Friday, May 14, 2010

serendipity, sermons, party favors, pencils, presents and jessica simpson .....


i went on a family trip for mother's day weekend ... we went on our church's parish retreat to the mountains of north carolina ... we were at a camp called kanuga .... i first went there as a child ... i've been doing this parish retreat for 13 years ... and i've gone a number of times for art workshops ... i like it there ... it means a lot to me for lots of different reasons ...

i used to be a story teller at my church ... during the children's chapel ... now i just do it occasionally, since my kids have outgrown the children's chapel.... somehow, ten or so years ago, i was asked to do the homily during the parish retreat, since i was a story teller anyway .... after getting over the fact that i'd be speaking to ADULTS and not just children, i was fine .... the trick to a good sermon? party favors .... i specialize in party favor sermons .... in all my homilies, i give away something for you to take home to keep and remember not just the sermon, but the whole weekend of fun .... bells, bandaids, rocks, star stickers .... not high quality party favors, as these things go, but party favors nonetheless...... and i'm pretty sure the reason they keep asking me to do the homily is because of the groovy factor of party favors ....

this year, a couple months ago, i read a small story by the brazilian author paul coelho ..... i had never heard of him, so i read up on him on a variety of websites .. and landed on amazon ... here's what looks to be his most famous book .. anyone read it? know him?

i decided that i could adapt his story for my homily ....

so, we had church in the woods, and this is kinda how my sermon went ....
all through the bible there are metaphors .... help me out here, tell me some metaphors .... (all sermons should have audience participation, huh?) ... i got lots ... the lord is my shepherd ... a rock ... alpha and omega .... the light ... my personal favorite is jesus as a mother hen (luke 13:34) ...

from there my homily segued into YOU are a metaphor too ... in fact, you are a pencil .... i passed out pencils ..... or, i had a bunch of tiny children pass out pencils for me, actually ...(cause little kids shouldn't have to sit still in church for too long ... especially if church is in the woods .... )

then i used this bit from paul coelho to tell them why they were pencils, metaphorically speaking :


there are five important qualities to a pencil:

1...you are capable of great things, but remember there is an invisible hand guiding your steps....

2.... the pencil can gets dull, so it must be sharpened....this is a bit painful, but afterwards it writes better... pain and sorrow can sharpen you and make you a better person......

3.... pencils have an eraser, so we can correct our mistakes....it is important to feel able ...and willing ... to correct our mistakes.....

4..the important part of the pencil is not the wood on the outside, but the graphite on the inside.....what's inside of you is far more important that what we can see on the outside .....

5... pencils leave a mark, so be aware of your actions, because everything you do in life will leave a mark....


again, those are paul coelho's notions, not mine ... but gosh it seems right, huh? the pencils were handed out to help those there to remember the weekend ... and the important ways that they are like a pencil .... the sermon was well received ... we took pictures of our happy selves in the woods .... life is grand ...


and then i came home ....


and when i came home, people magazine came into my email inbox .... and it asked me if i wanted to know what jessica simpson was planning to read this summer ... well, sure ... i'll look at her reading list ... might be good beach reading ... but ... hey!! super-sonic-serendipity.....she says she's going to be reading up on paul coelho this summer .... what!? jessica simpson knows about my cool brazilian philosopher author dude before i do?


and then, that same day, i went to a birthday brunch (for me...yippee!) ... and my gal pal dana gave me the absolute coolest pencils ever for my birthday present ... and she didn't even know about the pencil story serendipitous fabulosity ....

so that's my pencil story .... as i promised yesterday .... how'd i do ? i actually had a grand day of art today ... worked a lot and finished two pieces that i am very happy with ... rah for that ... but i'll blog those tomorrow ... or the next day ... i'm busy tomorrow night, so i might not have time to blog ....


happy weekend to you ... be a good pencil person .....

5 comments:

see you there! said...

No one but e. could get so much milage out of a pencil. Loved your sermon and will check my online library for some of the Paul Coelho books.

Darla

artmom said...

you are wonderful!!!!

cath c said...

thanks, e. i needed to hear this. you're a good sermoner.

Chris said...

Being a heathen, I can't make much of a comment about the metaphor, but I will say that I think your idea of giving out party favors at your sermons is a FABULOUS idea. Now, of course, I believe in party favors at almost any event (except maybe while at the emergency room), but I think having them there for a sermon is brilliant. It evens the playing field. It makes us all equal and thankful. Is that a metaphor? probably not. I've learned that I can say just about anything I want and make it sound good. But the proof's in the pudding.

And I bet your (Paul's) pencil metaphor has made some great pudding among your readers. So, it was good. And I guess I said something about the metaphor, after all.

What a cool gift!!

Amanda Thrasher said...

I LOVE this sermon (especially the part about kids getting to interact) and I love love the pencils. Missed Kanuga so much this year. Glad yall had a fun weekend. Hope to see you soon.