Saturday, February 21, 2009

'Casimir Pulaski Day' or 'Transfiguration of our Lord'

So, I'm preaching this week on the Transfiguration. I'm preaching on the Elisha/Elijah text. That describes the journey of Elisha alongside of Elijah, during Elijah's last days on earth. As I prepared to preach this week I was drawn to Sufjan Steven's song, 'Casimir Pulaski Day.' The songs tells the story of a man's journey alongside of a girlfriend's last days with cancer. Here's the song on Austin City Limits:

[Pretty sweet winged outfits, right?]
One verse towards the end of the song I find particularly powerful:
"Oh the glory that the Lord has made
and the complications when I see his face
in the morning, in the window."

It seems to me that in the narrator's Elisha-like journey, he experiences the fullness of God's presence. On one hand, he proclaims the glory of the Lord throughout the song and the story, in particular the sustaining presence and love of God in the places of death. And at the same time, he has difficulty with the discipleship for which the good news calls. In the end he comes away with a "complicated" understanding of God.

In the lyrics I find a moving experience with the Lutheran theological dialectic, law and gospel. I normally really like this paradoxical theological insight, but what makes this song so powerful on a theological level, is its description of an experience with this theological idea. It reflects our struggle on the day of the Transfiguration as we search for the words to describe our experience with the fullness of God.


ps - i'll let you know how using both "elijah" and "elisha" alot in a sermon combined with referencing some guy named "sufjan stevens" goes over with the congregation.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bird Brained

There have been lots of birds around our house lately,
and I've really been enjoying watching them.
The trees in front of and behind our house have been full of them
and the neighbor's feeders teeming.

Ok, so not a bird,
but pretty awesome.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

An Artsy Fartsy Valentine's.

Z and I had a wonderful Valentine's Day...
Thank you for asking.

We started off with an afternoon at the art museum.
These perfume bottles really caught my eye.

Actually, we enjoyed the entire glass exhibit.
Two of our favorites were glass and wire baskets.
Visually stunning.
But their titles gave them powerful meaning.
"Don't Let People Drive You Crazy When It's Within Walking Distance" (not pictured)
"It's OK, I Wasn't Using My Civil Rights Anyway" (shown below)

After touring the inside of the museum, we stepped out to
enjoy a sculpture garden
and soak in a little sun.

Speaking of sun,
the garden provided a good view of the

Tracks just below the garden.

Looking rather dashing, I must say.

After our art museum date we planned on having an early dinner
to beat the Valentine's rush.

But then we passed the movie theater.
And we stopped.
We saw Slumdog Millionaire.

We were really hungry when the movie let out,
but the place we planned to eat then had at least a
one hour wait.
No thanks.

We thought Stir Fry Cafe might be a little more low-key,
and thank goodness we were right!
A five minute wait had us seated and waiting for these
veggie spring rolls with HOT mustard hearts.
(ooh, artsy fartsy food!)

After appetizers and entrees we thought we had enough room to split a
small dessert.
We ordered "Chocolate Indulgence"
and it wasn't messing around.

Huge chunk of chocolate cake with dark and light chocolate mousse layers,
chocolate icing full of mini chocolate chips,
coffee ice cream,
whipped cream,
and topped with warm chocolate sauce.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

And some post-rain pictures

This morning I went outside to walk Mr. Wilson
and found that it had rained overnight.
The area was heavy with water droplets and puddles.
After I took him back in, I just couldn't help myself...
I grabbed the camera and attempted to capture how rich everything felt.

I adore 'puddlescapes'...
reflections of nature in puddles.
This one is a close up from the puddle seen above.

And finally, Mr. Wilson surveying his domain.

Snow and a Maternal Visit

The snow and Mama's visit had nothing to do with each other,
but I'm grouping them together in this post anyway.

First it snowed a lot, at least by Knoxville's standards.

But by the time Mama came it was warming up.
She accompanied me to the church's annual
Grandmother-Mother-Daughter Banquet
and to church the next day.
I was SO happy
to have her here with me.

Here's Z looking snazzy in an apron and itty bitty bowtie
as one of the banquet servers.
He snagged some cheesecake toward the end of the evening.

And here's Mama and me,
trying to pose with the red heart balloon.
Thanks to Heidi for this shot.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Celebration!

A very
Happy 29th Birthday
to my big brother, Josh!

Here he can be seen sleeping, which is exactly what he did this afternoon.
Birthday naps are nice.

And another fun thing:
To celebrate Josh's birthday, this is our blog's 100th post!!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Super Bowl, Super Commercial

Tyson House Super Bowl Commercial from Zach Parris on Vimeo.

I'm still around here. Here's what I was up to last week, creating a Super Bowl commercial for the Tyson House Episcopal Lutheran Campus Ministry at UT.