Holy Shenanigans

Look Up!

May 14, 2024 Tara Lamont Eastman Season 5 Episode 14
Look Up!
Holy Shenanigans
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Holy Shenanigans
Look Up!
May 14, 2024 Season 5 Episode 14
Tara Lamont Eastman

An episode exploring the power of little ascensions and the connection between music, love, and encouragement.

Send Tara a Text Message

Support the Show.

Pastor Tara Lamont Eastman is an Ordained Minister of Word & Sacrament in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She has pastored ELCA and PCUSA churches throughout New York State. She was a contributing writer to the Collaborate Lutheran Student Bible and the Connect Sunday School curriculum, published by Sparkhouse.

Show Notes Transcript

An episode exploring the power of little ascensions and the connection between music, love, and encouragement.

Send Tara a Text Message

Support the Show.

Pastor Tara Lamont Eastman is an Ordained Minister of Word & Sacrament in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She has pastored ELCA and PCUSA churches throughout New York State. She was a contributing writer to the Collaborate Lutheran Student Bible and the Connect Sunday School curriculum, published by Sparkhouse.

S5 E14 Look Up!

Tara: [00:00:00] Welcome to Holy Shenanigans Podcast. I am your muse, Pastor Tara Lamont Eastman. This podcast was born in 2020, and it was a means to share spiritual care with people in a way that is approachable, engaging, and sacred. But not stuffy. Our topics are loosely connected to the liturgical church calendar, but also is an opportunity for me to share wonderful work of authors and artists that will encourage you in your own spiritual journey.

Tara: This episode comes to you at the intersection between Ascension and Pentecost in the church calendar. It also falls right after the weekend of Mother's Day and the upcoming holiday of Father's Day in the United States. Our relationships with these holidays [00:01:00] can be complicated and in this reality I wanted to offer you a message this week on the power of little ascensions.

Tara: Ascensions of encouragement, ascensions of love, and ascensions of connection. When I am in need of encouragement, A song usually does the trick, especially lately, the songs of Joy Oladokun. Her song, Look Up, is a means of ascension for me. It's an encouragement to not ignore the challenges that surround me, but to remember that I am still loved and that I should still look up.

Tara: Here's a segment of the chorus of this song. Look up. Do you see the sunlight? Look up, there's flowers in your hair. Hold on, cause somebody [00:02:00] loves you. You know trouble's always gonna be there. Don't let it bring it to your knees. Look up. In Luke 24, we find the ascension story of Jesus, where he gives words of advice and encouragement, as well as direction.

Tara: Before he ascends to heaven, before he says farewell, he gives them some advice. He points to scripture. He reminds them of what they have seen and heard and experienced. And then he gives them a purpose and calls them into continuing his work on earth. And then he leaves them with a blessing. He blesses them and he withdraws and is carried up into heaven.

Tara: How amazing and dramatic this ascension was to see the Christ that had walked with them Ascend into the heavens. It [00:03:00] is dramatic. It is exciting and yet I think the ascensions of Jesus ministry the actions of love and compassion Connection and encouragement are little ascensions that we must pay attention to these little ascensions of Christ You As well as our own are important, and so I return to a story in honor of Mother's Day or Nurturers Day, a story of little ascensions of love, connection, and encouragement.

Tara: If you've been following this podcast for a little while, you probably know that music and singing are a big part of my life to be true. I can't think of a time that music wasn't a part of my memory. My family was a singing family. We would sing while doing chores at home. We would sing on a [00:04:00] drive. Even when we would travel to go see our extended family at anniversary parties or birthdays or Christmas, there was always a time that everyone would join in singing together.

Tara: And then there was the singing in church. I was carried to church when I was two weeks old and music has always been with me. So by the time I was six years old, I had sung through all the hymns in our hymn book many times over. And while Sunday morning was a prime time for singing, singing for me was a Monday through Sunday event.

Tara: Because my mom would always be singing with me. She would teach me the melody line until I was confident singing it. And then she would shift to her favorite alto part. And then we would sing together. More times than I can count, my mom would break into song throughout the day and say, sing with me, won't [00:05:00] you?

Tara: To this day, my mom will ask me to sing, and I'm pretty sure all those years of practice will help me to bring it from singing in the garden to going to take a sentimental journey and every breath you take by the police. Some may say that a gift of song is too simple an answer when it comes to living out love in the world.

Tara: But for me and for my mom, it was and is a sacred space. of connection, an ongoing little ascension. Whenever life is hard, I can tune into the power of a song. Whenever life is joyful, I can share a tune of encouragement, just like the song Look Up I shared with you. Song is powerful. Song has a space of little ascension for me throughout my whole life, [00:06:00] thanks to my mom.

Tara: When I was just six years old, I was invited to sing a solo in church on Sunday night worship. My mom rehearsed with me for weeks. When I was confident of the melody line and the lyrics by heart, she slipped off into the alto part, and it was beautiful. Although she sang wonderfully, she never wanted to sing publicly.

Tara: So, she did all she could to prepare me for my first solo, stating that she would prefer please to stay in the pews. The evening came for me to sing that solo. In the garden was the tune. I knew all the words. The melody was fixed in my mind. The pianist played the intro, but I missed my starting point. The pianist [00:07:00] played the intro once more.

Tara: On the third try of that intro, I still could not sing. I missed the foundation of that alto. I missed my mom's voice. And so I looked down at my feet in silence as the pianist kept on playing, my heart pounding, tears welling up in my eyes. Until, I heard someone singing, I come to the garden along with the dew, still on the roses.

Tara: My mom, who said she was too shy to sing in public, stood up, walked down the aisle, and [00:08:00] took me by the hand. I looked up, I looked up, in that gracious gift of agape, agape. Connection and little ascension. I waited for the pianist to come back to a part I could jump in. And I did. With my mom. And he walks with me and he talks with me And he tells me I am his own And the joy we share as we tarry there None other Yay!

Tara: Ascensions can be dramatic like Jesus being taken up to heaven. Ascensions can be ones of compassion and connection, like the gift my mom gave me in music, as well as her courage to reach out [00:09:00] and to support me, even in spaces she wasn't comfortable. What can this Ascension story from Luke 24 teach us? It teaches us that ascension is not being higher than someone else.

Tara: The gift of true ascension is that we are not alone, that we are beloved, that we are called to share this message of belonging with one another, with encouragement and connection. It is a call for us to say to somebody else, look up, do you see the sunlight? There's flowers in your hair. Hold on, cause somebody loves you.

Tara: You know trouble's always gonna be there. Don't let it bring you to your knees. Look up. May this [00:10:00] season of in betweens, between Mother's Day and Father's Day, Ascension and Pentecost, be an opportunity for you to hear those words. Look up and know that you are not alone. May it also be an opportunity for you to say to someone else.

Tara: Look up, I'm here with you, and I'm ready to sing that alto part, wherever it takes us. May the Creator help us to take up our calling to little ascensions in words, in song, in actions of love, this day, and every day. May peace be with you. I'm your Holday Shenanigans Muse. Pastor Tara Lamont Eastman. Thank you for joining us this week for holy [00:11:00] shenanigans that surprise, encourage, redirect, and turn life upside down all in the name of love.

Tara: This is an unpredictable spiritual adventure that is always sacred, but never stuffy. This episode is dedicated to my mom, Nancy Rain, for always bringing the songs. And being willing to sing them with me. Happy mother's day, mom. 

Tara: Thank you also for listening. We couldn't be doing this work without you. And we so appreciate your financial support by way of www. buymeacoffee. com Tara L Eastman. A special thank you to the upstate New York Synod and the Trexler grant. To support continuing education for pastors. Their contribution helped me to attend the soul shop for leaders training just a few weeks ago.

Tara: Now that I've completed this [00:12:00] workshop, I'm able to provide workshops to provide churches, communities, hope, and resources around suicide prevention. If you want more information on soul shop movement, soul shop movement. org, or drop us an email at holy shenanigans podcast at gmail. com. We also want to invite you to reach out to us.

Tara: If you have a holy shenanigan story that you can't wait to share until next time, maybe, well, may you be at peace and may you know that you are always beloved and yes, keep looking up. 

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