Harvest Festival, Musical Extravaganza

It was a great Sunday service at IUC on October 26th. There was wonderful music, lots of people singing and sharing their gifts. The M’Earth Tones were amazing with their renditions of timely songs that invoked a tremendous energy and spirit. Our choir was none to shabby either with its peppy spiritual medley.  Cameron singing our prayers of the people made up of selected verses of hymns added both beauty and solemnity to this sacred time.

Our sanctuary looked great too with its new paint, new lighting, new rug, and new chairs, not to mention our choir with its new robes as well. Our New Beginnings campaign has surely brought some big changes to our worship space.

It was most gratifying to see people who we haven’t seen for awhile who have been dealing with illness. This was a special gift, to see people whom we have prayed, not just for a few weeks, but for months suddenly appear.

And then there was the food – tons of it, and all of it outrageously delicious, and most of it calorie free (right).

As a church we have all worked hard, each doing his/her assigned task. Sunday was our moment, our Harvest Festival, Musical Extravaganza, when we could  sing our praises to God and enjoy the fruits of our labors.

Thanks to you all,

fall event


I have this nightmare… I’m riding my bike on the AIDS/Lifecycle ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles… Everyone has passed me and I am all-alone.  There is this huge hill.  I aggressively begin my ascent only to discover that both my tires are flat, and my chain got disengaged from the gears.  I am left all alone and no one knows I’m missing… I pull my Cannondale over to the side of the road, drink the last bit of water and quietly wait for death…

Of course this could never happen.  Each of us has a number, (mine is 3274), so all of us are accounted for.  There is supposedly a rescue bus that picks up riders that are in some sort of trouble or has simply run out of “physical gas.”  The motto for this ride and all the formal training rides is “No one left behind.”   Well, that gives me a great deal of comfort.  The fact that the safety net is always there, the rescue bus is at my disposal gives me a great sense of comfort.

Last weekend during the weekly Saturday ride, we realized one of new good friends, Pash, fell far behind.  It was not until we were at one of the water break stops when we realized he was missing. Cameron rode back to find him.  Pash had a flat tire.  Cameron helped him fix it and together they came to stop where Bridge (another rider) and I were waiting, the other riders having continued on ahead.  Pash was incredulous that Cameron went to find him and also that Bridge and I remained behind waited for Cameron and him to catch up. The four of us concluded the ride together–we developed a special bond from this too.

All of us have rescue stories, don’t we.  We have all experienced a time, too, where we have been saved in some way.  It has happened to all of us.  We have all been rescued from something or by some one at a time in our lives.  And here is the neat part… we will never forget it.  I’ll bet too, on the other hand there have been times where all of us have lent the helping hand and thereby rescued some one else.  It gives us a good feeling–giving a helping hand.

It is little wonder that charity is a spiritual discipline–one of the big three Prayer, Fasting (taking care of our physical body) and Almsgiving, helping some one in need–rescue or saving–even being the “savior” to some one in need.

I love the last line of this week’s passage from Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, “Jesus, who recuse us from the wrath to come.” And how does Jesus rescue?  He shows us simply that our way out of the consequences of the corruption of our secular society is by being a people of mercy and mission.  If you want to feel better about yourself, do something positive with your life.

I love how Jesus, our Savior, said, “Do this in remembrance of Me.” I don’t think He was saying eat some bread and drink a jigger of juice as much as He was saying BE my body, BE my blood–BE ME because I’m not going to be around any more–BE ME!  And one thing I am sure of, if Jesus didn’t think we were up to the task, He never would have issued the command, He never would have asked that we do everything we possible can to make sure that no one is left behind.




I got a big surprise the other day.  A friend of mine, Carl Addison Swanson, who writes pulp fiction, told me that I was a character in his new book, who would make brief appearance toward the end of the story.  At first I was rather excited and pleased, but then knowing pulp fiction, (lotta killin’–lotta sex) I became a tad concerned… but then it is “fiction,” right?  In turn, I thought it only fair that I mention Carl, a self-declared atheist, in my Christian eNews article.

Carl and I grew up in Westport, CT, but were never really friends back then.  We were born the same year, went to the same church and high school, but never hung out in the same social circles.  He was more of a jock, and I did the music drama thing.  We had no opinion of each other either way.  We knew who each other were, but that was about it.  We did and still do know, however, many of the same people in our class, most of whom we now talk (gossip) about with great abandon.

We got reacquainted on Facebook where the Staples High School Class of 1966 has a page.  Over time, Carl’s and my posts reflected similar attitudes and opinions.  Though we never got together all the time I lived in New England and New York (he currently lives in Westport), twice now, I have made it a point to stop by for a visit when I journey back east from California.  Each visit with Carl and his partner, Jo Ann has proved to be the highlight of each trip.

Why am I writing about this?  I guess out of gratitude.  I am grateful for friendships, for people that care, for people who take an active interest in my wellbeing.  I see it as one of the most beautiful things about creation as it relates to human beings.  The command of “neighbor love” can really be a chore sometimes, challenging and stretching ones limits and patience to the nth degree.  Then there is the neighbor love that is so easy that its like putting on a pair of old slippers-–the grace-filled kind where an atheist and a Christian can write about each other motivated by mutual love and respect.

By the way, Carl’s book can be downloaded to you reader on Amazon: Killer Cookie Dough: Tug Thriller by Carl Addison Swanson.