Sunday, December 16, 2007

Worship- on an Icy Sunday Morning

For many, many Sunday mornings, as long and Husband and I have been married, we would wake up to our alarm clock ringing just a little later than our weekday wake up call, and he would roll over and say to me, “Let’s go worship!”

He loved to go and worship corporately. Where I was concerned with all that it took to “put it on,”( – making sure everyone was in their place and doing what our leader and his wife would have wanted – making sure that my kids were in their places and looking appropriately – making sure no “goofy” people were bothering the leaders – making sure the nursery and children’s departments were running smoothly – making sure that the few new people that wandered in were greeted appropriately – trying to be nice to all the people that I did not really have a relationship with – you get the idea) Husband would be up front far before the worship music actually started, meeting with God and loving on Him with all his heart. I did come in later usually to join him on the front row after all fires were put out and everyone was accounted for – but by then it was hard to center my mind and focus on Father when I was so concerned about what everyone else thought about me.

So this morning when I woke up the first thing that popped into my mind was the phrase, “Lets go worship God.”

As many of you who read my blog know, we are not attending any Sunday morning service. I have not been in corporate worship for over 6 months. I’m not even sure I could do it yet. So the question sets in my spirit today and I want to know what it means to be home today with my family and worship this wonderful Father whom I am just coming to really know for the first time.

So for a bit of "corporate cyber worship," here is what I am saying to Him in worship today.

Papa I am amazed by you. You are so good. You reveal yourself to me as you did to David when he said, “I will sing unto the Lord for he has dealt bountifully with me.”

I am so grateful that you are here with me and that you love me. I am so terribly grateful that you took ALL my shame and nailed it to the cross. In doing that, I no longer have to ‘DO” anything to please you or cause you to love me any more than you already do. All my works of service did nothing to alleviate the guilt and shame of my sin. All I had to do was realize that you did it completely, and it was done. I am whole. I am loved. I am totally accepted.

I am becoming to love even the broken parts in me that still remain because they show me how you love me completely. Your love is truly amazing. I worship you today. I bow my life before you. Even if I do no outwardly religious thing today, my heart will bow.

Today is yours. As we are together in this house I ask that you be among us and that you be honored in our laughter, our eating together, our play and our work.

Thanks Papa, I love you so much.

What are some of you saying or doing today in worship? Please leave it in the comments below or link it to your page. I would love to read what you are saying.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

My Blog Roll - Helping Me to Become

Good post today from Kevin at A Watchman's View from the Wall entitled, "We have this many in..." He talks about how you describe a journey away from the traditional church and says this:

It’s easier to describe what I am doing than to tell you what I am becoming.

Isn't that true? Especially to those who are busily telling you what they are doing.

This is what I love about my blog roll. Every day there is something to feed me and draw me closer into a true relationship with Father - to 'become' and not just 'do'.

On that note, please see that I have added my blog roll on the sidebar. As I was making it up I wanted to put the names of the people who are writing (or their blog names). I want to personally thank all those who I read. Each day it is amazing to read these people. Sometimes I skim their posts. The really good ones who talk about something that touches me, or the really funny ones I read aloud to Husband. Sometimes I laugh with them, sometimes I cry but I am always encouraged to think. (Is there anyone out there who is thinking, "Ok lady, step away from the computer for a while....")

Two that I have never seen on your pages are Dooce and Confessions of a Pioneer Woman. Heather (Dooce) has left the Mormon church and some of her past posts about this were what drew me but her sense of humor has had me crying with laughter. Ree/Pioneer Woman is a lady that lives out on a ranch and also has a wonderful sense of humor and takes the most amazing pictures. She is on Part 13 of her meeting and marrying a Rancher when she was a City girl and it is really funny - go back and start with the first post in her series. These two are not about the church and so that is a fun break.

Mostly, I have found that these pages that I read have become persons. When Brant Hansen wrote about his taking medication for depression and how he struggled with that and being a Christian, I was not reading a newspaper account, I was reading Brant. Or when Heidi at Redemption Junkie wrote about her son and his hospital stay and their exhaustion with the nightly testings, I was reading Heidi and not some person in a medical journal. When I see that RobbyMac has posted I don't think that I am going to read something from a webpage but I think, "Hey, Robby has written something."

Therefore the blogs on my sidebar all contain the first names of the people who write because they have become people to me. I find myself moved by their lives and journeys. I don't always agree with what they write but I love the discussion.

So thank you all. And if I left anyone out - please comment. Sometime I keep up with you by linking from other's pages. And new bloggers/lurkers, leave a comment so I can see what you are writing too.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Good Questions for the Journey

I have added another blog to my reader - Windblown Hope. (In fact in the next few days I'm going to expand my sidebar blog roll to list all (or almost all) that I keep up with.)

I appreciated reading someone who is farther out (6 years I think) on this journey away from the traditional church than I. I had left a comment on his post the other day (One for the Leavers) to ask him what lies in store for us. What does this path look like 6 or more years from now. In an email to me he wisely stated:

"It is unfortunate that I cannot "show" you how we live or what we do. On the other side it is fortunate that I cannot "show" you. This is a struggle that is meant for you alone. Like Jacob (Gen 32:24) it is a wrestle with God in the dark."

He goes on to say though that he can give me "hints" to begin to sort out the way. I may refer to these questions in other posts but the one that blew me away for the past week was his question #2:

If you were the only person on this planet, what would your relationship with Jesus look like? What would you "do" for Him? Could you do anything for Him? What does your relationship with Him look like?

I instantly thought about the only man who was the only person on the planet - Adam - and what his relationship with God would have looked like.

It would have involved spending time with God - as in their walks in the garden. Conversations, being with each other, talking about what Adam saw and was doing - all of these come to mind. Maybe in their talks, Adams loneliness was made evident and produced an Eve. Maybe my conversations with God will let him know what I need instead of the checklist I used to bring. I've been wondering how to "pray" now. Maybe this is what I am looking for.

What would I do? This one was exciting to answer in that it was so simple and yet profound. I would do what we talked about. Adam did not give God his 5 year plan. God did not ask for it. They just talked about whatever and Adam did the mundane of taking care of the garden - or just living in it. He did not need to build anything to impress God. Therefore, my doing needs to be born out of our being together - not the other way around.

And then, what does my relationship with God look like. I'm afraid in the past it was heavy on the 'doing' side and light on the 'being' side. Heavy on the action, light on the conversation. I was like those moms who are so busy doing for their kids that they never look at them in the eyes. And yes, I tend to be that kind of a mom too.

Anyway, how would you answer those questions, and do they stretch you at all?

Thanks Windblown Hope, I'll keep reading and thinking.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

WWJDWTC – The Samaritan Story Retold

Sunday night Husband and I were asked to attend an Aids Benefit Dinner in our town. They are a group of people who have formed a way to help people who actively have the aids virus here. We jumped at the chance. It was so fun to be in a group of people, eating good food and laughing with some newly formed friends (thanks to Best Friend).

I never expected to encounter a story from Jesus lips though….

During the presentation of the evening, there was an interview done of a woman in our town who had become infected with the aids virus (her identity had been shielded). They wanted her to tell her story because she was not gay and had not been an intravenous drug user. It was clear that her life had been hard and was probably not exemplarily but she also was not the norm in the spread of aids.

What was interesting though was as she talked, I kept thinking that I had heard her story somewhere else….

She had gotten very sick - so sick that she was almost dead. A friend had encouraged her to be checked for Aids and then her life really started falling apart. People started going around her. They ignored her pleas for help. They fired her from her job. They refused to let her live with them. She was desperate and left for dead. Then this organization stepped in. They got her medical attention. They paid for all her bills. They found her a place to stay. They stayed in relationship with her when everyone else left. She is alive today because of this band of people here in my town. This band of people does not go by a name that we Christians would recognize….they are gay or lesbian or politically to the left. Most of them have not been in a church for years if ever. But they had stopped and helped this woman.

I wonder if any Priests or Levites passed her by. I wonder if she even knew any of us. I wonder if I ever knew her.

Mostly I wonder if Jesus was talking about her and I didn’t understand or care or listen.

Wait a minute Jesus, what was the name of that Samaritan group?