A Holy Walk

A Holy Walk

by Ruth DuCharme

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 10/23/14

I love to take walks, especially during the fall season when the air is crisp and the colors are brilliant. Many evenings after supper, Cass and I will put on our tennis shoes and walk around the lakes of our neighborhood. At other times I will walk alone or walk with my trusty companion, Chip, our mailbox-sniffing pup.
 
Walks are very soothing to me. Yes, sometimes I walk for exercise. At those times, I will walk faster and further in order to get my heart rate up and my muscles moving. At other times, my walks are slower and more contemplative. During those walks, I try to have a heightened sense of attentiveness and seek to hear and see God’s presence around me.
 
These walks provide me the chance to see and experience a bit of holiness in my day. Holiness has come to me in watching the two owls that live in the trees near our home. Holiness has come to me in glimpsing a group of geese flying over the lake in a perfect V-shaped formation with a full evening moon shining in the background. Holiness has come to me in the sweet smell of tea olive floating through the fall air. Finding holiness, or glimpses of God, in the simple act of taking a walk requires me to pay attention and to use this simple activity to sense God’s presence.
 
Barbara Brown Taylor, in her book An Altar in the World, says, “My life depends on engaging the most ordinary physical activities with the most exquisite attention.” It is when we do this that we become aware of God’s presence encouraging us and dwelling with us.
 
Walks have taken on a holy meaning for me over the past few years when I discovered the sacredness of labyrinth walking. Walking a labyrinth is an ancient spiritual practice. A labyrinth is laid out like a maze. It is a perfect circle with a curling path inside that includes switchbacks and detours. It has one entrance and leads to one center. Though you can walk it for about twenty minutes, you will end up only about twelve feet from where you started. With a labyrinth, the destination is not really the point. The point is the journey. The walking is the spiritual practice.
 
So take a walk. Put on your tennis shoes, put one foot in front of the other, and pay attention. God may nudge you to notice something that you have never seen before. You may feel the breeze and consider it God wrapping love around you, or you may see a bit of beauty that before now has gone unnoticed. Augustine of Hippo, one of the early theologians of the Christian church said, “It is solved by walking.” Barbara Brown Taylor asks, “What is ‘it’? If you want to find out, then you will have to do your own walking.”

Spiritual Formation Matters

Spiritual Formation Matters

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 10/16/14

I have spent some time with a few of our recent high school graduates, now college freshmen. Something remarkable happens in that  time between the end of the last year of high school and the end of the first semester of college. All of the finality of graduation passes away. You realize that the end of one phase was really the beginning of a new one. I have been a pastor long enough now to see students move from college to career to kids.

Honing in on Hospitality

Honing in on Hospitality

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 10/9/14

We are southerners. We understand hospitality here in Macon, where every guest is welcomed with a smile, southern drawl, and a glass of sweet tea. What if hospitality goes beyond our gentile niceties?

On Becoming a Worshiping Church

On Becoming a Worshiping Church

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 10/2/14

Worship is the most important thing we do as practicing, faithful, Christians. If you ask people why they like worshiping at their congregation, you will get a bevy of responses, most based on personal tastes. “I like worship where we sing hymns, see no screens, and sound the hour by the organ.” If you ask another, you might also hear that they like worship at their church because, “the sermons are short, the music is loud, and the drums quicken the pulse.” Asking why someone likes worship may be the wrong question. It invariably leads to issues of style, taste, and personal preference.

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.

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.