Thursday, January 17, 2013

Bailey Go Wide

Last weekend, I was watching Jacob's hockey game and the spectator area in this particular rink is right above the team benches.  With two minutes left in the game, and with his team behind, the opposing coach called a time out.  I watched over the railing as the kids crowded around their coach and listened as he drew out the plan on his white board.  The plan was this:  Everyone would work to get the puck to the left wing, Bailey.  Bailey would take it wide, down the boards and around the net, where he would pass it to a teammate who would be waiting for the shot in front of the net.  The teammate would shoot and hopefully score.  Go team!

Since I was privvy to the plan, I watched Bailey intently.  Sure enough, Bailey got the puck and started out down the boards to carry the puck around the net.  He tried, but was soon challenged by our team and the plan was derailed momentarily.  But just as soon as he got the puck back again, he went straight back to the boards and proceeded to try and carry the puck around the net.  I watched with interest as Bailey continued to try and implement the coach's plan, while our players did their best to get the puck away from him.  At least four times in those two minutes, someone passed to Bailey and Bailey got the puck and went wide, straight up the boards.  Finally he got around the net and passed the puck, but no luck on a goal. 

People who play (and care about) sports probably wouldn't be as intrigued by this scene as I was, but I found it kind-of beautiful.  It kind-of reminded me of my relationship with God.  Though I don't feel much like writing out the reasons why.  It's probably self-explanatory right?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Groups & Belonging

On my birthday (last July), my uncle posted on Facebook something like, "Happy Birthday to one of my three favorite nieces".  The catch being that he only has three nieces.  And those are me, my sister Melissa and my cousin Roxanne.  And it got me thinking about all the different GROUPS we belong to in our lives... some by choice and some not.  I am one of three nieces of my Uncle Mike.  I am also...

- one of three children belonging to my parents
- one of six grandchildren belonging to my mom's parents
- one of like 22 grandchildren belong to my dad's parents
- one of four members of the family living in my house today (five if you count Rufus)
- one of a certain number of people employed by my employer
- one of 12 students in a class
- one of 144,000 saved people in God's kingdom (144,000 is figurative, of course)
- one of four people invited to dinner
- one of X number of members of a church (oh, how I wish)

Well, I could go on forever and ever.  But you can see how some groups are of a more permanent nature and some are more temporary, but isn't it kind-of cool?

Why am I writing about this?  I have no idea.  This is the kind of thing I would say in real life and people would stare at me and say, "Nice".  But, that's the beauty of the internet... I can't see your faces. :-P

Sunday, January 13, 2013


I recently met this couple/family who come to serve the homeless on Saturday mornings... and it turns out they recently moved here (and into my neighborhood) and he is one of the pastors at a church right down the street.  The church where he works is right smack in the middle of our affluent community and from the outside looking in, the facilities are BIG and upscale. If I were to stereotype, I would say that it's pretty likely that most of their membership are rich snobs. :-)   And I say that with the utmost respect, since I'm sure I would have no problem fitting right in.  I don't know much about the church really.  I went to a Beth Moore event there once.  They have a really good Child Development Center, which I know because Jacob went to kindergarten there.  I'm pretty sure they have a vibrant youth ministry.  And from their sign out by the road, I know they have ALOT going on... mission trips, foreign language worship times, services to the community, etc.  And one night of the week, they have Celebrate Recovery.  Through CR, the guys that started the homeless ministry on Saturday mornings met this pastor.  (At least, I *think* this is how it all came about).

He and his wife are those kind of people who make you feel really good every time you see them- a hug, a kiss on the temple, a huge smile.....  It's apparent they have a genuine love and concern for people. 

I overheard someone say yesterday that once a week, Mr. Pastor drives a church van down to the same location where we serve the homeless and picks up anyone that wishes to go to Celebrate Recovery. After a meal, they have the CR meeting, and then he drives them back and drops them off.

I have to tell you that if I decided to go to a CR meeting at this particular church location, I would be expecting a certain kind of people working on their "recovery".  (CR is for all kinds of recovery, not just drug and alcohol addiction).  They would be people that look alot like me... having bathed in the last 24 hours, mostly my ethnicity, with a job, etc. This is not an inner city church, after all.  Quite the opposite.  I wouldn't be expecting such "raw-ness".  I wouldn't be expecting people fresh from the streets and probably high and/or drunk right at that very moment.

I have no problem with the existence of a nice church in the midst of a wealthy community.  Rich people need church, too.  :-)  But, the church simply HAS to get outside of itself.  The poor and oppressed and needy, who the church LIVES to serve, are seldom going to look or behave like we wish they would.  And it's one (good) thing to go and meet the needy on their turf and serve them, but it's quite another to go and get the needy and welcome them to YOUR turf once a week with a hot meal and a lesson about Jesus.  So much so, that when I heard about Mr. Pastor driving down to pick up the homeless for CR, my eyes welled up with tears and I had to go and tell he and Mrs. Pastor how great I thought that was.  You know people like them are always baffled when they get praise for being the hands and feet of Jesus.  They don't even realize it's a big deal.  But it is.  When I grow up, I want to be like Mr. and Mrs. Pastor.

It reminds me of part of a Sara Groves song, "Kingdom Comes", which I hadn't heard in forever....

When fear engulfs your mind
Says you protect your own
You still extend your hand
You open up your home

That's a little stone that's a little mortar
That's a little seed that's a little water
In the hearts of the sons and the daughters
The kingdom's coming