I just wanted to update you on what we know about moving. We don’t have all the details arranged, but we’re making progress.
We’re aiming to make the move the last week of May/first week of June. The goal is to be packed up before we leave for Phoenix on June 1. We’re still making arrangements for moving our belongings. I got an estimate from a moving company today, and we’re still trying to find other alternatives.
Next week I will be flying to El Paso to look for a place to live. Right now I’ll be primarily looking for a place to rent until we find a house to buy. I’m pretty sure that we will purchase a home in the near future, and the market seems right for it. But it’s not something we want to rush, either.
We’ve started the packing process (Sara’s done more than I have). What’s really amazing is how many things I find that I can really get rid of—even after just three years. Besides the physical packing, there’s also a lot of things I have to do to wrap up loose ends here. I need to hand off things that I’ve been working on. I need to make sure the right files and records are left in the right place or the right hands.
And then there’s the most difficult part of saying good-bye. I haven’t had to say final good-byes to anyone yet, but the initial discussions have been hard. When I’m talking to people about my departure, there are two things that I want to say (but it’s usually hard to say without becoming emotional). The first is just how much I’m going to miss this place and (especially) the people here. But at the same time I don’t say that in the sense that I’m going to wish that I hadn’t left or was back here. I’m looking forward to what is ahead, and in that sense I’m not looking back. But it is hard to say good-bye to so many kind and wonderful and supportive people. I’m going to write something more about this later.
The second thing I want to express is how much of a privilege it has been to serve here and how grateful I am to have been able to do so.
Members of the Seminary Chorus attended a taping of The Price is Right while they were on tour in California. The show aired yesterday. You can watch the episode online here. One of the guys had the chance to "Come on down" and got on stage with Drew Carey. The choir sang "Sie leben hoch" while he spun the wheel. Even Drew Carey was singing along.
On Sunday night we watched the movie Glory Road. It’s the story of Don Haskins, the legendary coach of Texas Western basketball (now the University of Texas—El Paso). It’s actually a very good movie and gave us a little hint of El Paso culture.
The funny thing is, this was just the next movie in our Blockbuster online queue. This movie has been on our list for months, and just happened to come last week.
I was going through some class notes from the Seminary when I came across this little quote. What I’m actually doing is trying to scan most of my notes into the computer so that I don’t have to store (and move) the binders.
I can’t even remember who the professor was, but he was explaining a certain construction in 1 Peter and gave a wooden translation that you would never use, but gets at the meaning of the phrase. He said "you can put it in your notes if you promise not to put it in a sermon."
As it turns out, I’ll be preaching on this section next Sunday.
A couple weeks ago now we started going through a study on Lutheran music called Singing the Faith in our Sunday Bible Hour. It’s a video presentation that discusses the history and background and theology of Lutheran music. It is very well done.
The first Sunday we covered the first part, on the hymns of Martin Luther and the first Lutheran hymnals of 1524. One point that didn’t actually make it into the video (it was in the intro video) was that the first hymnals were not primarily church books, but household books. That is so different than today, when hymnals aren’t always even used in church, much less in the home. But it wasn’t just the Lutheran hymnals of the 16th century that were intended to be used in the home. This picture is from an old WELS hymnal. It doesn’t have a date on it. But notice that the intention is spelled out clearly: "Songbook for church, school, and house" (This might also remind us of the importance of Lutheran elementary schools in teaching music.)
I think that if we are to carry on the rich heritage of music that sings the faith, the music must extend beyond a weekly worship service. Whether that comes from a hymnal in the home or not, at the very least, our own exposure to this music must be more than the 3 or 4 hymns we sing on a Sunday.
This idea is not new to me. We always did a lot of singing at home. And that is something I’m sure they learned from their parents. Singing was a part of everyday life. Grandpa sang hymns while he milked the cows. Mom sang hymns to wake us up in the morning and to put us to sleep at night.
My point here is that if we are to pass on our musical heritage, I think that our hymnals—or at least the hymns—need to be used as those early hymnals were intended: for church, school, and home.
Some of you may have heard already, but for those who haven’t…
I have decided to accept the call to serve at Trinity in El Paso, Texas. Now my mind is swimming with all the things to think about and decide as I prepare to leave Modesto and St. Peter. I’ll just say it’s going to be a challenging month to come. Right now I won’t go into all the things that I’m going to miss about this place—maybe later.
At the same time though, I’m really looking forward to what lies ahead of us in El Paso. And I won’t go into all of that now, either, but I should have plenty of time to do that later on.
Speaking of writing, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to post here more regularly now that my decision is made. I started a few things in the past weeks, but never could get them finished. But I’ll be back at it soon. I’ll keep you up to date on our plans. I’ll write about some things I’ve been working on. Hopefully, I’ll also have some new readers from El Paso in the coming months.
Last week we took a trip to southern California. I attended a preaching workshop in Santa Ana on Monday and Tuesday and we stayed with my sister Becca. On Monday we spent some time at the beach and on Wednesday we took the kids to Disneyland. The preaching seminar was helpful. It was great to spend time with my sister. And the kids had a great time. Below are links to the sites I have pictures posted. Take your pick.
.Mac Web Gallery
Picasa Web Albums