Wednesday, May 15, 2013

"I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve."


This quote is attributed to Isoroku Yamamoto following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  Like many quotes, there is absolutely no evidence that he said it, but it does appear in both the epic Tora! Tora! Tora! and the, uh, less epic Pearl Harbor made some years later.  All that said, it's tangentially related to my feeling about tour right now.  As it gets closer and the preparation ramps up, I am reminded of its scope and scale and wonder if it was a good idea to awaken this particular giant.

It is.

First a bit of housekeeping from last year.  I see that I promised I would continue to blog through Vacation Bible School last year, and it seems I didn't make good on that.  Sorry for those of you who were devastated, coming to your computer first thing in the morning with your cup of joe and hair in curlers anxiously awaiting my next insights.  I know there were at least two of you.  I hope you haven't lost faith and will check back this year, at least for tour.

And preparation is ramping up.  I have compiled the list of people who will receive thank you notes and prepared our materials.  I have delivered the digital files to the printer for our cutouts (it seems there are four people who will not be joining us for tour but will nevertheless be joining us for tour).  Hotels have been paid, rooming lists sent.  Food arrangements have been made, and the venues are nearly set.  There's always one place where they want to wait until the last minute...

In a way, our first venue was our own church back on April 28.  We sang a concert that raised nearly $1000 for the United Methodist Children's Home foster care program.  It was a successful event in every way, and I look forward to continuing that endeavor in the future.  In addition to the benefits for the Children's Home, it forced us to learn our music more quickly, which means we might be able to memorize before we depart on the 9th.  We can always hope.  And it means that I have a picture I can post on the blog!

This is the choir with Mitch.  Yes, Captain Obvious.  Thank you.  There's really nothing else to point out except to say that if you look on the right side of the picture you'll see the alto section.  If you encounter an alto in the halls, ask her about "oh, oh."  Just do it.

In pink there in the middle, that's Bethany.  She lives in a home that fosters children.  She came to talk to us about the blessings--and difficulties--of being a teen in a home that has taken up the mantle of providing for our most needy children.  Her entire talk was outstanding, but she said this one thing that has hung with me and probably always will.  "It seems like such a small thing.  She was in my seat at the table.  That had been my seat for years, and she was in it.  But then I realized she was six year old...and she had never had a seat.  And all of a sudden it didn't matter that it was my seat."  Because of where I was sitting I couldn't see her, but I could see her mom.  And I could see the impact that statement had on her.  She was proud and humbled at the same time.

Finally, I'll paste below the "About Our Mission" part of our program for this year so you can get an idea of what we are setting out to do.  I'm excited that we're including a dramatic element for the first time this year.

Until my next post,

 About Our Mission

“Go and make disciples of all the nations.”  It’s easy to say.  But like so many of the words of Christ, the difficulty of putting them into practice is nearly overwhelming.  Go make disciples of all the nations?  Sure.  Thanks, Jesus.  I’ll get right on that.  Oh wait.  I don’t even know where to start.  What did Jesus mean by that anyway?  How do I “make” people do something, especially when it is contrary to human nature?

Across the centuries, people have applied exceedingly varied interpretation to those simple words.  People have been injured, hurt, and killed—entire wars have been fought—all in the name of making disciples.  There has to be another way.

Fortunately, Jesus did more than talk.  He did more than leave behind a list of expectations for us to try (and frequently fail) to meet.  He was a man of action.  Specifically, he healed the sick, helped the blind to see and the deaf to hear.  In short, Jesus loved.  Everyone.  It was the love of Christ that drew people to him.  It was his love that won him disciples while he lived on earth.

Now Christ lives in us.  Following his example, we love.  Everyone.  You may be Christian.  You may not.  Regardless, we are called to love.  It is our purpose, our mission.  And so today we have come to sing for you and to spend time in fellowship with you.  We have come to turn our love into action.

Our program today asks a question.  How will they know?  It wonders how you or anyone else would know we are Christian and explores some of the more common answers.  Would you know we are Christian because we praise God?  Because we pray to God?  Because we say nice things about God?

Maybe.  Those are certainly worthy endeavors, and they are things that Christians frequently do.  But they don’t offer proof positive.  Hearing us pray or praise may cause you to suspect we are Christian, but how can you really know?  By our love.  The same love that we seek to turn into action.  The love of Christ.  You’ll know we are Christian by our love.

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