Announcing the next big ECM event! Monday October 4th the ECM will be having a movie night at their building. We will be watching “The Garden”, a Academy Award Nominee documentary. Check out their website for more information about the film, it’s message, and the trailer here at http://www.thegardenmovie.com/. Enjoy, and make sure to be at the ECM at 7:30pm Monday October 4th. We’ll have the snacks and goodies for all who come!
Yesterday was my birthday, and as one of my FB friends with whom I share a passion for running put it, a celebration of my 52nd lap around the sun. It was a blast–probably the best birthday I’ve had since I was 12.
After yesterday, I’m convinced that all birthdays should be on sunny, 80-degree Fridays with a slight breeze. That way, you can take a day off with a minimum of disruption and simply soak in the pleasures of God’s creation and human innovations.
Actually, it all started the evening before with my first ever “skype date” with my daughter, Lindsey, who goes to school at a college in Iowa. It was great to “see” her and share some special father-daughter guffaws.
Another FB friend asked early on Friday if I had any plans for the day. Sure, I replied, I’m going to take the day off, go for a run, pamper myself and use the gift certificate for a full body massage my sister and her family gave me last Christmas, and later, go out to dinner with my wife, Linda. Sounded like a great plan to me.
But the Force at work in the universe that holds it all together with Love–dare we call that Reality, in this secular age, “God”?–far exceeded the plans I had for myself.
My dog, Bear, the friendliest half-Husky, half-brown Lab mix you’ll ever meet, joined me for my morning run. Pure joy.
The massage, by Amy at Shear Dynamics, was exquisite.
Another FB friend had counseled that I spend the day enjoying good friends, family and good food. So I headed next to IHOP to catch up on some reading while savoring my favorite: a garden omelette and pancakes, washed down with black coffee. Fantastic.
Next, I headed out to run some errands, but was interrupted by a call on my cell phone from an unrecognized number. Turns out it was a former K-State student from Norway, Kristin Pernille Boe, who called across seven time zones to wish me a “happy birthday!” Wow, surprises are great!
At this point, I realized that this was one of those days when I was being taken on a journey, a tour of blessings you might say, that was not of my own making. Time to just soak it in, and roll with the tide.
That meant heading home for an hour-long nap. Didn’t make it to the hammock outside, but settled for my favorite recliner with the gentle breeze blowing in through the open sliding door. Renewing.
Next up, taking a few spins around the yard on the riding lawnmower. But with weather like we had yesterday, and no pressing deadline to meet, this was no chore. A delight maybe, but not a chore. Work can be that way, really.
Dinner at the best Jamaican restaurant most people have never heard of–The Little Grille–was next. That, in itself, would have the highlight in a day of highlights, except that a few minutes after we sat down our recently-turned-21-year-old son, Nathan, who goes to college in Nebraska, surprised me by walking through the door! Really, can this day get any better?!?
Of course, with dessert provided by Baskin Robbins and Linda, it did.
By then, though, I should have known. This was a day that unfolded in such a way as to remind me of how richly blessed I really am.
But lest you think this blog is just the blathering self-congratulations of a eg0maniacal narcissist, let me share with you that I woke up this morning to discover that the grandfather clock in our dining room had stopped during last night, at 1:50 a.m.–a none-too-subtle reminder that our time on this earth has a definite endpoint.
Knowing that, it makes what are now birthday memories all that much more precious. And in trusting God to unfold a plan even more spectacular than the one we had sketched out for ourselves, we discover resources for living well that we all too often ignore or take for granted.
There is an old saying, “Man proposes, God disposes.”
So on this morning after, it seems good that we make plans for our lives, better that we trust God to improve on those plans and best to remember that we are not God.
May your day, and those that follow, be blessed!
We all know there is a lot of “unhealthy religion” out there. And a lot of young adults walk away altogether from organized religion because of it. To a certain extent, that’s understandable. But it’s important to avoid throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The key is to look for oases of “healthy religion” and when you do find one, spend enough time there to get refreshed and renewed for the journey ahead.
One such oasis for me are the beatitudes, sayings of Jesus, that give us hope and comfort. I encourage you to check them out in Matthew 5:1-11. One of them goes like this: “Blessed are the merciful, for theywill receive mercy.”
We’re far enough along into the semester now that we’re starting to get a little testy with one another, right?! Our tendency is to judge people, to separate ourselves from people who aren’t like us, who don’t share our values or our viewpoint, and we judge them by the world’s standards. The world defines us by what we do, how we behave, how we look, what we own.
But God loves us, just because we are children of God. The mercy and love that God shows us are not based on what we do but on who we are. God will always love us, period. The real question is whether we can love ourselves and others.
Jesus says, basically, “If you want mercy, give mercy.” It sounds easy, but it’s not. Not even for Jesus. If you don’t believe me, check out Matthew 15:22-28 in the Bible. It is hard work loving others, especially those who are different. It’s hard to listen to someone else’s story. It’s hard to “walk a mile in another man’s mocassins,” as the old Indian proverb goes. It’s hard because doing so will change our hearts, and most of us really don’t want to change.
But if you want to live the good life, don’t judge your success based on the world’s standards. Instead, spend your energy learning to love as Jesus loved. And practice being merciful at every opportunity.
Sorry for the LONNNNNG delay between posts! We have been really busy around the ECM lately. Just a reminder that PB&J a discussion group on social justice will be meeting tomorrow at the ECM building at 7pm, and don’t you worry, there will be snacks for all! So come ready to munch away and chat about some hot topics!
Oh and just in case you haven’t already checked it out…we are on twitter AND facebook, so look us up at twitter.com/ksu_ecm or at our Facebook group ECM at K-State!
Talk more soon!
Wow! Thank you to everyone who came to the wonderful International Friendship Dinner! We had great attendance (80 people!) and over 300 who came to the Movie on the Grass presentation of “A Powerful Noise”. Stay tuned for more ECM action coming up this week!
Get excited! This sunday the ECM will be hosting the International Friendship Dinner in their building at 1021 Denison Ave. Come by for a free delicious home-made dinner complete with dessert and see all the cultures here at Kansas State. Meet some new friends, and enjoy your dinner-be there at 6pm!
This Sunday the 12th the ECM will be promoting a Movies on the Grass film called “A Powerful Noise”. This documentary is the story of 3 women rising above gender barriers to inspire others with their passion for life. Check out more information on the movie here: http://www.apowerfulnoise.org/index.html or better yet, just come to the Coffman Commons at 8pm Sunday.
See you there.