Archive | May, 2008

Engaged!!

19 May


Bruce and I are engaged!!

Early in January of last year Bruce and I re-met at Lancaster Theological Seminary at a Justice Summit hosted by Leadership Now.  We spent the weekend talking with youth about issues of social justice and worshiping in a variety of ways, including Taize style, Bruce’s favorite way to worship.  For the past year and a half worshipping together has been a big part of our relationship.  We’ve worshipped at my college chapel, both of our home churches, and church-shopped until we finally started to put roots at Pilgrimage United Church of Christ in Marietta, Georgia.
On Friday after work Bruce and I headed north to the church where the youth were participating in a 30-Hour famine.  They were going to be participating in a Taize worship that night before checking into the makeshift homeless shelter for the night.  Because Bruce has been to Taize, France twice, he set up the sanctuary for the service and then explained to the youth what they should expect.  We worshiped together and then walked out of the sanctuary in silence.  Bruce walked back into the sanctuary and then came back out and told one of the youth leaders that the associate pastor, Kristin, wanted her to take pictures of the sanctuary.  Heidi walked into the sanctuary to take pictures and then Bruce asked me to go into the sanctuary with him to help take down the set up.  He took my hand and walked me through the sanctuary and to the altar.  When we got to the altar we stood in front of the lit candles that were spread out and the two crosses, one made of lit candles and the one big wooden cross.  Kristin was playing the Taize worship song “El Senyor,” which in English is “In the Lord.”  Bruce looked at me and said “Sarah, I have a question for you.”  And I knew that’s how he wanted to ask me, but couldn’t believe it was actually happening, so I gasped and kept saying “No you’re not, no you’re not” and then I looked down and pulled the ring out of his pocket and said “You know, this whole thing started in a church …”  From there it’s a little blurry but Bruce told me that he asked me what hand it was supposed to go on and I put out my left hand

and he put the ring on my finger and I just kind of buried my head in his shoulder.  At that point the youth leaders that were still in the sanctuary realized what happened and Heidi tried to get pictures of us and Kristin stopped playing the piano to look at the ring.  Then we went out into the narthex to tell the youth what happened, who were really excited.  We left the church shortly after and I called my family on the way home, who had been warned/asked ahead of time and were anxiously awaiting my call.  We stopped at home (it was midnight at this point) and then drove downtown to Cafe Intermezzo, a fun restaurant that is open until all hours of the night and has an amazing dessert spread.

I got to spend Saturday morning and afternoon with the youth again as they worked on a mission project and broke their fast at 1 p.m.  Bruce and I went out to celebrate with Tim and Elisabeth that night (although we didn’t tell them until we got to their house!!) and then were back at church on Sunday morning where everyone was really excited for us.
It’s been a crazy couple of days, but absolutely amazing.  We’ve already started talking through some of the wedding plans.  We haven’t set a date, but we know we want it to be next summer and we’re going to try to keep it as simple as possible (famous last words).
This is such a special time in our life together – and I am blessed to be planning to be in covenant with such a wonderful person!!
With Grace,
Sarah
In the Lord
In the Lord I’ll be ever thankful,
in the Lord I will rejoice!
Look to God, do not be afraid;
lift up your voices, the Lord is near;
lift up your voices, the Lord is near.

Prayers for a Broken World

14 May

I can’t believe what’s going on in the world.  First Myanmar and now China, with miniature storms and tornados that are causing injuries and fatalities all over the United States.  MSNBC.com says right now that the Red Cross is predicting the death toll in Myanmar to top 127,000 and the death toll in China at 15,000 with nearly 40,000 still buried or missing.  I can’t even fathom that many people.

My parents are gearing up right now to move to Kent, CT – the town where my mom’s church is.  The population in Kent is 3,000.  60 TIMES THAT AMOUNT OF PEOPLE have died or are predicted to be dead in Asia due to the natural disasters that struck their land.  It’s just not fair.  My heart aches for the families who have no idea where their parents, children and spouses are.  My heart aches for those who have no idea what the next step is.  My heart aches for those who are alone, hurt and scared.  The following is a collect that I’ve written – it doesn’t change what has happened, it probably won’t make anyone feel better about what’s happened, but hopefully it will open a gateway for those in prayer to be comforted by the Holy Spirit …

A Collect of Hope
Gracious God
Your wisdom is far from that of a human mind
Help us to release the tension of needing to understand all that we see and all that we encounter
Through this we are reminded that you are the all-powerful, and that we should attempt to trust before we attempt to understand; for if we trust in You we will find grace
We pray this prayer through Jesus Christ, whose trust in you was neverending
Amen.

Please join me in praying to God for trust that all of those who hurt, who cry and who are in pain will soon be granted peace.

With Grace,
Sarah

Officially a Second Year!!

13 May

I can’t believe it, but I’m officially a Second Year MDiv student at the Candler School of Theology. There were times this year when I never thought the day would come. I’ve been done for a couple of days, but all of my grades finally posted this morning and I’m very happy with them. In my Con Ed group meeting we talked a lot about how grades shouldn’t define who we are, the call we’re responding to or the quality of our theological education. And I know this is true. But there is still that little part of me that wants to do well. And I’ve definitely felt that part of me strong over the past couple of days as I’ve waited for my grades to post.

And now my summer can officially start. I don’t have a lot of fun and exciting plans – no two week cruise through the Med. like last summer – but I’m hoping it will still be an amazing summer. Bruce was in Africa this summer so technically this is our first summer together. The only big thing that we have planned at the moment is a trip up north to visit our families. A childhood friend of mine is getting married on June 1st, so we’ll drive to CT first, spend a couple of days with my family and then drive down to PA for Bruce’s brother’s and cousin’s high school graduation. While we’re visiting my parents we’re hoping to go through some of the stuff in their house that we want to bring down to Atlanta and get rid of the stuff that we’re not going to need so it’s out of their way as they get ready to move at the end of June.

Bruce and I are also going to spend the summer finally going through everything in our apartment and organizing what we want to keep and getting rid of the stuff we don’t need. It’s amazing how much two people and a cat can accumulate in less than a year. It’s a perfect time to start doing that because we’ve signed a pre-lease agreement on a new apartment that we’re going to move into in August. While moving isn’t the most convenient thing to do (particularly in Atlanta in August) it’s the best step for us. Much of this year was spent in transition and barely surviving while doing so. When we moved down here there was so much uncertain, neither one of us had jobs and we were essentially living out of my savings. Bruce’s job changed so much throughout the year which made it difficult for us to budget successfully and I was transitioning into a new academic environment which made it difficult for us to find time to spend together. We were trying to learn how to live on our own, pay our bills, be responsible for an apartment for the first time in our lives while also trying to learn how to live together. It’s been a stressful year. But you learn about who you are, the strength of your relationships, and the strength of your faith during these transitions. And now that we’ve been in Atlanta for almost a year – and now that I’m officially a second year!! – it’s time for us to have a fresh start. That’s one of the reasons we’re moving. It’s time for a fresh start where we can be organized and finally feel not like we are transitioning and surviving, but that we are living.

In addition to getting ready to move, we’ll both be working as well. Bruce will continue as a Sales Porter at the dealership and I have start fulltime at the school of public health. It’s weird for me to be working full-time again but it’s been fun so far. It’s been nice to come home and not have to think about school. In a couple of weeks I’m hopefully going to start on some projects that keep my brain stimulated but for right now I’m just relaxing and watching terrible reality television.

I’m hoping to get caught up with unreplied e-mails and unreturned phone calls within the next couple of weeks.

With Grace,
Sarah 🙂

What Happened to the Silence?

4 May

I have been absolutely terrible about blogging over the past couple of weeks.  As what normally happens when the stress of school starts to get to me, I push off doing things that would most likely relax me and help me with school – blog, exercise, pray, meditate.  I wonder why the things that we need to do the most are oftentimes the things that we tell ourselves we don’t have time to do.

There are certain professors at school who make a genuine attempt to remind us that we are here first and foremost to respond to a call to some sort of ministry and only second to this are we as students.  For example, in my History of Christian Thought class one of the TAs always opens the class in prayer and then we have a period of silence.  This silence has changed drastically over the semester.  At the beginning of the semester, we all stopped what we were going during the prayer and let the silence fill our hearts and minds with the good news as we prepared for the lecture.  Now it’s barely silence – and I’m just as guilt as my classmates for forgetting about the silence.  Now instead of letting the silence prepare me for the lecture I’m busy trying to download the outline off of our blackboard site and put it into a format that will be easy to study off of later and, if I get the chance to, glance at my e-mail.  What happened to the silence?
It’s funny because, in an effort to be more progressive on social issues, we are taught in seminary not to be silent on issues that are important to us.  But honestly – where does that get us?  Arguing in a plenary session, trying to page through Robert’s Rules to figure out which microphone to go to?  There are times when I think we just need to shut up and let the Holy Spirit speak through the silence.
I don’t think that this applies to issues of social justice, I think this always applies to our crazy lives.  What would our lives be like if we just stopped and let the Holy Spirit act through our stillness?
I have two more finals and then my first year of seminary will be over.  So much has happened this year and I’ve learned so much – most of it not from syllabi and the $700 worth of books I’ve acquired.  I really hope I take the time this summer to think about what I learned and how I can change who I am and who I claim to be for next year.  Yes, I’m a student.  But I am first and foremost a follower of Jesus Christ learning about the life he led, the lessons he taught and the traditions that followed.
With Grace,
Sarah