Ministry and the Best Marriage

Ministry and the Best Marriage

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters, October 2014

Happy Anniversary! Days like these just seem to sneak up on you, right? A year ago, I wrote about all of the firsts we would experience together. In the time between that first article and this one, we have made our way through the entire cycle of the Christian year from Advent to Christ the King Sunday. We have worshiped in the morning, vespered in the evening, and sung the silence of Taizé on Tuesday nights. We have communed, baptized, and soon will bless all the animals.

We have had CBF, VBS, and more than a few WOM and PIM meetings. Beyond that I have found that a class refers to itself as the Grumpy Old Men. Does that make them the GOMs in our particular verbiage?

Even in this past month, you have dumped an untold number of gallons of ice water on me for a good cause; and during one season I nearly set the chapel on fire with the burning of the palms for no good reason.

I tried to learn your names quickly. Apparently this gave me a good reputation…maybe an unwarranted one. I am pretty sure I simply confidently renamed a few of you and you just went with it to be nice. Sorry Barbara, I mean Helen, I mean Barbara. Your patience has far exceeded my memory.

We have celebrated happy nuptials in holy matrimony and held each other close during final moments of saying goodbye. The seekers in sneakers have walked through the waters of baptism and the sneaky seniors have played more than their fair share of games at Jim Dandies. I have held my first baby dedication in our sanctuary and heard your promise to help raise up the child while choking back happy tears.

I experienced the particular, provincial, and sometimes peculiar qualities of what it means to be the church in this place. And you know what, I am still “all in.” Last October we moved to Macon, jumped into the midst of this community, and fell wholeheartedly in love with Highland Hills. This season of introductions and relational romance is often referred to as the “honeymoon” period of the pastorate. But let’s be clear: the real romance at the heart of any community doesn’t happen between a pastor and a congregation but instead Christ and the church.

The relationship that we must prove vital is that of the life and mission of Jesus and the life and mission of this congregation. We must worship, lifting up the name of Christ. We must open wide our doors and minds to the welcome of Christ for all. We must learn from the way of Christ as fellow pilgrims. We must sacrifice our lives for the will of God in risk-taking mission and ministry. That is the best of all marriage, and it is one to which we must commit our common life.

Welcome to Daddy's House

Welcome to Daddy's House

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 9/25/14

“God, our Father, Christ, our brother, all who live in love are thine.”
 
Our son, Logan, has a lot to say these days. We are learning his likes: apples and goldfish. We are also learning his dislikes: haircuts, during which he simply says, “noooo!” Engaging this ever-loquacious two-year old means listening closely to try to figure out exactly what he is saying. “Liking my fiend,” heard repeatedly, is actually “Lightning McQueen,” the hero of the Cars movies. It also means asking him a lot of questions to plumb the depths of his growing vocabulary. “Logan, what is that?” “Where are we?” We are constantly narrating our life together; we name where we have been, where we are, and what we are doing.

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.
 

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.