Who would have thought

… that putting together a worship service was such a chunk of work!

I think we are ready.  Tomorrow the B team (B is for best) gets together to practice.  Sort of a trial run for me since I haven’t led worship for ages.  Getting things together for a service in my past meant choosing a few songs that the sole pianist would then play.  For a worship team things are a bit different.  We need music with chords as well as notes.  It needs to be in acceptable keys – so that the musicians do not have to struggle with 4 flats or something and so that our creaky voices do not have to reach unattainable heights.  Then to get all the words and stuff to the helpers who put it on the computer and round up a sound guy for Sunday.

And it all needs to come together in a way that will bring praise and honor to God – who is after all, the one we are preparing this for and to whom we want the attention to be given.  So I do not want to mess up.  I want it to focus attention on the one we are worshipping. 

It has given me a new appreciation for the wonderful people who do this week after week and seem to pull everything together effortlessly.  I know that it is a good piece of work.  I think that my usual role of playing is a whole lot more simple. 

Can hardly wait for next Sunday when I am back to my simpler task.

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Happy Day!

It was a very happy day when my baby came into my world at the age of 2 and a half. 

Today she turns 19.  She is a young woman of great potential – although she may not feel like it – being in the middle of exams to wrap up her first year at university.

sara cropped

Sara – Happy Birthday.  I love you lots.

Tonight, all the Lanoie women of Prince Albert are gathering at the best restaurant in PA to celebrate.  That was her request.  Sara will likely order her first alcoholic drink in a restaurant.  A big deal at her age!  She loves to celebrate in style!  And so we will.

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More from In The Midst Of Chaos.

In chapter four titled, Taking Kids Seriously, the author talks of how children are not taken seriously as being persons with a spiritual and philosophical capacity. We do not pay them much heed. Children do not have much to contribute any longer to the economic well being of the family. They began to be viewed as spiritually and morally innocent so were sentimentalized. Children born to families that are economically well off are prized possessions and given an abundance of material possessions with little thought to the well being of children in less fortunate circumstances. In spite of the fact that children are prized, it seems to be preferred that they are kept in their own circles, farther away from the adult realm of reality, losing contact with the wider group of non-family adults.

Today, the author says that the sentimental view of children is changing to one of the “knowing child” – to a view where the child must be taken seriously. She says:

What is required now is not just a shift in our understanding of children. Rather, we must consider how our new regard for their complexity is expressed as we practice our faith within the daily rounds of family life. Taking children seriously entails not just what we believe or how we think about children; it also involves new ways of including them in the shared life of faith. Children are active agents and participants in the practices of faith, even if they bring their own perspectives, capacities, and insights. Now we must figure out what this means for our lives together. p.65

Recognizing children as knowing spiritual and moral beings has consequence for how we treat and interact with children economically, psychologically and socially. Chidren need greater participation in the family economy and welfare, but we have only begun to scratch the surface of what engaging children more actively in this realm might entail. p74

If adults diminish children as active participants in religious practice, we both reduce the vitality of our own life of faith and overlook the human complexity children already possess. If we want to experience the daily care of children as a spiritual practice, then we must take kids and their faith seriously. p76

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More from the book  In The Midst of Chaos

"Attending" is the sum of those acts by which we genuinely give ourselves to another by the many small acts that we do.  We watch out for, we notice another’s needs, we move to protect, we scan the horizon, so to speak, for danger to the ones we love.  Parents do this all the time for their children.

Attending to children not only changes the children, shaping their lives, it also shapes the lives of the adults who are giving their attention in care for their children.  Mothers ( and fathers too) learn virtues such as humility and patience, compassion, trust, etc. in the act of caring for their children.

I can attest to this.  I thought I was a very patient person.  Then my children’s needs and frustrations blew that notion out of the water.  I felt that I was back at square one learning patience all over again from scratch as I learned to deal with temper tantrums, homework, chores and the million little things that make life with children an adventure.  My attending to them grew parts of me that I didn’t know needed to grow. 

The author says:

Attentive love is part instinct, part effort, and part gift.  It builds on early, almost involuntary responses, as when a mother’s milk comes in on hearing a baby’s cry.  But it also involves hard work and constant discernment of what to look for, what to ward off, and how to scan the horizon for dangers. Yet for all this, understanding the other is never predictable or controllable.  One cannot command attention by sheer will power or muscular concentration.  Attention evolves out of joy, as Weil says, and its fruits come as a grace.  p.53,54

To close the chapter the author speaks of "pondering" as a way of seeking "renewal of faith within the ordinary boundaries of a day that is received as God’s gift."  Faith is what we do within our "normal time", not something we do in time set aside outside of our regular acts of living.  All the activities of living within a family "train our eyes to see God amid change and time" and are "formative of faith."

I really liked this chapter.  I guess you can tell by the two posts that I have taken to review it.  It reminds me a lot of Brother Lawrence’s way of practicing the presence of God as he went about his regular routines.

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Break up

This morning the ice is moving in the river.


But they say one last storm of the winter is header our way.  Minor set back I guess.  Spring is on its way – if not here already.

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Seeing God in hundreds of ways

I’ve been reminded this week of how much I need to stop and reflect on the places I have seen God in my day.  I have a tendency to just live without thinking.  Discouragement comes too easily if I do not look for God’s blessings in my day.  He transforms my routines into opportunities to serve him when I begin to pay attention.

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Psalm 138

A portion of this Psalm was part of the reading in my daily devotional time today. 

Psalm 138
A psalm of David.

1 I give you thanks, O Lord, with all my heart;
      I will sing your praises before the gods.
2 I bow before your holy Temple as I worship.
      I praise your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness;
   for your promises are backed
      by all the honor of your name.
3 As soon as I pray, you answer me;
      you encourage me by giving me strength.

4 Every king in all the earth will thank you, Lord,
      for all of them will hear your words.
5 Yes, they will sing about the Lord’s ways,
      for the glory of the Lord is very great.
6 Though the Lord is great, he cares for the humble,
      but he keeps his distance from the proud.

7 Though I am surrounded by troubles,
      you will protect me from the anger of my enemies.
   You reach out your hand,
      and the power of your right hand saves me.
8 The Lord will work out his plans for my life—
      for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever.
      Don’t abandon me, for you made me.

Parts of the Psalm stuck in my mind – "your promises are backed by all the honor of your name"  And I call on this promise in these days as friends struggle through some really tough issues.

Then the last bit, "The Lord will work out his plans for my life—
      for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever."  really seems right for me at this time.  It is hard to be hoping for changes, not having them realized, waiting to see what is the next step for me. 

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