Saturday, February 23, 2008

a drink of water to a thirsty soul

I had to cut this story to make the sermon shorter but it's a good story for a "water" sermon. It's from James W. Moore, Some Things Are To Good Not To Be True, Dimensions, p.105-106.

Have you heard the legend of the Fisher King? When the Fisher King was a boy, he was sent out to spend the night alone in the forest, as a test of his courage to be king. During the night, he had a vision of the Holy Grail—the cup used by our Lord at the last supper. He saw it surrounded by great flames of fire, and he immediately became excited by the prospect of the wealth and glory that would be his by possessing such a great prize. Greedily, he reached into the flames to grab it, but the flames were too hot, and he was severely wounded.

As the years went by, the Fisher King became more despondent and alone, and his wound grew deeper. One day, feeling sad and depressed and in pain, he went for a walk in the forest and came upon a court jester.

“Are you all right?” the jester asked. “Is there anything I can do for you? Anything at all?”

“Well, I am very thirsty,” the Fisher King replied. The jester took an old dilapidated cup from his bag, filled it with water from a nearby stream, and gave it to the Fisher King. As he drank, he suddenly felt his wound healing for the first time. And incredibly, the old cup he was drinking from had turned into the Holy Grail.

“What wonderful magic do you possess?” the Fisher King asked the jester. The jester just shrugged and said, “I know no magic. I only gave a drink of water to a thirsty soul.”

Sunday, February 17, 2008

that'll preach

Tom Long says that while he was at Princeton, he went to a nearby Presbyterian church that prides itself on being an academic, intellectual church. Early on, he said, he went to a family night supper and sat down next to a man, introduced himself, told him he was new, and said, “Have you been here long?”

“Oh yes,” the man said. “In fact I was here before this became such a scholarly church. Why I’m probably the only non-intellectual left. I haven’t understood a sermon in over 25 years.”

“Then why do you keep coming,” Tom asked?

“Because every Monday night a group of us get in the church van and drive over to the youth correctional center. Sometimes we play basketball, or play games. Usually we share a Bible story. But mostly we just get to know these kids and listen to them.

“I started going because Christians are supposed to do those kind of things. But now I could never stop. Sharing the love of God at that youth center has changed my life.”

And then he said this profound statement. “You cannot prove the promises of God in advance, but if you live them, they’re true, every one.” (Dr. Lane Alderman, "Asking All The Right Questions")

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

This is so true: I am 2:11 am

Your time of day has a split personality -- sometimes it's sweat-streaked and loud, and you're on the dance floor, getting your third wind, and shouting lyrics like you'll never run out of energy. You are the time of night that carves itself into your memory forever, because you'll never forget how much you love these people and this moment and this song. It's not always about unforgettable parties, though. Sometimes your late night (err… early morning) burst of energy happens when you're home alone. Those are the times when you say, "I flat out refuse to go to sleep until I finish reading this book, or typing this page, or reorganizing my entire closet." In either case, you are the time of night when it feels sort of forbidden to be awake, but you love accomplishing something special long after everyone else went to bed. And hey -- you can always catch up on sleep tomorrow, right?

Friday, February 08, 2008

RevGalBlogPals Friday Five

Friday Five: What Are You Doing For Lent?

as posted by Mother Laura

Ready or not, Lent is upon us! To get you in the mood for this week's Friday Five here is a pretty setting of one of my favorite pieces of Lenten music: Hosea, written by the monks of Weston Priory.

1. Did you celebrate Mardi Gras and/or Ash Wednesday this week? How?
We observed Ash Wednesday at church with the imposition of ashes and communion.

2. What was your most memorable Mardi Gras/Ash Wednesday/Lent?
Several years ago when The SportsQueen was about 5 and The Entertainer was about 3, they were helping me serve communion by intinction. The SportsQueen was holding the chalice. The Entertainer was standing in front of me holding half of the loaf of King's Hawaiian bread. As each one came forward, I broke the piece of bread from the loaf The Entertainer was holding. The girls were very poised. The congregation loved them assisting. The organist and chair of PPR (personnel) was the last in line. As she began to move forward, the Entertainer sneezed -- right into the loaf of bread! As I smothered my laugh, I looked at the organist and said, "Just a minute, I'll be right back." I took the bread from the Entertainer, who was as mortified as a 3 year old could be, retrieved the unused half of bread from the altar, put the "fresh" bread into the Entertainer's hands, and served the organist. This is still one of my favorite, funny moments in ministry. And, of course, the church talked about it for weeks, giggling every time.

3. Did you/your church/your family celebrate Lent as a child? If not, when and how did you discover it?
I grew up in a non-liturgical tradition and learned about Lent when I went to Benedictine College

4. Are you more in the give-up camp, or the take-on camp, or somewhere in between?
Depending on the year, depends on what I do. A year after my separation, I weighed about 110 pounds and everyone could see that I was very underweight (the pediatrician told me to eat ice cream every day) so giving up food was not a good idea. That year, every Wednesday, I worked on a Habitat House. I got to know some of our retired men from church better than I would have otherwise. We talked about all kinds of stuff during lunch or while holding boards for each other.

I miss being in a community that has Habitat during the week in addition to weekends.

Other years, I have given up things or even both -- given up and taken on.

5. How do you plan to keep Lent this year?
This year, I am giving up carbonated beverages. Two days into it, it is harder than I thought it would be, especially for eating out because I do not like plain water.
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