Friday, March 13, 2009

Mid-term and mid-winter dreams

 Whew! I've made it half way through the semester, and I'm still alive(unlike these snowmen, who have now disappeared after our snow storm two weeks ago). I've been so busy in the last few weeks, but God has placed so many opportunities in my path, and I gratefully took advantage of them.

After visiting several churches in Atlanta, I've finally found a congregation where I feel at home, North Avenue Presbyterian Church. They have mission at the front of their ministry, with members and regular attendees from over 25 different countries, plus all different economic backgrounds, as well as a balance of all generations. Not only does the church have a fantastic Music Ministry, but they also have several worship services each Sunday, something for everyone. After being involved with the Hand Bell and Chancel Choirs, I was invited to sing with the Worship Team for the contemporary service. Their worship leader is on maternity leave and so while she's gone I'll be leading part of this service. It's great to be doing this again, and reaffirming of why I came to seminary in the first place. As I learn more about theology and wrestle with scriptures, I have the opportunity to participate in worship of the mysterious and wonderful God I'm learning more about each day. If you would like to find out more about the church you can click on the link below.
As for school work, I had a few mile markers in the last two weeks: my first "official" sermon up for criticism and my first exegesis paper. At this stage, my preparation still takes quite a while, as I study the scripture and figure out what I want to say, or more appropriately, what the scripture is saying to me. I found myself putting in so many hours of study and writing, but I valued every moment and I think I learned so much, just with the process. I'm learning to discover scripture in new ways, as I put together different methods that I've been learning in each class to engage with the Word. I may be overworking a bit, sometimes overeating spiritual food and under-eating physical food, but I'm finding a balance and, with my involvement at NAPC and other worship services on campus, I remember the reason why we sing, and the reason why I'm here.

 In fact I feel like this whole year has been about remembering and rediscovering. Remembering American culture and lifestyle. Remembering the great time I had in Policka, and how those experiences formed me. Remembering what God has done throughout my life, where God has lead me and the paths that brought me to this place. Rediscovering God's calling and who I was before I went to CZ and even before I went to WI. Rediscovering the scriptures in Hebrew and English, finding that most of the scriptures are directed to remind people of the many wonders God has done for us and the covenants that God has made with his people. Remembering the dreams God has shown me in my past and rediscovering the dreams set before me.
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Sunday, March 01, 2009

Honey, you're in the south now


Life sure does keep you busy, when you let it. Translating Hebrew, diving into scripture for exegesis(the big seminary word for research like bible study/devotionals), and writing papers and sermons, these activities crowd my mind when I'm not sitting in worship, in class or at meals. I'm so lucky to have friends good enough to make me stop and enjoy life and put down my books. Today my friend Arlo opened my eyes and showed me the duck pond just five minutes from our dorm(that's her running through the snow).
Oh, how I've missed the lakes of Madison and our little pond across from the church in Policka. My life almost doesn't seem complete without a body of water. Not only have I been living oblivious to this little pond hidden behind the children's home across the street, but I almost didn't let myself enjoy a snowy day, something that's almost all too familiar from my previous lives, and, honestly, I think it makes me a bit homesick. But the snow here is different. It's really wet and the ground is all muddy underneath and it doesn't really crunch when you walk. I kind of expected to take today as it was and go about my schedule as planned, but snow slows you down in the south. No one's shoveling or salting or going about their normal routines. So, as they say, when in Rome... Needless to say, we're taking it easy today. As those here on campus who work on Sundays and try to find special time of rest with God and glorifying God say, "We're taking a Sabbath."

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