Archive for the 'Church' Category

Waldweihnacht

There is something about Swiss forests that fascinates me.  But I can’t really pin it down. Perhaps it is all the stories they tell here about elves and fairies that live in the forest that makes it seem magical.  Perhaps it is the tall tall trees and snow covered paths and wee forest huts.

There are forests everywhere throughout Switzerland with one within walking distance of every citizen – it seems. They are so different to NZ forests – which are covered with green bushes and ferns and lots of undergrowth.  The Swiss forests just have massive tall trees – half pine and half not pine (sorry, I am not much of a plant expert!) so many lose their leaves in winter making it look quite bare.

Vineyard church has an annual Waldweihnacht (Christmas celebration in the forest) mostly for the kids.  They light a fire, sing songs, tell stories, roast sausages, eat lebkuchen and drink hot punsch.  Each kid got a small gift too.  It was great and an awesome experience we were blessed to be able to share in.

I love that we are allowed to light fires in the forests here, even in summer, they trust people not to set the world on fire (although that would be hard when there is snow around!).  It was heaps of fun.  We, of course, had to bring along some marshmallows which I don’t think is very common in Switzerland since it took me forever to find a bag of decent marshmallows in the shops.

Toby loved it and rode his bike through the snow and loved exploring and cooking sausages over the fire with a big stick!  He is a professional at it now, doing this sort of stuff every Wednesday with his Waldspielgruppe (playgroup that is held in forest no matter what the weather).

Noah was a bit cautious, not too sure what to make of the fire and snow and cold all in one place!  Here are some photos:

Church & Writing Swiss German

Oooh, was so good to go to church again today. Haven’t been for a few weeks and Vineyard was having a three-week holiday. I love how churches all round the world sing the same songs. We could walk into any church here and know at least some of the songs they sing. Only difference is that they are in a different language.

Swiss German is not really a written language as such. Everything here is written in Proper Deutsch (German). But there is the odd exception, like some of the church praise songs. Here is a verse of “God of Wonders” in Swiss German. I love it.

chschte Gott
Du besch Herr vo Ruum ond Ziit
Du besch heilig heilig
S’Universum zü
gt vo Diner Macht
Du besch heilig heilig
Herr und Chonig besch du

Swiss Religion

Hmmm. I was quite surprised when i read my 12 year old cousin class contact list. It lists all the students, their parent(s), home address, phone number and religion… yes, religion. I had to look twice. Some are Catholic, some are Reformed, others are non-confirmed (as in not belonging to a church) and there are Muslim too. ‘What is your religion?’ was the next question they asked me at the Gemeinde after ‘What is your name?’ when I first arrived in Switzerland.

I guess it shouldn’t really be a shock because the Swiss seem very open about religion and most belong to a state run church and pay tax to it. But I am a New Zealander, where religion is something you don’t talk about and it is an optional box you fill out on the census paper. Some more info here

Personally, I reckon it is pretty cool being able to talk about religious beliefs openly, etc.; something I miss in NZ.

Anyway, we have been doing a lot of tripping and traveling around. Like to Jungfraujoch, Grindelwald, Bern, Luzern. Will post some photos soon.

Passionate Contentment

But godliness with contentment is great gain. - 1 Timothy 6:6

Passion… is a word that keeps coming up in my life the past couple of weeks. God must be telling me something. I just read a chapter about it in “Tender Mercy for a Mother’s Soul” (a very encouraging book for busy Mums by Angela Thomas Guffey). If people were to ask me what I am passionate about and if I were in ‘Mummy’ mode, i would say – an empty dishwasher, cloth nappies or more sleep.

As a mum I find it a constant struggle to juggle my own passions and gifts with everyday life – children, husband, church, friends, work etc. So I searched for the answer. Here it is… Don’t juggle, they can all work together! Easy! The trick is not to have a list of priorities (1. God 2. husband 3. children 4. church – a list I have seen a lot) instead – have just one priority – God and his kingdom come first. Just listen to God. Phew! There it is. Now I just have to live it.

It is easy to pick a passionate person (Pastor Andrew, Pastor Steve, Rosemary to name a few, and Daniel after reading a book by Mark Driscoll!) What is so different about them? Here is what Gordon Macdonald says “you know them because they are not hurried, they are not shrill, they are not out to impress. You know them because when you come into their presence, they make you think of Christ. Somehow you feel that you have understood a little more of what it was like to be in the presence of Jesus…. they have a quiet energy that pushes them along.” It is these passionate people who have taught me to listen to God, to take the kids with me when I go on a church job and can’t find babysitters, to skip my ‘to do list’ and go to the beach for the day with my bible and my kids if I need a breather.

So I can relax and be content pursuing my various passions such as being a mother (making aeroplane darts, unloading the dishwasher, hanging out nappies) or cruising round Takanini with a van full of the awesome (ly noisy) Trinity girls or drooling over beautiful VW beetles going down the road or staying in random hotels just to check out the service or dragging the whole family out traveling the world for a year (perhaps the latter three I should delete off my list of passions?!).

Philippians 3:12 says Not that I have obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that which Christ Jesus took hold of me… So, let’s turn our eyes toward heaven. Jesus took hold of us for a purpose. Let Him give wings to our passions, let us live according to holy contentment, and in all these things… press on!