Monday, November 28, 2011

Marble Collegiate Church- My Virtual Church

I consider myself a member of Marble Collegiate Church in New York City, even though I live a long way from New York, near Social Circle, Georgia. While I am happy not to live in the city, I wish I could somehow magically transport this wonderful church down South each week.

But, wait! I can do that!

Marble Collegiate Church streams their Sunday services and programs on the Internet each week, right into my home in the Georgia piney woods. I know about this, because my son, Brian, works at Marble, and I always plan my visits to New York to see him to include a Sunday at Marble. I love the people of Marble! Even though I only get to see them once or twice a year, I am always greeted as an old friend by those I’ve met on previous visits. Of course, Brian has opened doors of friendship for me, as I follow him around on Sunday as he makes sure everything is in order for the Sunday children’s educational program. And I try to never miss Sister Carol Perry’s Bible study.

I bought a new laptop computer recently, and was delighted to discover the miracle of HDMI, where I can plug my computer into our big screen television set, and take part in the Marble Sunday services, nearly life-sized! I almost feel like I am there as I listen to Sister Carol educate and challenge me in my faith, and then as my spirit is washed by the vision of the Marble sanctuary and the rich music that fills my personal space in my rural home. As the camera scans the congregation, I occasionally recognize someone I know, and wish that I could be sitting in a pew to say good morning to my friends. It’s not as good as being there in person, but it’s the next best thing. I am not able to attend every Sunday, but I make sure I am “at church” as often as possible. Phil now joins me in Sunday worship, since it is so much easier for both of us to sit comfortably in our living room and watch the services on the television screen, instead of sitting cramped up at my desk.

Yesterday, we were delighted to learn that Brian was going to be online in the afternoon with Liz Testa, talking about their journeys of “leaving the business” of acting and singing into the ministry of the church. As I watched my son on the big screen and listened to his words, my eyes filled with tears as he told about his pathway to Marble and how the church supports him in his calling, that of writing and reaching out to people through the written word. Participating virtually only made me feel that much closer to Brian and to the people of Marble. This church has become Brian’s family and support system, and I feel comforted knowing that he is embraced by people who love him almost as much as I do.

I wish I could say that I have a church here in Georgia that fills my spiritual needs the way Marble Collegiate Church does. Unfortunately, I have not found one within traveling distance of my home in the eight years I’ve been in Social Circle. I sometimes feel like part of my call is to be an ambassador for Marble. I send the website address to friends who are homebound or otherwise unable to attend church. I now know a handful of people who also attend Marble via the internet, and who are now experiencing the warmth and fellowship of this amazing church as I am.

If you ever need a virtual church home, you need to check out Marble Collegiate Church. I promise you will be blessed. Join me any Sunday at

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Fall Person

The autumn leaves are beautiful in central Georgia this year. My daily drive from Social Circle to Madison is now a myriad of reds, yellows, oranges, and browns. And, until the season peaks, the colors will change with each passing day. I am enjoying the tree-lined roads I travel, as I watch the colors deepen and intensify in the early morning and late afternoon sunshine.

I am not a Winter Person, and Fall reminds me of the bleak, gray days that are looming ahead of me. As I gaze at the rich colors of autumn, I visualize what the scene will be in another month or so, and yearn for springtime. This year, however, I am determined not to dwell on the future too much, but to enjoy what my eyes are seeing today. I tell myself that this is the most beautiful Fall I’ve ever seen, while knowing I’ve lived through many, many seasons in my lifetime that were probably of equal, if not more magnificent, beauty. I try to imagine the same scenes in their winter attire, and remember the breathtaking beauty of last winter’s unexpected snow. I remind myself that the snowy days are also beautiful, but they tend to be in black and white tones, not in Technicolor. I tend to skip past my visions of winter, and go straight to springtime. Like I said, I’m not a Winter Person.

Even with the lovely colors that the leaves are displaying, they remind me of the circle of life, and of death. Now that more of my life is behind me than is still ahead, I watch the leaves fall and think about the end of life. I know that it’s not the tree that is dying, but only the leaves. The trees and bushes are simply shedding their worn-out summer clothes to wait for their new Easter outfits. The leaves will fall to the ground to decay and add nutrients to the soil, as they do their part to nourish the tree to prepare for the next season’s new attire.

I could get theological about this and go into my beliefs about life after death, but I’m not going to in this blog. The intent of this verbal wandering today is to share with whoever reads this my thoughts about Autumn this year, and the effect it is having on my wandering thoughts.

If it weren’t for winter, I think I could become an Autumn Person. At least, until Springtime!