Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A gift with a legacy...

A few weeks ago I received a stole in church from Chaplain Van Vanderlan:

Here is what Chaplain Vanderlan said about the gift,"This stole was with the first Army Chaplain's Kit I received in 1964.  It was the old, heavy metal kit and it once fell out of a helicopter flying back from a hospital ship stationed in the waters outside of Viet Nam.  I had the stole on, so it was not in the kit.  It had 20+ years of service an was retired in 1984 with me.

This stole was used for services held at such places as the DMZ, Rock Pile, Hamburger Hill, The A Shau valley and Khe Sahn.  It was used to deliver Holy Communion along the highway from the Rock Pile to Quan Tri, where armored vehicles were situated about every 100 yards, protecting the highway.  Numerous memorial services were held with this stole in RVN (Republic of Vietnam). About 25 to 30 services for men of all branches of our military were held for victims of RVN while I was stationed near Pittsburgh, PA.  The service were conducted in western PA, eastern WV, and southwestern NY State.  One service was held in GA while I was stationed at Fort Jackson.  These were just a few of many services this stole was a part of.

It was also used to cover the Marines near the DMZ as they were leaving and for weekly service for the Naval detachment on the bay.

One baptism was conducted with this stole in RVN at the bay near Phan Rang.  I pray that it will continue to serve the men and women of the US Army as your career as a Army Chaplain progresses.  God bless you as you begin a great journey as an ordained elder in the UMC and the CHurch of Jesus Christ.

Chaplain (LTC) E.C. Vanderlan ret.  Or, as I was known, Chaplain Van."

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Passionate Worship

This Sunday Skip (the senior pastor at FUMC Killeen for those who are not Killeeners) preached eloquently about passionate worship.  Then Sunday evening I witnessed it:

The youth of this church are truly teach me (teaching us) what it means to devote their hearts to God and like Psalm 150 says, Praise the LORD (Yahweh)! What is it about us adults that makes us hesitate to let go and worship God with our whole being? Why do we hold back and not commit ourselves to the moment in worship?  It is within us:

Video from 2010 World Cup after Landon Donovan's goal

Video from the other night, Texas Ranger defeat Oakland As (I was on the phone with a friend when this happened and I was in the same room with Sophie.  It was all I could to keep from jumping up and down :) )

in these videos we see that adults have no problem exhibiting their passion for sports...but for some reason we are so restraining in worship.  And I don't believe that passionate worship means for each of  us to be jumping up and down and dancing down the isles in church.  Passionate worship can be on your knees, heart broken before God.  It can be sitting down, it can be standing up.  It can be traditional, it can be contemporary and it can be emergent.  Passionate worship is when our heart is in tune with God's melody and something sacred happens.  We need to get past ourselves and let go.  When we devote that time, that sacred hour to God (and it is the most important hour of the week) the rest of the life of a disciple falls into place.  We will be inspired to have a close relationship with God through Christ.  We will love our neighbor more and we will be co-conspirators with God in the transformation of the world.  It starts with me and its starts with you.  Who is with me?!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

It is worth it

I have to say that I am tired. Probably more tired than I have ever been in my life.  It is totally worth it! As you may know, Sophie Isabel McMinn was born on June 20, 2011 at 11:29am.  She was 7lbs 11oz and 21 inches long!

I spent two glorious weeks at home with the love of my life, Michelle and my other love-Sophie.  I can't tell you how amazing it has been (losing sleep and changing poopy diapers included) to have the opportunity to share this time with my two girls.  Every smile that Sophie makes (even if it is just gas!), every noise and every wiggle has been an incredible joy.  To top it off I have gotten to experience it with Michelle which just magnifies my happiness.

This new life that is so wonderful has me reflecting on one of Jesus' most important tenants-to live in the moment.  We spend so much time worrying about the past or the future that we forget to live today and share the joy of life with God and others!  Jesus teaches us in his famous prayer to ask 'forgiveness of our debts (Matthew 6:12)'-what are we doing with those few lines?  Trusting God with our past.  Letting go of our past mistakes and failures.  We also ask God to 'give us our daily bread (Matthew 6:11)'.  We trust God with our needs, what faces us day to day.  And finally we say 'deliver us from evil (or the evil one) (Matthew 6:13)'. We trust God with our future.  By trusting God with our lives it helps us to live for today and enjoy every smile, wiggle, face and moment with those we care about.  When we live for the moment we are able to participate with God in that divine calling of creating little patches of heaven on earth-As we pray together Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come,your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:9-10).

God help us live in the moment, help us live for you. Amen