Friday, June 24, 2011

Geo caching

Have you heard of this?

This is a fascinating treasure hunt that many people are engaging in.
My daughter Kacey has become almost addicted to this and took me out on Nonday to see what it is all about. And here is the scoop.

You can put an App on your Iphone or Ipad and it will show you the where there are "caches" that are hidden near you. It has been called a " real-world outdoor treasure hunting game." Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using GPS-enabled devices and then share their experiences online. You use the App and your GPS to find the treasures that are hidden. And like everything else in life - the treasure is much less important than the journey of finding it.

So, Monday night I went with Kacey and Marnie and 4 grandkids geo caching. We found our first one in a parking lot - at the base of a street lamp. Until Monday I did not know that there were places where something could be hidden like that. And the something was a very small plastic case and in it were some toys and a piece of paper. The paper had the names of the people who had found the "cache" and we took some of the toys and left our own. When you "geocache" you bring your own treasures to substitute. We found another one in a different parking lot. And our third treasure was found in a graveyard stuck to a fence. That took some time and Kacey was very persistent in looking for it.

It is very interesting how the technology makes this kind of a treasure hunt possible. I don't have the I phone - although I downloaded the app to my I Pad. i think this is something I will only do in partnership with others - but a fun kind of game. And we do love our games in our family.

It seemed actually - that the adults were more into this than the kids. The kids liked to run first to the goal - not so interested in the work of finding it.

One other thing I want to mention.....the muggles. I used to be a muggle because I did not know about the geocache world. So, I might have seen someone looking for a treasure and not understood. And maybe gotten in the way.

Now I am part of the not so secret world of Geo Caching. I am no longer a muggle.

It seems to me that there is something in this that will preach.....I will figure that out later.

Pride Parade

Last Saturday I marched in the pride parade and it was thrilling for me.

Two years ago Marnie and I went to the parade for the first time and I noticed that there were - at that time - 17 churches that marched in the parade. And I thought there were people in our church who might be interested in walking in the parade in the future and I was right. Last year we had a team of 5 that marched in the parade holding our church banner. I was on sabbatical and missed it.

So, this year I was part of our group of 11 (more than doubled!) We had special T Shirts made and a great camaraderie among us. The walkers included my daughter Marnie, Reagan, Addie and Marnie's sister Eileen and brother Christopher. In many ways we march in solidarity to Audrey - my daughter, their sister, who lives in Lynchburg Va. But we also march as part of a church that is accepting of people who are non-heterosexual. I am happy to serve that church.

What was thrilling was the sense of joy and celebration in the walk itself. I have been in parades before and people often are just waiting for the bands or the candy to be thrown. But this one had a sense of freedom as people were allowed to be themselves - in every way. As Seth Stout aptly said - some people made poor clothing choices - but even that was fun in its own way.

There were some protesters who were Christians whose interpretation of the Bible essentially exclude LGBTQ community from the kingdom of God. Their signs sometimes quoted scripture as their authority. So, for us to be an alternate Christian representation in the parade was important. We had been instructed to ignore them, and so we did. Unfortunately the press concentrated on the protesters without mentioning tha other Christians who supported gay rights.

But mostly it was just a blessing to walk with family and church members in support of not only my daughter but others whose lives have so challenged because of their sexual orientation. I could not help but think of my uncle - who is transgender and 89 years old. He has had a life of living "in the shadows" and he might have really appreciated the freedom found in a festival like this.

Anyway, it was a wonderful day for me and I look forward to walking again next year.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Saturday Morning

I sat on my front porch this Saturday morning and marvelled at the view.

It has rained and the grass and the trees look very green and alive to me.
As I sat in wonder I saw 6 squirrels jump off the roof of the house and onto a fruit tree in the front yard
They scrambled down and seemed to chase each other to a large elm tree in the front yard and just fly all over the branches of the tree.

I found myself thinking about life - and how life is all around me and I so often do not see what is there.

Then a beautiful cardinal lands on the fruit tree and then a chickadee and then more birds.

Of course, I don't know all their names - I don't need to know the names of trees and birds in order to see their beauty - their ordinary beauty.

It begins a day which will include a hospital visit, a graduation party and a wedding. And then tomorrow is worship and Monday a funeral.

Life all around me - in its beauty and mystery and wonder.

May I be present to it all.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Last week in worship we had "ministry Sunday" when we lifted up the various ways in which people have done ministry on Sunday mornings in the past year.

It is always interesting as we recognize our musicians, Sunday School teachers, those who have done our children's sermons, our commissioned ministers. By the time we are done - probably half to two thirds of the worshiping congregation has been recognized. All of this points to the fact that we don't come to worship to go to a show that is put on by the minister and staff - but we are TOGETHER worshipping God.

What I have learned over the years to do less and to allow and encourage the members of the church to do more. It has taken me a while to let go and trust that I don't have to do everything. And so, I do a children's sermon every other month, a pastoral prayer once a month and an invitation to communion occasionally now.

In addition to that I no longer put together the power point and run it throughout the service. Instead, those tasks are done by others.

This summer when I went on Sabbatical I attended one church where the minister did everything I used to do - the sermon, the pastoral prayer, the children's sermon, even the worship leader's role. It seemed so strange to me now and it felt like the service itself had less energy.

I write this as I prepare my sermon for Pentecost in which we are going to look at the whole idea of "Spiritual Gifts" which every person has been given. I have a dream that people will take this seriously and try to discern and develop more of their gifts. AND used them in different ways in ministry.

I always describe myself as a "holy spirit" person who believes that the spirit is doing something new all the time. If we allow the spirit to "activate" us - there is no telling what a powerful witness we could be to our community. (and to each other!)

Doing the ministry we were created to do is what gives our life meaning.(and energy!)