When I ran into Brock and Ruth Ann last week as they were setting up the crèche in the lower gathering space, I was thrilled to learn about this tradition here at Fox Valley Presbyterian Church. I have a collection of nativity scenes that some might say borders on an obsession. In fact, I’m pretty sure the movers who will load their many boxes onto a moving truck in about 10 days will confirm that obsession. I was excited in particular that the crèche tradition here in this church includes encouraging the children to touch the pieces and interact with them instead of constantly ushering them away lest the treasures get broken. This is a lovely tradition, and I even brought my own kids in to see it midweek while they were visiting since they won’t be here until Christmas Eve. Continue reading
In the post of my first sermon in my new congregation, Fox Valley Presbyterian Church, I said I’d write soon about this transition. I remember having a brilliant thought to share that I would get down just as soon as I could. Four weeks later, I have zero recollection of what that brilliant thought might be. That shows it’s brilliance, I believe.
This Sunday was my installation into this position. One little girl in the church, after
hearing her mother try to explain what would happen, decided to call it my “inauguration.” The preacher for the worship services this morning, my dear friend, mentor, and church match-maker, the Rev. Carol McDonald, called it my naming day (which reminded me of my favorite baptism book, Water, Come Down, by Walter Wangerin, a book my new church gives to each child being baptized). Whatever we call it, it was a wonderful celebration, and I am still floating a bit on a cloud of gratitude. Not a bad cloud to ride. Continue reading
At the playground once with my children, I saw a dad waiting with his son for some space to clear up on the jungle gym. The only parent in that area, while helping his son wait patiently, he also helped some other children make their way safely to the top. Even after his little boy had reached the high platform he kept helping the others, spotting them so a potential fall wouldn’t be so dangerous, giving a hand to steady them if they got a little wobbly. Another dad came jogging up when he saw his daughter getting some assistance. He thanked the first dad and apologized for not being there, but the first dad simply smiled and shrugged, “Hey, we’re all in this together!” Continue reading
All fall I have been eagerly anticipating the arrival of a new television series on Netflix called The Crown. It’s a historical drama depicting the rise and reign of Queen Elizabeth II and it was finally released this Friday. Please don’t ask me how many episodes I’ve watched already; it’s an embarrassing number.
That said, there was a touching scene toward the end of the first episode that I’d like to
share. Princess Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, is becoming more and more aware of his own mortality even as he is kept in the dark about the deterioration of his health. Consciously or not he understands that he needs to begin to prepare his daughter for the role she will one day play as sovereign. One day during their Christmas holiday he invites her into his office to talk to her about his daily routine. Pointing a stack of papers in the royal in box he explains, “Everything they want me to know, they stick on top. Everything they’d rather I didn’t know… they tuck away at the bottom. Which is why… the first thing I do when no one is looking, is this,” as he flips the stack upside down and lets it slam down on the desk. A very practical moment of education for the future queen, I’m sure. Continue reading