Friday, June 28, 2013

Fruit of the Spirit Tree

This summer, Bethlehem's worship theme is Fruits of the Spirit.  We began the first Sunday of June, hearing the words for Galatians 5:16-26 and Colossians 3:12-17 which list the Fruit of the Spirit.  And each week since and throughout the summer we will focus on one of those fruits in our scripture readings, hymns, preaching and prayers.  

As a way to visually remind us of the Fruits of the Spirit, each week a symbol of that fruit is added to an actual tree that is decorating our sanctuary - a heart of love, a smiley face for joy, a peace sign for peace, etc.  

But the tree in our sanctuary is actually a tree that fell down during Hurricane Sandy, so there is no leaves on it.  In order to make the tree more lush, we started with a bunch of green ribbons to help represent budding leaves.  And in worship each week, we write down pray request and God moments on paper leaves that are later tied to the branches.  These are a visual reminder to us that we receive the Fruits of the Spirit when we have moments of seeing God and God's works in this world, and our Fruits are strengthen through our prayers.  

Four weeks into our summer series and the tree is definitely looking like a nice spring tree.  I'm excited to see it full by the end of the summer. 

The tree is ready for Sunday with a turtle to represent patience. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Running til the End (of the Story)

Recently I took up running.  I've never been a runner, no one in my family is a runner - well Bob ran some while in the military - I've tried running before, and that normally lasts about 2-3 weeks before I give up and go back to being a walker, elliptical exerciser, or just a lazy person.

But a friend is doing a 200 mile relay race in September to raise money Camp Calumet and in order to help her train she has signed up for various 5Ks, including a Run or Dye in Hartford in July.  The other year when a different friend ran a Color Run (same idea, different name) I said that if I ever ran a 5K it would be one where by the end you look like an Easter egg and nobody cares about the time, just that they are coated in color powder.  So to support my friend, I signed up to run a 5K.

And here is the odd thing - I can run a 5K fairly easily - I actually have been running at least a 5K 2-4 times a week for the last two months.  And I have even increased my distance, now running 4.25 miles on most of those runs.

Now most runners I know, take a while to find their groove - their pace, their route and even what they listen to while running.  Many find music helpful to their running, keeping pace with the music.  Others enjoy the sounds of nature.  Well I tried the later and immediately get bored, and the former doesn't work for me as I have bad cell reception were I run meaning listening to Pandora or Spotify on my phone doesn't work.

Instead I have found NPR podcast.

Yep that is me, listening to radio personalities like Ira Glass, Peter Sagal, Jad Abumrad or even those who are on the radio for the first time telling personal stories on The Moth.

And I have found myself doing something odd for me, the non-runner, and lover of NPR.  Instead of being one of those NPR listeners who sit in the car in the driveway as they wait for the story to finish, I run until the story has ended.

Isn't that a great metaphor for life - that we should run until the story, our story, has ended?