Friday, November 12, 2010

Prompted To Ramble by Doctor Love

Renewing the Ramble

I know I know my ramblings have been quiet. I have decided that it is time to be a bit more consistent with getting my thoughts and ramblings written... even if it is just for me.... But if you happen to be reading this then that makes me happy as well.

I wish I could tell you there would be a consistent theme but I am afraid if I say that then I will be locked in. The best I can do is tell you about where I will be rambling about. My intentions are to move randomly through the areas of youth ministry, thoughts about ministry, worship and technologies in the church.

Sometimes we need a spark to get things moving. Often times that spark comes from where you least expect it:

Woke up in the morning and it felt like the black of night
Tumbled out of bed, tripped on my Bible, stumbled over the light
Blinded by the break of day
I shut my eyes, I was alone
Couldn't say my prayers
Good God Almighty
Where's my telephone?

And now I know
Now I know
Know what you meant when you told me
You wanted to hold me
And hold me
Hold me forever
Hold me and never
Tell me you'll ever
Let me go

No I did not know
I didn't understand the plan
You had for me
And it isn't that I don't believe
I do believe that you really love me
Yeah, but how do I reciprocate
When there's nothing good in me?

The Boat Ashore (Mike Roe, Bruce Spencer)

Tonight I was able to go see a concert for the first time in a long that had nothing to do with church or youth ministry. One of my favorite songwriters and musicians Michael Roe was in town. Mike is the lead singer for the 77's and Lost Dogs as well as his own solo music. Michael is irreverently reverent. He makes you think and laugh at the same time. Sometimes we get caught up in so much “stuff” that we forget about doing things that are important not just for ourselves but our souls.

When I gave up, you held up

When I ran out, you filled me up
When I kept runnin', you kept up
When I let you down you lifted me up

This is the way love is

When I couldn't find the words, you understood
When I didn't find the time, you were in no hurry
When I wouldn't make ends meet, you tied them together
When I cheated you kept to the rules

Well, this is the way love is
This is the way love is
When it's a one-sided double-minded mirror with no reflection

77's This Is The Way Love Is Sticks and Stones

Tonight seeing Mike Roe reminded me of why I like his music so much. I have only been able to see Mike with the 77's and Lost Dogs. I have heard his live CD's but I have gotten to hear his fun conversations and commentary. To see “Doctor Love” I was reminded about the wonderful idea of being Irreverently Reverent. This was an evening of just being absorbed into the moment. Sometimes people who work in Ministry forget that we need those times to be absorbed. To allow God to just be there. Not forcing... not working hard... not being a minister.... just being a participant in God's grace that can easily surround us if we allow it to happen.

Ok... now back to the real world... I am looking forward to my next ramblings!



Doctor Love is the self made nick name for Michael Roe. If you would like to know more about Mike Roe and his music check out these links:

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Holy Land Reflections September 9, 2009

September 9, 2009

Today is our Retreat Day in Jerusalem. This morning I took a pilgrimage to what to me sums up the trip. I went to The Church of the Sepulcher. This is one of the most Holy points of many pilgrimages to the Holy Land. I was able to spend time at Calvary the place where Jesus was crucified. I took time to look at some of the graffiti that has been carved into the marble by pilgrims of the past. I went to the tomb while a group was celebrating Mass. I was blessed to be able to stand outside of the tomb door and look in to see the tomb. I also got to look once again at the ladder that has been in dispute for 70 years by the different churches who run a section of this church. I had time to let my mind wander in prayer.

This trip has been an opportunity to rest my body, mind and soul. To let my eyes glow in wonder like a little child. To be a sponge that has overflowed. To see sites that only a few ever get to see. To renew my excitement of sharing the scriptures in my preaching. I have been blessed in so many ways and so appreciate my family, my church, UTS and the Cousins Foundation to allow me 2 weeks to renew myself in ways I did not know needed to be renewed.

I will have time later to sum up my thoughts of this pilgrimage but for now want to share a song that was written by one of our pilgrims.

Israel Song
Steven Kurtz, 8/23/09

I meet you
by the water’s edge
and I see you
at the night-time’s end

I feel you
in these ancient stones
where your footsteps echo

I meet you
like those fishermen
and I follow
‘till the night-time ends

I feel you
in these gathered here
where your voice still echoes

all through these years
all through these empires
stacked on one another
I can still hear
your voice is calling, calling

“Come, weary pilgrims
come, to the water” (4Xs)

all through these years
all through these empires
stacked on one another
I can still hear
your voice is calling, calling

all through these years
all through these birthdays
stacked on one another
I can still hear
your voice, is calling, calling

“Come, weary pilgrims
come, to the water” (4Xs)

I meet you
by the water’s edge
and I see you
at the night-time’s end

I feel you
in these ancient stones
where your footsteps echo.........

Holy Land Reflections September 8, 2009

September 8, 2009

What an incredible day! We drove to the Southern part of the West Bank toward the Dead Sea. Some people wanted to go swimming in the Dead Sea at first. To me it was not appealing. I do not even like swimming in the ocean. Well after hearing from our nurse on the trip and the Cesspool from Brian and I a number of people stuck their hands in or their feet except for JW. Our Korean Rabi went ahead and took a swim. He said every part of his body was stinging. I didn't go into details about what exactly that meant but I know he took two showers and still felt the effects.

Our trip to Masada was one of my favorite fun trips. It was a trip that didn't include a Holy Site which is what I really needed. I was beginning to hit overload. Masada was featured in a movie about the rebel Israelis last stand against the Roman empire. The Israelis rebels went to Masada which was originally built by Harrod for the last stand. In the end all but a couple women and children committed suicide. This was all documented by Josephus. Seeing the architecture and engineering that went into this place was amazing yet crazy being out in the middle of nowhere.
We also went to Qu'umran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. The tour and caves were very cool. Unfortunately the Shepherd boy who found the Scrolls which were considered the find of a lifetime died recently due to not being able to afford his medication he needed. That really puts into perspective of what we are going through today.

Today I truly understood what was meant by wilderness. The southern part of Israel/West Bank are barren with beautiful spots of vegetation. My appreciation for the struggle of those in the Bible as well as now has changed so much.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Holy Land Reflections September 7

Today was a mix of sites. We went to the Garden Tomb, St. Peter in Chains Church, The Western Wall and The Upper Room.

Often times people refer to the Western Wall as The Wailing Wall. Today it was anything but wailing. Today was a the celebration of many Barmitzvas. There were so many families entering through the Dung Gate (yes... it really is called that) with music and families singing and dancing with the young man they were celebrating in the middle. It was soooooo much fun to watch. It was also a really cool blessing to go to the wall with prayer requests for my friends and church.
The Upper Room is in a location that also houses King David's Tomb and a Muslim place of worship. They think that may be the place where David's tomb was. So far as the Upper Room the physical building is not the same (it was built by the Crusaders) but... It is very much agreed upon that it is the location where the room should be.

The place I really didn't want to go to at first was the Garden Tomb. It is a place that was “discovered” in the 1880's by someone who did not like the “Smells and Bells” of the Church of the Sepulcher. So he found a place that may have been where Golgotha and the Tomb looked like it could have been. Typically this is a place more celebrated by Christians who are not as comfortable with the High Church look of the Franciscans, Ethiopians, Greeks and others. In fact the cave that was chosen for this site was more than likely a stable used by the Crusaders.
But, what I did finally figure out it doesn't really matter. The place is beautiful and is truly Holy Ground. While we were there we had time to celebrate communion together in a very worshipful way. It was such a spiritual experience.

Today after some rest I took my own adventure myself down to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and got to look at the ladder that has been a point of conflict for 70 years. It was so much fun wandering through the market and sitting on the steps watching other pilgrims making their holy walk to this place. My feet have been blessed to walk in the steps of all the past, present and future pilgrims. I know coming home for me will not be the same. I still am not sure where the changes will be but I also know a time like this does not allow you to stay the same.

Holy Land Reflections September 6

Today we ventured through the Heavy Walls and Fortified gates surrounded by the Israel Army to go to The Shepherd's Field, worship at The Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church and The Church of the Nativity.

Let me list some emotional responses first. Anger....Hurt....Hope....Laughter....Peace....Frustration....Heavy Heart....Urgency

The Shepherd's Field is much like Disney Land in a Israel type of place. It was possible displays and touristy. Not much to say.

Worship was amazing. I worshiped side by side with Palestinian Christians. Let me deal with one misconception. Most Palestinians are Arabs and an Arab can be a Christian. The service was in Arabic with a little bit of english and an english bulletin for us.

Two things stuck with me throughout the words to the last hymn which the switched to something different: “Dear Lord and Father of mankind, forgive our foolish ways; reclothe us in our rightful mind, in purer lives thy service find, in deeper reverence, praise.”he gospel lesson for the day was Luke 10: 25-37
The Parable of the Good Samaritan
25On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
26"What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?"
27He answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'[a]; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'[b]"
28"You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live."
29But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"
30In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. 35The next day he took out two silver coins[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.'
36"Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?"
37The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."

What I saw in the West Bank was disturbing. It is totally opposite of Jerusalem. It is dirty. It is falling apart. It is a people who are walled in from civilization. I know what you hear... what I hear in the news. But it is not all necessarily true. The history is that many of the Palestinians had places to live all over Israel. During the different wars in the beginning of the country they were told to leave their houses. Whether it was by request or by gunpoint. When they were finally allowed back many of them found Israelis living in their house taking it over. Their key even still fit the lock... but their home was lost. They were pushed into refugee camps in Gaza, The West Bank and Jordan. Yes we have heard about the violence... but they also wanted their homes back.

We were able to go through a refugee camp while we were here. It was awful. It is the same place where George W. Bush had visited.

But there is hope... I saw children playing... I saw art that has won international awards. I also heard the statement that our best weapon is education.

On the way out of the West Bank we saw a Israelis Settlement. It was not what you think. It was like a gated community. It was rows and rows of beautiful townhouses.
Israel is a place without peace. Peace will have to come through the generations of the children I saw playing.

My heart is heavy but not without hope!

Breathe through the heats of our desire thy coolness and thy balm;
let sense be dumb, let flesh retire; speak through the earthquake,
wind, and fire, O still, small voice of calm.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Holy Land Reflections September 5th

Today I have begun my pilgrimage journey into Jerusalem. I began in the Mt of Olives. Ok... the funnies thing ever was we were having a serious teaching moment from our guide when I heard “Hey Guys Check Me Out!” I turned around and Curnell Graham was riding a camel with some guy pulling him along. I looked at our leader Jim Eller and smiled and said... “Welcome to Youth Ministry.”

We took time to walk the path of where Jesus came into Jerusalem riding on a donkey then began to walk the path of the Via Dolorosa. We know this was about the journey. There have been changes due to many different things in the Old City but one thing was for certain. Jesus was made to walk through the busy market streets carrying the cross to a place that was not too far from the Temple.

It was moving for me. Emotional in ways I cannot describe. The Church of the Holy Suplucher is the church the houses both Golgotha and the tomb. Realize many things were closer together than we realize. The two locations are housed within the same building. Helen of Rome dug around the cave where the tomb is and then built a church over it. Then there is a church build right over everything. It is hard to describe. I would encourage you to look up pictures online to see the exact layout. The place was a madhouse of pilgrims from everywhere. I plan to go Wednesday Morning early to see everything myself without the crowd.

Truly my emotions are all over the place. But I imagine that is what most pilgrims have said as well.


Friday, September 4, 2009

Holy Land Reflections September 4

September 3, 2009

We left Galilee today. It was really sad. This was truly a place of retreat for me. I will miss the Sisters and staff from our stay there.

We went to two stops... Megiddo and Ceasaria Martina then onto Jerusalem.

Megiddo you may better know as Armageddon. I understand why John used this place as his reference as the final battle. It is a place surrounded by many mountains while the ancient city that housed 25 different civilizations literally was a man made mountain as well. I have to admit I did find something really amusing there during the film. It is a state park and somewhere in the land is a waterpark. Just think... The Armageddon Water Park. Let's check out the slide of destruction.

Ceasaria Martina is a ancient roman style city. It was very cool but our time there was so short.

What amazed me was the Old City of Jerusalem.

Here are two thoughts or experiences.

The distance from the Temple to the place where Jesus was crucified was only 4 blocks or so... It made sense... they wanted people to see.

We made it to the area above the Western Wall and Dome of the Rock in time to hear the prayers from the different Mosques. I know I am not Muslim but it was very worshipful hearing the prayers echoed through the valley.