Memory Verses for 2011

As some of you know, I spent 2010 in a praise and worship fast and studied liturgical worship, not because of some legal requirement, but because this was honestly the path I believed God was leading me down. Jeremiah 6:16 – Thus says the LORD:”Stand by the roads, and look,and ask for the ancient paths,where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. “

While I may be married to a Missouri Synod Lutheran – which are historically liturgical almost to the point of legalism (depending of course on who you are speaking with) – I love praise and worship and interestingly enough so does my husband. Also interesting is neither of us really like blended services. – I may or may not write more about that later, just know that my soul craves both the fullness of praise and the richness of liturgy at different times and combining the two is like – well, I don’t have a good analogy other that to say it’s like trying to fish while I water ski, if that makes sense.

And rather than go down a rabbit hole today, let me just leave it as – I needed a break. After four years of helping with our church plant – which is primarily praise and worship, teaching bible studies, pursing new career paths (comedy), and sending my oldest away to college, I entered 2010 worn out and dry as the desert. Jeff’s mom had a fatal stroke . I had a mass in my uterus that knocked me down for six months, and I started abusing diet pills trying to lose weight. 2010 was a low bottom year for me.

And yet – even in the midst of all of that I found rest. I’d been reading Joan Chittister’s book on Liturgical living and while I found her book to be dry and cumbersome to read, I did feel a certain draw in my spirit to learn more and so with the help of a local mentor/pastor – I spent 2010 studying the church year, and liturgy. I regret neither the fast, the lows, or the choices of the year – 2010 was as gloriously rich with love and grace as God had promised.

My season of fasting is over and a new season has been placed on my heart – “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.” – Luke 6:21 ESV Bible

Some changes for 2011, praise and worship is back in my fold of worship opportunities as is high liturgy. I’m not sure if I’ll teach or not as I am still needing much time in the master’s hand. (I have food issues that we are working through) Last but not least, I am back memorizing verses this year, just like I did in 2009. If you would like to join me on that, please see Beth Moore’s Living Proof live page and jump in. You won’t regret it.

Have a great week you guys.

Today is Epiphany, also known as Kings Day, or the 12th day of Christmas. If you would like to know more about Epiphany, please check out the very cool link a friend of mine posted on Facebook: http://www.crivoice.org/cyepiph.html

REPOST: The Great Rabbit Rescue

It sounded like a gun shot. And then another, and another. I thought war had broken out in Tulsa. Looking out our bedroom window we can see stripped and broken trees covering our yard. My beautiful trees are no more. All of our trees, save one, fell victim to the ice storm of 2007.

Amid the sounds of branches falling during the night, it also grew obvious to my husband and to me that our youngest son was not going to let us sleep until we rescued his rabbit. Oreo, lived in a hutch underneath what was our tall and beautiful Bradford pear in the back yard.

Grabbing the foot of our bed, our son became bound and determined to rouse us into greater empathy than parents usually possess at 3 am. Empathy not forthcoming, he chose to shake our bed violently and scream until we had no choice but to either put him down, or rescue the rabbit.

After some debate, we rescued the rabbit.

Wearing snow boots and bathrobes, the three of us ventured out into the icy night. I carried a candle for light, while Jeff and I carefully traversed the buried yard. Stepping over branches and around others we made our way to what used to be Oreo’s dwelling. Our tree, Oreo’s shelter, was stripped back like a banana peel. Carefully moving the bent and hanging branches, we found that not one fallen branch had touched her hutch. All of the branches had created a protective cave around her home. Oreo was unharmed. It was an amazing sight.

The consummate story collector, I wanted to go back for my camera but thought better of it. Instead, Jeff reached in to free a very grateful bunny and we made our way back to the house. The joy in our son’s eyes as he held his beloved pet made the whole adventure worth it.

It’s cold in Tulsa right now. Temperatures are below zero at night, and we’ve once again rescued our rabbit and brought her indoors for safety.

Another snow storm hit Tulsa this year and all Christmas services had been cancelled throughout the city. It just didn’t feel like Christmas without church and I missed it. Grace Lutheran was holding their Christmas Eve service on Epiphany. Grace is not our home church, but I wanted to go. I wanted to celebrate Christmas even if it was a few days late.

During the service they did what they call the “Procession of the Gospel.” I don’t recall ever seeing that before. It is very high church, and not necessarily something more “modern” churches like mine do anymore. Acolytes carried the cross and candles, while the pastor came down the center aisle with the bible. This processional stopped right next to our pew. It was there that the gospel was read.

Like a child, I relentlessly tugged on my husband’s sleeve asking what they were doing and why. High Liturgy is not something I’m familiar with. It was moving, and beautiful. The tears in his eyes caught me by surprise. “Immanuel. God with us.” is all he said.

By coming down into the crowd, so to speak, to read the Gospel, we are reminded that God himself traveled dangerous terrain to rescue us. We are reminded that He is not some distant and untouchable figure way out there. He doesn’t need a child to shake his bed to come get us. He just did. It was dangerous and it was scandalous. And it was necessary.

He is with us.

In the center of it all.

Yesterday.

Today.

And tomorrow.

Again and again,

calling us,

 protecting us,

saving us.

He is Immanuel.