Sunday, June 17, 2018

Lacking a coloring sheet, I was forced to draw.

So if there's one post to skip, this would be it.

 Our pastor having had a hip replaced this week, we have the great blessing of dipping into the surprisingly deep pastoral pool from within our own congregation.

This week we were in Jonah 3 & 4.  The plant part of the story, not the whale part.  Please note I drew Nineveh too.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Missions sermon art

Today's pastor was a Japanese national who had been ministering in Quebec and is now heading to Nice, France.  I greeted Pastor Satoshi with, "Konnichiwa; Bienvenue," to which he not totally surprisingly asked if I spoke either language.  I don't, but I'm something of a polyglot in terms of greetings and thank-yous.

Sermon coloring sheet today from Matthew 9.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018


Pentecost is one of those neat holidays that doesn't get enough recognition.  When I was in high school (and high school French), my pastor did a neat bit in morning service he called Pentecost Revisited.  His point was that Pentecost reversed the Tower of Babel, because at Babel the LORD scrambled language so that people couldn't understand each other because they were trying to be like God and build their own way to heaven, but at Pentecost, thru the power of the Holy Spirit, all the nations heard the disciples speaking in their own languages.  Why were all the nations in Jerusalem in Acts 2 anyways?  It was for the Feast of Weeks, aka Shavuot, a pilgrimage feast celebrating both the wheat harvest and the giving of the Law back in Moses' time.  You count with great anticipation seven sevens starting from the second day of Passover, which is 50 days, thus the pente- prefix to Pentecost.

So in this dramatic reenactment, we had about 10 people read out a verse, I think Revelation 7:9.  If that's the case, the verse is
After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.

But we didn't read it in NIV; we each had a language we'd grown up with or studied or were learning in school.  Even read each in turn, it was something of a babble. 

But Pentecost reverses that babble.  And we read together the successive verses in English together (Revelation 7:10 & 12):

Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.
Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.

All that as a leadin... I'm just happy sermon art continued beyond Easter for me to color with Sharpies, even if calligraphic illumination (in the monastic sense) verses didn't necessarily.  


Monday, May 28, 2018

Chihuly at Biltmore / Hogwarts is Here

If you're gonna cast a spell, it might as well be a cool one.

And when you have a Railroad Spike Wand from the Drunken Smithy, anything can happen.  He says it's the way to go, especially if you're doing spells with electricity, or fireballs, or flame-ish stuff...

And if Chihuly coming to Biltmore isn't cool enough, and photo-worthy enough, nothing will ever be.  So bring your wands.

Even Big Frog did some wandwork, albeit with Hagrid's umbrella wand...

He also took on an awesome Frog 'Fro.

Here also are some "regular" pics of Chihuly's amazing work and Biltmore's everyday beauty, both from daylight and Chihuly Nights.

Indeed, Hogwarts is here.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Coloring in church

About a year ago I read this article about "Stick Figures as an Act of Worship", and I told my evening church kids that if they drew stuff during the sermon to show me afterwards.  (They didn't.  But they could have.)  And I, for a few weeks, pencilled bulletin marginalia during the sermons, mostly ASL images of hands signing key words, those no-head, ASL dictionary, line drawing stills with arrows to represent motion.  I had internalized a LOT of sermons on my hands in ASL, after all. I've said for years that kids (kids of all ages) can internalize sermons even when they don't get all the bits of it, and it's helpful to sit in the Deaf section and watch the signing, or better yet, sign along, or at least pick up a few key words, because that way you're engaging more of your senses. And hearies can't turn their ears off, so it goes in even if you're not paying attention. For a few years starting when I was about 5, our church met in a multipurpose space that also served as a ballet studio. I could not tell you how many sermons I listened to, sitting on the aisle, next to my dad, about 2/3 of the way towards the front of the congregation, but facing the barre mirror behind all of us instead of facing the pastor. So, on the one hand, sorry, Pastor Al, for not facing forward. And sorry to all those sitting behind me that I distracted by facing them head-on, even if I was looking at myself and not them. Yet on the other hand, there's not much I can be sorry for, because in the midst of all that I learned about the Abrahamic Covenant in Genesis 15, and retained the brilliant mnemonic that God promised both the SEED and the DEED -- descendants as many as the stars in the heaven, and the promised land. Covenant Theology. Not bad for 5yo.

Then this Lent, our pastor started adding calligraphic pages into the bulletins.  Adults got half-sheets on cardstock with think-about-its on the back; kids got the same image on a full sheet of cardstock, on a clipboard.  They've had clipboards for the kids for almost as long as I've been worshipping at Grace Pres and had assorted kids' bulletins, images, activities and a huge coffee can of colored pencils that you can use a handful of pencils during the service and return afterwards.

But these coloring sheets (originals carefully inked by a member of the church who was teaching himself calligraphy) weren't just take-homes, or toss-its.  The pastor encouraged the kids to show him their work after the sermons.  And almost immediately he decided that for Lent he would rig up a way for everyone to be able to display their art in the lobby so it could be shared not just with him but with each other as well.

As it happens, just that week, one of my fellow Heart of the Triad Choral Society board members had pulled out this gorgeous set of assorted Sharpie pens in a hard case

and I immediately fell in love with it and purchased my very own set, receiving it literally the day before this momentous in-sermon "everyone can and should color" proclamation.

So. Much. Win.

Here is how I spent the sermons during Lent 2018:
(Same image twice, but I had a midweek service I went to and I somehow had an extra Sunday bulletin, so out came the Sharpies.)

By week 2 I was swiping a clipboard and a full-size piece from the kids' stash.

Usually I could get a big one, but not always.  Still pretty.

And then... catastrophe.

Somewhere between Palm Sunday (although after the madness of prepping for EOPS 10, because I had my Sharpie pens on Palm Sunday!) and Easter, my entire hard case went walkabout.

So I was forced back into pencilling.  You may not be able to tell, but I was aiming for the hands from Michelangelo's Creation of Adam.  It turned out better than I expected, actually.  (Although I didn't sign this one, possibly intentionally.)

But Sharpies are better.  And having turned the house upsidedown and run thru where in my life I might have left them, I went ahead and ended up buying another set.  Worth it.  (And I hope whoever found the first set is loving them too.  I wrote my name and phone on the new set so if it gets lost it'll at least guilt the finder.) 

It's now after Lent and, as of last Sunday, after Easter too (the Pentecost pic was glorious, but very detailed so I'm still working on it).  I hope the coloring sheets continue.

Friday, April 13, 2018


[Exit music on the Fort Macon video]
Grasshopper sittin on a sweet p'tato vine
Grasshopper sittin on a sweet p'tato vine
Grasshopper sittin on a sweet p'tato vine
'long comes a chicken and says, "He's mine."

Big Frog: So... not a happy song, then.
me: Unless you're the chicken.
Big Frog: Yes, unless you're the chicken.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Dead giveaway

QOTD: Big Frog: You know how people can tell we're Americans?
me, silently thinking: sooooo many ways!
Big Frog: We switch our knife and fork as we eat.