On my last post I wrote about how "Slowly but surely" things were coming together for this very big event and they did. Beautifully and Awesomely.
The greatest blessing of this time for me was that I was working with friends to put together a weekend devoted to celebrating and exploring what it means to be "spiritual friends." And here are some of my personal highlights and learnings of the time.
1. We had some ideas that we wanted to try out and they worked well. One of them was that we had a frame on which we put the words "Friend Request" and we took pictures of everyone with old and new friends and put them on facebook. It was so much fun to watch the way the women really entered into this. Here is one of my pictures
2. Our worship was wonderful - particularly Sunday morning. We had Judy Alston leading music and Nicole signing and Wendy and I did a drama about Mary and Elizabeth. When it was almost over, I sat in a chair looking out at the lake and watching women take communion and just felt overwhelmed by the joy of it all.
3. I loved our "team" and how much fun we had together and how we just deepened our own friendships. One of the best parts of the whole weekend was the storytelling on Sunday night. And seeing Marsha, Kerry and Wendy and others tell stories was extraordinary. It was a time of laughter and connecting as the stories went from why Kerry told her daughter there was no Santa Claus when Norma was 4 years old to stories about the death of a mother or a dog that gave comfort when someone felt suicidal. It could not have gone better.
4. The keynotes gave me pleasure to write and then to deliver. I loved thinking about friendship, reading and learning and then sharing what I found out. I have not really written a sermon in almost 9 months and this was just a whole weekend of that creative work for me. And the best part was it was not stressful at all.
What was the greatest part of all of this was the realization of the many friends that I have in my life. It is certainly true that life is challenging but the blessing of friendships really helps me to not only "get through" but to experience JOY in it all.
The Bible study that we did on Saturday morning was John 15: 9-16. Here is one of my favorite verses from it:
As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.
I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.