Wednesday, August 22, 2007

here we go again

As I drove into work this morning (from my new house!) I noticed in the midst of the fog all these cars parked at Robert E. Lee. Ah, yes. School's back in session. Which of course means that our own fall is about to start.

We've been preparing for this fall for, well, months and months. Our Sunday School hour is going to look a little different, as is our Together on Wednesday education offerings. Our youth have all new leaders and even more fun stuff planned for them this year. The kids have an exciting and creativity filled year ahead of them. It's going to be good.

It's also going to be different. Not hugely different, but still. I hope we can all make the adjustments without too many aches and pains. Of course, every year brings a few adjustments. Think about those kids starting school today. If they've been to Lee before, it's the same building, the same classmates, but different teachers and different classes, different seniors and different freshman. Same idea - school - but different enough that I know I got first day jitters each year of high school.

Maybe that's what I'm feeling now (or maybe it's just the massive amount of coffee I've had this morning). It's exciting, a new year, with new classes, new teachers, and even new friends. But anything exciting often causes a little bit of nervousness. So with a combination of excitement and a few jittery nerves, I'm looking forward to our own start of the fall. At least I know I won't have any homework.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

a long way gone

I love to read, loved it since I was a little girl. Other kids would want to watch tv or a movie, I'd want to read. Other teenagers got in trouble staying up late at night talking to their friends on the phone; I got in trouble for reading until 3am when I had school the next day.

But at this moment in time, I'm finding it very hard to read. A few friends recommended a book to me, one they used with their youth. So several days ago I picked the book up and began to read. I've only gotten to page 50. This is very unusual for me (I read the whole last Harry Potter book in something like 7 hours). But this book... this book is making it very difficult for me to read.

The book is "a long way gone: memories of a boy soldier" by Ishmael Beah, a young man my age who grow up in Sierra Leone. When he was just 13, he was conscripted into the rebel army and forced to do horrible, horrible things. As an older teenager, he was rescued and brought to the United States where he lives and works now.

His writing is beautiful, and haunting, and very, very painful. I'm reading along and I feel physical pain in my stomach. What this young man has experienced, has had to see, had to do... it shouldn't even be humanly possible. After each chapter, and sometimes after just a passage, I have to put the book down and pray. Pray for the people in this world who remember, who survived. Pray for the people in this world who are living through such atrocities right now. Pray for the people in this world who are inflicting such violence on their sisters and brothers.

I'm have a really hard time reading. But I keep trying. I need to get through this book - can't put my head under the covers or pick up a happier novel. Even if I really, really want to.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Mission Sunday

This Sunday’s service – Mission Sunday – is quickly become a favorite of mine. On the 19th we will be celebrating God’s call to service and the way we have and will continue to answer it. We will offer God our praise as we hear from those who have represented our family of faith to the Gulf Coast, Baja, and the Appalachia. We will also offer God our praise through our celebration of all the local outreach opportunities we have met.

As we prepare for this upcoming Sunday, I’m going to be reflecting on what I’ve done to serve God in God’s world and what I haven’t done. I encourage you to do the same. Covenant is not lacking in our outreach efforts. We have volunteers who serve in soup kitchens, food pantries, nursing homes, and so much more. We take our giving seriously and make a strong effort to balance our local, national, and international giving. God has called and I truly believe this community has answered.

And yet that doesn’t mean we can just sit back and rest on our laurels. We have listened for God’s call and answered it as best we could. Though we have done and continue to do much, I doubt that God is done with us. God will continue to move in and through us, continue to help us grow in our service to God’s world. So we have to continue to listen and discern.

This Sunday as we join together in worship (and a potluck lunch after!) let us not only celebrate how we have answered God’s call; let us listen for where God may be calling us next.