Thursday, July 12, 2007

Australia intro to sermon:)

Have you ever come back from a “vacation” and been exhausted? Have you ever thought you needed a vacation from your “vacation?” I use quotation marks with the word vacation because my husband has banned me from using that word to describe future trips we take. This week he said that a vacation would be relaxing and being rejuvenated from the stress of normal life. You see, trips I plan are nothing like that… they are more like adventures.

For some reason I think I need to cram as much as possible into our trips. Who knows if I’ll ever go back to a place? So I want to make the most of every opportunity. We just went to Australia for a couple weeks. I wanted to see a new part of the world, to hear the orchestra play at the Sydney Opera House, to smell the Eucalyptus as we hiked through the Blue Mountains, to taste interesting new foods and wine, and most of all to swim in God’s aquatic masterpiece, the Great Barrier Reef.

Everyone we met there from other parts of the world laughed when we told them our itinerary; they were taking months to accomplish what we jammed into 10 days. And wouldn’t you know, after adding too many things to my proverbial plate, my body finally called it quits. I got sick. And let me tell you, a 13 hour plane ride with a splitting headache and ears which refuse to adjust to the pressure, is miserable.

Now, if this were the first time this had happened to me, I might hope for your sympathy. But unfortunately, this has become a pattern in my life on vacations. My family jokes that I only get sick in exotic destinations. Apparently my brain is too dense to realize that my body is sending the message, “Stop! Stop. Adding too many things to the agenda is not healthy. It is dangerous, and it can destroy you.”

Perhaps you all are wiser than me, but I wonder if you also fall into the myth that ‘more is more’ in some way? I could preach a whole sermon on how both our culture and the church is frequently saturated with this lie that more is more or better. And those who rebel and ascribe to the minimalist, less is more, philosophy aren’t automatically off the hook either, because usually there is some pride and judgment in comparison to the other camp. We can make idols either way. There is a need to throw out that whole continuum; life is not about either end, indulging or abstaining, or achieving mythical ‘balance’ to have an equal ratio of each. Life is about being faithful to God and living in rhythm with him. And if we are entangled in idolatry, making anything else bigger than it deserves to be, we can’t devote ourselves whole-heartedly to God. We need to learn how to let things in our lives be in their proper places, so that we can make the most of our lives

Whirlwind summer

So my plan was to write about Australia right after we got back. But then life happened, and it's now a month later... Between the catch up in yard work, playing with friends, 3 summer school classes and a week in Pebble Beach/Carmel, CA with family for the 4th- time flew! And now I have a week until I go to Europe, in which I have to do a Greek mid-term, an Ethics final, write 13 pages, and interview for a chaplaincy job at a hospital... Plus my college pastor's leaving our church this weekend, which I'm grieving, and I have a retreat this weekend. Whew.

So I hope I can make time to write about AUS some time. I'm not sure if I'm a poor steward of my writing, or if I'm not in a season where writing needs to happen as frequently as it used to. I feel blessed when I do it, and other people always encourage that gift in me, but it doesn't seem to be happening naturally. I don't know, do you know what I mean? Some gifts you always do, and others come and go with seasons?

Anyway, it was a great trip. I shared some it in a sermon I gave last month; I could post that part up...