Thursday, July 18, 2013

Will we be a family of two church communities and love both?

So the Spirit must be hearing my thoughts, I think.   We attended a Stake presentation of the Youth Trek, a recent activity taken by the young people in the Stake (compilation of several Wards).  Along with their more mature Ma's and Pa's, volunteers who help organize the trek and see to the needs of the participants, once again technology helped to show a precious history.  A dvd showing the highlights of the trek was presented at the Stake building with attendance by mostly young people, and some Ma's and Pa's.  Of course, we attended, because the history of the treks is important to us.  We were gifted a dvd to take home, even though the copies of the dvds that were made available after the presentation were to go to the participating young and their Ma's and Pa's.  It was an exciting presentation and I so appreciate owning the dvd that we might share it with others.

Attending our second Sunday services at our new Ward, and I think the Relief Society sisters just sparkle.   Already two have stopped by our abode to present a welcome gift and info flyer as well as their delightful company.   It was an unexpected, unannounced visit, and in recognition that I was preparing our dinner meal, intended to just drop off the gift and say welcome.  I prevailed upon them to stay and visit, very pleasant young ladies.  And of course, at the end of the visit, the question of would I be interested in doing Visiting Teaching.  Yes, of course.  Meeting different people in different walks of life continues to be interesting, sometimes challenging and sometimes I'm still incredulous.

Last week the Bishop had made arrangements to come by for a visit, and since other priorities for him came up, he needed to postpone the visit to tonight.  We look forward to his visit this evening.

Listening to BYU forum, and was particularly pleased to see Elaine Pagels in the lineup of speakers.  Watched the episode of her presentation, which corresponds to the bible study we are doing at St John's Cathedral on the Gospel of Thomas, and Gnostic influences over the history of church development.  

This morning I found a beautiful piece at Exponent, Relief Society Lesson 13;  Relief Society True Charity and Pure Religion.   Linked as it is well worth the read.  As the lessons are from Lorenzo Snow, this lesson is of particular interest to me and the development of the lesson, sharing history from the origins of Relief Society to today corresponds with my potent feeling about the potential of Relief Society.  It also harkens back to the subject of a talk I was invited to share in Sacrament meeting, taken primarily from then R.S. Julie Beck and the manual Daughters of My Kingdom.  

The grandchildren will be coming soon and will be looking for what we have planned for their afternoon.  I have recently approached their mother, asking if we might take them to what we call for their benefit the 3-hour church as our way of distinguishing it from the 1 hour church (St John's Episcopal Cathedral which is actually about a 2 hour period).  It's a lot to say to youngsters The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints in their first exposure to the Church, so it was easier to make the distinction between the two churches with the Cathedral as one and the 3 hour church as the other.  I may have jumped the gun a bit in asking their mother (my daughter) to talk with their father about having the children baptized.  Might be better for me to work with the Lord's timetable for these two children.

I'm eager for grandson (7 years old) to find the mix that will hold his attention and interest.   Also, I am thinking he may come to appreciate that he would have a rich role in the Priesthood while at the same time I'm not as anxious for granddaughter to settle for the role laid out for her by the Church.  Her ability to serve as an Acolyte at St John's Cathedral would seem to imply more opportunity for her gender role in her long term goal setting beyond the role of marriage and having children, while the long term goal for grandson has more potential, I believe, in the LDS setting.  

Not sure how this will work, having our feet in two churches, however, I am confident that we have the Lord's ear on the matter, and direction will show itself in due time.  I am so pleased to be including the LDS church along with the Episcopal church, having felt the absence of it in these months of our attendance at St John's Episcopal Cathedral.  Somehow what is taught at one church overlaps nicely one with the other and I strongly feel the small voice guiding us in perhaps a non-traditional role in either church, but one that seems to call out to us nonetheless.   

With that I would also like to link the two recent sermons by TVR Bill Ellis, Dean at St John's Cathedral.  In this one, he speaks of participatory observation, the familiar 'Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road'  and I love how he develops that theme, realistically.  In this one, he develops themes familiar to me in speaking to the norm of that time in which another learned (nomikos - loosely lawyer) asks of Jesus questions posed as a 'test' of what Jesus knows of the Law, the Torah.  Of course, it is designed to discredit Jesus, although another vein of thought for me is that it was a venue used at that time to demonstrate who did and did not have correct teachings of the Law and Torah.  The sermon goes on to speak to the two parables, The Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son that speak to me powerfully as an overarching message of what it means to love your neighbor, and btw, just who is your neighbor?   Bill Ellis hits the mark every time, it seems to me with his open and curious mind in not teaching absolutes, rather potentially alternative ways to look at the same body of knowledge.  I would sorely miss his lectures and sermons. 

note to self; per email received from Q & A  (retired) Bishop John Shelby Spong, I want to look into respected theologian and nuclear physicist, Ian Barbour and book he authored When Science Meets Religion.

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