Now that we’ve wrapped up our brief look at John’s Prologue as an introduction to the themes of Advent and Christmas, I wanted to dwell a bit more on the canticle I used for the compline in the fourth week of Advent, which was unfortunately too short this year. I carefully selected a song by Mike Koop of St. Benedict’s Table fame. John’s prologue is a hymn for Christmas and all year long, and if you wanted to know what an updated song for Christmas and all year long would look like if you wrote it with your head filled with gospel images while staring at the prologue to John (1:1-18), I think I have the answer. It would need to be something written as an epiphany, like John’s gospel — portraying Jesus’ entry into, accomplishment of his task, and exit from the temporal scene with the transcendence of an Eternal God stepping in and out of time at will. It would need to reflect the fullness of both his Godhood and his humanity, in the same breath wherever possible.
The kids were back to school today, first day. Our youngest is starting grade one, so for the first time, it’s all-day every day for her… and the house is quiet during the weekdays now. There was some anxiety last night and this morning, but all in all it went fairly well. The kids each have friends in their class and they know they’ll make new ones as well… and there was some excitement mixed in for them. Our youngest asked me last night at bedtime if I rememberd my first day of grade one. Uh, no… my wife remembers hers though, as she was at boarding school and she wouldn’t see her parents for three months after her first day of school. Doesn’t quite compare, but the kids both returned home in high spirits at the end of the day. In the interim of course, my wife is noticing the end of an era now that both kids are out of the house during the days… she’d have a very quiet time of it except that her husband started working from home last year. He (by whom I mean me) suspected some mixed emotions would surface and promised ahead of time to take her out for lunch today. We went for a 90-minute walk instead, leaves crunching beneath our feet and a light sprinkle of rain interrupting the mid-point of our outing.
Yesterday evening we took off to the Morden Corn & Apple Festival where we ran into some friends from way back that we haven’t seen in years. Back in the pre-children days, they were part of one of the best small groups we were privileged to lead in the ol’ CLB. He resonated when I used the phrase “ecclesiastical vagrant.” There are so many out there.
And… on with the linkage, noting that I’m dedicating item #11 to my good friend Robbymac.
I was in Duluth earlier in the week, though it shouldn’t have been noticeable thanks to future-posting in WordPress. I avoided reading my RSS feeds while I was away and came back to well over 1,000 items to sift through (yikes!) but was mostly caught up by Friday evening. In the latter part of the week, I was able to connect with two different emerging/missional bloggers who happened to be in Winnipeg, so that was cool. Thursday evening I spent with Bill Kinnon and his wife Imbi: it was a rich friendship-building conversation. On Friday morning, I had a nice breakfast with Dwight Friesen — we’d never met before, but he happened to be staying just a few blocks from where I live. Dwight’s brother-in-law came along for the ride — in the “small world” department, not only had he worked with my brother in IT a few years back, but he lives in my neighbourhood, has been involved with a house church for a few years now, and hangs around St. Ben’s from time to time. Next thing you know he’ll be blogging under a pseudonym stolen from a Monty Python movie. I love the “small world” kind of connections. Turns out that Dwight and I grew up about an hour in opposite directions from a little summer resort town in a national park in Manitoba.
Yesterday we bottled another batch of wine, a white for summer drinking. This time we split the batch roughly in thirds. After bottling about a third of the wine straight from the kit, we split the remainder into two, flavouring and sweetening each one separately. We now have ten bottles of chardonnay, eleven bottles of passionfruit chardonnay (sweetened), and eleven bottles of strawberry chardonnay (also sweetened).
As you can see, we had a glass of passionfruit chardonnay left over, so I chilled and enjoyed it last evening as I did some edits for a tech article that should be published online later today or tomorrow. The wine is drinkable now, but we’ll give it a bit of time and then begin popping corks through the rest of the summer… a nice fruity wine suitable for patio sipping.
Words aren’t always what they’re cracked up to be… often we’re crowded with too many of them — and the wrong ones, too frequently. Expression is possible without them, and not infrequently a wordless expression teaches us to stretch and experience in a new way.
I remember teaching once on prophetic ministry, and we were discussing the fact that sometimes the prophetic unction needs to be expressed without words… sometimes there’s an act or an action that can communicate something more effectively than trying to explain your point. We had musicians in the group, and one of them asked about whether or not they could play their instrument in this way. “Of course,” I replied, explaining that a good musician can improvise his expression of a word or a feeling in a way that words have difficulty explaining. In this way, music can gather people together into a common place, connecting them somehow. I explained how in jazz and blues, you have entire genres of music dedicated to expressing an idea or an emotion through music which often had no lyrics.
Obviously I’ve been catching up on some reading… this is my longest “Random Acts of Linkage” list so far. I just keep adding throughout the week, so it doesn’t seem like that much as I go along, but… hmmm. Most of them are chronological as I read them, but I bumped up the top item as it’s obviously a more serious matter.
- Pam Hogeweide recently lost her father, and last week a tragic accident claimed one of her best friends. Pray for Pam and for the surviving family; the oldest daughter has been staying with Pam’s family.
- Do you lifehack? Google it or find it on Technorati, there’s a growing amount of stuff out there. Time Magazine: Hacking Toward Happiness.
Six months ago, I posted something on a TED talk by Hans Rosling, and I’m happy to be subscribed to The TED Blog, because Hans Rosling came up again. Remember last time he had some fabulous software for plotting four variables on a single graph? I just stare at the screen and do my best Jack Nicholson, “Where does he get those wonderful toys?” This time he’s got more still.
Subsaharan Africa has done well in the past 50 years, Rosling says, moving from medieval standards to now be equivalent to Europe of 100 years ago. The theme of his presentation as he confirms that we can end poverty: “The seemingly impossible is possible.”