Friday, April 29, 2011

Strangers No More

I love hymns and I love hymnals. I love to read through hymnals and see what songs are there. I've loved getting acquainted with the hymnal from which we often sing in our new church-- the Mennonite Hymnal. In it are many songs I am already familiar with -- but I've also enjoyed learning new ones. This is one of mine and Billy's new favorites. It is called Strangers No More

For we are strangers no more, but members of one family;
Strangers no more, but part of one humanity;
Strangers no more, we're neighbors to each other now;
Strangers no more, we're sisters and we're brothers now.

1. Come, walk with me, we'll praise the Lord together,
as we join song to song and prayer to prayer.
Come, take my hand, and we will work together
by lifting all the burdens we can share.

2. Where diff'ring culttures meet we'll serve together.
Where hatred rages we will strive for peace.
Come, take my hand, and we will pray together
that justice come and strife and warfare cease.

3. There is a love that binds the world together;
a love that seeks the last, the lost, the least.
One day that love will bring us all together
in Christ from south and north, from west and east.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter this Year

For Easter, Hope Fellowship (our church) goes away on retreat together every year. It was a very different way to spend Easter. This is our first Easter with Hope Fellowship, and we didn't know what to expect for the Easter retreat. It was amazing. Such a great weekend with our church family!  We retreated at the Three Mountain Retreat Center in Clifton, TX, which is about 45 minutes from Waco. It was beautiful.

We arrived on Friday evening in time for Good Friday service. This year, we had the Stations of the Cross, and it was very well done. The team in charge of it gathered artwork and images from various persons from the church to create the stations, and to say it was amazing is an understatement. It was emotive, moving, beautiful, and tragic. Billy and I decided we'd take Eisley with us as we walked through the stations, and are glad we did. We didn't know how she would react to some of the images of Jesus' crucifixion. She was engrossed in the experience and asked really good questions. Some of the images would have been difficult for a two-year-old to see, so we didn't linger on those for too long, but for the most part, the team that put everything together went through a lot of effort to make the experience family-friendly. For example, there was a coloring sheet available for the kids at each of the stations. When we got back to our cabin, Eisley said, "I liked the pictures we saw of Jesus tonight, even though they were really sad pictures."  She talked about how Jesus' mommy must have been so sad to see him die, and she said she was really sad for Jesus that he had to be naked. She said, "I don't fink that was very fair, and I don't fink Jesus liked that very much."  She asked if the people that were mad at Jesus and wanted him to die were the same people that were mad about Jesus coming as a baby. Then she asked if we were sure Jesus was going to come back to life. The spiritual insight and maturity of Eisley really amazes me on a regular basis.

Saturday was relaxed. We took walks, the youth (voluntarily!) led some organized activities with the little kids so that the parents could have a couple of hours to do whatever they wanted, we had lunch, and then a sharing and prayer service in the afternoon. Saturday night we ate dinner, and had a talent show. Sunday morning we had a worship service, and Billy and I were privileged to serve on the worship team that coordinated and planned Easter morning worship. Following worship, we had brunch, and then an Easter Egg Hunt. After the hunt, we cleaned up and went home. A great weekend! We loved being away from everything for a few days. We loved talking with our friends and letting Eisley run loose with her friends to play. We loved celebrating Easter in such a beautiful place, and we loved the authenticity of each of the worship experiences we shared together. Here are a few pictures:

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Easter Song Eisley Just Made Up

I am helping Jesus!
Helping Him not die on the cross!
But he died anyway! 
But then he camed back to life! 
We were ALL surprised! 

Now I am so happy! 
I'm so happy in my heart! 
Oh Jesus the Lord, It's Easter Sunday!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

God Made Everyfing

Today I picked Eisley up from school and noticed on her take-home sheet that today they talked about how "God made the grass".

So I said, "Eisley. Did you talk about how God made the grass, today at school?" She said, "Well, yeah. God DID make the grass. God makes the grass keep growing."  I said, "Oh, it's true! Isn't it amazing how God takes care of our world?"

She said, "Well. God didn't make just the grass, Mom. Did you know that he made the flowers? And the peoples? And ALL the animals? He made the rainbows and the rain, and the sk...Mom, he just made EVERYFING!"

Thank you, God, for Eisley.