Monday, June 29, 2015

25/52::Riding the Pony at Lavender Days

A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2015

This past Saturday was Lavender Days. Michael went on a horse-drawn wagon ride, watched jousting, and rode on this pony. He barely passed the weight limit, so this is probably his last year of riding the ponies on Lavender Days. He is growing up, which is a very bitter-sweet thought.
♥ Melody

24/52::In the Van

A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2015

Michael was sick this week. He spiked a fever of 102.8* on Thursday night (the 11th). He slept in Steve's and my bed, he felt so crummy. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, his temperature hovered between 99* & 100*. I took him to the doc on Monday, and they ran a strep culture, which later came back negative. It was just a really yucky virus. This pic was taken on the 19th. By then he was feeling better, but I can tell by his eyes that the isn't feeling entirely himself.

Michael loves to take the seat out of the van, turn it upside down, and work on it - though what he is trying to fix is unknown to me. He always puts it back in place when he's done, though.

On this particular day, I was trying to get him to go inside. He had the seat on his lap and had no intentions of going inside any time soon. When I said, "Let's go inside." He replied, "Take my picture." LOL Smart boy, to appeal to the photographer in me :) He loved looking at his picture on the computer.

He's an interesting kid, this funny, funny boy that I love.

♥ Melody

Thursday, June 11, 2015

More Searching for Sunday quotes::Chapter 22 "Wine"

From Searching for Sunday:
"It may be tempting to dismiss the miracle [turning water into wine] and Cana as a mere magic trick, an example of Jesus flexing his messianic muscles before getting to the real work of restoring sight to the blind and helping the paralyzed off their mats. But this is only because we have such a hard time believing that God cares about our routine realities, that God's glory resides in the stuff of everyday life, just waiting to be seen."

"God works through life, through people, and through physical, tangible, and material reality to communicate his healing presence in our lives," explains Robert E. Webber when describing the principle of sacrament. "God does not meet us outside of life in an esoteric manner. Rather, he meets us through life incidents, and particularly through the sacraments of the church. Sacrament, then is a way of encountering the mystery."

"But our God is is the business of transforming ordinary things into holy things, scraps of food into feasts and empty purification vessels into fountains of fine wine. This God knows his way around the world, so there's no need to fear, no need to withhold, no need to stake a claim. There's always enough - just taste and see. There's always and ever enough."

♥ Melody

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

More quotes from "Searching for Sunday"::June 9

As I read Searching for Sunday, I keep wanting to write a blogpost using her words and thoughts as a springboard, but I don't, and then there is another thought and another and another.

Here are the some of the things that have jumped out at me. Perhaps sometimes soon I will sit down and write my own thoughts, but for now, here are some things that have touched my heart.
"The climax of the weekend happened on Saturday night with a communion service for all the students, volunteers, chaperones, and ministers. A Methodist pastor presided over the table, but asked me and a few of the student leaders to help distribute the bread and wine.

As I stood at the front of the rustic camp meeting roo, holding a loaf of bread in one hand and tearing off a piece at a time with the other, hundreds of people appreoaced, one at a time, with their hands held out, ready to receive.

'This is Christ's body, broken for you,' I said.

I said it over and over again, to each person who came to the table...

I said it more than three hundred times - until at last I believed it, at last I understood: it wasn't my job to do right by these kids; this wasn't about me at all. I could only proclaim the great mystery of faith - that Christ has died, Christ has risen, and Christ will come again, and that somehow, some way, this is enough. This body and this blood is enough.

At Eagle Eyrie I learned why it's so important for pastors to serve communion. It's important because it steals the show. It's important because it shoves you and your ego ad your expectations out of the way so Jesus can do his thing. It reminds you that grace is as abundant as tears and faith as simple as food.

'When [Jesus] wanted fully to explain what his forthcoming death was all about,' writes New Testaments scholar N.T. Wright, 'he didn't give a theory. He didn't even give them a set of scriptural texts. He gave them a meal.'

I guess sometimes you just have to taste and see...

On the days when I am hungry - for community, for peace, for belief - I remember what it was like to feed people Jesus, and for people to feed Jesus to me. And those pieces of memory multiply, like the bread that fed the five thousand, spilling out of their baskets and filling every hollow space. Communion doesn't answer every question, nor does it keep my stomach from rumbling from time to time, but I have found that it is enough. It is always and ever enough."

"Grace cannot prevail," writes Robert Farrar Capon, "until our lifelong certainty that someone is keeping score has run out of steam and collapsed."

"'No one has been 'worthy' to receive communion,' writes Alexander Schmemann, 'no one has been prepared for it. At this point all merits, all righteousness, all devotions disappear and dissolve. Life comes again to us as a Gift, a free and divine gift...Everything is free, nothing is due and yet all is given. And, therefore, the greatest humility and obedience is to accept the fit, to say yes - in joy and gratitude.'"

And then there is chapter Twenty-one... I could quote that whole chapter! I will quote one paragraph that seems to sum up the message:
"But the gospel doesn't need a coalition devoted to keeping the wrong people out. It needs a family of sinners, saved by grace, committed to tearing down the walls, throwing open the doors and shouting, 'Welcome! There is bread and wine. Come eat with us and talk.' This isn't a kingdom for the worthy; it's a kingdom for the hungry."

By the time I made it St. Mary's, I was hungry. My church had been hurting my heart for a long time, and I had finally ceased going after two people were excommunicated. Excommunication is violent, and I don't believe that any mortal can kick someone out of Christ's church nor take away their eternal salvation.

I first went to St. Mary's for Al Anon. I was impressed by the red front doors. Red symbolizes sin in my mind, and a church that recognizes everyone for exactly what we all are: sinners, felt good. I looked up "red door church" and found that it was an Episcopal Church. As I read what the Episcopalians believed and who was included at the Lord's Table, I was impressed and decided to visit. (I have since learned why the doors are red, 'Red doors traditionally mean 'sanctuary' --the ground beyond the doors is holy, and anyone who goes through them is safe from harm. Some churches also say the red signifies the blood of Christ that has been shed so that all who come to God's care may be saved. In ancient times, no one could pursue an enemy past red doors into a church, and certainly no one could be harmed or captured inside a church.' - Episcopal Life Archives)

My first visit, I took Jared with me, and I told him that I wouldn't be taking communion - what if I did it wrong?! When the moment came for my row of parishioners to go forward to the rail, I couldn't stay seated - I needed that bread and wine. And I went up. And I don't know if I did it right, and no one told me that I did it wrong. "The Body of Christ, the bread of heaven." "The Blood of Christ, the cup of salvation." I had needed that.

Months later, as I was reading the Book of Common Prayer, I discovered prayers that individuals can say before and after Eucharist (what Episcopalians call communion):
Before Worship:
O Almighty God, who pourest out on all who desire it the spirit of grace and of supplication: Deliver us, when we draw near to thee, from coldness of heart and wanderings of mind, that with steadfast thoughts ad kindled affections we may worship thee in spirit and in truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Before Receiving Communion:
Be present, be present, O Jesus, our great High Priest, as you were present with your disciples, and be known to us in the breaking of bread; who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen

After Receiving Communion:
O Lord Jesus Christ, who in a wonderful Sacrament hast left unto us a memorial of thy passion: Grant us, we beseech thee, so to venerate the sacred mysteries of thy Body and Blood, that we may ever perceive within ourselves the fruit of thy redemption; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen."

After Worship:
Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that the words which we have heard this day with our outward ears, may, through thy grace, be so grafted inwardly in our hearts, that they may bring forth in us the fruit of good living, to the honor and praise of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

And then, at the close of the meeting, these parting words,
"And now, Father, send us out
to do the work you have given us to do,
to love and serve you
as faithful witnesses of Christ our Lord.
To him, to you, and to the Holy Spirit
be honor and glory, now and forever."

<3 Melody

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Alcuin of York's prayer::June 4

Yesterday, as I was reading searching for sunday, I came upon the following prayer by Alcuin of York and I fell in love with it:

God, go with us. Help us to be an honor to the Church.

Give us the grace to follow Christ’s word,

to be clear in our task and careful in our speech.

Give us open hands and joyful hearts.

Let Christ be on our lips.

May our lives reflect a love of truth and compassion.

Let no one come to us and go away sad.

May we offer hope to the poor,

and solace to the disheartened.

Let us so walk before God’s people,

that those who follow us might come into his kingdom.

Let us sow living seeds, words that are quick with life,

that faith may be the harvest in people’s hearts.

In word and in example let your light shine

in the dark like the morning star.

Do not allow the wealth of the world or its enchantment

flatter us into silence as to your truth.

Do not permit the powerful, or judges,

or our dearest friends

to keep us from professing what is right.
♥ Melody

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Aiden wants to be my neighbor::June 2

The other day, Karen told me that Aiden said that he is going to live in (my little town) when he grows up. So I asked Aiden about it.

"So, when you are a grown-up, you are going to live in (my little town)?"

"Yep. I'm going to be your neighbor."

"Oh! So you are going to live next door to me?"

"No, I'm going to live in your house."

"You are going to live in my house with me?"

"Uh huh."

"You like my house so much you want to live in it?"


"What do you like about it?"

"I like alllll of the stairs that go upstairs. And I like that door in the basement. I remember seeing you in that room when I was 4."

He is obsessed with the door in my basement that leads to the darkroom (yep, the guy who lived here first was a photographer) and the bedroom (we use it for storage).

Cute, cute boy.

When I told Josh this same story, he said, "Like father, like son." :)
♥ Melody

Monday, June 1, 2015