Ash Wednesday with Ryan Woods

Tonight at Northaven, I’ll be inviting our folks to watch this short, but powerful, video from Ryan Woods. Ryan died of his cancer last Fall, but his openness about his dying stands as a challenge to all of us to live the time we have left.

As he says in the video…
 

We’re all in the process of dying.

So the question is: What kind of story are we going to live out as we’re dying?

I would just invite people to live out a beautiful story…to live out their lives, make beautiful music, regardless of what kind of brokenness they have to deal with.

And on our journey toward death, which is inevitable, we have the opportunity to let a beautiful story be told. And it’s up to us to allow that story to become something beautiful.

— Ryan Woods

Time is short. For all of us. We are dust, and to dust we shall return. Ash Wednesday is the day each year where we stand and look death straight in the face, without flinching, and ask ourselves the very question Ryan asks in this video:

What kind of story are we going to live out as we’re dying?

The season of Lent then beckons to us. It beckons to us to “turn in a new way,” to make the choice to live into our lives to the fullest, loving God, loving ourselves and loving our neighbor with new and renewed passion.

Hope to see you tonight at Northaven.
And if we don’t, may your Lenten journey help you turn back toward life, and back toward God.

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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He has been Senior Pastor of Northaven United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas since 2001. During his tenure, church membership has grown almost 30 percent, and a completely new church facility (sanctuary and education building) has been constructed. Northaven is a leading progressive Christian congregation in the Southwest. Northaven is an eclectic collection of gay and straight families, artists, musicians, theater folks, academic theologians, lawyers and judges (go figure), socially conscious community activists, people who don't "check their brain at the door," and a wide array of others who either see it as their "last chance" inside the "institutional church," or their first trip back in decades. Eric is an avid blogger and published author.  Eric is also an award-winning singer-songwriter, who performs throughout Texas and the Southwest. He's an engaging live performer whose first CD was released in 2000. His songs have won honorable mention in both the Billboard and Great American song contests; and he's been a finalist in the 5th Street Festival and South Florida Folk Festival songwriter competitions. Eric is also a leader of Connections, a unique band comprised of United Methodist clergy and layfolk from throughout North Texas. Connections performs "cover shows" of artists like Dan Fogelberg, Chicago, Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor and others. Their shows draw crowds of between 300 and 1,000 fans, and they have raised more than $240,000 dollars for worthy charities. Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He's a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named "best judge" by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County. She was re-elected for a third term in 2010. They have the world's best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy. (As always, if you like this post, then "like" this on Facebook by clicking the box below, so others can see too...)

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