Monday, November 18, 2013

Getting Underway with Holiday Work

Sun Records Photo by Allison Nelson-Eliot

This is the day when I begin to really get down to work on the "Holiday Season".  It probably isn't surprising, but it rather snuck up on me this year. "Thanksgiving Sunday" is less than a week away and there is much to be done.  A week later (after actual Thanksgiving) is the First Sunday in Advent.  Yeah...we are that close.

For the most part it snuck up on me because of how incredibly busy the church has been.  Morale is good.  Energy is high.  At the same time we are doing new things and modifying old things.  We also seem to be a tad more a good way.  Yesterday during Morning Worship, there was a strange sound--a loud hum--that we thought might be coming from the basement.  Various delegations of members and staff (including yours truly and the Music Director) spent the worship hour popping up and down from the sanctuary, touching walls and pipes, discovering more than one problem with the furnace, and generally being busy while everyone else was sitting and listening to our excellent Affiliated Minister preach over the crazy.  It turned out it was the microphone feeding back in a stranger way than usual.  We fixed it and all was good. The Middle Schoolers served us soup.  We had coffee and baked goods.  The joy of a small church is that we all got a good story out of it.  It was a story about being us.  It was about a community being together.

Elvis' Living Room

I also took a few days away this week to recharge.  We went with my dad and his wife to Memphis, TN.  We did tourist things.  The music was excellent.  Graceland was...Graceland.  Sun and Stax were both veeerrry cool.  However, much of our time was spent at the Loraine Motel where Martin Luther King was shot.  Since the museum was undergoing renovations, they had opened the balcony.  It was a strange and holy feeling to stand where he stood.  We also had a chance to talk to Mike Cody, a friend of my father's and a legendary politician and lawyer.  Mike, it turns out, was pretty much there for the sanitation strike, the assassination, and the aftermath.  I have linked to an interview with him at the end of the post. 

I realize that these days we are supposed to be talking about JFK.  However, once the generational experience is removed, history will show (and kinda has) that the King assassination marked a much greater turning point in our nation's history.  This is fitting.  King had a greater impact in life as well.  There is a reason we celebrate his birthday even as we struggle to remember that the work--his work and now our work--is not done.  When I was younger and volunteering for Jesse Jackson (and a variety of other people) I did a great deal of reading on the Civil Rights movement.  I spent a lot of time with labor unions as well.  If nothing else, this trip has helped me reconnect with a part of my youth that I value highly.  Mike recommended a couple of books.  Now I read them a little each night after I am done with those Luke commentaries.

It was a great and moving trip.  I am glad we carved out the time and went. Interestingly, the friends of my youngest insist that Memphis doesn't exist.  I have no idea why.

Loraine Motel Photo by Allison Nelson-Eliot

So it was civil rights and music for a few days.  In Memphis, of course, they are intertwined.

That is over now and I am back.  Today I am finishing researching for our discussion of the first nine chapters of Luke this Thursday.  Then it is the Order of Service and uke practice.  It just wouldn't be Thanksgiving Sunday without some ukulele....

Here are some links.  I begin with an old column about buying presents for the holidays.  I know my extended family is already trying to figure out what to do with our ever-growing fam that now includes a contingent in Italy!

Here is the link to the National Civil Rights Museum

Here is one to the Stax Museum.

Here is Sun Records.

And a Mike Cody interview.  It is really interesting.  They talk about his office a bit.  It was like a museum...

Here is the book that Mike recommended. It is about the sanitation strike.

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