Eat, Pray, Wow!

Eat, Pray, Wow!

by Carol Brown

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 9/18/14

Spending two days at St. Simon’s Island with a group of 25 women is bound to be a fun-filled experience, but when it’s the HHBC Women’s Retreat, it is so much more than that! It’s true that we enjoyed fabulous seafood, laughed until tears ran down our faces, and basked in the sense of renewal that only an island retreat can provide, but the weekend was more than just a break from our everyday routines. At the Women’s Retreat last weekend, our group of women, who represented a variety of ages and stages of life, found a sisterhood in our shared struggles and faith.
 
The retreat sessions were formed around the book, Help, Thanks, Wow: Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott. As we explored this short but profound book, we shared with each other our journeys through the ups and downs of our prayer lives. Anne Lamott describes prayer in this way: “Prayer is taking a chance that against all odds and past history, we are loved and chosen, and do not have to get it together before we show up.”
 
Our spiritual “wow” moments may have happened during our Bible study sessions, through times of creative spirituality (artsy-craftsy stuff), or during private times of prayers and reflections. But for me, I often found myself saying “wow” and “thanks” to God in unexpected moments, like the beautiful sunset that graced our meeting room’s large picture window when we gathered for our first session on Friday evening. I also found myself feeling profoundly grateful when we shared communion with one another on Sunday morning in our closing session. In a beautiful way, I felt God’s presence in the room and saw God’s goodness on the faces of my sisters in Christ. Wow!
 
Along the journey of your life, I hope that you will recognize the “wow” moments that God gives you. And if prayer sometimes seems too difficult or lofty to attain, keep in mind the three essential prayers that can get us through: help, thanks, and wow.

Rested and Renewed

Rested and Renewed

by Cass DuCharme

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 9/11/14

As many of you know, I’ve just returned from a six-week sabbatical. My “rest from work” included times of worship, rehearsal, travel, moving Chase into college, prayer, more travel and, yes, some time of rest. I missed the routine of my daily church life and I missed all of you, but I so enjoyed my time of rest and renewal and I thank you all for giving me this opportunity.

Learning to Read

Learning to Read

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 9/4/14

Ellen Davis, a favorite professor of mine, tells the story of a cartoon in the New Yorker that shows a man making inquiry at the information counter of a large bookstore. The clerk, tapping on his keyboard and peering intently into the computer screen, replies, "The Bible?. . That would be under self-help.” We get the joke. Interpreting the Bible requires more than knowing that you should read top to bottom and left to right. Beyond that reading the text is not a solitary affair. We need each other to read the text rightly. 

Giving Ourselves Back to God

Giving Ourselves Back to God

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters, September 2014

Generosity begins at the beginning. Generosity is not just the practice of being nice to others, it is a way of framing your life in light of the grace of God. We name this early in the life of any disciple here at Highland Hills. If you listen, you can find it in our baby dedication litany: “This child is not your own. She is a gift from God and you will teach her to give her life back to God for the rest of her days.” Generosity defines the Godbearing life. By giving our lives back to God, we discover how to live with and love each other through concrete practices of sharing, generosity, and love. All of these find root in the love we offer back to God and the lives we dedicate to God’s mission in the world.

In Search of the Imago Dei

In Search of the Imago Dei

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 8/28/14

You are made in the image of God…simply mind blowing. Most mornings when I look in the mirror, I struggle to see the image of me clearly, much less the image of God. Consider these words from Genesis:
 
“Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.’ So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth’”(Genesis 1:26-28).

Confessions of a Homebody

Confessions of a Homebody

by Ruth DuCharme

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 8/21/14

I am a homebody. I am one who prefers the comforts of home to the strangeness of an unfamiliar place. I like my bed, my shower, and my pillow. When I travel it takes me a few days to adjust to my new surrounds before I can relax and enjoy my time away.

Life After Here

Life After Here

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 8/14/14

What is next? What is next after you have finished curating your well-constructed life? How does spirituality change over the course of a life? For many road weary disciples there comes a tipping point, a turn from constructing a well lived outer life. Meaning shifts from all of the goals of the outer life — providing for a family, establishing a career, attaining a degree, finding security — toward a different way of understanding the meaning found in the inner life.
 

Investing in the Vision

Investing in the Vision

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 8/7/14

Money. It is one of those subjects that Mrs. Manners told you not to talk about, along with religion and politics. Yet, in any congregation, the subject coalesces into an individual spiritual practice and a communal reality. What we do with our money, individually and collectively, matters to God.