Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘church’

Prophets – Bah Humbug!


If you’ve been following my blog awhile, you know I take notes in poetry as I listen to the sermon in church on Sundays.

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If you’re new to my blog, welcome! Thank you so much for following. You help me know with your “likes” and comments that I am not just writing into cyberspace. There are real people out there – my blogging “friends” – who may be touched, encouraged, tickled, or illuminated by my posts. If I help you somehow along this rugged path of life to step a little lighter, see a little brighter, or love each other “righter”, then I have accomplished my purpose.

Here are the notes reflecting the message I gathered from yesterday’s sermon. After the service, I told Rev. Jean Johnson, our pastor at Madison Valley Presbyterian, “Your message spoke to me. I think I’ll blog this one.”

So, here it is:

Prophets – Bah Humbug!

Who needs a prophet?
They are annoying, I think.
At best, they are pests.
At worst, they stink!

Tell ’em to take
Their soapboxes away
To some other place.
They harp doom everyday.

Isn’t it enough to try
To be good to each other?
Isn’t it enough
To love sister and brother?

Here we are this Advent
Being called to goodness and hope.
John the Baptist says we
Need baptism and repentance to cope.

He persists in saying
Mountains must be flat.
Paths must be made straight.
Who needs all that?

We like our high mountains.
We like crooked paths, too.
Who needs these prophets?
Do they annoy you?

Well, to be honest, I must
Tell you these truthtellers
Are important to us.
They’re really not such bad fellers!

They call us to be humble.
They show us the Christ-like way.
They remind us of past errors
And guide us to a better way.

Prophets help us discover
How love is better than hate.
They show us what really matters.
Heed them. Invite them in. It’s a date!

Be the love to the loveless.
Don’t worry and think you’re too small.
Listen to the wisdom of the prophets.
Their message is good for us all.

Let God’s light shine through you.
Be the prophetic face of love.
Go out and BE a prophet.
Share the message from God above.

Amen?

 

F = Friends


Day #6 of the A-Z series on “What Makes Me Happy”

FRIENDS

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Friends who go fishing with my hubby (Thanks, Ray & Charley, CG & BW, Gerry & Steve)

Friends who are fabulous cooks, invite us over, and serve fabulous food, wine, and conversation

Friends at TOPS who reach their goal weight and inspire me

Friends who share their birthday happiness with us

Friends who worship with us at church, share their husband to fish with mine, make me smile, give great hugs and are just plain FABULOUS

Friends who are family – what a blessing when that happens!

Friends who are grown up former students and have kept in touch through the years

Friends who bake beautiful pies and who love the Lord as I do

Friends who serve the community, support FUND-raisers, and give generously to make our world a better place

Friends who donate zucchini to the Sr. Center – and the dear friend who plans, cooks, and serves our seniors with such grace and skill

Friends who live into their 80s and 90s and set a beautiful example of vitality and grace for the rest of us

Forever friends who are FAITHFUL forever and continue to love us in spite of our FLAWS (ah, don’t you love that F word?) … and who are as lovely inside as these FLOWERS are outside!

Friends who go FOUR-WHEELING with us

Friends who never forget us and who are FAITHFUL friends to our children

Here’s another one of those… our Friend who is our #2 daughter… Yes, FAMILY is more than blood relatives.

FAMILY is FRIENDS we choose, not just those we inherit. And if we’re truly blessed,

We have family who are friends in all parts of the world

We have grandchildren who are friends and are FUN to be with, and

We have children who keep in touch with love and gratitude daily, even if they move across the sea thousands of miles from us.

My prayer is that the ones who live close enough to see us daily will come by at least once a month, and let our great-grandson grow to know us as his FRIEND, too.

Ah, my blogging friends, I hope you are truly blessed with the FUN of FAMILY and FRIENDS who make you happy, too! I love making new blogging friends!

And never FORGET (that’s a troublesome F word) the Friend who is your constant companion. If you have this kind of a FRIEND you are blessed indeed

And don’t forget the faithful furry four-legged friends, too!

What’s the F word that makes you happiest?

Poetic Sermon Notes


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Well, my friends, it is Sunday. As such,  you know I attended church this morning. Listening carefully to the message from Rev. Jean Johnson, I did my usual: I took my notes poetically. The sermon was based on Mark’s account of the disciples’ conversation with Jesus shortly before His death. In Mark chapter 10, verses 34-45, Jesus delivers His famous message of “The last shall be first and the first shall be last.” The story unfolded this way:

Downward Mobility

Jesus told the disciples
His destiny: the cross.
He warned of His death.
They couldn’t accept the loss.

He told them of the cruelty
That would precede His rise.
So why did all that followed
Come as such a surprise?

James and John asked Him
If they could sit left and right
Of Him in His glory
(Requests that proved them not so bright!).

They didn’t see the meaning
Of the future Jesus faced.
They didn’t see the torture
And know how the pain would taste.

Jesus tried to redirect
The thoughts of James and John.
He tried to reexplain
The path the Christ was on.

The other disciples were jealous
That the two made their pleas first.
They thought James and John
Would be first to end their thirst.

But Jesus rebuked the ones
Who jockeyed to be at His side.
He told them their requests
Showed unsightly, unhealthy pride.

“He who would be first,” He said,
“Must be willing to be last.”
The disciples puzzled at this
Until long after the first Easter had passed.

The way of Jesus is a path
Of downward mobility for all
Who come to serve and give
Their lives in answer to Christ’s call.

 

Don’t try to read the notes on the bulletin cover below… they are what I typed above. I just am posting them here to show you the form in which they first appear from Jean’s sermon to my ears through my fingertips to the bulletin cover. Yes, I listen and write simultaneously. I am often asked, “How do you do that?”

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My only answer is, “It’s a gift.” I hope you appreciated my sharing it with you today. It was a sermon that spoke to my heart because indeed, I have come to serve and to give and to answer Christ’s call to share my talents.

Happy Sunday!

Share Your Saltiness!


Share Your Saltiness!

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(If you’ve followed my blog

for awhile, you know it’s my habit

to take poetic notes while listening

to Rev. Jean Johnson’s sermons

in our Ennis, Montana Presbyterian Church.

If you’re new to JanBeek, now you know!

Here are my notes from today’s message

based on the scripture in Mark 9:38-50)

.

I take salt for granted.

I simply know it’s good.

I understand it preserves

and flavors food – as it should.

.

Salt is a part of life.

It’s here among us all.

So, why did Jesus talk

About lack of salt this fall?

.

Where’s the Good News

In Jesus’ message of salt?

If salt loses its taste,

Am I, dear Lord, at fault?

.

We, as the church, are called

To be the Salt of the Earth.

If we lose our saltiness,

We forget our Christian birth.

.

Born into the faith, we’re given

The spices of zest and grace.

We’re called to season every need,

To help each hurting face.

.

Our salt is meant to sprinkle

Both saint and sinner – the same.

Remember, we all are sinners, too,

So share your saltiness in Jesus’ name.

.

Amen?

(And this Sunday afternoon I’m wondering,

Do you s’posed Jesus might have had this

salty sharing in mind? Come on over!)

Oh goodness! Is that sacrilegious? Or just some of my saltiness spilling out?

Memories of Daddy


 

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Gentle, kind, considerate

These words describe my dad

Unconditionally loving

Always made me glad.

 

Everyone should be blessed

With a father such as mine

His faults were few and far between

Except when time to dine.

 

He burnt the the chicken to a crisp,

But he loved to barbecue

Steaks or hotdogs, ribs and such

Were treats he’d cook for you.

 

His favorite place was in a car

Driving to The City or Yosemite,

But when we arrived, he’d hate to stop

Even when I’d beg, “I have to pee!”

 

I’d ask him for help with my math

But he would always say,

”Go ask your mom, I don’t know –

I missed the lesson in school that day!”

 

He rarely darkened a church’s door

Unless a wedding or funeral required.

He said he had to work on Sundays

Or else, “Surely, you know, I’d be fired!”

 

Hah, that’s hardly possible, dear Dad,

You own the business; you’re the boss.

But even though we pleaded hard,

He’d never go. So much our loss!

 

A more endearing, Christ-like man

You’d never hope to meet.

He never spoke an unkind word,

And every stranger he was first to greet.

 

An alter boy when he was young,

He learned his Catechism well.

Church or not, as an adult,

He sparkled an angelic spell.

 

My dad was more than I could ask.

He loved me through and through.

Dad, I wish every girl and boy

Could have a Daddy just like you!

Steps to a Lovely Life


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Be aware – Be sensitive –

Be quick to admit – Ask forgiveness –

Embrace the right – Reject the wrong –

Obey God – Trust – Endure – Mature.

Eph. 4:14-16

Easter Sadness


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I have heard holidays are sad times for some people. There are more suicides near the various holidays each year than at other times of the year. Have you heard that? Have you ever related to such sadness? I’m not THAT sad, but this was not a typical Happy Easter day.

I grew up in a typical American family in the center of California. At least I thought we were typical. Since then I have begun to question what is “normal” – is there such a thing as “typical”? In my world, I Love Lucy and Bugs Bunny made me laugh, Sundays were church and family time, gatherings at our house or at relatives’ homes were the norm for Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. So, when I found myself in a funk this year as Easter approached and no family was coming to gather, I should not have been surprised, right? Wrong! I was caught off guard! Where is the laughing, carefree Bugs Bunny when you need him?

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Our church hosted a potluck after church today –  Easter Sunday; designed just for folks like Bob and me whose family is a thousand or more miles away. Ham would be provided. Last night I created my favorite comfort food for the occasion- scalloped potatoes Andre’ style. I put them in the garage refrigerator for safe-keeping. I spent an hour this morning up in my sanctuary, as usual, in prayer and Bible Study, in meditation as I listened to the robins singing outside the the window. “He is risen indeed!” Shake it off, Jan! ReJOYce! It’s Easter!! Pick up your music. Pick up your Easter lily. Pick up your spirits. Get to your house of worship!

We arrived at church 45 minutes early to practice with the choir. Surely potatoes au gratin and “Up From the Grave He Arose” would lift my sagging spirits. Oh no! I forgot the potatoes where I had safely stored them in the garage refrigerator last night! A dear friend, Susan, who arrived early to work on the potluck volunteered to drive back to our house to get them. Only five minutes away, thank God! Christian friend to the rescue! God bless her. She put them in the church oven and returned to her seat in the pew just as the service started.

I perused the church bulletin. The songs were not “He Lives!” or “Hallelujah, He is Risen.” Instead, “Low in the Grave He Lay” and “In His Time” with a sermon topic, “Failure.” What? Here I am feeling low, missing family, beating myself up for forgetting to bring the potatoes, and the sermon topic is about FAILURE? I drew a sad face next to it! I was not prepared for a downer message from the pulpit! But then as the service began, we all sang, “He Has Made Me Glad!” and the choir sang, “In Christ Alone/Solid Rock.” My spirits were lifting and I paid particular attention to the words of the next song, “Hymn of Promise,” by Natalie Sleethe. The second verse especially spoke to me:

   “There’s a song in every silence, speaking word and melody;
   There’s a dawn in every darkness, bringing hope to you and me.
   From the past will come the future; what it holds a mystery,
   Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.”

What a wonderful segue into the sermon. Listen carefully, Jan. Take your sermon notes in poetry – as you usually do – and see what “Failure,” as spoken by Reverend Jean Johnson, says to you:

Silence is in Failure.
Shouts in Victory.
Resilience lies in Failure –
Lessons there for you and me.

Moral Victory or Losing?
Which lesson do you see?
Is the score the truest measure
Of a win for you and me?

Defeat: Success is gone.
Rationalization: Better now.
Reality: Acknowledgement –
There’s a future – somehow!

Failure feels miserable.
Hope seems surely gone.
But the loss is temporary.
New beginnings greet the dawn.

God doesn’t call it quits.
He fills our loss with LOVE.
His peace is ours eternal;
Ours is Victory from above.

Christ defeated death and darkness.
Shouts of VICTORY ring ever true.
His resurrection is our promise.
Hope rings eternal for me and you.

Amen? Amen!

I drew a cross next to that sad face – and on the other side of the cross, a happy face.

No need to stay in a funk! Listen to the last verse of Natalie Seethe’s “Hymn of Promise.”

“In our end is our beginning; in our time, infinity:
In our doubt there is believing; in our life, eternity.
In our death, a resurrection; at the last, a victory,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.”

Thank You, God. Thank You for Jesus… for His life, His death, and His resurrection. Thank You for the promise of Eternity. Thank you for helping me see You, the source of all life and hope, all joy and peace, all compassion and justice – alive and victorious this day and always. May my life be a witness to the new life You offer. You are new every morning. So am I! Happy Easter!

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