Worship Words-Call to Worship (10 Commandments)

One of Sunday’s Scriptures is the 10 commandments from Exodus. If you haven’t read them in awhile, it might be a good time to read them again.

One-Let us be called to worship. God has given us the ten best ways to live.

All-It is hard to live as God commands.

One-God’s ways bring fullness of life.

All-We know we should follow God’s commands.

One-We are all God’s beloved. God’s commandments help us treat each other as beloved.

All-We are ready to hear God’s word and work together to follow our God.

 

 

 

Book Review-Call the Midwife

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Call the Midwife Jennifer Worth

At the suggestion of many friends, I have watched and fallen in love with the BBC series, Call the Midwife. I highly recommend watching it. You can enjoy it on Netflix or on PBS. Because I love to read, I wanted to read the books too. On a recent road trip, I listened to the first book on CD. It is wonderful.

This is the memoir of Jenny Lee. She is a midwife who served in the East End of London in the late 1950s. She enters the homes and lives of families and gives us a glimpse into their world. She is a gifted storyteller who transports us back to a previous time. We meet large families, prostitutes, young mothers, the other midwives and the nuns who live and work together, and the children of the East End.

I love that the nuns are presented as faithful followers of Jesus who live out their faith without forcing it on others. They gather for prayer regularly. The midwives who live with them are welcome to join them for prayer but are not required to worship with them. One difference between the show and book is that this book ends with Jenny feeling inspired by Sister Monica Joan’s words, “Go with God.” As the book ends, Jenny is beginning to read the Bible.

I recommend both the book and the series to history lovers, women, mothers, and anyone who wants an engaging read or good television. This story is not typical of the theological works that I review and yet, I loved seeing faith in action in the lives of the nuns. I hope you’ll give Call the Midwife a try.

Worship Words-Commission and Benediction

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For forty years, my Dad served in full-time ordained ministry in churches around the Midwest. He retired last June. Today’s worship words are his words. This is how he ended worship each Sunday as he sent the congregation out into God’s world. Thank you, Dad, for letting me share your words.

 

We have gathered today in God’s house to hear again God’s good news, to share in God’s presence, and to share with one another. Now let us go forth from this place to take all that we have heard and done here and offer it up to others, so they too can know of our God and seek to follow.

And now may the God who created us, the Christ who has saved us, and the Holy Spirit who guides and protects us each day, bless, preserve, and keep us for this day and forevermore. Amen.

White Tea Pomegranate

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My family has been sick-Mom, Dad, my niece, and me. I’ve been trying to get the adults to drink some hot tea to help us feel better. I found this tea in the local supermarket and decided to give it a try when I saw that they donate 1 meal for every two boxes purchased. After two cups, I like the idea of this tea more than the tea. It isn’t bad. It just isn’t winning me over as my new favorite tea. It is a dark cup of tea for white tea and I don’t taste enough pomegranate. I do love that they are producing organic tea and that they are donating a portion of their profits to help others. Those two factors are enough to make me give another of their flavors a try!

Worship Words-A Prayer in the Night

Holy One, While many are asleep because it is nighttime, many of your children are awake. And so we pray. We pray for those who are restfully sleeping. We pray for parents who wish they were sleeping and instead find themselves rocking infants or caring for sick children. Gracious God, we give thanks for all those working the night shift. They are keeping us safe, keeping our stores open, keeping our heat on and lights working, keeping our roads clear of snow and ice, and doing so many other jobs we don’t even understand. We remember those who find it difficult to sleep at night because of pain or loss or other changes in life. In the cold of winter, we lift up to you everyone who does not have a safe and warm place to sleep at night. Watch over all your children, we pray. For all who are awake worrying, send your peace. And for those who are awake because they love the nighttime, we give thanks. In the dark of night, we give thanks for the diversity of gifts present in your children. Thank you for the night owls and early birds and everyone in between. Thank you for creating all of us in your image. Thank you for the gift of sleep whenever it comes to us. Amen.

Book Review-Peas on Earth

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Peas on Earth Todd H. Doodler

A wonderful book that I have read three times today at the request of the young one in the picture. I love this book because it inspires us to believe that peace on earth is really possible. She loves the book because she thinks it is a little silly, and she likes the animals and peas in the story. I find the silliness inspiring. Maybe we all could get along and live together in peace. I recommend this book for those days when you need a reminder that peace is possible if we work together. I recommend this book for the children you love and want to inspire to live lives of peace.

The back of the book tells us, “What if there really was peace on earth? Open this book and see! Charming artwork and playful text introduce the youngest readers to peace, harmony, and being green. And there’s even a peas-ful pop-up at the very end!”

Enchanting Moments Herbal Tea

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I am away from home and forgot to bring along any tea. Luckily, my hotel has this delicious tea and hot water available all day. This tea contains chamomile, hibiscus, peppermint, spearmint, cinnamon, and orange blossoms. When I read that long list, I thought this tea is going to be tasty or horrible. Good news! All these flavors work together in way that isn’t overwhelming and leaves me feeling relaxed after drinking it. If you find this tea while you are traveling, give it a try.

Worship Words-Prayer of Illumination

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In this Sunday’s readings there is a theme of staying with one you respect and staying where things are amazing. Instead of allowing us to always stay, sometimes God calls us away. Sometimes away is off the mountaintop back to our ordinary lives. Sometimes away means saying good-bye to a mentor or friends or our plans for how things should be. Our prayer for illumination before reading Scriptures is a time for us to open ourselves to where God is calling us and where God might be leading us away from where we’d prefer to be. Let us pray.

Holy One, We make great plans, and you surprise us with different plans. We turn to your Word expecting to hear what we’ve always heard, and you urge us to open our ears to new possibilities. We will try. Speak to us through the words of your Holy Scripture, and we will try to listen as if for the first time. Amen.

Book Review-A Long Way Gone

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A Long Way Gone Ishmael Beah

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Scholarly Response-1

Years ago, a colleague of mine encouraged me to read this book. I am glad I finally did. This is Ishmael Beah’s story of how the war in his home country of Sierra Leone affected him. He reminisces about his childhood before the war. He tells us how unexpectedly his life was changed forever when his village was destroyed by the rebels. He spends years on his own and with a group of other young boys struggling to survive. And then he becomes a child soldier. If your heart wasn’t already broken, this part of his story will break it. My favorite part (although still not easy to listen to) is the story of his rehabilitation after his years of fighting.

This story is difficult and awful and maybe this is why it took me so long to pick up this book. I listened to the book on CD which is read by the author. Hearing his stories in his own voice was very emotional for me. There were times when I wanted to swoop in and save him. And yet, I kept listening allowing him to tell me his story. It is not easy to listen to his stories of killing people and doing drugs and think about how young he was. It is horrific to hear how he and others resisted rehabilitation. It is hard to hear how much the boys hurt and abused those who were trying to help them as they began the rehabilitation process. The good news is that those working to help stuck with it and loved the boys even when the boys seemed unloveable and when they thought they were unworthy of love.

This book is not like the other books I have recommended so far. It received a low scholarly score because that isn’t the aim of the book. It received an average emotional score because I wanted to stop listening because I hoped if I stopped listening his awful story would never have happened. I kept listening because he and others like him need to tell their stories. And we need to listen.

I’m glad I read this book. I recommend it for anyone who wants to know what life is like for too many children in our world whose childhood’s are stolen from them due to situations outside their control. I recommend this book for anyone who remembers hearing about the war in Sierra Leone and wants to hear firsthand what it was like there. I recommend it for anyone who loves children and is willing to listen to horrible stories of violence and abuse and tragedy so that we might protect all of God’s children and do our best to make sure this stops happening.

My New Tea Cabinet

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My husband and I are in the process of moving into a new home. Moving is stressful and overwhelming. To make myself feel at home in the new house, the first thing I moved in was my tea. It made me feel so good to see my tea in its own special place. I hope that you have a place in your home for whatever it is that inspires you and brings you joy. It doesn’t have to be a big place. This tea cabinet is very small, and yet it works well for all my teas. If you don’t have a space set aside for that which brings you peace and happiness, I hope you’ll look around your home and find a place for yourself.