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Do Not Worry

John (my husband) and I were co-liturgists today at our home church, Urbandale United Church of Christ.  I did the Greeting and lead the Call to Worship.  He read scripture.  Pretty typical liturgist tasks in the United Church of Christ.

But Urbandale UCC has a custom I’ve not seen anywhere else.  Led by the liturgist, it’s called “Presentation of Our Gifts.”  It’s often a time when a particular program or outreach effort of the congregation is highlighted:  Vacation Bible School (with a plea for volunteers) or the Youth Mission Trip (with a list of ways to support them) or the latest project of the Green Boat Crew (solar panels for the church).  Sometimes it’s about an organization in the wider Des Moines area that serves people in need.  Much less frequently it’s a personal testimony.

We decided to focus on one of our favorite scriptures – one that John has been teaching me how to live for 25 years.  I read the verses from Matthew; John wrote and presented the rest.  With his permission to share, here is the script we used this morning.

 

“Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life.”

  – Matthew 6:25 NRSV

It was the third of June 2011.  Eight years ago next week.
The doctor came into the room with his hair on fire.
“You have metastatic prostate cancer. Stage IV.  Spread to your bones.”

And I thought, “so this is the way it ends.”

I remembered Bobby Gentry’s “Ode to Billie Joe.”

It was the third of June, another sleepy, dusty Delta day…
…Billie Joe MacAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge.

The song is a downer.  It’s not happy.  The people are hurting.  Relationships are failing.  It’s not good.

After my cancer diagnosis, I had to decide how to live with it – an unwelcome companion. That thing was going to be with me for the rest of my life.

“Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they?  And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?”

– Matthew 6:26-27 NRSV

Another song came to mind.  By Bobby McFerrin.

Here’s a little song I wrote
You might want to sing it note for note
Don’t worry, be happy
In every life we have some trouble
But when you worry you make it double
Don’t worry, be happy
Don’t worry, be happy now.

Bobby McFerrin, “Don’t Worry Be Happy”

“And why do you worry about clothing.  Consider the lilies of the field how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.”

– Matthew 6:28-29 NRSV

One more song.  From Monty Python.  By Eric Idle.

Some things in life are bad
They can really make you mad
Other things just make you swear and curse
When you’re chewing on life’s gristle
Don’t grumble, give a whistle
And this’ll help things turn out for the best
And

Always look on the bright side of life
Always look on the light side of life

If life seems jolly rotten
There’s something you’ve forgotten
And that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing.

Eric Idle, “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”

“Therefore do not worry, saying ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink? Or ‘What will we wear? … But strive first for the kingdom of God and its righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own.  Today’s trouble is enough for today.”

– Matthew 6:31-34 NRSV

One day at a time.
Don’t borrow trouble.
Don’t worry. Be happy.
Look on the bright side of life.

And keep a song in your heart.

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Selfie with John after Worship!

 

Wind Turbine Blade on the Road

We often see wind turbine blades being transported down Iowa highways.  But they’re usually going the other direction.  Last weekend, we were passed by one.

The photos aren’t great – after all they’re through the windshield – but it’s fun to see just how long the blades are.  We both thought it looked like a fish out of water from behind!

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The Divine Formula

As the wind blows the fresh fallen snow covering the ice on streets and sidewalks, we’re skipping Sunday morning worship for the third week in a row. Grateful for this sermon from Mitch Teemley.

Mitch Teemley

the-periodic-table-wallpaper

Do you remember the Periodic table of Elements from chemistry class? Pretty cool, but it missed the two most important elements:

N1

“They were together N1(in one) accord,

continually devoting themselves to prayer.”

~Acts 1:14

N2

“Then He said to them, ‘Go N2 (into) all the world

and share the Good News with everyone.’”

~Mark 16:15

Dwelling together in God’s loving presence (N1) and sharing that love with others (N2) — I can’t think of a more divine formula, can you? After all, it’s what we were created for (John 17:23), so it is possible. In fact, you might even say our ability to accomplish it is N8 (innate ;>).

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Blog School Days 4-7

Day 4:  Identify Your Audience

Help, please!

Day 5:  Love Your Theme

The “theme” is the basic look of the blog/website.  WordPress has hundreds to choose from – different fonts for text, different layouts for pictures, more different options than I can wrap my head around.  I’ve spent time trying out different themes.  And have settled back on the one I chose when I started.  Maybe I’m just boring.

Day 6:  Make an irresistible “About” Page

Somewhere along the way of playing with themes, I managed to lose my “About” page.  While poking around for this assignment I found it, restored it, and edited it.  It’s still not irresistible.  Maybe I’ll come back to it sooner rather than later.

Day 7:  Add a Custom Header Image

I changed my header image just a few hours before getting the assignment!  I think it’s set up to randomly display a series of photos I took at Missouri Botanical Gardens five or more years ago.  But I have no idea how often the image will change – assuming it does change.  At any rate you’ll see a portion of a flower!

Third Assignment

The assignment on day 3 of Blogging University is to “Visit the Neighbors.”  In other words, I am supposed to go snooping around the blogosphere to find a blogger (or five) to follow.

Finding a new – at least new to you – blog is a simple search.  Simple, that it, if you can figure out what keyword to use.  There are more possibilities than the day is long: faith, Christianity, religion, mathematics, clergywomen, quilting.  More entries show up than you can imagine.  And before you know it you’ve wasted an hour or found a new source of inspiration.