Here's the thing. Last night went long. Finishing up thankyou notes. Finishing up the order of worship for Sunday (which I had been working on all day on and off). This and that. So I didn't get to putting up pictures. And that meant I didn't get to do the blog this morning. So this is late. Very late. For those of you who count on this entertainment to accompany your morning coffee, I'm sorry you were stuck with Regis today. With that apology, here goes the day...
Music Mission: Generations
I haven't had 3 generations on tour before, so this is yet another first. This is Emma, Tait, and Rita. Singer, chaperone, and chaperone. They're a lot of fun.
To the HarborOur first stop on Tuesday was the Baltimore Inner Harbor. Everyone roamed the area (there's actually quite a bit to do around there) for the morning while (as you will recall from a previous post) I worked on the order of worship. The weather was perfect. Everyone was supposed to show back up just before noon so we could board the boat for our cruise. Tait took these pictures as they walked up.
I also got a couple of pics from Bramantny and Vince in the Ripley Museum, where it is my understanding that they got lost in the hall of mirrors. I've been trying to figure out why they were surprised by this, as it seems to me that's kindof the point. I wonder if this isn't the first sign that the chaperones are beginning to crack up.
A Three Hour TourWell, it wasn't three hours. It was 45 minutes. We motored out into the harbor and then back to the dock. Again, perfect weather. I knew it would be. I had picked up the red phone. Methodists can do that.
Safety demonstration. Here's how you put one of these things on. But what do we do if there's a sudden loss of cabin pressure?
Bramantny and Vince were kind enough to share their pizza with me, since I had not been able to get lunch. In return, I shared the carmel apple that Mitch had bought me from the fudgery. Man that was some good stuff. I mean the pizza and also the apple. And the water. Anyway, it was lovely is what I'm saying. I chose to stay inside for the cruise instead of going upstairs.
Look here. The chaperones are dropping me not-very-subtle hints that they think Curt is my favorite based on the frequency with which he appears in the blog. I told them that he's absolutely my favorite and they'll just need to get over it. No that's not true at all. I wrote a supplemental post and everything. But there is no appeasing them, these chaperones. Guys, if you're reading this, you're all my favorite. I promise. See? Look at the pictures above. Curt is nowhere to be found!
We got on the bus to head to our concert. Things are starting to get weird on the bus. I mean, this first one is innocent enough. Just some friends having a good time.
But then...what is that odd growth on William's face?
HOLY SMOKES WHERE WILL IT END?!
They've even taken to playing strange games. This is a game of balance. Who can keep their hands at their side and stay up on the bus the longest. Rosie pretty much destroyed me at this game...but she should because she's a dancer.
ConcertWe got to our concert venue early, so we were able to rehearse a bit. I love it when that happens. Just helps us to clean up some of the rough edges.
Mitch wasn't thrilled that we had to use our keyboard. He likes it most when we have a nice piano to work with. But he plays well either way. Michele is now his de facto page turner. That's a stressful, stressful job. But she does it so well.
Here's another thing I did new this year. For each venue I sent them posters they could use to publicize our concert. They just had to write in the details at the bottom. They put them in a few places, including the elevator, and one of the chaperones heard someone talking about how they were coming because of the concert...based on the advertisement. The venues have, for the most part, appreciated and made use of the posters.
Well, we didn't get a picture of the Brinsons with Bennett and Andrew, so here's a picture of Mitch and Andrew.
While I don't have any pictures of it, after the concert we went to Jimmy G's for cheesesteaks. This is just a little place on the side of a street. They weren't ready for us, so it took a while, but the weather was nice for sitting outside, and the cheesesteaks were really good! The place had reviewed well online. Because of how long it took, we had a lot of time to visit with each other, and that was nice. Just to chat without any stress...because all we had left on the agenda was to get to the hotel and check in.
We checked in to the hotel relatively early (for us). So the youth had some time to chill. I had a little less because I discovered one of our girls rooms adjoined a boys room. I haven't read the specific safe sanctuaries policy on this arrangement, but I'm pretty sure it's a no-no. So I had to switch my room with the girls' room. Then we headed down to the common area for our devotional.
We sang through the third verse of the Summons. Before I go any farther, let me say this (what choice do you have?!): we have really good congregational singing when we do this. The youth all sing. It's healthy and supported, not too loud, not anemic. Just really good. It's gentle and, in my mind, captures the essence of the music. I'm finding these moments of singing the Summons are among the most powerful for me, leaving me in fear of what will happen when we get to the final verse, because I usually tear up during that verse anyway.
Will you let the blinded see if I but call your name?
Will you set the prisoners free and never be the same?
Will you kiss the leper clean and do such as this unseen,
and admit to what I mean in you and you in me?
It seems like I like each verse more than the last. We talked about what it means to be blind...and what it means to be a prisoner. I asked the youth what they thought, and their answers were impressive and insightful. We are prisoners to the expectations of others. We are prisoners to the demands of society. We are prisoners to our own insecurity. And many more. Building on the second verse, the first part of the third is a call to action. And it's just warming up.
What does it mean to kiss the leper clean? It means that we don't let our own safety and well-being prevent us from seeing and addressing the needs of others. It's a call to selflessness, to seeing the way others are bound and setting about loosing their bindings even at personal cost.
But the hardest phrase, at least for me, is the one after that. "And so such as this unseen." All this selflessness, all this virtue, all these things we do to help others. We are to do them unheralded and unseen. I know people who are really good at this. They are the kind of people that, were I to list them here, would be embarrassed and would probably ask me to remove their name. Their the opposite of vain (they definitely don't think that song is about them). We don't trumpet our service. We do it quietly.
But what do we do when someone asks us why? Why do we act this way? Why do we aspire to selflessness when it is counter to our nature? The answer is Jesus. Will we admit that? Or will we claim instead it's our own virtue--seeking to glorify only ourselves?
That, I believe, is one of the great keys to moving the Church forward. First putting our faith into concrete, selfless, risk-full action, and then owning unapologetically that we are who we are because of our faith and our Christ.
After devotional, we began writing our thank you notes. I'm very excited that this year's notes, instead of being written on paper and envelopes like they have in the past, will be written on cards made by our friends in Honduras. So in purchasing the cards, we helped our own Honduras mission team as well as the folks who have made these cards their business. And they are lovely, lovely cards.
With any luck I'll be back on schedule tonight and tomorrow, so you'll have the blog from today when you sit down to your coffee. Until then...