Saturday, January 21, 2012
Saturday, January 14, 2012
So, another retreat has gone by! It was a wonderful weekend and I was thankful to share it with all of you! We missed having some of you, but we also welcomed folks who had never been to a retreat before. The singing and music were great, the food and conversation engaging and the times of study and sharing deep and rich.
I got a lot of flack from some of you from Sunday morning, which going in, I knew would not be a tasty cup of tea for some of you. But it is good for us feelers to be reminded that there ARE thinkers among us! They might even ENJOY such rituals (horrors)! I believe it is also very good for us to stretch different muscles than the ones we use each and every week (this is a basic building block of any personal training regimen). And finally, our greatest strength can also be our weakness. Our informality, which is what draws most people to us, when taken too far leads any (and I do mean ANY) pause or moment of silence to be a performance platform for all those comedians among us (and we have MANY).
I love it when the Words of the Gospel come in and we stand to recognize the power and authority of the words of Christ. I love the congregation being deeply involved in the sacrament of baptism. And while I am not suggesting in any way we adopt High Mass rituals and customs, I am glad we had the opportunity to experience something very different than our weekly norm together!
All that being said, Natalie typed up our memories from the first couple of years of House Church, and I wanted to share them with you (especially if you didn't get a chance to be present on the retreat)!
Favorite Memories of House Church (January 2012 Retreat)
The most meaningful memory I’ve had at House Church is the constant sense that God has a purpose in bringing this unique group of people together. My observations of our gatherings always bring a genuine joy to my life and cause me to question the priorities I set for myself. It has shown me that going out of your comfort zone can bring you to new comforts you might not have experienced otherwise. Considering the majority of the group is older than myself, I have begun to learn to listen more actively instead of being lost in my own head, because there is a lot of wisdom spoken week after week.
I don’t think I could come up with just one. Every Sunday I look around and feel so richly blessed by my H.C. family. I tell people it’s like Christmas with the family every week—without the baggage. Y’all are my family in every sense of the word. I enjoy hearing everyone’s point of view. I love when Donna and Betty bless us with their vast wisdom; Earl and Corwin’s take on things; Amy’s (both of them) gentle, thoughtful words; Ryan’s relentless prodding. Great music, beautiful singing, heartfelt prayers.
I remember a Sunday that I stayed late and we played cards. It was a great memory because it felt like family. Going through a tough time was really eased with some cards and conversation.
My favorite memories are all the little things over time. Every cup of tea Amy and Cyndi have offered me when I’m sad. Every time Ryan has made me laugh so hard I stopped breathing. Every hug from good friends. Every prayer received when it was hard for me to ask for it. Every delicious meal shared. Every encouraging word from DeeDee and so ma ny others. I love you all!!
I remember the time when the kids came from Arkansas and they said we have “real old people”!
I remember the first Sunday we met there were so many mixed emotions. One of my favorite memories is some of us cleaning up after lunch and breaking out in spontaneous singing. We started singing “Blessed Be Your Name” and I have never sung those words and meant them more.
My favorite memory of House Church was that first time Bill and Donna were there—about several months after we started. I just remember feeling such a relief that they had felt something I had felt and wanted to be somewhere else too! It was just confirmation that we weren’t just a bunch of rebels.
I will never forget Ryan using a “big” word and Donna saying, “What the hell does that mean?” I knew it was my kind of church.
Baby singing, visiting teens—“real” old people, “what the H does that mean?”, the common meal, getting to know our younger people one on one.
Common meal (especially banana pudding) [insert drawing here]
The first time I got to go to Moni’s with the Gibbons, Needels, and Fosters was magical. Saul is the man.
The Axis I first tasted Ryan’s sangria...mmm....
My first time at House Church, January 29, 2011. I looked around—saw and heard everyone singing in beautiful harmony praising God with voice, djembe, guitar, and mandolin. Then the active Bible discussion that followed where thoughts were shared and feelings discussed…it was beautiful and I knew I’d found my place home.
Getting to really know people I ordinarily wouldn’t have gotten to know: DeeDee, Amy Foster, Bill & Donna. Feeling loved and accepted and truly concerned for.
First visit to House Church and I felt like I was at home with my family.
The first Sunday Annie came to House Church was a pretty good sign for me in knowing what kind of woman she really is. The second Sunday she was in House Church, however, I wasn’t even there, and the way she described how included she felt, that was a particularly happy feeling for me.
The Sunday when my grandparents came to H.C. Ryan and Daniel led worship, my grandpa whistled harmony and my family enjoyed worshipping in the presence of the Lord with all of you. Then we took up a collection for Rhonda which was enough money to get her back on her feet, give her food, gas, money to pay bills (she then industriously found a job soon after that!). It was just a really beautiful day from morning to night—full of heart, and I remember driving back home that night and crying tears of joy because I hadn’t had a day like that in a long time.
When Corwin was going through his divorce and he shared with the group and everyone wept with him and shared his grief and heartache.My favorite memory is a collection of memories based around one event that I feel really defined the year for me. The amount of support I have received in physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional capacities has been overwhelming. For me this year, you have been my family—in more ways than the usual “church family” has meant to me in any previous body of believers. I specifically remember being surrounded by all of you with hands, hugs, and words of encouragement. It felt like being placed in another world for a few minutes. I believe this group of Jesus followers has really carried me through the year 2011. I could say more…
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Eucatastrophe is a term coined by JRR Tolkien which refers to the sudden turn of events at the end of a story which result in the lead character's well-being. He formed the word by affixing the Greek prefix eu, meaning good, to catastrophe, the word traditionally used in classically-inspired literary criticism to refer to the "unraveling" or conclusion of a drama's plot. It is a surprise, and a joyous surprise at that. I can think of no word that better sums up my experience with this House Church. Born from the most difficult period of my life, I had no idea what to expect. Yet when Greg, Cyndi, Anne and I decided to go be with Crystal Jones at the passing of her father, Natalie, DeeDee, Amy Foster and Bill / Donna all pitched in to help get the kids to / from school. This retreat will focus on the joy that can be found in community, as we celebrate today and look to the future. I hope that everyone will come and join us for a wonderful weekend! Click the graphic to enlarge the poster and print it if you didn't get one of the copies on card stock!