A few weeks ago, I had the incredible joy of being in Corinth, Greece. I was leading a group that was following in the footsteps of the Apostle Paul. Corinth was the location where Paul met Priscilla and Aquilla, fellow tentmakers. He was accosted by several in the city who wanted him to leave. But, […]
Once we arrived in Thessalonica, we began our exploration of the ministry of Paul. The city of 1 million people was named by the general Cassander in honor of his wife, Thessalonike, who also happened to be the sister of Alexander the Great. We saw the famous White Tower. Originally it was nicknamed “The Bloody Tower” for the time when the region was held by the Ottomans who used the tower as a place to imprison and kill Christians. When Greece gained its independence it was whitewashed and renamed. From there we walked down the shore of the Aegean Sea to the statue of Alexander the. Great on his horse, Bucephalas.
We are just beginning our trip to visit the places in Greece and Turkey important to the ministry of St. Paul and the early church. With all of the hustle it took to get here, I am reflecting on the journey of Paul in comparison to our hurried way of getting through as much life as possible. Paul walked around his ministry areas and spent time with the people, while we tend to pride ourselves on “busyness.” There is a lot to be said of slowing down and spending time with people—of living life with others, of caring for others so much that we even smell like them.
I am on my way to Africa! Currently, I’m in NYC waiting for my first international flight. Our group will fly to Amsterdam and then on to Nairobi, Kenya. I have been up since 2:40 am and I’ll be honest, it is starting to catch up with me. It will 30 hours of travel time to get there. Typing that makes me even more tired (especially since the bulk of the trip is before us!) Yet, the fact that I can leave my house in Oklahoma City and be in Nairobi in a little more than a day – is an amazing testimony to the development of transportation.
Several years ago I took my son, Brooks, to the Star Wars concert in Tulsa. Basically, they had hired local musicians and singers to perform the very familiar musical pieces from the Star Wars movies while they played different scenes from the movies on large screens. The stadium was packed for the event and I remember thinking how clever it was to take the movies that had already been created and then display clips from them in a new way. It was really innovative.
My husband Chris and I took our daughter Hannah and son Brooks to the Worlds of Fun Theme Park. It was a fun day and we had a great time together. At one point, Chris, Hannah, and Brooks went to ride a specific ride while I waited in a park restaurant. A group of young teenagers were sitting in the back part of the restaurant and proceeded to get louder and louder.
I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch the video below. It’s a performance by J. Warren Mitchell accompanied by Dr. Jan McDaniel. I’ve always loved hearing Dr. McDaniel play the piano – he has incredible talent and you hear the emotions of a musical piece as he plays. In the clip below, you can hear his talent as he accompanies the amazing voice of J. Warren Mitchell. A few years ago I was blessed to hear the two of them perform in a small setting, to a small group of people. I was moved to tears by the performance.
Recently I watched the series “A.B.C. Murders” on Amazon Prime. It is based on the book of the same name written by Agatha Christie. Now, when I was in junior high and high school, I read as many Agatha Christie novels as I could get. So when I saw that the series featured one of my favorite Christie characters, Detective Hercule Poirot, I was eager to watch it. It was an interesting adaptation – it featured an elderly Poirot dealing with his own aging process in the midst of feeling dismissed and forgotten. On a side note – I really enjoyed the series! But more importantly, it really started me thinking on how we treat the elderly.
Six days. I still have trouble realizing that Christmas will be here in just six days. I feel like we just finished summer! But whether I feel like it’s time or not, Christmas will arrive. Whether I am ready or not, it will happen. Whether or not I have all my shopping done – Christmas will occur.
This Sunday will begin the season of Advent. We celebrate four weeks of Advent to prepare our hearts for the celebration of the birth of Christ. One practice that can help develop a deeper connection to the meaning of Christmas is to focus on a certain value each week. This Sunday we will light the first candle of the Advent wreath. Traditionally it carries a meaning of hope. We light a candle for hope because the Light of the World brought us everlasting hope. The second Sunday of Advent we will light the candle for faith. Faith is trusting in God’s everlasting love for us as His children. The third Sunday of Advent is often represented by a pink candle in the Advent wreath. The third Sunday has a special name; it is called Gaudete Sunday. “Gaudete” is the Latin word for “rejoice”. It is also a Sunday to remember Mary, the mother of Jesus. In Luke 1:46-49, we have the beautiful words of Mary singing of her joy at being part of God’s work in the world: