Monday, April 30, 2012

it is well with my soul

Listening to a small congregation of people softly sing this beautiful hymn yesterday was lovely. It was playing in my head for the rest of day. 

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
It is well, (it is well),
With my soul, (with my soul)
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life,
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
But Lord, 'tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.
And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

Because I am no longer constantly surrounded with those who seek to "glorify God and enjoy Him forever", each encounter I do have has become so much more treasured and emotion-filled to me. Attending a Prayer Meeting last night was such a blessing. Listening to others pour out their hearts and lift up the lives of those around them in prayer was so inspiring.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


Two weeks ago, A junior dance major (the wonderful girl who first introduced me to the Bible Study group that I'm now a part of) organized a Dance Day for Nepali refugee children in the danceSpace at Mercyhurst. It was an incredible experience. Each of the dancers who volunteered was given a "buddy" to spend the day with. Basanta was my buddy. The day started off with a game of Giant Human Knot as an ice breaker and then we sat down to get to know our buddies. I asked the questions we were told to ask about each other and she would answer with a word or two and then lapse back into silence. I kept trying to think of new questions to ask (and rephrasing them when she didn't understand) and, finally, when I couldn't think of anything else, I asked her about her favorite food. She replied with simply: "Nepali". I told her that I liked Italian food, but that my home church in Maryland is good friends with a pastor from India and that his wife made a meal for some of the members of my church one Sunday after the service. I then bashfully explained that I didn't like it because it was very spicy. As soon as I said "India", her face lit up and, as soon I finished speaking, she told me about how her parents were from India. She then excitedly continued with excerpts from her parents' life story. It was incredible to watch that one word open her up to speaking so much more comfortably to me. After our conversation, we sat and watched some of my friends, and very talented dancers, perform ballet variations. The little girls were fascinated by the tutus and pointe shoes. They were then asked to get up and show us some Nepali dances. Basanta was reluctant at first, but she finally joined her friends. Music was put on and she immediately came back to me. "Excuse me," she said. "This is not Nepali music. This is not music to dance." I had to keep myself from laughing. Her personality was incredibly similar to mine and I completely understood her confusion. If you're going to dance, you need to have the right music. I finally convinced her to show us some steps anyway. All of the girls were incredibly talented. They knew dances with intricate hand motions and they even taught us some group dances. A talented photographer (and incredible dancer) at Mercyhurst, Jessica, captured Basanta and I in the middle of a spin.
(photo credit: Jessica Stachelrodt) 
Jessica then taught everyone some basic hip hop. The girls picked up the movement extremely quickly. To end the event, everyone enjoyed dancing around the room together. Some of the girls knew very little English and verbal communication was often very difficult, be we all shared an understanding and love for the language of dance. It was a wonderful cultural exchange and laughter frequently filled the room.  

Sunday, April 15, 2012

patronizing nonsense

"I am trying here to prevent anyone from saying the really foolish thing that people often say about him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept his claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. . . . Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up as a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as demon; or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great moral teacher. He has not left that option open to us. He did not intend to."
~ C.S. Lewis