Margaret is one of those people who epitomizes what a life lived in Christ looks like. She is patient, caring, kind, giving, humble, and present in so many ways. She is the one person at Ridge who is involved and connected in ways that allow people at all three of our worship services to know her and connect with her. Her presence transcends the “us” and “them” that exists between the different services and ministries here at the church.
It was quite a blow last week when we learned that Margaret has cancer. As Steve announced it Sunday in all three services there were audible gasps and tears shed.
Our Caring Ministry provided a prayer blanket on Sunday for the members of the church to present to Margaret. It was placed on the altar during worship in each of the three services and people came forward to place hands on the blanket and to pray. It was beautiful and moving to watch people come forward and bow their heads in prayer for Margaret.
When I went to the hospital to see Margaret on Monday afternoon the blanket was laying there next to her in bed – a reminder of the love of her church family and the prayers in which she is surrounded.
I am not one who believes that we as humans can manipulate God through our prayers. However, I know without a doubt that prayer is a powerful force, a force that can change us and bring us more in line with the power of God’s presence and love already at work in the world.
Margaret’s prognosis looks positive at this point and she has begun chemotherapy. I will continue to pray for Margaret and will continue to be moved by and grateful for the love and grace of God at work in this community of faith.
Last night’s KU game didn’t go quite as I might have hoped, but it was a wonderful evening nonetheless.
Heather and I had some friends over to watch the game with us and even though KU ended up losing (partly because they forgot to show up for a good part of the game and partly because MU really played well) we had a wonderful time.
We laughed with friends, watched dogs chase kids, watched kids chase dogs, shared stories of our Thanksgiving celebrations, and enjoyed each others’ company.
KU had a phenomenal regular season and ended up 11-1 with their only loss coming to the team that could very well make a run for the national championship. Heather and I have a great network of friends that make life a lot of fun. All in all I’d say life is pretty good as a Jayhawk in Big Ten Country.
This evening the 11-0 Kansas Jayhawks will face off against the 10-1 Missouri Tigers in front of a National audience. It should be a good game!
I posted earlier in the week about the rivalry and received some fun comments. I particularly appreciated a bit of history that barbmom provided:
As a Jayhawk Alumni let me clarify why the “Border Showdown” against the University of Missouri, TIGERS is so important. In 1861…while Lawrence was still part of the Kansas Territory….border ruffians from Missouri came to Lawrence in the pre-dawn hours and literally burned the town. Many were brutally murdered. The reason…many folks in Missouri did not want the anti-slavery sentiment of Lawrence to influence statehood. They wanted Kansas to be a slave state…It wasn’t and never has been. So the hatred for Missouri runs deep…Culturally, Missouri is still to a large extent part of the south. Kansas is not. If you are interested in learning more…google Quantrill’s Raid.
On Thanksgiving morning I stumbled across the following on espn.com:
Hatred goes back more than a century. Who leads the series? Depends whom you ask. There’s the little matter of the 1960 game, which Kansas won but later forfeited because of an ineligible player. Kansas still counts the game as a win. Missouri doesn’t. By most counts, each team has won 53 times, with nine ties. And then there’s this: The Kansas City Star ran a story last weekend of a Missouri circuit judge who has a picture of a Confederate sacking of Lawrence (home to the University of Kansas) with a gold plaque he installed saying: “1863, Missouri vs. Kansas, Missouri 183, Kansas 0.” Kansas chancellor Robert Hemenway spoke for all of us when he said: “I hardly know how to act.”
It should be a fun night, I predict KU by 7.
Wednesday night I concluded a four week book study at Ridge UMC. The text we used was Believe the Believable, a new book by Virgil Brady who was my pastor from the time I was in the 5th grade until he retired when I was in college.
As we introduced ourselves to each other for the last time I asked people to share something for which they were thankful. Several people said they were thankful for Ridge Church and it was clear that they weren’t just sucking up. They spoke sincerely and from the heart about how the people at Ridge have been warm and welcoming and helped them understand and connect to God in ways that they haven’t been able to before. It was quite powerful.
As we concluded our time together I asked them to reflect on how their understanding of God, their understanding of themselves, or the relationship between the two had changed for them during our time together.
A woman in her 50’s observed that for the first time she has felt like she is allowed to ask questions and to not entirely toe the party line. A woman in her 80s chimed in and agreed, saying that it was so refreshing to feel freedom to think things that she had her entire life, but for which she had previously felt guilty.
Another woman, this one in her 30s said she felt like she had been let in, like some door had been opened and she had been invited in to this community where people don’t all take the bible literally and that it’s ok. She seemed excited and refreshed.
As we closed, yet another woman, also in her 30s, shared part of her story. Last week something tough happened to her personally. In the past she said she would respond to things like this as a “drama mama” crying uncontrollably and questioning why God would have allowed something like this to happen. She said she caught herself thinking back to chapter 8 though, and some of our discussion about how God doesn’t cause bad things to happen, but rather is present with us, comforting us when bad things do happen. Before she allowed herself to have a “drama mama” moment she stopped and said to herself, “ok, I can’t control what just happened, so how can I find God at work in this and move forward to learn from this.” What a beautiful thing!
It was a real blessing to work with this wonderful group of people and to share in this small part of their journey with them. I look forward to seeing all of the ways in which God continues to work within and through them in the coming years.
God of Love, I pause today to give you thanks.
For a renewed sense of health and strength and purpose, for a body that moves me through my days and connects me to your creation, I am thankful.
For a partner who strengthens me and grounds me, who supports me and inspires me, who makes me a better person than I could be by myself, I am thankful.
For a family, that while spread over many states, remains close in my heart, I am thankful.
For a circle of friends who make me laugh, who help me appreciate life, and who are there for me through the good and bad, I am thankful.
For a community of faith who inspires me, who teaches me about your love and grace, who moves me with their love, I am thankful.
For all of your creation, that sings your praises, tells your story, and invites me to follow your way, I am thankful.
I’m thinking about buying a new computer for home (a laptop) and am looking for some guidance. All of my computing life I’ve been using Windows. However, I’m starting to think I might want a mac. In the next couple of years Heather and I will be starting a family and I’m thinking I’ll want to use the machine quite a bit for photo, video, and web stuff. However, I’ll also use it for word processing, presentation, and web browsing stuff.
I don’t want to be totally swayed by mac’s ad campaign, but must admit I do love them!
And if you haven’t seen them, these parodies are pretty great too.
Please comment and share your thoughts about the mac vs. pc debate. I’d like to be convinced either way.
It’s a fun time to be a Jayhawk fan living in Big 10 country. I was mildly annoyed when the Kansas game against Iowa State wasn’t aired Saturday (really who needed to watch Michigan State play Penn State) but otherwise its just dandy to be flying our Jayhawk flag!
For any readers who don’t follow college sports, the 11-0 football team is now ranked 2nd nationally in every major poll. That’s higher than they’ve ever been ranked. This season they’ve scored an average of 45.8 points per game and their opponents have only scored 14.2. That’s quite a margin. And next Saturday things really heat up as they face #3 Missouri @ Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City and ESPN’s College Game Day comes to town. According to this mornings reports the Jawhawks open as a 2 1/2 point favorite for this game. It should be a good one!
By this time most years I’m done following what has been a lousy football season and have entirely shifted my energy to KU Basketball. While I’ve gotten to see a couple of basketball games already, I’m hoping I won’t be able to entirely shift my focus their way until January 8th, after KU has played in the National Championship football game!
Say it with me now, Rock Chalk Jayhawk!