Monday, April 29, 2013

thoughts from tour

 Road and travel

Tuesday, April 23rd
Driving to Regina with streams of conversation drifting back and forth across the benches of the van … some are real conversations, and some are scripts. You cannot tell by tones; more by names, and unusual pauses that reach for a word rather than processing a thought.

Also there is crocheting, planning programs, and Sudermans snoozing. 

Fields are still snow-studded somewhere between patches of green on white, and patches of white on green.  Ravens are roaming. 

Friday, April 26th
My daughter’s soccer coach said that what you do when you do not have the ball is just as important as what you do when you have it … so what a drama team does between performances may be just as important as what they do on stage …

George settles into the first bench, white head phones securely blocking out the conversations from the team so that he can rest after driving from Calgary to Revelstoke.  Ty takes the wheel for the rest of the day.  We are serenaded by Elaina’s playlist.  Dynel’s songs brought us to Calgary, and Elaina’s take us out. 

Lines continue to be rehearsed as we drive.  After travelling together for a while, the rehearsed lines become second nature, and eventually work themselves into many conversations, context lost somewhere in transit, involuntarily becoming inside jokes that defy explanation.

Conversations drifting through the van … lines being rehearsed, driving directions, quiet conversations, comments about the mountains or the snow, or a couple of people reviewing Elaina’s collection of videos so far.  A group of mountain sheep, thick horns curling downward, are spotted beside the highway, interrupting “the Hobbit” for a moment; and then Brittany, or Dynel resumes her reading of the adventures of Bilbo Baggins to those within earshot.  After a time she pauses, passes the book to the one beside her, and a new voice carries us into the firelight of the mountain trolls. 

Finding the alphabet in roadside signs occupy Susan, the driver, and occasionally the passengers in the front bench seat through the mountain passes.  George and Susan devise a new system where you can bank J’s, Q’s and Z’s for when you need them.  After spotting the sign:  Avalanche Blasting Ahead, Beware”, they also decide that this stockpile of A’s should not be wasted.  Seventeen A’s become a wildcard substituted for any letter you need.  So begins the sliding slope into the alphabet banking and wildcard system.  If you find three X’s, they can count as one Z.  Ty loses interest in the changing game. 

Tracy-Lynn has conquered both the crochet hook and the harmonica.  George eventually wakes up and joins Micah in crocheting scarves.  Micah puts his hook down to read the Hobbit for a while, but crocheting wins out in the end.  George never wavers.  We move from Hobbit to Stuart McLean, and then mind puzzles. 

Solve Amy's best one:  “when the man lit a match, he knew he would die”! 

Susan’s GPS has kept us following its pink trail down into Regina, through Herbert, into and around Calgary before heading into the mountains, over the mountains, and finally into a Langley spring. 

Rock and buildings

We kept finding ourselves in buildings that had been restored as we went into our first week of tour.  Rick and Mary Guenther served a send-off supper in their home - a hospital from Rosthern that was moved to their farm close to Hepburn.  Regina Christian School restored and now occupies an old brick school house, originally slated for dismantling and rebuilding as condominiums.  The Cube, a youth drop-in centre in Herbert, is a new ministry taking shape through a combined vision of the Herbert churches in a building that used to house an Evangelical Free Church.  Our hosts in Highland MB in Calgary told us about the multiple additions to their building as they have adapted to changing needs in the people they serve.

There is a skit that the team has done a couple of times, called “Nametags”.  The skit has nothing to do with reconstituted buildings, but it plays with labels that people are given that stick and shape their perception of themselves.  As I read 1 Peter 2 on Saturday morning, his thoughts about living Stones and spiritual houses ran along that same theme of buildings.  Jesus had publically dubbed Simon as “Peter” (meaning rock) while they were still hanging out together years earlier, and the name stuck.  Not only had it stuck, but it seems to have seeped into his theology.  Here Peter is, sending a letter to the people of God, telling them that they too are like living stones, being built into a spiritual house.  Peter has decided he’s not the only pebble on the beach.  He pulls out Isaiah’s prophetic words about a precious cornerstone, ties in the words from Psalm 118.22, and points to Jesus as this capstone, this true cornerstone.

I have thought much about this underlying theme in the first days of tour.  As we come to him, the living Stone – rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him – you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house …

It all started with a new name.  And now we too are being rebuilt.  Rocks and names.  Like Simon who became Peter.  Like Rick and Mary’s hospital that became a house.  Like the Regina Christian School.  Like the church that became a drop in centre for youth.  Rebuilt and repurposed.
We worshiped with North Langley Community Church for their morning services, and shared a skit with them about a woman at a well.

As the house settles for the night, Susan and I talk about programs for the coming week, and the wonderful people that we accompany on this tour. Our day has been filled with the laughter and generous hospitality of Brittany and the Suderman home.