Advent Devotion #8 - A Revelation in the Window by Eugina Robertson

In him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. - John 1:4-5

During my first year at Seminary, I went home for Christmas, in Oklahoma, which would turn out to be the last time I saw my father alive. I was having a difficult time coping with the conflicting feeling of the joy of the Christmas season, and the grief I felt as I was reminded of that last Christmas I had before my father died in February.  I had been visiting Crescent Hill, and the litany for Advent for lighting the candles was, "We are reminded by the darkening of the days through winter that God has sent us a Great Light and the darkness could not overcome it." Throughout the service I was captivated by the window decorations of a lit candle, with a small dead branch and a small branch of holly at the base of the candle. This became a comforting image to me of the light in the darkness with the dead branch and the thorny leaves of the holly representing the paradox of Christ's suffering passion which gave us the joy of new life.  I later attended a bereavement service during Advent for those of us struggling with the grief of the joy of Christmas, which helped me to heal even more. I learned how to honor my feelings of  grief and loss with a richer depth of gratitude and joy. I identified with the melancholy longing and hope of the promised Messiah, along with the joyous celebration of the light that shineth in the dark Bethlehem streets.

Thank you, O God, for the everlasting light of the hopes and fears of all the years that were met in the dark streets of Bethlehem and the revelation of a new image of comfort and joy in a window in Louisville, Kentucky. Amen.

Advent Devotion #6 - "Thoughts for the Journey" By: Blake Ragsdell

Thoughts for the Journey

From the beginning, you were told that we must love each other.[A] Let us not love merely in theory or in speech but in practice and in sincerity.[B] For example, if you merely love those who love you, what quality of credit and thanks is that to you?[C] As hard as it is to practice, love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures without weakening.[D] Love forgives and disregards the offenses of others.[E] It is vitally important, that if you have anything against anyone, forgive them and let it drop (leave it, let it go), in order that your Father Who is in heaven may also forgive you your own failings and shortcomings and let them drop.[F] By extension, love your enemies and be kind, considering nothing as lost and despairing of no one; and then your reward will be intense, and abundant.[G] It follows that, the one who sows sparingly and grudgingly will also reap sparingly and grudgingly, and the one who sows generously, that blessings may come to someone, will also reap generously and with blessings.[H]

-- [A] 1 John 3:11 CEV; [B] 1 John 3:18 AMP; [C] Luke 6:32 AMP; [D] 1 Corinthians 13:7 AMP; [E]  1 Peter 4:8 AMP; [F] Mark 11:25 AMP; [G] Luke 6:35 AMP; [H] 2 Corinthians 9:6 AMP
----

In this way,

If you want to be heard
truly deeply and completely,
listen
truly deeply and completely
now.

If you want to be understood
truly deeply and completely,
practice understanding
truly deeply and completely
now.

If you want to be forgiven
truly deeply and completely,
forgive
truly deeply and completely
now.

If you want to be loved
truly deeply and completely,
love
truly deeply and completely
now.

If you want to be happy
truly deeply and completely,
create the conditions for other people to be
truly deeply and completely happy
now.

Love now, forgive now,
create happiness in this moment,
there is no other time to do so;
no past, no future,
only this present moment
to love, forgive, listen, understand.

So, begin
then don't stop giving without reservation;
not the giving of miserly sacrifice
but from the abundance of one
to whom much has been given,
even if not fully realized.

This is the path to the peace
that passes understanding;
rooted in giving away what you cannot own,
sharing what you cannot possess;
spontaneously initiated
without waiting for the other person
or for the world to go first.

You are the other person,
you are the world.

Commit completely.

Commit now.

-----

Lord,

Please help me restore harmony to the world. Help me to act in accordance with my highest intentions to do the hard things and make difficult choices. Please forgive me when my unskillful actions bring suffering.

Amen.

 

Advent Devotion #5 - "Are You Paying Attention?" by Dixon Martin

"Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper."

1 Kings 19:11-12 (NLT)

How does God speak to you? Is it in the flash of lightening? The rumble of thunder? Howling wind? The reverberation of an earthquake? Or is it the gentle whisper of a loving parent? Are you listening?

God used a windstorm, an earthquake, a fire and a whisper to teach Elijah that sometimes the voice of God is found in quietness.

It is easy for us to let the frenetic pace of the holiday season drown out the voice of God. We are continually bombarded with loud messages: Buying this will mean a wonderful Christmas! Eating this will invoke the joy of Christmases past! Drinking this strengthens friendships! Doing this will bring back all of the delight of childhood Christmases! In order to celebrate Jesus and show your love, you must be merry! You must decorate more, buy better, and give more! There is so much pressure.

Take some time to listen to God’s whispers this holiday season. Get away from the hustle, bustle, noise and lights. Breathe deeply. Think about what is really important.

God, help us to not get too caught up in the noise and excitement of the Christmas season. Remind us to stop, look and listen for your still, small voice. Amen.

Advent Devotion #4 - "Until You Know How to Ask" by Benjamin Conver

For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Matthew 7:8 (NIV)

Advent is a wonderful time of year. For me, it conjures up many wonderful warm memories that center around the fellowship and love of family. But not everyone can share this type of memory, and personally I'd like for my Christian family to always feel they are family to me. But how do I ask for my Advent memories to be yours? Or better yet, how can I help someone who may not feel at home, or part of the family, feel differently this Advent season? For me, this is where one of the less desirable characteristics of my personality actually comes in quite handy. It's been my experience that sometimes even a selfish prayer, if specific enough, can be a very good prayer. The best way it's been explained to me is we can't get to know someone who loves us if we can't first get to know and love ourselves. 

This month has been a heavy month for me- I've been on crutches while several broken bones mended and have been trying to keep a blood clot under control. Being constrained by my brokenness has made it difficult for me to contribute anything more than just my presence at times. But I don't get to decide the times and places that God unfolds his marvelous mystery. The best I can hope for is to be alert and listening when this happens. So I've been very selfishly praying for specific guidance and understanding of how I can better help and contribute to his plan. I'd like to think this devotional is my answer. My thought is to inspire in you what was inspired in me, thus realizing that asking a selfish prayer can in fact be good. My hope is that you invite my prayer into your heart, and let this devotional open a door to enlarge your Christian family. You never know- someone may be praying just for you...

Merciful God, help me to see the reminders that assure me that it's ok to ask you this one request. Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, allow me the wisdom to change the things that I can, and bless me with the strength so that my channel unto you may better serve more than just me, even if just for today. Amen

Advent Devotion #3 - "I Think That God Is Coming" by Quinn Chipley

"O, that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at your presence-- as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil-- to make your name known to your adversaries, so that the nations might tremble at your presence! When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect, you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence. From ages past no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who works for those who wait for him. You meet those who gladly do right, those who remember you in your ways. But you were angry, and we sinned; because you hid yourself we transgressed. We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. There is no one who calls on your name, or attempts to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity. Yet, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. Do not be exceedingly angry, O LORD, and do not remember iniquity forever. Now consider, we are all your people." - Isaiah 64:1-9

Karen Blixen wrote of a time in Kenya:

“’Msabu,’he said again, ‘I think you had better get up. I think that God is coming.’  When I heard this I did get up, and asked him why he though so. He gravely led me into the dining-room which looked West, towards the hills. From the door-windows I now saw a strange phenomenon. There was a big grass-fire going on, out in the hills, and the grass was burning all the way from hill-top to the plains; when seen from the house it was a near vertical line. It did indeed look as if some gigantic figure was moving and coming towards us. I stood for some time and looked at it, with Kamante watching by my side, then I began to explain the thing to him. I meant to quiet him, for I thought he had been terribly frightened. But the explanation did not seem to make much impression on him one way or the other; he clearly took his mission to have been fulfilled when he called to me. ‘Well yes,’ he said, ‘It may be so. But I thought that you had better get up in case it was God coming.’ (Out of Africa, Modern Library, p. 41)

I also lived in Kenya for a few years, some sixty years after the event in Blixen’s vignette. I was sent by Baptists as a missionary, one to carry the Gospel. I taught some English, and I experienced many things I will always treasure.  But I wonder now how much more I had missed by making my explanations to a people who were still shocked by several generations of a white-skinned arrogance, a brutality that had too often carefully cloaked itself in Christian religion? How often had I dismissed God’s messenger?

God, keep us aware that when you come on us as Fire on the Mountain, you are always saving us from ourselves, that salvation is never safe, and You are never safely explained away. Amen.

Advent Devotion #2 - "Bless This House" by John Arnett

[Jesus] emptied himself,
    taking the form of a slave,
    being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
    he humbled himself
    and became obedient to the point of death—
    even death on a cross.
- Philippians 2:7-8 (NRSV)

Advent is that time of year when we turn toward the beginnings of the life of Jesus.  Granted, we can’t verify through other sources the events Luke and Matthew record, but Jesus came from some beginning, and the one we have seems to serve us well.  The main fact is that God decided to invest himself in the life of a person we could hear and see.  We call that incarnation.  It’s a creative act of God. 

The story of Jesus is much like the architect, owner, and builder of a new house or addition.  God “humbled” himself, “becoming as human beings are.”  He watched his son grow up and, like the patient builder, saw the project through to completion.  Unlike the construction of a building though, I’m not convinced that God had Jesus’ life mapped out like a blueprint.  I think there was some improvising along the way, and some collateral damage as well.  The angels had to intervene to save Joseph and his family, but couldn’t protect the “innocents” from Herod’s sword. A stable had to do when the inn was filled. And some thirty-three years later in the garden, Jesus was searching to know the will of the Father.

But the project was completed, and some 2014 years later we’re still here talking about the beginning.  We’re also reminded that our lives are also a building project, and God and the angels stand by ready to assist us with the plans, the construction, and, yes, the improvising.  Bless this house.

God, thanks for the creative energy that comes from you, and help us to act in positive ways in this world. Amen.

Advent Devotion #1 - "The Kingdom of Heaven is Like a S'more" by Rev. Brittani M. Bair

"Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.” – Hebrews 12:28-29

Kingdom recipes… that’s how I’ve decided to interpret Advent this year, as a recipe-share. Perhaps this devotion booklet should be seen as a cookbook, a collection of the times we’ve gotten the conditions and ingredients close enough that the Kingdom of God has emerged warmly and deliciously from the cookie sheets and casserole dishes of our souls.

Food is just one potential ingredient in a Kingdom-recipe. It’s a good start, but it’s not mandatory. One recipe I’ve already written about was the “heaven sermon, communion table, fire alarm” recipe. Now I would like to write about the “sleeping bag, campfire, guitar” recipe. (This one has optional food ingredients: marshmallow, Hershey bar, graham cracker, FYI.)

This year I decided the youth needed to try this recipe out together in the middle of nowhere. While they found my actual food planning lack-luster, the Youth Retreat recipe still produced edible Kingdom-moments. Most of these happened around the campfire… which must be something that resonates with humanity on a primitive level.  Gathered around campfires for two nights, we sang songs, shared stories, made memories and communed with God.

On the first night, we had Darrell Adams with us. Darrell + guitar + campfire is one of the simplest and best-tasting Kingdom recipes I know. Like a no-bake cookie, when the ingredients get warm, they just stick together Holy.

On the second night, the youth just started telling stories about their grandparents, which for our American youth were love stories and for our Karen youth were ghost stories. Looking into the campfire flames they journeyed across time and space to bring forth these echoes of love, and of loss, mostly for the joy of screaming at the end and scaring each other. Silly as it may have been intended, there’s something Holy about sitting in a circle with friends around a fire. Whether we sing our praises up at the stars, scream our fears out into the darkness, of just howl joyfully at the moon, dancing by the flames of Heaven.

God, grant us a Holy fire, burning deep inside, that never burns out and smells faintly of marshmallow. Amen.

The Rest of The Story

I never imagined that I would find myself in the midst of what I have been in the midst of since Tuesday morning. Since the Kentucky Baptist Convention voted to dismiss Crescent Hill Baptist, I have been on the phone or in front of a camera. While those who know me know that I do not mind attention (and that is probably an understatement), at times I felt uncomfortable with it all. So many others have done so much more, given their lives in fact, for the full inclusion of LGBT individuals in church and society. I feel like a laborer who came to the vineyard late in the day and is getting paid for a full day of work.

Nonetheless, I and others at CHBC seized this moment in time to share our story. However, the story that has been told through the media is only a snippet of the story, and it just doesn't feel right not to share more of the story in this moment when it seems that people are listening. 

A Desire to Grow

I have said that homosexuality is not condemned by the Bible. Many applauded that statement. Many expressed their strong disagreement with it. Many others in the last few days and weeks have asked how it is that I have reached that conclusion.

The opportunity to engage in these conversations, and they have been plentiful, is one of the primary reasons I have been willing to speak out. It appears that many people want to grow in their understanding of what God and the Bible says about this matter. If you are interested in beginning some exploration of your own, let me direct you to a series of submissions recently posted by David Gushee, a professor at Mercer University (http://baptistnews.com/opinion/columns/item/28904-starting-a-conversation-the-lgbt-issue-part-1). In this 16 part series Gushee thoughtfully examines the biblical passages most often cited to condemn homosexuality, and does so in a well-balanced and respectful manner. Plus, at least for the moment, his work is easily accessible and available for free. 

Theology's Real Life Consequences

We are all theologians. By that, I believe we all construct understandings of God. Even if you do not believe there is a God, you are engaging in "God-thinking."  

Our theology ponders the heavens, but is also touches the earth in serious ways.  Theological constructs rooted in biblical interpretations that condemn homosexuality result in real-life disastrous consequences that I do not believe the loving God I see condones. Not only is homosexuality not a sin in the eyes of God, those that claim that it is are hurting and literally killing people. The National Coalition for the Homeless reports that 40% of homeless youth are LGBT (http://nationalhomeless.org/issues/lgbt/). Furthermore, in recent weeks, I have heard from many LGBT individuals who were closeted by theology that condemned them. They shared that they had seriously pondered suicide. Tragically, many others have acted upon this impulse.  

Soul-Freedom

In 1612 Thomas Helwys, one of our Baptist forefathers, wrote, “For men’s religion to God is between God and themselves. The king shall not answer for it. Neither may the king be judge between God and man. Let them be heretics, Turks, Jews, or whatsoever; it appertains not to the earthly power to punish them in the least measure. This is made evident to our lord the king by the scriptures.” Let’s just say that when King James received his copy of theses words sent to him by Helwys, he was not very pleased. Helwys was sent to prison where he soon died. From our inception, Baptists have fought for the ability of each individual to experience God for themselves, whoever they may be.  This notion has compelled Baptists to be a non-creedal, congregational self-governing bunch in which churches associate with one another. In other words, Baptists from the onset have been a bunch that have agreed to disagree.

That's why I was pleased that Crescent Hill Baptist chose not to step away from the Kentucky Baptist Convention, but rather, stick with the KBC until forced out. We believe, as our earliest Baptist forefathers and mothers did, that God speaks to us in different ways and only in part. In order to hear the larger story of what God is up to, we need to gather with others around God's table, even those with whom we disagree, and eat bread and drink from the cup in remembrance of Christ.  

Welcoming and Affirming - 2013

The church ship of Crescent Hill Baptist has nearly completed an amazing journey over the past year and a half as she has navigated the potentially stormy waters of a move toward full acceptance of persons in the LGBT community who have chosen to be part of our fellowship.  Crescent Hill began this journey toward inclusiveness in the 60's during the pastorate of John Claypool when the church opened the doors to persons of color and continued the journey in the 70's with the acceptance of women into the full ministries of the church including service as deacons; Andrea Woolley became a "co-pastor" in 2012.  During the pastorate of Ron Sisk in the late 90's the church developed associations with the American Baptist Convention and Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and welcomed the first gays to serve on the board of deacons.  Several years ago the church joined the Alliance of Baptists.  

In May 2012 Jason Crosby preached the following sermon, "In Or Out", which set the stage for a series of Wednesday night sessions in the spring of 2013 during which several members were able to share their own stories of struggle about feeling accepted or excluded because of sexual identity issues. 

 "In Or Out" (May 2012)

 Jason W. Crosby, preaching   Acts 8:26-40 

At a June 12, 2013 called Ministry Forum the church voted to become a "welcoming and affirming" congregation* and at an October 2013 ministry forum Crescent Hill voted to join the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists.  -- John Arnett, CHBC historian 

*"The vote clarifies that sexual orientation and identity will not be a factor when considering whether or not to extend rights, privileges, and blessings within the church's capacity to bestow.  The passage of this proposal also means that the church will not take into consideration sexual orientation or identity when determining whether or not a person is called to ministry [ordination] and that the church is willing to bless same-sex unions.  103 votes were cast.  94 votes favored the proposal, 7 disapproved, 2 abstentions."  -- from "Life Together", July 2013.

There is a saying...

By: William M. Johnson

There is a saying that goes something like this: “preach the Gospel, use
words only when necessary.” The Gospel was preached recently in my
office and not a word was uttered. Practicing the wise words of the
superb poet, Mary Oliver, I was paying attention and the Gospel was
revealed.

Update - Prayer Request

By: Andrea Woolley

The last blog I posted in early January, I told of my friends’ trials at the end of her pregnancy and premature delivery.  I am happy to update you that right at 2 months later all are doing better.  Rachel (my friend, and now mother of 2) had severe eclampsia and was living in a small city in China was not able to get the medical intervention she needed. After an emergency C-section on January 3 to deliver baby Ann (who weighed just over 1 pound), Rachel and baby Ann were air-evacuated to Bangkok several days later. Baby Ann underwent a couple surgeries to repair her bowels, but has made remarkable progress.

Life is a Journey

By: Louie Bailey

This Sunday, February 19, is Transfiguration Sunday, the last Sunday of the Epiphany season. Next Wednesday, February 22, is Ash Wednesday, and Sunday, February 26, is the First Sunday in Lent. Just as the Christian year is full of dramatic changes, e.g., going from the Transfiguration into the more penitent, reflective season of Lent, life very often fluctuates between times of celebration and reflection.

Join Others As We Journey to the Cross

By: Jason Crosby
Soon, the Lenten season will be upon us.  Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which is February 22 this year.  Traditionally, this time of the year on the Christian calendar is one when believers engage in penitential acts in preparation for Easter celebrations.  Lent is a time when individuals assess what barriers preclude them from living resurrected lives.  The forty days of Lent mirror Jesus forty days in the wilderness when Jesus confronted temptations prior to beginning his earthly ministry.

Last Saturday

Please follow this LINK to read a blog by Dr. Jason Abbott, the Aung San Suu Kyi Chair in Asian Democracy at the University of Louisville. Dr. Abbott wrote about the event held at Crescent Hill Baptist Church last weekend with Senator McConnell.

Prayer Request

By: Andrea Woolley

I am  going to use this blog to let you know of a prayer request that has been weighing heavily on me this week.

Tempered Hope for Burma

By: Jason Crosby

The following appeared on the Courier-Journal's editorial page on Sunday, December 4.

In recent months, diplomatic relationships between Burma (disputably referred to as Myanmar) and the United States have thawed.  Leaders of the military regime that rules Burma have recently made gestures that indicate a desire for increased cooperation with the United States.  Burmese President Thein Sein met with Burma’s most well-known human rights advocate, Aung San Suu Kyi.  President Thein Sein recently released a small number of political prisoners and changed laws to enable former political prisoners to participate in the political process.   The Burmese military regime also conducted “general elections” about a year ago in an effort to pass the junta off as a civilian government.  The Obama Administration has responded to these moves by sending various officials to Burma in the past four months.  These diplomatic maneuvers paved the way for Secretary Clinton’s visit to Burma this week.

Clinton’s visit is the first to Burma by a United States Secretary of State in more than 50 years.  One of her stated objectives is to see how open Burma’s new leaders are to reform.  Clinton recently told NBC, “They need to begin to look at how they resolve these ethnic conflicts that have driven tens of thousands of Burmese of different ethnicities into refugee status.  They have to have a real electoral system with an open door to political parties and free expression.”  This kind of interest in the Burmese government’s human rights record offers some hope for the ethnic minorities that have suffered for decades under the junta.  

Unfortunately, while high-level diplomatic conversation has transpired, the Burmese military regime continues to oppress and terrorize ethnic minority groups in Burma. The words from the mouths of Burmese government officials may be different, but they continue to conduct their business as usual.  In the last seven months there has been an increase in the number of serious human rights violations in Burma.  Recently, according the U.S. Campaign for Burma, the Burmese army conducted “the largest forced displacement in a decade of over 100,000 new internally displaced persons.”  The U.S. Campaign for Burma also reports a recent increase “in the use of rape as a weapon of war, forced labor, and the use of civilians as human shields.”  

Many of the members at the church where I serve as Co-Pastor, Crescent Hill Baptist Church, are refugees from Burma.  I have had a chance to develop genuine friendship with Karen, Chin, and Karreni refugees from Burma.  They have shared with me stories about Burmese soldiers burning their villages and forcing them to seek refuge in the jungle.  They have told me of family members murdered and friends arrested by the Burmese army.  I have seen firsthand the devastating affects of landmines planted by the Burmese army.

Secretary Clinton’s visit gives me hope that real change may be on the horizon for ethnic minority groups in Burma.  However, my hope is tempered by the fact that human rights abuses continue.  Before the United States engages in agreements with Burma that may bring about economic or political gain for those with power here and there, real reform must sweep across Burma so that ethnic minority groups there no longer live in fear and terror.

What small pleasure has marked your day?

By: Bill Johnson

Our community of faith has recently lain to rest a remarkable woman of our city and a noble saint of this church:  Dr. Nancy Howard.  Nancy touched many lives along the way in her years of service as an educator, administrator, minister, colleague, friend, and fellow pilgrim on the Way.

My Son's Spiritual Formation

By Jason Crosby

Spiritual formation requires a multi-faceted approach.  Spiritual formation occurs through knowledge and intellect.  By poring over scripture, commentaries on it, and reflection, one will certainly grow in spiritual depth. However, spiritual formation goes far beyond this.  While Christian spirituality requires biblical and theological understanding and knowledge, deeper spiritual formation requires testing one's knowledge and intellectual concepts in the real world.  Spritual development really begins to occur when one takes their knowledge and understanding of the scripture and attempts to live out that understanding in the crucible that is reality.  

As the father of a one year old, I have been thinking a lot about Brooks' spiritual development recently.  I know that at Crescent Hill Baptist Church he will learn the Bible.  Soon, his Sunday School teachers and others will tell him about Noah, Moses, David, Ruth, Jonah, Job, the prophets, Jesus, Zacchaeus, Jesus' disciples, and many others.  Soon, he will learn what baptism is and what the bread and cup at the table represent. 

What really excites me, however, is the fact that he will be able to put even the most basic concepts he will learn soon to the test in our congregation.  Crescent Hill Baptist Church looks a lot like the real world I see beyond our walls.  When we gather on Sunday mornings for Sunday School and worship, the world congregates.  When we come together black, white, brown, rich, poor, gay, straight, english speaking, non-english speaking, the sick, the well, young, and old all assemble.  That is what the world I see looks like.  I am excited about what course Brooks' spiritual formation will take because the Exodus story becomes more real when learned alongside refugees, the words of the prophets carry greater meaning when sitting next to a gay man, and Jesus' promise of victory over death really hits home when taught by a woman in her nineties. 

The Gift of Memory

By: Louie Bailey

“Precious memories, how they linger, how they ever flood my soul,

In the stillness of the midnight, precious sacred scenes unfold.”

This old gospel song I remember hearing my grandmother and grandfather sing came to my mind as I was thinking about All Saints Sunday November 6, at Crescent Hill Baptist Church. On that day we will remember all our members who have passed away during this year. One of the regular parts of the Jewish service is to remember each week the names of those who have died during that particular week through the years. It is called the Yahrzeit and a congregational prayer is said affirming the greatness of God and asking for peace on the earth. I think it is a beautiful tradition and find it very meaningful.

Change is Complicated

I wanted to use this opportunity to thank all of you for your concern and prayers for me and my family during this time. Three weeks ago today, my dad had a stroke. I was able to go home a few days later to be with them when he came home from the hospital. It was good to be there, but it was very difficult to see my dad changed.