What are you praying about these days?
Stop for a moment and think about this. What are you praying for? What is on your heart? What is God saying to you? What are you hearing from Creation? What is crying out to you to be heard? To be attended to?
Prayer is more about listening than talking.
Slow your breathing. Stop. And listen. The Spirit of wisdom and truth cannot be heard in the din of the too-busyness of life. This is why Jesus went away to a quiet place every once in awhile. So he could hear. So he could trust that what he was hearing was the voice and the presence of the one he knew as God of all creation.
What is God saying to you? How is the Spirit inviting you to be engaged in the life of the world? The big world - the big picture. Not just the details that clutter our days.
What does your community need from you? What does your church need from you? What does the world need from you?
We are the church. The church is the "Body of Christ". We are more than just keepers of a building. We are "the hands and feet of Christ", called to serve God in the world.
Blessings on your Lenten journey.
See you Sunday for worship and communion.
In late April, Boyd and I set off on a two week pilgrimage - a sacred journey in Central Italy. We will visit sites that are significant to the establishment and growth of Christianity. We will walk, study, sing, pray and have long conversations about what we will see and experience. We will examine our faith roots both personally and at a community level.
This will not be the first pilgrimage I have undertaken. I know from experience the thrill of seeing places where some of my faith heroes lived centuries ago. And I know the challenge of examining my own faith in light of new experiences and new understandings. It is hard work.
A pilgrimage is not something to be undertaken lightly. Our leaders know this very well and so have provided us with a 120 page study guide plus and extensive bibliography to help each of us prepare our minds and our hearts for this adventure. (Boyd and I also need to prepare our bodies with a little extra exercise before we leave!)
All of us going on the pilgrimage approach this knowing that while we will be visiting sites that are important to the birth of Christianity and Christendom, the world is changing fast and the "Christian empire" is disintegrating. I am both anxious and inspired to approach this journey from this perspective - a reality that reflects the world that Jesus lived in. We will seek through the ancient artifacts and stories for clues to the original message of Jesus.
Here is just a wee bit from our study guide: "We will trace the emergence of an official and imperial Christianity closely tied to government, and also hear the voices and examine the lives of Christians who emerged in the midst of, but also over against the 'great Church'. They called it back to living its origins and to incarnating the message and spirit of Jesus."
Please keep us in your prayer as we prepare for our pilgrimage.
It is just as sunny here today as it was in the Dominican Republic last week. Temperature is a fair bit different however!
I had a great holiday - very refreshing and restful. I needed that. One of the best things about travelling in my mind is talking to the people from the area I visit. We had many laughs with locals comparing Canada and the DR. Mostly about the huge contrast in our respective country's size and - of course - weather (it seems you can't be Canadian and not talk about the weather!) I love describing snow to someone who has never seen it. I love to tell them about the experience of walking across a frozen lake, and skiing in fresh snow. And I enjoy hearing what they love about their country.
When we share stories of our homes we connect from the heart. We connect with others at a very human level. We are talking about those things and people that make life precious. We realize that we are all pilgrims together on this planet, stewards of creation and intrinsically connected with each other. We are members of the same human family.
This became very clear to me last night when the study group discussed Chapter 6 Granting Forgiveness in The Book of Forgiving. I quote:
"All modern humans are related to what scientists call Mitochondrial Eve; this refers to our common matrilineal ancestor. She lived approximately two hundred thousand years ago, and depending on how you estimate the length of a generation, we are only five to ten thousand generations from one another. To put it another way, each of us is a cousin of one another at most ten thousand times removed, And yes, Mitochondrial Eve lived in Africa, so in a very real way we are all Africans, which - given the racist propaganda that has been put froward for so long in many parts of the world - is a bit ironic, don't you think?"
Desmond and Mpho Tutu The Book of Forgiving p.126
Something to think about as we move through Lent, journeying together as people of God.
It is Lent. That liminal time between the feasting of Shrove Tuesday and the events of Easter.
In the good old days we often "gave up" something for Lent. This was a recognition of the 40 days of fasting and prayer that Jesus endured in the wilderness before he began his public ministry. It was time of discernment for him. A time to sort himself and his priorities out. A time to listen very carefully to His God - the one who guided his life.
I wanted to give up technology for Lent this year because it has taken on too high a priority in my life. But I can't because much of my job as your minister depends on email, web searches and the calendar reminders on my phone. And because it is through texts, emails and my cell phone that I stay connected with my kids, grandkids and friends and family far and wide.
So, as a workable option I wrote myself a "technology covenant" to guide me through these next 6 weeks. Here are a few of the main points in my covenant:
1. I will not turn on or look at any device until after breakfast.
2. I will turn off my devices after supper (unless it is one of those evenings when I need to work).
3. I will resist the temptation to check my phone for messages and emails when I am stopped at a traffic light. Instead I will take a deep breathe and enjoy the "practice of waiting".
Let me know what you have decided to do to mark this sacred time of Lent. And please hold me in prayer as I attempt to stay faithful to this covenant. I will do the same for you.
God bless you!
See you Sunday for Communion.