Our home TV has been down off the wall as we’ve been doing some painting and things around the house. This week it was hung back up. We got it all plugged in and the cables hooked together, but the screen just flashed, “Connection Error.” My husband, Adam, (your handsome, bearded, weekly Sunday morning sound technician) jiggled some wires, reworked a few things, and tried again. Still, the handy dandy diagnostic on the screen let us know what our problem was… “Connection Error.”
Adam called the cable company. They asked him some questions, worked through our issues (the TV ones at least), and when he hung up the phone our TV was back up and running with a simple modem reset. We were connected!
If only it were that easy for people. Jiggle a few wires, rework a few things, make a phone call, and wa-la: connection.
Or maybe it is that easy for people?
I have been giving quite a bit of brain and prayer power toward visioning for the future of the Children, Youth and Families department of Snowmass Chapel. My vision keeps coming back to one thing. What I want more than anything for our Chapel kids and parents and heck, really everyone in the whole world, is a life full of DEEP AND MEANINGFUL CONNECTION. I want our people to be totally plugged into the power source – Jesus – without any outages or connection errors, and then I want our people to be totally plugged into one another. I want connection.
Last week my four year old son was trying to understand the concept of what is living and what is not living. He started asking questions.
“Are the trees living, momma?”
“Are the rocks living, momma?”
“Is our house living, momma?”
“Is our church living, momma?”
Yes, little Zig-man, our church is living! Our church is not a building but a group of people who love God and WHO LOVE YOU. Our church is alive. Our church is connected.
I think we are most successful teaching kids about God’s magnificent love for them by allowing them to feel and experience the church’s magnificent love for them. Our kids need belonging. Our kids need connection. We all do. “Church,” and I’m talking ’bout the people, not the building, provide just that.
As I plan for the future of our youth department at Snowmass Chapel, I will continue to program things like the hut trip, family church, Lake Powell, VBS, and Smashbox because these are the types of things that jiggle the wires, reset the modem, and deepen CONNECTION.
I laugh as I type this and my computer goes haywire. The internet is down (“not connected”), but it’s “connecting in 1 second” and also gives me the option to “try now.” I hope we all choose to “try now” too. 😉
Stay plugged in friends.
Summer is here and the flowers on the hillsides of Aspen and Snowmass are in full bloom.
Last week the kids and I trekked a sweet path behind Clark’s market. We stumbled upon a wooden staircase that was surrounded by purple and yellow flowers. We made it to the top and once we got past the dusty peak, we descended onto a trail encased by bushes and shrubs. Every once in a while the dense folliage opened up to small meadows of vibrant flowers that seemed to be doused with fluttering butterflies.
How many butterflies could we count? We couldn’t, there were so many!
Grandma told the kids that some people think of butterflies as special spirits who are with us. They liked this concept and continued our hike in awe of the wonders of our earth and mesmerized by the thought of the spirits beyond.
The very next day a butterfly kit we had ordered from Amazon arrived in the mail. A netted cage was included along with a small container of live caterpillars that were no bigger than the width of my pinky nail. The caterpillars seemed lethargic after their bumpy ride to our home. We weren’t sure they were going to survive. But slowly, as they gobbled up the muck at the bottom of their container, which looked like peanut butter but much less appetizing, the caterpillars began to grow. Each day they doubled in size. In their tiny plastic container they crawled around and ate and ate and after 7 days, one by one, they climbed to the lid of their habitat. We watched as, little caterpillar foot by little caterpillar foot, each one slowly released their grasp until their world was turned upside down and they were just barely hanging on. Currently they are chrysalises, attached and asleep. Our family waits in anticipation for the beauty we expect to emerge at the end of this cycle.
I just love the deeply simple metaphors that nature gifts us. Here are the profound spiritual truths that these tiny creatures are teaching our family as we watch a transformation take place:
- Baby caterpillars (at least these ones) start off kinda ugly.
- You have-ta start somewhere, and that might mean crawling around in the muck for a while.
- You need to feed yourself to grow.
- As you grow, you’ll climb to new hieghts.
- To be transformed, you have to be willing to let go, little foot by little foot.
- Once you let go, your world will be turned upside down.
- Those watching the transformation take place will be awe-struck and inspired. It is very cool to witness!
- When you emerge from the transformation process, you’ll be more beautiful than you ever thought possible.
- Once you have your wings, you’ll see the world with a whole new perspective.
- True freedom comes only after all these other steps are complete.
I am just as in awe as my little children watching this whole cycle unfold. But, the truth is, if we look close these kinds of transformations are happening all around us in the human world too!
Have you ever watched a caterpillar go through it’s process? What stage do you find yourself in right this minute? What areas of your life would you like to see transformed? Do you believe God has a plan for you, to make you STUNNING, AWE-INSPIRING, and NEW? Do you think the caterpillar ever mistake its stages and think that it is in its final stage, when it is actually just entering another transformation?
Just some food for thought, and I hope it tastes better than the sticky goo those caterpillars are eating. :o)
We Gilbert girls taught 3 year old little Ziggy something very important at an early age. Girls. Don’t. Fart. (Ewww…. Just the sound of that word makes me cringe.) But seriously. We don’t. If by chance an unfortunate little bodily function does occur from a girl, “Ziggy, darling,” we told him, “as the gentleman in our family, you take the blame.”
Now maybe that is not great parenting, and one might feel bad for poor little Ziggy, but at this stage in his life he thinks farts (err, excuse me, we call them “toots”) are hilarious. He laughs and laughs and proudly raises his hand high to claim them as his own. “I take the blame!” he exclaims. So, at least for now, he’s adorable, and our plan is perfect, and all is well.
I just love how Jesus uses simple stuff like 3-year-old potty-humor and toots to teach me profound truths.
This week in staff meeting we dove into the book of Mark, chapter 15. Mark is a concise little book that offers the story of Jesus’ life in snapshots. Chapter 15 tells us about the crowd turning on Jesus, demanding the release of Barabbas, a criminal, and the crucifixion of Jesus instead.
Verse 15 says, “Pilate gave the crowd what it wanted, set Barabbas free and turned Jesus over for whipping and crucifixion.”
This verse makes it sounds like things just happened to Jesus. Like he wasn’t in control. But knowing the back story, we know that Jesus was well aware of his life’s purpose. Jesus accepted the accusations against him that day. He stepped in for the criminal. He raised his hand for the stinky stuff. He took the blame.
There are 39 days plus Sundays remaining in the Lenten season, a time for reflection and preparation before the celebrations of Easter. I pray that we all take some time these next weeks to repent for the stinky stuff in our lives, to reflect on the fact that Jesus raises his hand for us, and to give him all the glory for taking our place on the cross. Our prayers could go a little something like this: “Excuse me. Thank you, Jesus. Alleluia and Amen.”