Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Reformation Day!

Last night was our annual Reformation Celebration at Clifton Baptist Church -- this year celebrating the lives of John Knox and the Scottish Covenantors. Well over 100 children and adults crowded onto the 4th Floor of our church building (I'm just glad it held us) to play, sing, learn and of course EAT together for this exciting party. I never take enough pictures of things WHILE they're happening, because I'm too excited running around and enjoying it while it's going on. Plus, it's always so PACKED OUT that some photo ops are not possible. Here are a few fun ones that show a bit of what the night was like:

Just a FEW of our amazingly dressed volunteers! This is not even a third of the willing brothers and sisters that helped out to make it a special night. Unfortunately, this is the ONLY picture I have that shows part of the painting we made. I forgot to take a picture of it completed! Sorry! you can see just a tiny portion of the elaborate puppet stage one of our moms labored long and hard to build and paint this week. She and her team put on a puppet show about John Knox's call to preach in "St Andrew's Puppet Theatre". I bet you've never watched a puppet show like that before!

One ongoing activity is kids getting arrested and put in jail. It happens throughout the night while the kids are going around playing games. This year we made it so their clans had to come and pay the price on their heads to free them (I got the idea from reading Danger on the Hill in which Margaret Wilson's 13 year old sister was freed from jail because her father paid the ransom). Everyone basically really wants to get put in jail so they can thrash around and get attention (I guess!). One of my junior high girls, Chrissy, paid the guards to arrest me! This year I made sure to capture that moment on camera. I should be honored to be jailed for standing up for my beliefs, I suppose. I don't look too happy about it here, though! I love the way Bethan is posing with me here!

Look at this precious child in jail! This sad face is so believable, I was beginning to think he was truly sad. I think he might have been missing out on collecting candy or something.

We don't give prizes for costumes, but I'm always amazed with what people pull out! The Wright family (one of our Elders' families) are big history buffs and descendants of the Campbell clan, so they pulled out all the stops last night (as evidenced by this ADORABLE picture of their youngest child in the wig and kilt).

I also like this picture of 2 of the boys in the youth group chatting by the "fireplace" in the Knox home. Ignore the modern looking trash can! Ha ha!

I better stop with just a few more -- so here are some pictures of a couple booths I really liked. The first one is called Gedes versus Laud and you were supposed to throw the bean bag "stool" at the liturgy book the dean is holding. This booth is in commemoration of Jenny Gedes standing up for what she believed in St. Giles' church. Marilyn and Virginia donned the garb of the common folk to run the booth.

In this one, "Barricading the Priests", you were trying to throw the "priests" (made from socks -- so cute!) through the windows of the "church building". Britney and Courtney sat inside the church, trying to deflect the flying priests and toss them back out. It was really funny to watch the kids hurl them back at them!

One last picture -- this is Caitlin and me having a sip of water in the Knox home. I just love this girl AND all the other great friends that came out for the party! I learned so much about the heritage of my faith this year!
Tomorrow I'm doing a (mini) Reformation Party for story hour at the bookstore. What will I do without all the help?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

It's Almost Reformation Day!

Okay, so I'm bummed that no-one wanted to take a chance on my Covenantors Quiz, but I guess I should have offered a prize for it or something. :) I understand that most of your lives are revolving around the things you do, not around the Reformation like mine is right now. Just spent a lovely 7+ hours at the church working on setting up for the big night, and I was so encouraged to have so many great friends from Clifton show up to lend a hand. I think it would have REALLY been a lot for Annie and I to carry the whole load this year -- thank you, Lord!

Here are a couple pictures that show som
e of the stuff we worked on. It's a bit hard to tell quite how cool it is on the 4th floor of our church building where everything still looks . . . well, OLD. I'll be sure to put up some fun pictures of the night of next week to show the cute kiddos in their costumes and such. For now, here are some people-less shots.
Here is what greets you at the gates of Edinburgh. You come up some large stairs to this sight, so it was a little hard to get a shot that was broad enough and high enough to include the banner. I figured you could imagine the rest of the castle gate look. I am very happy with the Christ's Crown and Covenant banner, which was drawn free-hand by my sister Emily and then painted in by willing volunteers.

This is one of the adjoining rooms -- the Great Hall. Several sort of carnival games are in here, which I'm sure I'll get some good photos of on Wednesday. A couple of super-generous Seminary guys came and hung all the brick wall paper in the room, which was AWESOME. If you can see through the doorway into the room in the background, you may notice something that looks rather like gravestones on the wall, which is what they are. That booth is the "Last Words" booth in which the kids remember the martyrs who died for their faith by reading their last words. It seems a little strange, but a really great way to emphasize how they persevered to the end.

Well, it's still a few hours until Josh gets off work, so I think I'll do some organizing in my bedroom and watch "Luther" while I'm in the Reformation Spirit!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Reformation Party Update!

I've got a one-track mind these days -- The Reformation Party! Here is a picture of my sister Emily beginning to sketch out the highlands landscape we painted last Saturday. It's not quite done, so I'll wait until it's complete to give you some updated pictures.

Here's a quiz I wrote for the kids about the Scottish Reformers. Feel free to use wikipedia or whatever and answer the questions yourself! You can even put the smiley and frowny faces in your comment box by the villains and covenantors. Sorry, I could not control the size or spacing of the quiz.

Scottish Covenanters Quiz

Kids, you will find the answers to these questions in your Scottish Reformation booklet. Parents, feel free to give aid to children who need it.

1. What did Jenny Gedes throw at the Dean when he began to read from the Book of Common Prayer?

a. a pillow

b. a rotton tomato

c. the Bible

d. her stool

2. Who offered to die in the place of George Wishart? (hint: it was his bodyguard)

a. Patrick Hamilton

b. John Knox

c. John Graham of Claverhouse

d. King Charles the II

Draw a frowny-face next to the villains listed below, and a smile beside the covenantors:

a. John Graham of Claverhouse

b. James Turner

c. Jenny Gedes

d. Hugh McKail

e. Archbishop James Sharp

f. James Renwick

What churchyard did Presbyterians gather in to sign the National Covenant and declare their commitment to the Reformed Faith in 1638?

a. Greyfriars Churchyard in Edinburgh

b. St. Giles Kirk

c. Clifton Baptist Church

What did some churches do when the King sent young, inexperienced and less-than-holy preachers to take over for the Reformed pastors? Put True or False next to each suggestion

a. they threw a big potluck dinner to welcome them _____

b. they boarded up the doors so they couldn’t come in _____

c. they made them climb through the windows to get in _____

d. they liked them better than their old preachers _____

The people could still gather to hear the preaching from their preachers who had been expelled. In what kind of places did they gather? (circle all that apply)

a. at night

b. in the pouring rain

c. in the hills and valleys

d. in the king’s house

7. What was the name of the brave young preacher who did not recant his beliefs even under severe torture, and was eventually hanged?

a. Richard Cameron

b. Hugh McKail

c. Samuel Rutherford

d. Archibald Campbell

8. The years 1684-1685 were known as:

a. The Killing Times

b. The Restoration

c. The Revolution

9. What were the names of the King and Queen that finally brought peace and religious freedom to Scotland?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Reformation Party Time!

Every year our church, Clifton Baptist, hosts a Reformation Party near October 31st (the day Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the door in Wittenburg). I get to help organize the event, and now that I've been around a whole year, I've got an idea of how it goes, and I can really help my friend Annie administrate the event (she is the main brains behind the operation).

This year our Reformer we're focusing on is John Knox, and along with him, the tradition of the Scottish Covenantors. Even though I remember studying about Knox in college, I didn't know much about the persecution the Covenantors underwent over the course of a couple hundred years. It has been fascinating! I read an excellent little book based on the true story of teenage martyr Margaret Wilson, who died near the end of the "killing years" for her faith. The amazing thing about Margaret, and her younger brother and sister, who were also Covenantors with prices on their heads, was that their parents were loyal to the Parish church, and signed the oath saying the king was head of the church. I was awed by the faith of these KIDS who stood for what they believed, and in Margaret's case, to the DEATH. I highly recommend Danger on the Hill by Catherine Mackenzie, Christian Focus Publishers. It tells Margaret's story in a fictional way, adding in characters or details where history is not certain, but of her death it is quite precise.

Here are past posts I did last year about our Reformation Party, and I'll keep updating this year as things emerge and become more set in stone. Today we're going to start on setting up some of the decorations, including painting a mural of the Scottish Highlands! Hope to be back with some photo updates! Also, I'd be interested in some costume suggestions. I'm probably going to go peasant (with a plaid shawl or something) again unless I can come up with something better.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Favorite Children's Bibles Article

It's been awhile, since I've posted, I know! My husband had fall break last week, so he was doing a ton of homework, and I just had less access to the computer. Sorry about that.

I've been meaning to post a link to this article by Justin Taylor on favorite children's Bibles. I've found more and more adults mention reading children's Bibles as a great source of encouragement to their faith! My sweet friend Jen even added The Big Picture Bible by David Helm to her wedding registry.

Think about reading from one of these Bibles along with your morning devotions. When you read your child a bedtime story, consider how that story applies to YOU! I remember so vividly my friend Christen telling me how she was convicted when she read her daughter Hannah the story of Jesus calming the storm from The Jesus Storybook Bible. I hope you are likewise blessed with reading these good books.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Christian Fellowship

One of the highlights of my year came and went last weekend with our Women's Retreat at Clifton Baptist Church (where Josh and I are members). Once again, I was overjoyed by the time away, to take time to be quiet and focus on Christ, to grow together with my sisters in Christ, and to enjoy fellowship with them. And once again, even though I took my camera, I barely remembered to use it. Not every good moment at a retreat is a good photo op as well, you know? The best things of all, are the quiet moments of reflection, and you can't exactly take pictures of those times. (Note: This picture looks crooked because the camera was up on a hill near where we hiked).

I really tried to be intentional with my time at the retreat. First, I printed off some good discussion questions from GirlTalk to promote edifying conversation in the car ride (a little over an hour to the retreat center) with the girls in my car pool. It was great! I felt like I grew a lot in my understanding of these friends during our trip there. Another thing I tried to do was sit with a variety of people during meals and worship time so I could get to know a range of women. I have been at Clifton long enough, I guess, that I knew almost everybody at the retreat this year! Even though I stayed up kind of late Friday night, I still rose early on Saturday to enjoy that early morning quiet in the pretty lodge we were sleeping in. To aid my reflection time, I brought along this Personal Retreat I downloaded from GirlTalk. I had brought these questions with me last year, and was very glad I'd taken the time to reflect on my priorities. This year was even better, because I'd managed to get up so early, that no one else at the retreat was up yet -- not even the girls making breakfast for us all. I had plenty of time to read my Bible, work through the Personal Retreat, and write a note of appreciation for our speaker before the coffee was ready. I am so thankful for God's grace to enable me to rise early that morning!

At lunch, that day, one of my favorite ladies, Doris Stam, led those of us huddled around a round table with our soup and sandwiches in a conversation where we each shared where we lived when we were 6, how we heated our house, and when we first began to warm towards the Lord. It was a great time of sharing! I always love to hear how friends have come to Christ.

Our speaker was a lady I respect greatly, Gretchen Wright. She has been a friend to me here at Clifton, and impacts the younger women with her genuine and open life. She spoke to us about being rooted in Christ from Colossians -- which was just amazing. Her teaching was profound, and yet very practical and applicable. She suggested we filter life through 3 thoughts -- God's sovereignty, glory and grace, which was SO HELPFUL! I'm still chewing on these thoughts. When her talks get uploaded to our church's website, I'll be sure to put up the link.

I was WIPED OUT when I got back from the retreat, but overflowing with joy in Christ. The Lord used this time to convict me of areas of sin, and grow my affections for Christ. What a weekend!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Sweet Sacrifice -- an Evening with Jani Ortlund

Last evening, Pendergraph Women's Ministry here on campus hosted speaker and writer Jani Ortlund (author of Fearlessly Feminine and His Loving Law, His Lasting Legacy). I had been so blessed when I read FF last fall for a class, and eagerly anticipated hearing directly from Mrs. Ortlund. We were so richly blessed by her years of experience and wisdom! It is occasions such as these that cause me to reflect on how blessed I am to be here at Seminary with my husband. Here is a photo of me with Mrs. Ortlund -- doesn't she look like a movie star? She is beautiful inside and out. You'd NEVER guess her age. :)

One sacrifice that Jani emphasized in her address was the sacrifice of your reputation -- being willing to turn one deaf ear and blind eye to any unkind rumors. She encouraged us to determine to live our lives in such a way that if people hear rumors, they would automatically dismiss them because of the testimony we bear. However, this is no guarantee that we won't be falsely attacked and misun
derstood! She gave us several examples from history of great leaders who were treated poorly even when they lived lives of purity. We are promised suffering, right? Christ, who made Himself of no reputation, when reviled, reviled not again. Or as Romans 12 (which I have been memorizing and meditating on this week) tells us "Bless those that persecute you -- bless, and curse not. . . Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good."

I was so challenged with this wise advice. I know I am guilty of being defensive when I am misunderstood! It also challenged me to consider how I use MY tongue.

After Mrs. Ortlund spoke, we went over to Dr. and Mrs. Mohler's gorgeous home for dessert and (MY favorite) exploring the library in the basement! Here are a couple photos from the rest of the evening.

Me, with our lovely hostess, Mrs. Mohler.

This one is a little far away, but I like how it captured the scope of one of the rooms in the library. My friend Jena (with me in the picture) did a little video tour of our exploration of the library last night. It was great fun. Here is the post I wrote after my first visit to the Mohler's house 2 years ago. Kind of fun to see how my perspective has changed a bit. Not entirely, though. I'm still in awe!