My First Sunday Sermon (en Español y Ingles)

I’m super happy with my first Sunday Sermon, preached today. I’m much happier with it’s content, translation, and delivery that any before. It’s not only the first one I’ve preached on a Sunday, but also marks a tipping point: I’ve now preached more sermons in Spanish than in English in my life.

So here it is, for posterity.

Readings for 4th Sunday in Easter Year B/Lecturas del cuarto Domingo en Pascua, Año B:

Acts/Hechos 4:5-12
Psalm/Salmo 23
1 John/1 Juan 3:16-24
John/Juan 10:11-18

En Español:

Nuestra vida de fe, nuestra vida como cristianos, constantemente nos está trayendo a las preguntas profundas, como: “Cuál es el significado??” “¿Qué debo hacer?” “¿Qué es todo esto?” Y detrás de todas ellas, (por lo menos? , para mí) se encuentra una pregunta e enorme importancia: “Dios, ¿qué estás haciendo?” … “¿Qué estás haciendo Dios?” “conmigo” “Con mi vida?” “Con tu comunidad”?
Pues bien, hoy, quiero proponer que Dios está haciendo siempre lo mismo. Tal como lo conocemos en la Escritura, en nuestras tradiciones, y en nuestras vidas, Dios está siempre haciendo lo mismo, y eso es: la creación, la sanación y la restauración de la relación. Y, de hecho, se trata de la misma cosa, esto es todo Dios nos ama.
(Pausa)
Pero no me crean tan rápido, primero echemos un vistazo a la Palabra de Dios, nuestra lectura de hoy!
Nuestra primera lectura de hoy fue sobre Pedro, de libro de los Hechos, y lo primero que se puede notar es que este es un Pedro muy diferente de lo habitual, esto es un cambio, Pedro transformado. Porque Pedro es el que, antes de la crucifixión, la resurrección y antes de recibir el Espíritu Santo en Pentecostés, él era el menos estable, el menos confiable de todos los discípulos. A menudo pienso que cuando Jesús dijo: “Pedro, tú eres la roca sobre la cual edificaré mi Iglesia” Él estaba tomando el pelo a su amigo.
Porque en Pedro no hay nada como una roca a lo largo de los Evangelios: es el que siempre promete demasiado, y ofrece muy poco. Él jura que seguir a Jesús hasta la muerte, y luego lo abandona en la cruz, negándolo tres veces. Él es un mal estudiante también; incluso en los tres años de seguimiento de Jesús, estando a lo largo de todas las enseñanzas y los milagros y curaciones, todavía no ve lo que Jesús está haciendo a través de ellos. Que cuando Jesús cura a un leproso, no sólo está mostrando su poder. Él está restaurando a esa persona a su comunidad. Que cuando se cura la mano o las piernas de una persona coja, cuando perdona los pecados de un pecador, cuando levanta a la vida al hijo de una madre viuda, que no sólo está haciendo la sanación de esas personas, el está sanando a toda la comunidad, que está restaurando las relaciones, dejando que las madres vivan con sus hijos, a los pecadores con sus pecados, a los cojos trabajando y participando en la vida de todos. Y, al hacerlo, él está mostrando al mundo lo que Dios siempre está haciendo, cuando lo dejamos, que es: creando, sanando y restaurando la relación. La humanidad amando.
Pero Pedro no entiende esto, y constantemente trata de decirle a Jesús qué hacer después, y lo que puede y no puede hacer, hasta que intenta detener a Jesús de ir a la cruz y Jesús finalmente dice: “¡Quítate de mi Satanás! ”
Él no entiende quien es el Pastor y quien es la oveja, siempre tratando de arrear a su Señor. Pedro no entiende nada.

Por lo menos, antes de Pentecostés no lo hace, antes de presenciar la crucifixión y la resurrección no lo hace. Porque como ya he dicho antes, este es un Pedro muy diferente el que estamos viendo en la lectura de hoy. Aquí vemos a un Pedro transformado, un Pedro que ha perdido su exceso de entusiasmo, así como su temor, vemos un Pedro que finalmente ha aprendido de quien es el ministerio en el que él está participando (no en su propio), y de que cuerpo el es una parte (. también, no el suyo) y dice así, él ha sido arrestado por la sanación de un hombre que no podía caminar en sábado, y cuando se le pregunta, dice: “Pues bien, declaramos ante ustedes y ante todo el Pueblo de Israel, que este hombre que esta aquí, delante de todos, ha sido sanado en el Nombre de Jesucristo de Nazaret, el mismo a quien ustedes crucificaron y a quien Dios resucito… En ningún otro hay salvación, porque en todo el mundo Dios no nos a dado otra persona por la cual salvarnos.”
Finalmente se da cuenta, finalmente acepta, que no se trata de él, sino de Jesús. Finalmente, él sigue su buen pastor, y comienza a vivir no en su propio nombre, sino en el nombre de Cristo. Y al hacerlo, se convierte en un signo del amor de Dios, de lo que Dios siempre está haciendo en el mundo: creando, sanando, y restaurando las relaciones, Dios comienza a trabajar a través de él. Las personas están siendo sanadas, las personas experimentan la “salvación” (porque la palabra salvación viene de “salve”:. Y aceite o medicamento utilizado para tratar las heridas … dolores) Y, finalmente, cuando Pedro se entrega a este papel, para ser el anunciador de la sanación de Dios, de su “salvación”, es entonces que el mismo Pedro se convierte en que él siempre estaba destinado a ser. Es entonces que el mismo Pedro se sana.
Y, así que esto es lo significa; esto es lo que se debe hacer: Significa que (después de salir hoy), cuando se encuentre con una situación de quebranto, de sufrimiento, y no pueda ver a la persona que en esa situación Dios está usando como un signo de su amor sanador :. … eres tu. Es que Dios te está llamando a sanar y ser sanado en esa situación. Porque, el padre Uriel y yo, tenemos el aceite aquí, bendito y listo, y en algunos momentos, muchos o todos ustedes (ojala!) Vendrán al frente para recibir esta señal del amor de Dios, este signo de la sanación de Dios que nosotros damos a todos los que lo piden, el último domingo de cada mes.
Pero, tengan cuidado, porque para recibir el aceite de sanación, beber del cáliz de salvación, la copa de sanación, es convertirse en el aceite, el bálsamo, que Dios usará, para sanar el mundo. Es para convertirse en el vaso que Dios ofrecerá al mundo. Para ser ese signo en el mundo del amor y la sanación de Dios, y llevarlos al que siempre está sanando, siempre restaurando la relación: nuestro amoroso y sanador Dios, nuestro buen pastor, y así, serás sanado tu mismo.
ENTONCES, mis amigos, oramos: Que nuestro Señor Jesucristo, el Buen Pastor, que nos lleva “a yacer en pastos verdes,” nos lleve a amar y servir a todos los perdidos y solitarios, que todo el mundo pueda llegar a conocer y amar a su único y verdadero Dios, que los llama a cada uno por su nombre. En el nombre del Padre, del Hijo, y del Espíritu Santo, Amén.

(Note: I think this was the best delivered semon as yet, after practicing a few times I nailed the emphases much better, and was able to maintain voz fuerte throughout the delivery, all three times. YAY!)

Now In English (mostly):

Our life of faith, our life as Christians, is constantly bringing us to deep questions, like: “What does the mean?” “What should I do?” “What is it all about?” And behind them all, (at least, for me) lies one question of enormous importance: “God, what are you doing?” …“What are you doing God?” “With me?” “With my life?” “With your community?”
Well, today, I want to propose that God is Always doing the same thing. As we know him in the Scriptures, in our traditions, and in our lives, God is always just doing the same thing, and That is: Creating, healing, and restoring relationship. And, in fact, these are all the same thing, these are all God loving us.
(Pausa)
But don’t take my word for it, first let’s look at God’s Word, our reading today!
Our first reading today was about Peter, from Hechos, and the first thing you might notice is that this is a very different Peter than usual, this is a changed, transformed Peter. Because Peter is the one that, before the crucifixion, resurrection, and before receiving the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, Peter is the one who was the least stable, the least reliable of all the Disciples. I often think that when Jesus said, “Peter, you are the rock on which I will build my Church” He was teasing his friend.
Because Peter is nothing like a rock throughout the Gospels: he is the one who always promises too much, and delivers too little. He swears he will follow Jesus to the death, then abandons him at the cross, denying him three times. He is a bad student too; even in the three years of following Jesus, coming along for all the teachings, and miracles, and healings, he till doesn’t see what Jesus is doing through them. That when Jesus heals leper, he’s not just showing off. He’s restoring that person to their community. That when he heals the lame hand or legs of a person, when he forgives the sins of a sinner, when he raises to life the son of a widowed mother, he’s not just doing healing those people, he’s healing the whole community, he’s bringing back relationships, letting mothers live with their sons, sinners with their sins, the lame to work and participate in the life of the whole. And in doing so he’s showing the world what God is always doing, when we let him, which is: creating, healing, and restoring relationship. Loving humanity.
But Peter doesn’t understand this, and he constantly tries to tell Jesus what to do next, and what he can and can’t do, until he tries to stop Jesus from going to the cross and Jesus finally says, “Get behind me Satan!”
He doesn’t understand who is the Pastor and who is the sheep, always trying to herd his Lord. Peter understands nothing.

At least, before Pentecost he doesn’t, before witnessing the crucifixion, and resurrection he doesn’t. Because as I said before, this is a very different Peter that we are seeing in today’s reading. Here we see a Peter transformed, a Peter who has lost his over-enthusiasm, as well as his fear, we see a Peter who has finally learned whose ministry he is participating in (not his own), and whose Body he is a part of (also, not his own.) And he says so, he has been arrested for healing a man who could not walk on the Sabbath, and when questioned he says: “Pues bien, declaramos ante ustedes y ante todo el Pueblo de Israel, que este hombre esta aqui, delante de todos, ha sido sanado en el Nombre de Jesucristo de Nazaret, el mismo a quien ustedes crucificaron y a quien Dios resucito… En ningun otro hay salvacion, porque en todo el mundo Dios no nos a dado otra persona por la cual salvarnos.”
Finally he realizes, finally he accepts, that this is not about him, but about Jesus. Finally, he follows his good shepherd, and begins living not in his own name, but the name of Christ. And in doing so, in becoming a sign of God’s love, of what God is always doing in the world: creating, healing, and restoring relationships, God starts working through him. People are being healed, people experience “salvation” (because the word salvation comes from “salve”: and oil or medicine used to treat wounds… hurts.) And, finally, when Peter gives himself up to this role, to be the one who proclaims God’s healing, his “salvation,” it is THEN that Peter himself becomes who he was always meant to be. It is THEN that Peter himself is healed.
And, so THIS is what this means; this is what to do: It means that (after you leave today), when you encounter a situation of brokenness, of suffering, and you can’t see which person in that situation God is using as a sign of His healing love:….It’s YOU. It’s you God is calling to heal and be healed in that situation. Because, Father Uriel and I, we have the oil here, blessed and ready, and in a few moments, many or all of you (ojala!) will come forward to receive this sign of God’s love, this sign of God’s healing that we give to all who ask of it, the last Sunday of every month.
But, ten cuidado, because to receive the oil of healing, to drink from the caliz de salvacion, the cup of healing, is to become the oil, the salve, that God will use, to heal the world. It is to become the cup that God will offer to the world. To be that sign in the world of God’s love and healing, to point them to the one who is always healing, always restoring relationship: our loving and healing God, our good shepherd, and so, be healed yourself.
Entonces, mis amigos, we pray: May our Lord Jesucristo, the good shepherd, who leads us “to lie down green pastures,” lead us to love and serve all the lost and lonely, that the whole world may come to know and love their one and true God, who calls them each by name. In the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

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Update on Preaching, Pronounciation, and What’s Coming Up

Quick reflections: Spanish is way fancier than English, I think due to it’s latin roots, lots of common ways of speaking in Spanish seem so high class and “falutin'” to me. Also, I feel like a tadpole must feel, as it learns to hop and jump, climb trees and breath air. Learning a new language (really learning it, once you get past translating in your head), is learning to be comfortable in a whole other and new mode of communication. Crazy. Alright, onward to the report!

So, my friends, I have continued with my preaching in Spanish every Wednesday, and I have noticed that it has just gotten easier and easier. When I started I was SO nervous that I could barely get through a sermon without running out of breath (forgetting to breathe), my face would be beet red, and I would speak so slowly and quietly I’m not sure that anyone understood me. Thankfully, all that has changed. I still have problems with preaching to quietly (though I always have problems with that in English as well, in preaching, presenting, just talking; I’m a naturally quiet person), but my pronunciation is very good, I’m able to look up from my manuscript (yes, still using a manuscript), engage the congregation more, and deliver my sermon more expressively.

I am still writing them in English (mostly, except for key phrases or quotes that I want be exact), translating them online, and then going through them with my supervising priest (a native speaker) to correct google translate. So, preaching in Spanish remains an exercise in pronunciation, delivery, and comfort in speaking in Spanish for long periods, rather than  learning new vocab, grammar, and translation skills (although, I do pick up new words and phrases every time.)

I have now preached 15 Sermons in Spanish, and I will be preaching on Sunday for the first time this Sunday, after which I will have preached more sermons in Spanish than in English.  So “yay!!” for that!

Next, if I didn’t mention it before, I gave up all English media for Lent, so during Lent I watched an **enormous** quantity of my favorite telenovela “La Gata” and I also found an amazing sitcom designed specifically for language learners called “Extra: en Español” (They have them for a number of different languages.) Extra is a hilarious and great show all in Spanish, and everyone talks really really slowly! (And they also repeat different new vocab words in every show, to introduce and instil them in your mind.)

The result of all this watching and listening (and lots more conversations in Spanish at Church: I seem to have lost my fear of looking like an idiot, which is handy!) is that both my pronunciation AND the speed at which I can understand Spanish being spoken have greatly increased. Again, folks that have heard me speaking in service on Sundays or in conversations have been asking me where I’m from, and are surprised when I tell them that I’m from Canada and “puro ingles.” I’m not confident just yet that they thought I was a native speaker from my pronunciation, but I think they’re thinking that I am a second-generation Spanish speaker who grew up speaking it, but here in US in an predominantly English environment and had to learn much of it as a second language.
So, I’m getting closer to my goal of being mistaken for a full on native speaker. Speaking of goals, let finish up this update and look at what other goals I’m working on, and where I’m at with studying:

Thanks to La Gata, I’m getting much, much better at listening and understanding movies and shows, and I would say I’m at about 70% comprehension with Spanish subtitles on. Right now my plan is to continue watching with subtitles on to the first commercial break, pausing and rewinding and looking up any new/unfamiliar words to understand fully the first part, then just watching the rest of the episode with or without subtitles and just try to understand as much as I can.

I am almost finished with my Rosetta Stone material (finally!!) I am about to begin the VERY last unit, and so I will soon just be reviewing and doing adaptive recall with that. Which is good, as I am sorely lagging behind at the moment in 2 areas of Spanish study: volume of vocabulary and good understanding of grammar. Rosetta Stone has been invaluable for getting me into Spanish in a real way, but as it is through full immersion there is actually no explicit and direct grammar or vocab memorization drills involved, so when I am through I will use my study time in these areas.

Finally, I have a 3 week trip to Costa Rica coming up in late May/early June. I will be staying with a Spanish speaking host family during that time, as well as studying at a Spanish language school down there (it is actually a full time school, where most students stay for a year or two before being deployed as missionaries, rather than one of the ones that only has students for a couple weeks at a time, and I think this is to their credit.) So, my study focus going forward between then and now (so as to prepare and take advantage as much as possible that time) is to:

1) Complete Rosetta Stone Material

2) Complete Duo Lingo app material (I’m also super close to this!)

3) Use online resources to learn and review formal Spanish grammar

4) Use online resources and experience (and perhaps Anki) to identify holes in my vocabulary and drill unfamiliar words to fill those holes.

New goals, and new (old) plan.

Time for some new goals!

OK, for the next month, by April 12th:

  • I really, really, want to be done with the base Rosetta Stone materials (not including the ongoing adaptive recall stuff)
  • I want to be consistently confused with a native speaker after services, even those in which I have preached.
  • I want to have learned and used polite ways to ask people to slow down in conversations.
  • I want to fully understand (100%) an episode of La Gata.
  • I want to fully understand (100%, as difficult as it may be) ONE full, real, in-depth conversation.

In 2 months, by May 12:

  • I want to understand 90% of a novella on a first watch.
  • I want to have simple 3-5 minute conversations without problem.
  • I want to be mistaken for a native speaker after short conversational interactions.
  • I want to be able to fully understand meetings and multiple person conversations that I am a part of.

3 months, by end of June:

  • I want to have full conversations without stop, wait, say that again moments.

These goals are a bit more specific than the last round, but hey, that’s what I want. I will be working on accomplishing this goals in 3 phases:

First, I’m going to put in an hour of office time on work days for Rosetta Stone, so I can finish with that material, and I will try to save two hours for it on Thursdays and Fridays, which are my lighter days.

Second, I’m going to re-engage my duo-lingo practice each day, work day or no.

Third, I will take opportunities to talk to my Spanish speaking parishioners in Spanish, and be honest when I did not understand what they said.

Fourth, at the end of my Rosetta Stone, I will engage a Spanish grammar course, as that is something I’m realizing I really need more work on.

Fifth, also after the RS is through, I will begin using one of the vocab cramming memory apps available to increase my vocab.

Sixth, I will continue my watching of novellas, and listening to only Spanish music.

Seventh, I will (hopefully, I am still in the planning stage right now) be traveling to Costa Rica for no less than 3 weeks for a formal program of immersion and education in Spanish.

Finally, and over all of it, I will review and update by progress on this blog every two weeks. 3/26, 4/9, 4/23, 5/7, 5/20. (I’m setting reminders now, so that don’t forget.)

Well, looks like I got my work cut out for me. Thanks, internet, I really needed to write this out in order to renew my efforts here.

See you in two weeks!

Back at it, and an update

It has been a while since I’ve made any entry here. Time to look back on the last few months, process and evaluate. Since my last post a lot has happened! I did about a million posadas, celebrated my first navidad, and the nuevo año, y despues, la epiphania, all very different in my Church than my previous experiences. Then, gracias a Dios, I was ordained to the Priesthood in late January! (YAY) After that, tons of conferences, also learning how to preside in Spanish. Because of the busyness of these last few months, I’ve been really off track on my Spanish studies, and I’ve yet to get them back on track (I haven’t even finished the last few lessons of my Rosetta Stone materials, which I thought I would be long done with by now.)

So, let me know review what I’ve had going on in the meantime, review where I’m at in regards to the goals I set oh-so-long-ago, regroup, make new goals, and get a plan going.

First, since the second week of January, I have been preaching in Spanish on Wednesday evenings, which is a good thing. I’ve now preached 8 times, including one night in which I preached and presided at the Eucharist all by myself. In the beginning, I was preparing the sermons all in Spanish, but I have since switched to preparing them in English, translating them, and then going over the translation with my supervising Priest for errors. On the one hand, I’m now writing better sermons and using words and phrases that I would not have come up with on my own, but on the other hand, I was getting more of a practice in recalling and using my existing vocab before. I will likely continue with my current method for now.

My practice of presiding in Spanish has been coming along quite well and, by all accounts, my pronunciation is excellent and I am making fewer and fewer mistakes. I actually enjoy it very much, and I’m not really spending any prep time anymore to get ready (unless I’m chanting.) This is a big shift, as I used to spend a good portion of my week, when I was a Deacon, practicing the gospel that I would be reading that Sunday. Now I just give it a couple run through before the service and only need to ask for help occasionally with new words.

Aside from preaching and presiding (and being present in meetings and conversation, of course) I haven’t really been studying or practicing much and, until Lent, my practice of only watching Spanish shows and listening to Spanish music had fallen away.

SO, my previous goals:

  • I have been mistaken for a native speaker on occasion (but only in limited circumstances, when I am very concentrating on my pronunciation, or based on how I spoke in the service.)
  • I’ve been able to have longer and longer conversations in Spanish, but my listening skills are still somewhat deficient (in that I can’t keep up with conversation at full speed)
  • I am currently at, perhaps, 50% understanding of my novellas. However, with Spanish subtitles on it is significantly more than that.
  • I am still no where near fluency, though my listening skills of overhearing and understanding other people’s conversations have grown considerably. I still need help to get through conversations, and quite often I don’t ask for it and just pretend to understand, which is a bad habit I’m going to need to get rid of to progress.

OK, all in all, I’m as happy as I can be about the past few months. I haven’t progressed too terribly much, but there simply wasn’t any time to study with the pace of all the extra-ordinary events going on. That said, it is really time for me to get back on track, reformulate some goals, and pen down how I plan to accomplish them. That, I will make another post for, however, for the sake of my anal-retentive organizational impulses.

My First Spanish Sermon

Well, I am still working on transitioning my Spanish learning strategies and preparing to be finished with the last of the Rosetta Stone material (which should happen early January, I think.) In the meantime, I signed myself up with my boss to preach at our small evening weekday service last night, and so I’ve now preached my first sermon in Spanish! While I did most of my brainstorming, research, and sermon prep in both Spanish and English, I (for the most part) did the actual pen to paper writing directly using the Spanish that I already know, and then reaching out to Google translate for a few words that I didn’t. When I was done, I had Padre look it over for me and correct my rookie mistakes.

At this point, my first draft was mostly OK, the mistakes that had to be corrected were some minor phrasing differences (ie you say ‘preparing food’ in Spanish, not ‘making food’ as that would imply that you were, like, creating it with magic powers or something), I initially made a few bad calls on the ser/estar thing, a couple gender agreement and conjugation mistakes, and there were some slightly awkward synonym choices (quietud vs tranquilidad, for example) that I just didn’t have enough experience with the living language to make the more appropriate choice.

By all accounts, the sermon was delivered well, without any difficulty in understanding on the part of my compatriots in the congregation, though I was too nervous to do much of the crowd connecting that I usually like. The readings of the day were Isaiah 40:25-31, Psalm 103, and Mateo 11:28-30. And this is the text of the sermon:

Sermón: 12/10/14
Jesús dijo: “Porque el yugo que les pongo y la carga que les doy a llevar son ligeros.”
En el nombre de Dios: El Padre, El Hijo, y El Espíritu Santo.

Sentados por favor.

A mi, me gusta mucho la estación de Adviento. Preparando el camino del Señor. Esperando, como Santa María, como todo el mundo la venida de nuestro Salvador. En verdad, creo que esta es mi favorita de todos. ((pausa)) Y ya, este año, para los dos miércoles pasado, he manejado a nuestra iglesia en las tinieblas de la temprana noche, para estar aquí con ustedes y descansar juntos en la presencia de Dios. Hay algo muy especial por estas noches. Todos nosotros llegamos en el oscuro, a la iglesia, que está llena de silencio y tranquilidad.

Es tan diferente que los domingos aquí! Cuando está llena la iglesia con tanto ruido y movimiento! Música, gritos, cocinando, comiendo, y, por supuesto, todos los chicos y jóvenes corriendo adentro y afuera!

No, esas noches son muy diferente. Y, creo que, esas son muy similar a el espíritu de la estación. El espíritu de silencio y tranquilidad.

Como unos de ustedes ya saben, tengo el honor y privilegio para ayudar y trabajar con el grupo de jóvenes aquí. Y en los cuatro meses que he trabajado con ellos, escuchando y hablando con ellos, he aprendido mucho acerca sus vidas y luchas. Pues, aunque parecen tan lleno de energía, en las conversaciones de nuestro grupo, cada uno tiene una historia diferente.

Hay muchas cosas que llevan. A veces, para los jóvenes que tienen mas años, ya tienen trabajos, y están trayendo dinero para la familia. A veces, tienen mucho trabajo para la escuela. A veces, creen que necesitan usar todos sus tiempos texteando con sus amigos, o jugando en juguetes de la computadora o el celular. Pues, no creo que todas estas cosas son totalmente mal. Pero, para ellos, donde esta el tiempo para Dios? Ellos tienen el yugo y la carga del mundo (que es demasiado pesado y, por eso están cansados), pero donde esta el yugo y la carga de Dios?

Que podemos participar en esta estación de Adviento, como podemos preparar nuestros corazones por el Salvador que viene en la navidad, hemos estado practicando un modo de oración se llama “Oración Centrada.” La practica es mucho fácil, yo creo. Simplemente nos sentamos en la presencia de Dios, en tranquilidad y silencio para diez o viente minutos. Porque la carga que Jesús nos da es tranquilidad, y el yugo que nos pone es silencio. Cuando les dije los jóvenes, sin embargo, que no creían que iba estar fácil. “Silencio?” -dijeron. “Tranquilidad?!” “Que es esa carga!” “Que es ese yugo!” ((Pausa))

Pero, empezamos de todos modos. ((Pausa)) Ya dos domingos, hemos practicado nuestra oración de silencio y tranquilidad. La primera vez por diez minutos, y el segundo vez por viente! Crees eso? Todos los jóvenes: sin movimiento, sin celular, sin platicar, sin gritar. Simplemente sentados, abiertos a Dios, en silencio y tranquilidad. Y vamos a hacerlo para los dos semanas que vienen también! ((Larga Pausa))

Sabes que? Cada vez, ellos dicen, cuando discutimos, se llegan al grupo casado y fatigado, sino después un poco tiempo en silencio y tranquilidad, un poco tiempo en la presencia del Señor, que tienen nuevas fuerzas. Tienen mas paciencia, tienen mas tranquilidad en sus corazones, y están mas preparados para el Señor que viene. ((Largo Pausa))

Bueno, pues: Así como sucede con los jóvenes, cuantos mas con nosotros los adultos? Si los jóvenes están cansados por los trabajos y el yugo del mundo, cuantos mas a nosotros los adultos? Cuantos mas los que trabajar para los jóvenes y la familia todos los días? Cuantos mas a ellos que llevan las cargas de la casa y los regalos de navidad y todo el dinero para la familia, o preparando toda la comida? ((Pausa))

Amigos en Cristo, las palabras de Cristo en el Evangelio esta noche son para todos nosotros que estamos cansados. Recuerde esos días y esas noches de Adviento, cuando el trabajo del mundo esta demasiado pesado, Jesús está siempre ofreciendo a ti el yugo de silencio, y la carga de tranquilidad… y puedas tomarlos en cualquiera momento si tú quieres. Y es importante para hacerlo especialmente en esa estación.
Porque es en los momentos de silencio y tranquilidad, los momentos cuando nos rendimos… a la presencia de Dios, dentro de nosotros, y entre de nosotros, que Jesucristo, nuestro maestro, nos de la paciencia y el corazón humilde que queremos, y el descanso que necesitamos.

Beginnings and Goals

Hello Internets,

Welcome to my blog!

I don’t expect anyone to read it besides me, but just in case, this is what it’s about: I am an Episcopal clergy person, fresh outta seminary, who works in an all Spanish-speaking church. The catch is, I don’t speak Spanish! (Or at least, I didn’t speak much when I started in July.) Although I’ve been making really great progress in speaking, reading, and listening in Spanish these last four months, I still have a ways to go to meet my goals. This blog shall be my official record of my progress, practices, mistakes, and successes, giving me something that I can look back on and evaluate, and giving YOU, the random internet person, something to mildly entertain and mostly confuse you before you get back to youtube.

OK, here are my goals:

Ultimate goals, by May 2015:

  • Spanish Fluency
  • Preach without notes in Spanish (my usual English style of preaching)
  • Teach full classes in Spanish
  • Be able to do Sacrament of Reconciliation/Pastoral Guidance in Spanish

3-Month Goals, by mid February 2015:

  • Get mistaken for a Native Speaker regularly
  • Lead meetings in Spanish
  • Be able to have long ‘get to know you’ 1 on 1 conversations in Spanish
  • Listen to and understand 90% or pop movies, shows, stand up, news, etc.

1-Month Goals, by Christmas 2014:

  • Get mistaken for native Spanish speaker
  • Listen and understand (and be able to explain) 50% of pop movies, shows, etc.
  • Navigate light “coffee hour” conversations with ease: hearing, understanding, and responding.

That’s it! I also want to learn Salsa dancing, but I think that might need a totally different blog.

Thanks, faithful reader, if you have any words of encouragement, support, random trolling, I’m happy to hear them!

-The Rev Eric