Wednesday, September 17, 2014

4 year blogging anniversary!

Wow!  It's amazing for me to look back and realize that I have been on this blogging journey now since 2010.  As of September 3rd of this month, I marked my 4 year anniversary of blogging.  This calls for a celebration... or at least a review blog for the year. ☺

As I have mentioned over the month, things have been busy with the start of Fall semester for me (and other responsibilities), so I wasn't able to write my "year-in-review" celebration post closer to the 3rd of September, when I first began this journey in 2010.

But I am taking some time today.  As I have done with the other yearly reviews, I will share the countries that have visited my site, the top ten countries overall, the numbers for the monthly readership for the past year, and the top 10 posts overall.

Before I get into the data, let me say (once again), "THANK YOU".  Thank you for joining me on this journey, for traveling with me as I have been on this adventure of life, growth, trials, studies, ups and downs, life and death, joys, etc.  Though I can't see you, I recognize by the "hits" that you are out there and therefore we are connected as community.  Some of you comment from time to time and I always appreciate feedback, questions, etc.  But it's not necessary. 

When I began this journey, I had an inkling (a feeling) that this was something I was to do in my faith journey, but I had no idea that it was truly part of my spiritual journey and one of my spiritual disciplines to draw me closer and deeper in relationship to God.  But it has.   If what has brought growth to my own personal journey has also created ripple effects of growth (or at least reflection), then that is like an unexpected gift (as in grace) and I am blessed and humbled at the possibilities.

Enough of my reflections.  I'll share the data now.  Though it would be nice if I were to go back to previous years and follow a set pattern (if I had one), I'm going to post the information randomly. (The random factor is in honor of a friend who also loves duct tape and used to read from Camel Land.)

Here's the data....

Over the past year, the monthly readership hits (according to the stats chart) has been:

September 2013........ 3614
October 2013............ 5336
November 2013........ 5418
December 2013.........5344
January 2014.............3934
February 2014...........3813
March 2014...............3696
April 2014.................6097
May 2014..................4734
June 2014..................3873
July 2014...................3670
August 2014..............3811
September 2014........ ongoing ☺

TOP TEN COUNTRIES OVERALL:

United States       42,862
Germany              11,280
Russia                     5,614
France                     1,575
United Kingdom     1,312
China                       1,012
Canada                      814
Ukraine                     741
Poland                       535
Malaysia                   392

TOP TEN POSTS (overall):

Some notes from two chapters in Conversion in the Wesleyan Tradition  (May 7, 2013)  [9846]

Thoughts and quotes from Jesus Calling over the last few days and weeks  (November 24, 2011) [2227]

Jesus Calling--January 1, 2012 (January 1, 2012) [440]

Academy #32 Tú has venido a la orilla / Lord, You Have Come  (October 3, 2012) [346]

Pushing 5...reflections of an example of living well from Will (May 5, 2014)  [341]

Jesus Calling--December 30th (December 30, 2011) [321]

"A Space of Love"... quotes and reflections from Macrina Wiederkehr's chapter in Abide (May 15, 2013) [296]

Several hours at the creek...roaring waters and waiting  (March 12, 2011) [241]

WO 510-- Day 2 of class (end of class)...Shalom, friends (February 23, 2014) [204]

Some thoughts on hospitality...  (May 30, 2011) [191]






 WHERE ARE THE FROM WHO ARE READING MY BLOG?  (COUNTRIES)

Vanuatu, Norway, Oman, South Korea, Switzerland, Morocco, Macau, Guatemala, Bolivia, Puerto Rico, New Caledonia, Russia, United States, China, Turkey, Israel, South Africa, United Kingdom, Ukraine, Canada, Italy, Germany, Latvia, Albania, Poland, France, Bulgaria, Greece, Lithuania, Malaysia, Australia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Brazil, Panama, Netherlands, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Honduras, Hong Kong, Spain, Sri Lanka, Serbia, Algeria, Cambodia, Ireland, St. Vincent & Grenadines, Estonia, Ghana, Moldova, Hungary, Austria, Namibia, Czech Republic, New Zealand, Libya, Tanzania, Bangladesh, Curaçao, Papau New Guinea, Finland, Turkmenistan, Northern Mariana Islands, Belgium, Zimbabwe, Iraq, South Africa, Luxembourg, Sweden, Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, Taiwan, Peru, Lebanon, Slovakia, Belarus, Venezuela, Romania, Qatar, Zambia, Bermuda, Ecuador, Aruba, Kenya, Maldives, Pakistan, Georgia, Dominican Republic, Macedonia (FYROM)

(Unless I've left out a place, which is a possibility, I count 90 different locations.)


Previous anniversary blog posts:

Blogging...tomorrow makes one year 9/2/11
2 Year Blogging Anniversary This Month! 9/23/12
Tomorrow is my 3 year blogging anniversary 9/2/13


Thanks again for joining me on this adventurous journey!

Blessings,

Debra



























A prayer from A Guide to Prayer For All God's People

Yesterday morning I was looking through my devotional books for some inspiration and I found a prayer that spoke to me from A Guide to Prayer For All God's People in Week 46.  The theme for the week is "God's Unlimited Grace" (pages 280-285).

The prayer was the Invocation prayer for the week: O God, whose grace and mercy flow like and endless river from your great being, help me now to place myself in the path of your rushing love and limitless compassion, that I may find my spirit renewed.  Amen. (p. 280)

As I read through the prayer, my mind went to the flowing waters at the North Chickamauga Creek Gorge where I enjoy walking, hiking, and hanging out.  I looked through my pictures and found one where I thought the prayer would show up decently on the picture.

Using the application (app) "textgram" on my phone, I created this:


The Psalm for the week is Psalm 141

The Benediction for the week: O God, it is true that no eye has seen nor ear has heard what wonderful things you hold in store for your children; yet in these moments with you, I have seen more clearly and listened more deeply.  I give you thanks.  Amen.

There are several readings for the week that spoke to me.  Choosing only one of those to share is difficult, but if I were to give you everything here then you might not read the book yourself. ☺  There is a neat evening prayer on page 281 by C. Maud Battersby.

Not knowing who C. Maud Battersby was, I decided to research real quickly and learned that the evening prayer written by him was put to song by him too.

Maud is also written as Maude and he went by C.M. in several places.  On hymnary.org, the only song I found was this evening prayer, though it was in three different languages: English, Portuguese (I think), and Spanish.  The English version is found in 56 hymnals.  You can find the sheet music on the link in this paragraph.

Here is a short reading that caught my attention among the many wonderful readings for the week.  It is by Carlo Carretto, from his book Love Is for Living: "I feel immersed in God like a drop in the ocean, like a star in the immensity of night; like a lark in the summer sun or a fish in the sea."

Maybe you needed to hear a message of grace today.  If so, maybe there is something here for you.

Blessings on your journey,

Debra

"Transformed Living, It's a Sacrifice"--Sermon from August 24, 2014 at New Salem UMC, Rising Fawn, GA

I am finally able to take some time to post the sermon from three weeks ago.  I don't know how far I'll get in posting "catch up"posts today.  Whether or not I will have time to post my 4 year anniversary blog post or not is yet to be seen.  It is a matter of timing and switching from one discipline (study, writing, exercising, silence, etc.) to another.

The written word of the sermon is never exactly what is spoken in the moment.  But it is typically a good idea of what the overall theme is/was.  In reading the sermon, you don't get the added comments and you do get the things that were left out during the sermon.  It's a different experience, yet hopefully and prayerfully there is something in the message to take away and reflect upon, at least for a moment or two.

A few thoughts and reflections prior to the sermon.

New Salem UMC in Rising Fawn, GA has two services, the first at 9am and the second at 11am.  It has been a while since I've had the opportunity to preach twice in one morning and I was looking forward to doing it.  I was also looking forward to being up on Lookout Mountain, one of my favorite spots, no matter where on that mountain I am.

I had a wonderful time of meeting new people that morning and interacting with folks who knew our worship leader at Burks UMC, Wil Martin.  It was a blessing to be there to worship with them and to share together.  I met some retired missionaries and spoke Spanish after the second service briefly with them.  ☺

The pictures at the bottom of the page are the visuals I used in the service.  You can picture them being used about the time they are mentioned in the service.  It may be hard to tell from the pictures themselves, but the pictures in the bags represent the cocoons.

This sermon fell the week after an intensive week of seminary on campus at Asbury Theological Seminary where I took Philosophy of Religion.  My prof shared a story about The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and that made it into the sermon.  I will include a link at the end of the post for a detailed version of the story. 

Interestingly, "transformation" was one of the themes I was living into throughout the summer.  I was on a team for a Chrysalis Flight (youth Emmaus) and we talked about transformation and growth throughout our team meetings.  Also, the July/August edition of Alive Now was all about transformation with  a butterfly and an empty cocoon on the front cover.    I thought I was just preaching the lectionary, but it turns out that the lectionary was preaching me.... working not just through me, but definitely in me throughout the entire summer.  I love how God works like that.  The theme of transformation was applicable in other areas of my circles too.

I don't know about you, your life, your ministry, etc. I don't know if or how this message will touch you or even relate to you.  Maybe the Holy Spirit has something in it for you.  If not you, maybe someone else.

Blessings on you and your journey,

Debra



"Transformed Living, It's a Sacrifice"
New Salem UMC
August 24, 2014

Romans 12:1-8
12I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. 3For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, 5so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. 6We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; 7ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; 8the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness. 

LEADER: This is the Word of God for the people of God.

ALL: Thanks be to God.

As I read and studied this passage, I kept staying on verse 2: "be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God"  That is a key verse for this passage as everything hinges on it.  Without the transformation, we are not able to discern what is the will of God nor are we able to sufficiently use the gifts God has given us according to the grace given us.   

So, what is this transformation?  What does transformation mean?  Let's look at transformation and how this relates both to our gifts and to a sacrificial living.

The word transformation here is from the Greek "metamorphoō" and means to undergo a spiritual transformation as it is used here in Romans 12:2 and 2 Corinthians 3:18.  We get the English word  "metamorphosis" from this and we'll talk more about that later.  I know there is danger in throwing out Greek words in sermons, but I'm a language geek by trade, having taught Spanish and French for 24 years and just couldn't resist this time. 

The verse here in Romans tells us that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.  How do we accomplish that?  [feedback??]  We could consider the means of grace, such as study, read the Scriptures, prayer, fellowship, gather for worship, fasting, journaling, etc.  There are classic means of grace and there are some practices that are just as ancient, but not always considered and there are modern ways, which may simply be variations on classic or ancient ways of doing things. 

For example, take reading the Scripture as a way to renew the mind.  You may read a daily verse, or a chapter, you may read from the Upper Room or another devotional.  You may listen to the Scripture on the radio or a DVD or an mp3 or online.  You may use some form of online Scripture resource to aid in your reading.  You may read the Scripture in a studious way or you may read it more in a sacred reading way, lectio divina, to see what the word has to say to you for that particular reading.  Regardless of the format or method, the Scripture has potential to transform our mind, as we allow it.

As you reflect on these various ways of transforming the mind, you may be more accustomed to some and practice them more regularly.  You may be introduced to a new way of transforming your mind by a practice you haven't considered.

The goal of our transformation is new life, a life from which we offer the gifts given to us uniquely back to the body of Christ.  The gifts given to us can be an entire different sermon and it's worth exploring if you're sure about your gifts.  We'll take a brief look at them now from verses 6 and 7: "6We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; 7ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; 8the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness."   Gifts are just one part of the transformed life, but it does help to know that we are all uniquely gifted as different members of the body.  And, it helps to know what our giftedness is.  Spiritual gift inventories are a good way to figure these out.  You can also figure out some of these by listening to what others say to you.  For example, has anyone ever told you that you encourage them?  If you've heard that over and over, you might have the gift of encouragement, exhortation.  Ask a trusted friend what he/she thinks your gifts are if you're not sure.  Study the Scriptures for more references to spiritual gifts.  This isn't the only passage that mentions them.

Verse 1 tells us that we are to be a living sacrifice.  How does that fit with us being transformed?  Well, that's where the metamorphosis explanation comes in.  How many of you know about the cycle of the caterpillar and the butterfly?  I'm not a scientist, but this does interest me.  But because I'm not a scientist, I'm not going to explain this in scientific terms. 

Here's my explanation:  the caterpillar munches on leaves and grows bigger and stronger (visuals).  Then it makes its cocoon (chrysalis) and remains in there in the dark, waiting, while it is being transformed.  When the time is right, the new creation, the butterfly struggles to break open the chrysalis to get out.  We are told to not help the butterfly break out because it must do so on its own in order to strengthen its wings.  Then, upon becoming free, the butterfly's wings must first dry before it can fly. [visual throughout]

Much like the caterpillar and the butterfly, we go through transformational times in our lives.  Our cocoons, our times of waiting and darkness look much different, but they exist.  There are often struggles that strengthen us along the way and many times of waiting before we can fly.  Not knowing, the waiting, the struggles.... it is all a sacrifice.  The caterpillar gives its life in order to become a butterfly.  It may not realize the sacrifices nor the transformation that is about to occur, but the transformational process occurs nonetheless.
Just like the caterpillar, we must be willing to let go of what was (the former life) in order to live into the new life.  Sometimes we enter times of waiting and sacrifice more aware than the caterpillar.  At other times, we are thrust into the waiting and impending change because of illness, accidents, and other situations.  These transformational situations may not always be evident to us until we look back and recognize that we have indeed been transformed.  Yet, even if weren't fully aware of the transformational process, there usually is a time of giving something up and/or letting something go along the way.  So there is always an aspect of sacrifice, no doubt about it.  One that results in a transformed, changed life.

In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis there is an example of the sacrifice of a transformed life in a scene between Eustace and Aslan.  Eustace was tired of being a dragon--the result of being selfish and stubborn-- and wanted to return to being a boy.  He was unsuccessful in tearing off his own dragon scales.  Aslan came and began to tear them off.  Eustace was scared.  It was painful.  But, the transformation was made complete.

Transformation is often painful because growth and change don't come easily.  But the pain endured for transformation is a worthwhile pain and leads to restoration and wholeness.
Bishop Rueben Job of the United Methodist Church says this about the transformed life in A Guide to Prayer For All Who Seek God:   

 "Living a transformed life is not possible on our own.  Most of us do not live up to the best we know how to live.  Deep within we know that there is room for improvement.  We can do better.  Connecting our desire to do and be better with God's amazing grace creates a partnership that leads to transformation.
     We know that living a transformed life means living at God's direction with grace-given capacity.  This is more than we can do on our own, and, in fact, living the transformed life does not mean trying harder.  It means trusting more and staying close to the only One who can make us more than we are. 
     As we learn to put our trust and faith in God, we become open and available to receive God's forming and transforming power in our own lives.  In our better moments we know that it is God at work within us that provides the transformation.  This is the day to claim God's presence and help as you live the transformed life."

--Rueben P. Job (141-142) A Guide To Prayer For All Who Seek God

This IS the day to claim God's presence and help as you live the transformed life.....
How will you live out your transformed self with the giftedness that God has graced you?
As the Holy Spirit continues to work in the renewing of your mind, may you await with eagerness the moment your wings are dry so that you can fly!

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen!



Pictures of the church:





Pictures of the visuals used in the sermon:

the baby caterpillar ate the green leaf
the caterpillar grew
the caterpillar made its chyrsalis/cocoon
this hat contains both cocoons
the butterfly is preparing to emerge its darkness

the butterfly allows its wings to dry before it flies


A selfie taken between services in front of the church front doors:


LINKS TO ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

The passage mentioned from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Blog post by Adam Powers-- "Pleasing Pain"
Blog post by Luma Simms-- "My Dragon Skin Torn Off"


Alive Now Transformation Reflection (June 30)
Alive Now Transformation Reflection (July 26)
Alive Now website (one of The Upper Room publications)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Living into this new adventure.... next steps on my Native American flute journey

A while back I wrote about the beginnings of my Native American flute journey that began a while back as I felt the sound of the flute calling me and then I was able to get my first lesson this summer at the FUMSDRL / HOF retreat in MN.

Upon my return from there I looked into ordering a flute.  I looked into several different flute makers.  I considered the Odell Borg flutes, Dana Ross because he is located in North Georgia, and Jimmy Yellowhorse because I got his name as I searched for local flute makers.  I found him through his wife that I had emailed because I found her on a website.  When I learned that Jimmy Yellowhorse made flutes and was located in Chattanooga and Northeast Alabama, I felt that I was to go that route for my first flute.  I thought I could go with Dana for my 2nd flute, whenever that will be. ☺  I got in touch with Jimmy Yellowhorse on July 30 and we spoke about what I was looking for in a flute and he educated me on flute making.  I left the details to him, knowing that my first flute was in good hands.

This past weekend I was able to pick up my flute at the Holston Conference Gathering at Coker Creek Village.  My husband and I went up for the day on Saturday since we weren't able to stay the entire weekend.

Being out in the countryside and able to enjoy creation with others while learning new skills, meeting new people, etc. was especially good for me on this day as my cousin was getting married in Colorado and we were unable to make the trip out there.  I could be there in heart, mind, and spirit... and that is what I did.... I was able to see pictures after the fact once we got back into the land of cell service and signals.  What a beautiful wedding it was!  Such a gorgeous couple and family.... and my cousins, my aunt, etc..... the scenery, setting, and weather were perfect for them!

So, back to my flute....  I took a beginning flute class with Ryan Little Eagle Molina.  We had a group of about 9 beginning flute players.  I literally got my flute minutes prior to the class.  In fact, I was a few minutes late to class because of it.


I am super pleased with my flute and am blessed that I got to get to know Jimmy Yellowhorse and his wife Tammera Hicks some.

Having been reminded of the basics of the scale and breathing in Ryan's class, now that I have my flute the main thing is to practice, practice, practice.  As my fingering becomes smoother and my breathing becomes steadier, I will learn how to create songs with this beautiful instrument.

I have started to learn "Taps".  I played it last night prior to bedtime.  It is a song that is fond in my memory from Camp Skyline days.  I remember being in the cabins of Hut Row and hearing taps played nightly.  I think it was at times played in person by someone on the coronet or trumpet.  But often it was played on a record, you know, vinyl.  Taps has my attention currently not just because it's a good song to end the day, but because I've had some friends pass recently.... my former colleague at Bryan College and most recently, my friend Leila last week.

I look forward to various heart songs coming out as I learn to "pray" the flute.  There has already been a few things flow out of me related to "Creator God".

What I am most looking forward to is what scared me most when I first contemplated the possibility of playing the flute... and that is deepening my relationship with God through this adventure.

Though it did scare me at first and it was something I had to come to terms with, I am grateful now for the journey to be here at this point.  Now that I have my flute, I look forward to playing and praying it.

It has been a step (or leap) of faith for me, this flute journey.

What in your life is calling you, waiting on you to take a step (or leap) of faith into the adventurous journey?

Blessings,

Debra



me and Jimmy Yellowhorse




Thursday, September 11, 2014

Mid-Week Vespers... No Condemnation


Last night's mid-week vespers at Hixson UMC was a different format than I have experienced the other two times I have gone.  Both of those times I have experienced the Marty Haugen liturgy. 

The overall atmosphere is the same.  It is a quiet space.  The overall rhythm is slower.  The music and readings are slower and more reflective.  There is time for silence built into the service.

Last night's service included 6 songs, 4 that were written by Jim Lewis who leads the services and two that were written by Stephen Iverson ("Word of Christ" and "Jesus Prayer").  The songs are short, slow, and reflective, and primarily based on Scripture.  The ones not based on Scripture are based on the relationship with God and therefore help to focus one's attention on God, Christ, and Holy Spirit.

The theme last night was "No Condemnation" from week #45 of A Guide to Prayer For All Who Seek God.  The meditation was Rueben Job's words from page 333-334.

Scripture readings last night included Romans 6:12-14 and John 8:1-11.

We spent 5 minutes in silence between the Scripture reading and the meditation reading last night.  Jim had mentioned to me that he was encouraging growth in silence and since I was the silence timer last night prior to reading the meditation, it felt right to stretch it to 5 minutes.  Growth in silence is always a good thing.

The songs were beautiful as was the atmosphere.  I enjoy going early to partake of communion in the parlor.  Last night the pastor (Rev. Reed Shell) shared a passage about the body of Christ and then had us serve the elements to one another.  I always enjoy sharing communion in that fashion.  There is something special about the body connecting in that way.

It is a blessing for me to have this opportunity for a quieter and slower paced weekly service that is near my house, in my community.  It just so happens to be United Methodist, but it could very well be another denomination offering it and it would still be a blessing.  If it were another denomination, I would be engaging in the ecumenical body and sharing with the bigger church, which I do in other ways.  As it is, I am engaging in the connectional body of the United Methodist church and sharing with a sister church down the road.  It is beautiful when the church bodies work together as connectional and share their offerings and resources with one another.

Last night was especially meaningful for me to have that space as I grieved the loss of my friend Leila Niemann who died unexpectedly Sunday night.  The shock of her death and processing it have been part of the ebb and flow of my week.  Yesterday morning the Wednesday morning Bible Study met and shared in a time of remembering and used the UMC hymnal for parts of the service of honoring a loved one who has passed.  We shared stories, laughter, tears, pictures, a poem, books, food, and memories.  Afterwards, we went outside to the labyrinth that Leila was instrumental in bringing to Burks UMC and we walked it.  Then we sang (or tried to) one of her favorite songs, "Nearer My God to Thee" as we circled up outside the labyrinth before we left.

                                                   André Rieu, "Nearer My God to Thee"

Vespers gave me an additional place to be still, to release, to allow God to minister to me.  That is what I needed last night.

At this time and stage in my life, vespers is what I need most.  Because of my study load as I finish my seminary degree, my mind cannot handle much more.  It is my heart and soul that need feeding and a place to rest.  My soul needs a place to catch up with my body.

I take and make time for my soul to catch up with my body at other times and in other spaces too... it's just that I really need much more of it these days.  And, I find that I need it not just individually, but in corporate community too.

I also have a desire to help others [especially leaders (both laity and clergy)] find/make that time and space for their souls to catch up with their bodies.  A mid-week vespers service doesn't quite work out for leaders to attend because they are busy serving in their various positions and churches.  So, I wonder.... when is a time that could work to open up such a space so that leaders could have some time set apart so that their souls could catch up with their bodies?

Well, that's more than plenty for one blog post today..... and I still have that sermon from two weeks ago to post and my 4 year anniversary blog post to write.... all in due time.  I'm still trying to figure out how to balance my Hebrew studies with all of life. ☺

Blessings on your journey,

Debra

Pictures from last night's service and bulletin:

Bindy and Jim Lewis leading in singing (pianist and violinist behind them)


bulletin cover
bulletin from last night's service

Friday, September 5, 2014

Si tuvieras fe / If you only had faith.... what mountains are you facing?

Last night we attended the Still Waters Emmaus Community Gathering in Dayton, TN.  It was our first Gathering there, but I have been to about 3 candlelights over the years and even served dinner on one walk way back when.  We went last night to be able to connect with folks I hadn't seen in a while and because I had sent in my application to be considered as clergy in their community.  Since the Dayton community borders our Chattanooga community, we have some movement between the two communities and I felt led to be part of both.  Having lived in Dayton previously and worshiped in Dayton was part of me wanting to give back to that community too.

During the worship portion of the Gathering, Pastor Eddie Suttles mentioned moving mountains.  He talked about how we can start praising God in advance for the movement of those mountains.  Two things came to mind as he shared..... one was a mountain that has been on my heart and mind for a while... so I lifted it up to God and gave praise that God was going to move it.  The second thing that came to mind was one of the songs we often sang at the Academy, Si tuvieras fe / If you only had faith.

Because I am not able to find my Academy bag at the moment, I had to research the song.  That helped me learn the author (Pablo Sosa) and the translator (Jorge Lockward) and the fact that the song by these Methodist pastors is only currently in print in the Glory to God Presbyterian Hymnal (per hymnary.org).  The song is a catchy rhythmic one, in either language.

On YouTube I found a version of the group Salvador singing it live in a worship service.  Sometimes it is called "Mountain" or "Montaña".  Here it is called "Grano de Mostaza" or "Mustard Seed".


I don't know what mountains you are facing in your life right now, but I do know that mountains are movable.  I've had my share of mountains in the past and there are some in my life now.  Yet, I know that they are passable and/or movable.  There have been times when I've asked them to be moved and there have been times when I've asked for strength for the journey to travel over them.  Each mountain experience / situation is different.  My current journal is teaching me to reach new heights on the mountains.

Listen to the song.  Check out the lyrics.  Reflect on your life situation(s) to see if you are in a time of traveling over the mountain or asking it to move.  Either way is a journey.  If nothing else, you might find yourself moving to the tune and enjoying the Caribbean beat.


LYRICS:

SPANISH:

Si tuvieras fe como grano* de mostaza  [*though some lyrics say «grano», «granito» is also used and 
                                                                   is more accurate as 'a little seed']
Eso lo dice el Señor

Tú le dirías a la montaña
Muévete, muévete
Esa montaña se moverá, se moverá, se moverá

ENGLISH:

If you only had faith just like a little grain of mustard,
This is what Jesus declares.

You would be able to tell the mountain,
Move away. Move away.
And then the mountain would move away,
Would move away, would move away. 

Version of song in English from Presbyterian Hymnal website. (Scroll down; 15th video--labeled).

Blessings on your journey,

Debra

P.S.  I have some blogging to catch up on.... a sermon I preached a couple of weeks ago, my four year anniversary of blogging that is this week, etc.  But I am also balancing my first week of Fall classes, so I hope to get to those next week. 

LINK TO A GREAT ARTICLE ON PABLO SOSA WITH MANY RESOURCES ON WORSHIP (from a time he visited Calvin College)  "Pablo Sosa on Congregational Singing"

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Start a Fire.... Unspoken.... love these lyrics!

I have heard this song on the radio before.  But as I hit highway 27 north nearing my home-away-from-home destination for the week, the song came on K-LOVE radio yesterday afternoon.  For some reason, I listened more closely to the lyrics than I have in the past.  They caught my attention.

Fire and flames always catch my attention.  There is something calming and yet infusing, energizing about gazing at a fire.  There is the passion that a fire and flame represents.  There is the burning off of the dross, the impurities, etc.  The colors of red, yellow, orange, and even blue... 

My daughter drew a sharpie "tattoo" on her left bicep after the first day of class last week.  It was a flame.  It was awesome.  It spoke to me of faith and love.  And, maybe she was saying she loved and/or was "on fire" for school?!?!


Hearts on Fire, the Fellowship of United Methodists Spiritual Directors and Retreat Leaders, has used a heart with flames in its logos. 


John Wesley talks about his heart being strangely warmed.  I know there is no fire in there, but it's close. 

The disciples on the road to Emmaus speak about their hearts burning within them when they had been walking and talking with Jesus.  (Luke 24:32--"They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?”)

So, how about this song "Start a Fire"?  It's by a group called Unspoken.


Here are the lyrics:

This world can be cold and bitter
Feels like we're in the dead of winter
Waiting on something better
But am I really gonna hide forever?

Over and over again
I hear Your voice in my head
Let Your light shine, let Your light shine for all to see

[Chorus:]
Start a fire in my soul
Fan the flame and make it grow
So there’s no doubt or denying
Let it burn so brightly
That everyone around can see
That it’s You, that it’s You that we need
Start a fire in me

You only need a spark to start a whole blaze
It only takes a little faith
Let it start right here in this city
So these old walls will never be the same

Over and over again
I hear Your voice in my head
They need to know
I need to go
Spirit won't You fall on my heart now

[Chorus:]
Start a fire in my soul
Fan the flame and make it grow
So there’s no doubt or denying
Let it burn so brightly
That everyone around can see
That it’s You, that it’s You that we need
Start a fire in me

[Bridge:]
You are the fire You are the flame
You are the light on the darkest day
We have the hope we bear Your name
We carry the news that You have come to save
Only You can save

[Chorus:]
Start a fire in my soul
Fan the flame and make it grow
So there’s no doubt or denying
Let it burn so brightly
That everyone around can see
That it’s You, that it’s You that we need
Start a fire in me

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What are the words that capture my attention most in this song?  It's likely obvious, but here you go: shine, light, start a fire, blaze, soul, flame, grow, burn, brightly.

It takes me back to campfires at camp, to the song "Pass It On".  You know.... "it only takes a spark to get a fire going".

In case you don't know that one..... or to jog your memory....

                                                                 (not sung, lyrics are shown)

                                                 Endless Praise, recorded June 2011

PASS IT ON (written by Kurt Kaiser)

It only takes a spark to get a fire going,
And soon all those around can warm up in its glowing;
That's how it is with God's Love,
Once you've experienced it,
Your spread the love to everyone
You want to pass it on.

What a wonderous time is spring,
When all the tress are budding
The birds begin to sing, the flowers start their blooming;
That's how it is with God's love,
Once you've experienced it.
You want to sing, it's fresh like spring,
You want to pass it on.

I wish for you my friend
This happiness that I've found;
You can depend on God
It matters not where you're bound,
I'll shout it from the mountain top - PRAISE GOD!
I want the world to know
The Lord of love has come to me
I want to pass it on.

I'll shout it from the mountain top - PRAISE GOD!
I want the world to know
The Lord of love has come to me
I want to pass it on. 
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I'll close with a quote from Brennan Manning that I read in A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God (278-279): "What the world longs for from the Christian religion is the witness of men and women daring enough to be different, humble enough to make mistakes, wild enough to be burned in the fire of love, real enough to make others see how unreal they are.  Jesus, son of the living God, anoint us with the fire this day.  Let your Word not shine in our hearts, but let it burn.  Let there be no division, compromise, or holding back.  Separate the mystics from the romantics, and goad us to that dare-devil leap into the abyss of your love."  -- From Reflections for Ragamuffins by Brennan Manning

That quote speaks into my life.  I'm praying that it may be so on my journey.

Blessings on your journey,

Debra

2/14/2011, one of many fire pit pictures, dd