Lions and Coyotes and Calves, Oh My!

lionBy Joyce Hollyday  Reposted from www.joycehollyday.com.

Two days ago, a calf was born on the 120-acre mountain farm next-door. On my morning walk that day, I rounded a turn in the trail and spied him under a chestnut tree by the creek, just hours old, still wobbly on his legs, his mother licking him vigorously. Last night a coyote tried to kill that newborn calf. His mother successfully thwarted the attack, but not without injury to her ear and face. On this morning’s walk, I noticed that all the cattle are huddled together at the bottom of the mountain, the calves in the center of their protective circle. Continue reading

Making a Difference

joyceBy Joyce Hollyday

In October 1983, two dozen peace activists gathered in Philadelphia as war raged in Nicaragua. U.S.-backed forces known as contras were carrying out a campaign of terror and mayhem against the civilian population. A woman from North Carolina, who had led a church delegation to the embattled country three months before, reported that while she and her colleagues were there the mortar attacks, kidnappings, and massacres had temporarily ceased. What to do? Continue reading

Sermon: Fig Cakes, Tamales, and a Heap of Raisins

tamalesBy Joyce Hollyday
Circle of Mercy: October 1, 2017, World Communion Sunday
1 Samuel 25

We held a sheep-shearing day every spring at Swan Mountain Farm, where I used to live. Mark, the chief shearer, always started with the rams because, he explained, they “come with handles.” Mark grabbed Charlie by the horns and wrestled him over on his side. Charlie, like all the sheep, began that morning as a massive ball of fluff, as wide as he was tall, his wool discolored a dingy brown by dirt. By the time the clipping was done, he was a skinny thing, and the thin layer of wool left on him was shockingly white. As soon as he could get his feet under him, Charlie escaped into the pasture. Mark then repeated the process with Chip. And when he ran into the pasture, the two rams, not recognizing each other with their new haircuts, aimed their horns, charged at each other, and butted heads repeatedly. Continue reading

Lunch with the Law

joyceBy Joyce Hollyday

Three-year-old Enrique’s favorite toy—a plastic helmet with a dark face shield, emblazoned with the word “POLICE”—was parked on his head. As he toddled up to our burly, 6-foot-8 county sheriff, with his mother Rosita watching nervously, the irony just about did me in.

For three hours every week a group calling ourselves Mujeres Unidas en Fe (Women United in Faith) gathers at a church just over the mountain from my home in Western North Carolina. A dozen Spanish-speaking women and an equal number of us English speakers share Bible study, exchange language lessons, and enjoy a potluck lunch. Fear has been running high since executive orders out of the White House targeted North Carolina as a state for increased action against undocumented immigrants, and recently our group’s activities have included the heartbreaking work of getting legal papers in place for the care of their children if any of the mothers are deported.   Continue reading

Family Emergency Plan

tamales.jpgBy Joyce Hollyday from February 2017

Once a week for three hours in the middle of the day, a group calling ourselves Mujeres Unidas en Fe (Women United in Faith) gathers in a church on the other side of the mountain from my home. About a dozen are Spanish-speaking women who are learning English, and an almost equal number of us are English speakers who want to improve our Spanish. Continue reading

Jesus and the Easter Bunny

By Joyce Hollyday

Easter bunny

During an overly pious phase in my childhood, my favorite holiday was Maundy Thursday. I had nothing against the traditional favorites of Christmas, Easter, and Halloween. I did, after all, grow up in Hershey, Pennsylvania—raised in the First United Methodist Church on Chocolate Avenue, where the domes on the street lights resemble Hershey’s kisses and the fragrance of chocolate hung often in the air. I had no complaint against holidays that brought bonanzas of candy and gifts. Continue reading

Sermon: “Save Us!”

palm sunday.pngBy Joyce Hollyday, April 9, 2017, Palm Sunday: Circle of Mercy

Our text tonight is Luke 19:29-41. I’m reading from the New Revised American Version:

When he had come near Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his billionaire cronies, saying, “Go into the town ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there a stallion that has been ridden many times in war. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say this, ‘The Lord wants it. And what the Lord wants, the Lord gets.’ If necessary, pay off its owners with a bribe. Close the deal with whatever it takes.” So those who were sent departed and found it as he had told them.  Continue reading