Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Glories of Home Sweet Home

River Run Fun Festival is in full swing in Winston-Salem, Triad,
but it's not too late to get tickets to many promising films. So far,
we've seen three- two documentaries and a narrative, and have
given them scores of five, three, and four. Oh, just to explain, at
each showing, the audience a is given a rating tab and asked to
score their reaction to the film on a one to five scale, one being
basically "I hated it" to five being  "Loved it, would recommend it."
Not bad, I think, for early in our film-watching odyssey of thirteen
films over nine days. This celebration of new and innovative films
is a must-see for all film buffs in the area, in my opinion. To learn
more, go to the River Run website ( )and
then go, go, go to sister city, Winston-Salem, for a memorable

Kuddos, too, to UNCSA for their wonderful, energetic, totally fun
presentation of "Guys and Dolls" at the Stevens Center. If you
have never attended one of the fine presentations by the Theater
Department of the School of the Arts, you are missing something
remarkable. These "kids"- students all, present professional,
high-quality theater with incredible costuming, stage sets, and
lighting done by yet more students, putting together shows
which rival any other theater in the Triad and perhaps the state.

My twenty-five years of living in the Piedmont Triad have led me
to the inescapable conclusion that people in each of our three
unique cities fail to realize the richness available in the other two,
fail to reach out beyond their own environs to seek out what is
available just beyond their own doorstep. Sad...when there is so
much amazing art, music, theater, history all around us. Neighbor,
perhaps it's time to consider widening your own horizons, to
celebrate the truly wonderful diversity that is the Piedmont Triad,
with emphasis on TRIAD...three cities with so much to offer...if
you're only willing to look.

(No, I am not being paid by the Chamber of Commerce or the Arts
Council, though I sometimes wonder why these organizations
aren't doing more to encourage LOCAL support for who and how
and what the Triad has to offer.)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

It's a Miracle

How can anyone possibly not believe in resurrection, in new life, with
everything bursting into bloom here in North Carolina? My drive to
church has presented an ever- changing panorama of color over the
past few weeks, a delight to the eyes...a special joy when my both
my spirit and flesh are tired and in need of rejuvenation. And it
astounds me just how quickly it has happened. Not so very long ago,
the trees lining Highway 52 were bare, presenting their naked arms
to the sky- beautifully stark  but truly barren to the eye. And then-
pow! Leaf buds showing red and green...then unfolding into leaves of
every variety...redbuds and forsythia painting the landscape with
delicate hues of yellow and pale purple. And just this week, clouds
and crowds of dogwoods seemingly emerging out of nowhere, filling
the woodlands with their bridal-wreath white blossoms, dancing with
joy in the April breezes.

All around my neighborhood, flocks of azaleas are bedecking  yards
with their springtime finery- every shade of pink, red, even orange,
their overwhelming abundance enough to take the breath away
from this appreciative and delighted human creature.

Where did it all come from, this beauty, this majesty? And why do
we so often let it slip by unnoticed, unremarked upon, when in
reality, springtime is an annual which should, I think,
elicit from each and all of us open-mouthed astonishment and
awe for the incredible gift so lavishly spread before us. As I
stood on my back deck in the spring rain today, watching a bright
red cardinal in the big oak tree, all I could think was, "My God,
how great thou art," and then just throw back my head and laugh
for the joy and wonder of it all.

Monday, April 6, 2015

A Belated Happy Easter...

Don't ask me why I'm so worn out today, so emotionally and
physically drained on this Easter Monday. I just am. Guess if
I'm going to be kind, generous, and loving to myself, I'll
acknowledge that the past week has been...well, challenging,
to say the least. Not just the spiritually demanding nature of
the worship on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, both of
which I truly love, but both of which exact a deep toll from me.
Not just the Saturday morning confirmation class with four
kids I truly love. Not just the Easter worship, with its demanding
proclamation...yes, demanding, since those sitting in the pews
have heard it so often that it is a preaching challenge to not
sound like a broken record. Each and all of these required hours of
preparation, and as much as I enjoy preparation, those efforts truly
sapped me of energy.

But this Holy Week there was the additional emotional burden...well,
not burden, exactly, but a heavy weight of responsibility, to be
sure...of the reality of a precious friend and congregation member
being committed into Hospice care. Don't misunderstand- I am both
thankful and delighted that she has made this choice. In fact, in light
of her diagnosis and declining health, I had encouraged her to
consider this. But this step means that all of us who love her must
come face-to-face with not only her mortality, but our own.
Preaching resurrection was a bit more difficult this Easter, though
I cling to and believe in the promise of new life. Still, being
confronted by truth in all its many forms can be exhausting...and

So, I'm attempting to be easy on myself today, to permit myself to
rest in the arms of the One Who Loves, secure in the knowledge that
what is to come does not depend on in the promise
that new life is continual and ongoing and everlasting.
Thanks be to God.