Sunday, April 5, 2009

Holy Week Has Begun

I love Holy Week! It's strange-- and I guess sad, but it’s as if I finally awaken during Holy Week! I love the opportunity to walk with Jesus, to journey with him-- I love it and I dread it-- I shout for joy, Hosanna! and I cry out in mournful tears. I know what comes; I know the sadness I will feel. I know Jesus, and that makes it all the better. And at the end of the week- every time—I know Christ even more….

It's Holy Week and the journey has begun. I had an amazing day! My husband Kevin is away with a youth mission trip and I arose this morning to quickly get ready at 6:30 (not bad after going to bed at 1:30 am) I just can’t sleep when he’s away. I fed the dog, let her out and I prepared and packed breakfast for my girls. I packed the diaper bag. I got their dresses and shoes! I loaded the stroller. And then- I got the girls.

We wheeled over to the church- Yes! Praise God I live next door in a wonderful parsonage!

We have an amazing nursery staff- they greeted me at 7:15 as I arrived.

Every Sunday they greet me, they feed my girls, and they change them in their Sunday best. My girls are there from 7:15am to 12:30pm.

I dropped them off and made it in time for the prayer meeting with our "curmudgeons." We have a group of men who are known as Christ Curmudgeons and we meet for prayer about 7:20 on Sundays.

I met with our Sr. Pastor, gathered my notes, put on my robe, and managed to cover the under-eye circles.

Worship was amazing: 8:15, 9:30, 11!
The best part of Palm Sunday is always having all the children from Sunday School parade through at 9:30 and 11 waving their palm branches.

It was awesome! I was so excited to be there and to do the Kingdom Kids message! Some preachers don't like doing the kid's message-- I love it! When I was a kid, I often felt dismissed when I asked theological questions....(which I did)- I love nurturing a hunger for God in them!

Worship ends and I print the sermon I finished at 1:30am (hoping I can memorize it b/c I am trying something new for the contemporary service). I decided to write snapshots of eyewitness accounts. I did all the lectionary scriptures and interspersed monologues. Way new for me!

SO- I picked up the kids- one was already asleep and one was melting down. Too tired for lunch… down to sleep they went. I made a salad and sat down with my sermon. I packed their bag for the nursery again b/c I needed to be back at church by 2 to help set up for our spring concert. One of my wonderful friends Andrea came so that kid # 1 could finish her nap (she's a 12-3 sleeper). I take the baby back to the nursery, and we set up for punch, cookies-- a delicious reception!

Our Spring Concert began at 3pm and was amazing!
It was "The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace" by Karl Jenkins.
The choir and orchestra were unbelievable and one of our very talented members created a video to go with the music! Oh MY!
The mass is a movement of music that asserts that war is sometimes necessary, but we should have more peace and less war. The video images displayed military might, peace marches, war, and rebuilding peace. I had to leave during the "Charge" portion as the images of bombs dropping and war overcame me. I went to the chapel and I sobbed, I cried out to God and prayed for forgiveness. Forgiveness for all the violence, all the pain, the suffering, the death. I couldn't watch the bombs drop-- I just couldn't. I have all the respect in the world for those who work for our peace and protection and at the same time I am so tired of war and destruction. I made it back in the sanctuary after I pulled myself together. Unfortunately I missed the very end to go set up for the reception. Do my male clergy counterparts serve punch? It is who I am- not because I am a woman, more because I’m a southerner, but completely b/c I’m a Christian who loves to share hospitality. I love hospitality and I enjoy the surprise of -- You're a pastor!
I felt so strange at the reception- I wanted to process all I had seen and heard and yet instead I found myself greeting people. I exercised my back burner...and met some amazing people!

Okay- Next- picked kids up at the nursery (Andrea had brought Kid #1 to the nursery after her nap- but Oh Thank God for naps!) Stroll home- change- pack kids bags (milk, juice, baby food, formula, bottle, diapers, wipes, cream, pjs!) Off we go our friends' Brian and Rachel's house who have generously offered to watch my children in addition to their 3 girls. I change their diapers- gotta be dry- give hugs and kisses and head to preach the contemporary worship service- Heartline. I set the altar and prepare for communion.

I was super nervous about doing drama monologues- way out of my comfort zone- but so fun and so moving for me and hopefully it was those present-- we only had 16...Our contemporary service has been going for awhile-- I keeping hoping more will come! Usually another associate pastor preachers here, but he is with another mission group for the week in New Orleans.
We ended worship powerfully and I was thankful for the way God is ever present and for the Holy Spirit guiding me.

8:30pm -Off back to pick up the girls and take the home.

So thankful for good friends. Baby is asleep and my lively toddler was enraptured by the beautiful angel wings she was wearing!
I traded the wings for a piece of paper (Good trade!) and got everyone in car seats.

Home again- off to bed- milk, (no story tonight- it is late!) prayers, kisses, and hugs.

Everyone is down.
Praise the Lord for guidance, power, and sustenance!
I thank the Lord for friends, and community, for fellowship and being moved when I didn’t expect it—for working and restoring- for forgiveness and grace!

I cried today as I grieved the violence of our humanity and unplanned tears rolled as I shared monologues of an onlooker, Pilate, a soldier, Simon, and the Centurion….
I stood at the cross.
I was there.
I am in Holy Week.
And I walk with Jesus.
Thanks be to God for the journey!

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