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Weeky E-News

Weekly e-News for July 17

CCC Oak Ridge

Hey, everyone!

Hope you're having an awesome Thursda…Wait. 

Is this Thursday? I thought today was...


Hope you're having an awesome FRIDAY!! 

I'm a little wonky this week as far as time goes…I've been back from Portugal for a few days but it's taking a while to get all feeling "back to normal". They are five hours ahead of us over there. But they stay up soooo late every night! I was up about three hours later every night than we are at my house! So five hours plus three more hours means that this week I'm eight hours behind where I was when I started! If I have enough days like that, it'll be like I never went…

Wait a minute. I think I just lost myself.


I had the most unusual first Sunday there!  Somebody knew the folks at St Andrew's Church of Scotland in downtown Lisbon and they invited me to give the message there. It's the oldest Protestant church in all of Portugal. The building is old and majestic of marble and stone with vaulted ceilings and stain glass windows. But the members were a beautiful mix of all kinds of people from England and Scotland. It seemed like it should have been one of those sweetly quirky British comedies on the BBC! 

I was uncertain what the Church Of Scotland was like so I wore a tie, for once. First thing, a delightfully British "chap" walked in with floppy tweed hat and a tiny dog on a leash. 

"Hope you don't mind the pooch, mate. He won't make a fuss."

"Oh, no problem! Dogs don't distract me at all!" I answered. "But I do have one rule: if there's a dog in church, I'm not wearing a tie!"

And I thankfully took it off!

A couple of ladies began to tap their watches and tell me, "You really need t' get this starrrted, dear!"

I had no idea I was in charge of the whole thing and was supposed to conduct the whole service (which I was!), having never been in a Church of Scotland before! 

But as they say in Scotland, ""A nod's as guid as a wink tae a blind horse!"

They wanted the service to be a celebration of the "Birthday of America" (!?) since it was the 5th of July (?) even tho' they are Scottish (!) in Portugal (!) 

Go figure.

So for one of the hymn selections, we all joined in on the "Battle Hymn of the Republic", after Mrs. O'Donnell belted out an amazing first verse as a solo! 

Which proves the old Scottish saying, "Whit’s fur ye’ll no go by ye!"

My favorite moment was at the conclusion of the service, when a twelve year old Portuguese "lad" sat on the piano bench by his American teacher who's been in Lisbon 20 years and played "Stars and Stripes Forever"! What a moment! We all burst into applause! And he took a bow!

Because no matter how different we are, we all need encouragement!

And there was the beautiful moment when we stood and recited the "Lord's Prayer" together. 

Because no matter how different we are, we're all one family in the Kingdom of God.

And there was a young Chinese couple in the back. He wound up "photo-bombing" every photo they took of us afterwards, creeping into each picture! But during the sermon, she nodded and quietly mouthed the word, Amen!" to every thing I said in my message.

Because no matter how different we are, God is always working.

Or as we say in the Church of Scotland, "Mony a mickle maks a muckle!"

 I think that means…

"Now the news!"