Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ash Wednesday

Last evening we had our Ash Wednesday service for the Mount Airy Charge at St. Andrews UMC. We had 23 attending, which is great for a weekday night. Folks from all three churches were there, plus a visitor (sort of a visitor), my dad rode with me from Lynchburg.

I really dumped on Brian Daniels from Providence UMC and got him to read one of the scripture passages with no advance notice. It is the passage from Joel 2:1-2, 12-17. The passage has the prophet calling the people to repentance. When I read it I could hear Brian's voice speaking the part of the prophet. So, when I saw Brian come into the church, I couldn't resist. He did a great job, he sounded just like I had heard it in my head.

The message came from Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21. In it Jesus tells his disciples to give to the needy, pray, and to fast. But the emphasis is on attitude not just the doing of the acts.

The ashes we used were from burning the palm leaves from last year's Palm Sunday. I had had a terrible time getting those year old, dried out leaves to burn. I went through an entire pack of matches and it never worked. I finally used one of those butane candle lighters and just kept the flame on the leaves until they were all burned up. I didn't need to really worry. It's amazing how far a little ash and some oil go when your dabbing it on someone's forehead. I had enough for a full sanctuary and an overflow crowd standing in the parking lot. They don't have an ash recipe with measurements of how much will serve how many.

Now we are in the season of Lent. I've tried to get folks in the congregations to seriously think about what they will give up for Lent. I hear people saying, "I'm giving up seafood, I'm allergic to it". I had thought about fasting for Lent, but I have people I work with who make my life miserable if they find out I'm not eating for Lent. So, I decided to try fasting two meals a day and only eat after sundown. I'm also going to drastically cut my television watching and do some serious reading. That actually may be harder for me than giving up food, I'm really hooked on watching the news channels.

I actually like the Lenten season. I like the personal preparation for Easter. Life can be so busy and when we give something up during Lent it should help us to slow down and focus. I'm wanting to get myself quieted so I can hear. As I used to tell the youth group, "If you want to hear from God, sometimes you have to shut your mouth". So, I think I'll follow those instructions. Have a blessed Lenten season.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Proud Sibling

I have meant to post this for quite awhile, just hadn't gotten around to it. My sister, Dawna, won an award for her work and research as an audiologist. We are all understandably proud of her and her accomplishments. This little piece from the newspaper doesn't really tell you all that makes her a special person. But, if I start telling you that stuff I'll never hear the end of it. Way to go, Dawna!

Boys Town Audiologist Wins Prestigious Award January 29, 2009
Dawna Lewis, Ph.D, Senior Research Associate, has received the third annual Cheryl DeConde Johnson award for Outstanding Achievement in Educational and Pediatric Audiology from the Phonak Group. The award recognizes audiologists for their work and commitment to improving the lives of children.

Along with an engraved plaque, Dr. Lewis will receive a trip to the world headquarters of the Phonak Group in Switzerland. While there, she will have the opportunity to learn about new technology and present research to the company’s engineers and managers.

Among Dr. Lewis’s other accomplishments are the Editor’s Award from the American Journal of Audiology and the 2006 Folsom Distinguished Doctoral Dissertation Award from the University of Nebraska. She also has served on several committees and boards, including the Editorial Board of Seminars in Hearing and Pediatric Advisory Council of the Better Hearing Institute.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Community Supported Agriculture and Ministry

A.J. and Lisa Nuckols, members of our Saint Andrews UMC, are taking a step of faith and vision in a move to Community Supported Agriculture. I won't try to explain how this all works, I'll let you check their website that does a much better job. Take a little time to look it over, it's very interesting.

One thing that really excited me was how they have included ministry to the less fortunate as part of the foundation of their plans. A portion of the produce will be delivered to churches for distribution to those in need in that community. We have had discussions at church about what kind of ministry and mission God could use our rural, country church to be a part of and we see this as a real possibility and a resource.

Please keep the Nuckols in your prayers as they take this step. Also, keep our churches in your prayers as we seek God's guidance as to how to reach out to those in need and to be the hands and feet of Christ.

Androcles and the Lion

Brian Daniels, from Providence UMC, had the lead role in the play Androcles and the Lion. Brian attends Galileo Magnet High School. The play was performed at the North Theatre, an old theatre in Danville.
The following is a synopsis of the play.
Set in ancient Rome, this story that is filled with laughter dances and conquering fear tells of a young man, Androcles and his bickering wife, Hermione as they take a vacation across the Macedonian desert to the city of Rome.

But when a lion comes across the pair and begs Androcles to remove the thorn from his paw Hermione runs away assuming Androcles has been killed. Androcles and the Lion soon become friends and Androcles learns to be brave.

He soon puts his bravery to the test by being captured by the slave traders and sent to Rome. After reuniting with his wife, they are sent to Caesar's palace where Androcles is thrown into prison for failing to soothe a headache for Caesar, played by Brian Daniels. At the Colosseum Androcles is reunited with the Lion in the arena. When the Lion doesn't kill Androcles Caesar grudgingly release Androcles, Hermione, and her Mother from slavery.

Brian reads the scripture passage each Sunday. His skills at the theatrical are an addition to his readings. There are days that I wish I was able to hear him read before I have my first service. More than once his reading has given me new perspective on the message for that day. Brian is an asset to our church and its pastor.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


This has not been a great week for Joanne. She was supposed to have started her physical therapy on Tuesday, but became very sick. We think it was the codeine in her pain medicine. So she has to rely on Motrin to cut the pain in her hand and shoulder. She has been in great deal of discomfort. She gets worn out doing ordinary things. I am afraid she does not have the best of nurses, me, doing her home care.

We have been blessed by the kindness of others. Joanne's cousin, Charlene, and my family have helped by bringing meals for us. Our congregation from Republican Grove UMC had a pizza dinner delivered to our home. Our friend, Alice, picked Joanne up for physical therapy and then brought her home yesterday. My sister, Karen, will be doing the chauffeuring to physical therapy next week.

I can't list all the people that have brightened Joanne's days with calls and cards of well wishes. I think the folks who brought us the meals had the same thoughts as the message Carl Wayne Adams wrote, " Joanne, get well soon, you know Charlie can't cook!" I guess sometimes the members of your congregations know you too well.

Well, we finally got some...

Well, we finally got some of the white fluffy stuff. It was just what the weather forecasters call a dusting, but it was enough to cover the ground and stick to the trees. The weather had been warm the day before and the asphalt held the warmth, so the snow didn't stay on the roads.
I love the snow on trees. It makes the woods look like a living black and white photograph. I went up on the roof of the doctors office for a better view.

This was my kind of snow fall; pretty to look at and safe in drive in, doesn't get better than that. Unless you're a student and they don't cancel school. Oh well, everyone can't be happy all the time.