Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sabbatical Journey Begins - Trains... (Planes & Automobiles to come)

Well my sabbatical is officially two weeks old today, so it's about time for me to begin posting pictures and reflections of the journey thus far.

Since the whole thing began on Memorial Day (a holiday anyway), and Tuesday is my usual day off, the fact that I was on sabbatical didn't really sink in until Wednesday. And I was actually surprised at just how relaxed and relieved I felt! If I wasn't feeling totally "in need" of a sabbatical energy-level-wise a month or so ago, I certainly was after all the extra hours getting everything ready to be gone for 3 months! Wednesday I felt truly restful and grateful for this gracious blessing.

That Friday we began the first travel portion of the sabbatical, taking the train from Chicago to Spokane, WA, to kick-off our "Pilgrimage of Spiritual Home" ... Touring our roots out West, visiting family and faith communities that nurtured us along the way.

The first leg was to take a mode of transportation that would force us to rest! We made our way to Chicago's Union Station on the Metra from Grayslake, and then caught an Amtrak train to Spokane. The Empire Builder is a sleek dream, and we were blessed to have a Family Bedroom for the 36hr journey across Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho & in to eastern Washington.

We all thoroughly enjoyed the train--the space to move around, the time to relax, read, rest & play. Eliza especially loved that she got to sleep and eat on the train! :) 

Seeing the terrain change along the way was a highlight for me, adding to the feeling of pilgrimage as we made our way to the Western regions that are both physically and spiritually-speaking "home" for Marla and me.

Crossing and then running alongside the mighty Mississippi...

Taking in the wide-open views and expansive skies of the Great Plains...

Gazing at snowy peaks as we climbed through the Rockies and passed within spitting distance of Glacier National Park...

And basking in the glow of the setting sun reflected in mountain lakes as the last evening brought us closer to our Washington destination...

We couldn't have asked for a more fitting way to acclimate to the sabbatical pace and transition to our new surroundings as we entered our time in Spokane.

I'll post some more reflections on readings, conversations and experiences in Spokane soon. In the meantime you can keep up with the next stages of our journey in real-time through my twitter feed (@lukehyder or #HyderSabbatical) and/or Instagram (same handle).

Grace and Peace,
luke <><

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Sabbatical Blessing - "Be Like Trees (Psalm 1)"

Well my Sabbatical has officially begun this week.  It's amazing how much more relaxed and peace-filled I feel already!  Even though we're doing a lot to get ready for our first segment of travel.

Check back here often (or just keep an eye on facebook or twitter to know when I post something new), and there will be reflections of various sorts throughout these 12 weeks.

A significant thread running through this sabbatical will be spiritual journaling through songwriting.

Until I start having experiences that prompt their own reflections and songs, I plan to begin by reading, praying and writing may way through the Psalms.

To kick that off, a couple weeks ago I was meditating on Psalm 1 and wrote this song, "Be Like Trees," as a sabbatical/sabbath blessing.  May we all be like trees planted by streams of water, reaching deep to draw life from the Source, yielding fruit and thriving as a result of delighting in the Lord and meditating on the Word.  And may all that God's grace does in and through you prosper. Blessed are you!

Grace and peace,
luke <><

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Kindle The Light - Song/Hymn for Pentecost!

Here's another repost of a song I've shared earlier ... but again, it is timely (especially for anyone in churches that follow the Christian year)!

"Kindle The Light" is a retuned hymn, original text by Charles Wesley ("O Thou Who Camest From Above"), for I a composed a new melody and  chorus last year for Advent and repeated again for Epiphany.

But the hymn is really a Pentecost hymn, about the blazing fire of the Holy Spirit promised by Jesus and poured out on God's people to bring faith, stoke love, and strengthen for service.

The song has been well-received by our congregation, and a couple others who got the song from me earlier in the year.  Below is the SoundCloud wigit, allowing you to hear a rough mix of a recent studio version of the song, and you can view/download a PDF chart HERE.


Thursday, May 09, 2013

An Ascension Psalm! (O For a Shout of Sacred Joy re-posted)

Happy "Ascension of the Lord" day, everyone!

I thought for this "uplifting" occasion (groan) I'd repost the Ascension hymn that I wrote just after the celebration of the Ascension last year.  It's a retuned hymn for which I adapted Isaac Watts' Psalm 47 paraphrase, "O For a Shout of Sacred Joy," set it to a new tune, and added a chorus.  There's a well-known and oft repeated Kuyper quote that the chorus alludes to as well.

If by chance you are still in search of an Ascension psalm/hymn to sing this Sunday in your church, please feel free to use it (SoundCloud audio and PDF chart in C accessible below).

Otherwise, everyone else simply enjoy!

You can view/download a lead-sheet for it HERE.

Grace and peace,
luke <><

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Jesus Walked...

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.  In our church we're joining in a daily discipline of prayer and scripture readings with a self-produced devotional booklet, and weekly small group gatherings, all on the theme of following Jesus on his "Passion Path."

To begin that journey, I've done a new arrangement of the early American folk hymn, "Jesus Walked That Lonesome Valley" ... And I've put up a recording (just using my laptop's built-in mic) of me singing it and playing classical guitar directly onto SoundCloud page.  Enjoy!