Sunday, July 29, 2007

home is where the paint is

For the past two weeks, instead of going home to a nice cup of tea or curling up with a good book after all my work for the day is done, I have been scraping. And priming. And painting. Two weeks ago I entered the world of homeownership, with all of its excitements and its headaches.

As I tore off old wall paper (the previous tenants seemed to enjoy putting wallpaper over wallpaper and then several coats of paint on top of that), I kept thinking that I should be having more profound thoughts than “this is disgusting” and “wallpaper should be illegal.” Alas my brain was firmly in the moment, in what needed to be done now and what needed to be done right after that.

Sunday afternoon I finished my process. No more painting and no more scraping – now the moving fun begins. But before that begins I have a moment. A moment to take a deep breath and look around. I have a house with fresh coats of paint, with my personal touch on it. And I have this house because of friends. Friends who found the house for me, guided me through the process, came to fix my gutters and paint my walls. Friends who wished me well and offered me helpful suggestions and loving thoughts. Friends who I call brothers and sisters in Christ, friends who are all members of Covenant.

Here’s where the profound thought enters in. This house is like everything else in life, stressful at times and joyful at times, but made so much better by the presence of a faith community. My life is so enriched because of this faith community – not just because some of you can paint walls or bake delicious pies for the working crew – and now my home will forever serve as a reminder of that blessing.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Coming Home

It's the last night here at Montreat. The kiddos are staying up late, playing card games, writing notes to our senior, enjoying one another's company... I'm all snuggled in bed, seeing as how I'm one of the drivers tomorrow.

It has been a truly blessed week. The worship has been phenomenal - many of us wept more than once during services. I'm coming away with a lot of things but one thing that's ringing in my head right now is something we heard in tonight's sermon. We are the ones we have been waiting for. It began as a Hopi saying and was most recently the title of a book by Alice Walker... what a great thought. It's not someone else who will bring the changes we long for, who will guide us to God's righteousness... it's us. We are the ones we have been waiting for. We are the ones who are called to live for and through God. Not other people. Us.

I know our youth have really been touched this week - I've seen the Spirit moving among and within them. I am so proud and honored to have spent this week with this bunch. Our church is so blessed and I don't think we can say that enough.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Montreat Update

Hey friends!

I've managed to swing some wireless access here in the mountains and thought I'd take a moment to let you all know Covenant has arrived safe and sound at Montreat and we're already having a blast!

The theme this year is "Turning the Page," about how our life is a story, one that is connected to both God and God's people. The leadership is great -- a friend and former prof of mine is preaching and really bringing the Word.

Our house is filled with lots of laughter and games, great food, and great discussions. The Holy Spirit is definitely present among us. This is going to be a wonderful week!

Monday, July 02, 2007

an anniversary

From Amy’s Ethiopia Journal, July 2, 2006: A final thought—this was a mountain top experience (literally sometimes). I have been to Africa before, I have seen generosity and poverty before, but I have never experienced anything like Ethiopia and her people. God is doing wonderful things across the ocean. I’m honored and excited that our church gets to be a part of that.

A year ago today Jeff and Jennifer Ryman, Liz Dahmus, and I left Addis Ababa to return home to the States. We had such great hopes for our congregation’s relationship with the gracious people we met and the inspiring ministry we witnessed. I am both proud and humbled by the way this congregation has embraced the Bedele Congregation and our other brothers and sisters in Ethiopia.

When we went to Ethiopia our team truly saw ourselves as representatives of this congregation, of each of you. I am moved that when we returned, this congregation affirmed that view. I am moved by seeing so many of you moved by the stories the Ethiopian Partnership team brought back

We have truly committed ourselves to our partnership. I appreciate the way we pray for Bedele every Sunday, but also the way I know Bedele is in many of your personal prayers. I love that we committed to helping the congregation finish their building even as we added on to ours. I marvel that our Ethiopian partnership has become such a part of our church life that Ethiopian coffee is a best seller amid our Free-Trade coffee!

It has been a year and already we have embraced this relationship with such fervor. I can’t wait to see what another year brings.