ran upstairs put my sermon in the pulpit, robed up and took my place in the Narthex, after setting up an Easter basket filled with stones, one stone for every parishioner.
There we were, torchbearers, crucifer, assisting minister and myself and in we processed at the right time to the middle of the sanctuary where the baptismal font and paschal are. The altar candles and candlabras were all lit, except for the paschal candle. The head usher had forgotten to light it!
I motioned to one torchbearer to light it from his candle. Only the paschal candle is so tall it didn't work. All the while everyone is facing the font and singing "Jesus Christ is Risen Today." The torchbearer give his candle to the other torchbearer, runs to the Sacristy, gets the lighter and tries to light the paschal candle but can't. He climbs over the back of a pew, stands on the pew and lights the candle. We are on the fourth verse of the hymn and we can finally process to the chancel and communion table. I was mortified.
The service proceeds along and with everything else going well. Ahh, I breathe more easy.
We come to communion, I serve the assisting minister, who in turn serves me. I forget to say the "invitation" which is the cue for everyone to sit down. They sit down anyway. I count the cups on the little tray and we are one short. The organist, torchbearers, and crucifer are standing by the organ waiting to recieve communion, the ushers are at the bottom of the steps. The organist says he'll run into the sacristy for a cup, only he doesn't return as I hear cabinet doors opening and shutting, I begin to serve the torchbearers and crucifer. Just when I am about to serve the ushers, out comes the organist with a cup. I serve him and then the ushers.
The rest of communion goes well and the service finishes on a high note.
I am thinking I may not be there much longer. How many times can I flub commuion and live down the paschal candle not being lit and everyone having a floor show on Easter Sunday morning!!!?!! Easter Sunday of all Sundays!!!!
Everyone communed, the gospel was preached, the hymns were wonderfully triumphant, the lilies looked beautiful, God was worshipped and our risen Lord glorified. So, in the end, everything happened, but not before dying a death of embarrassment and rising up in hope that next week when all the Easter people are not here - Sunday will go exactly as it should!!!!
Thank you, God, for the grace in which we live, I live, each and every day and despite all our human foibles and mistakes, the worship of our hearts is ever offered. For this and for so much more, our Lord is risen!!! Alleluia!