As St Paul told his friends in the church at Ephesus "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."
The next time you find yourself angry with someone, or frustrated, or annoyed - stop for a moment before you let yourself react. Give the other person the benefit of the doubt. Chances are they are not trying to annoy you or hurt you or dismiss you. Chances are they just look at things differently than you do. And that's okay. Chances are they are just trying to do their best. Just like you.
I have found in such situations that a little reflective time before responding out of anger leads to a lot more understanding. And that understanding leads to an altering of my perspective. And that altering of my perspective usually leads to something better. For example an even better idea, or way forward.
And that new or better idea leads to gratitude. Gratitude for the other person's thoughts and the way they look at things. Gratitude that together we are better. Gratitude for our differences and the many gifts that we offer each other. Gratitude that we are all made uniquely and we all have something precious to offer each other. Gratitude for God's great wisdom in blessing creation with so much variety.
So the next time it happens - that you find yourself at odds with someone in your family or community - practice appreciating their unique gift - their different opinion, their different way of doing things.
Then offer a prayer of gratitude and thanksgiving that God delights in the great diversity of God's creation. And that you - as well as that other person - are God's beloved ones and bring God great delight because of that diversity.
It's not always easy, and it's not always fast. But it is the best way forward.
With gratitude and thanksgiving for the great diversity in our church community,
Earth Day is on Sunday. This makes it extra special to be at church to thank God for our earth.
I am Stephanie and I live in Luskville, Quebec approximately 20 km out of Aylmer. I enjoy walks and being able to observe the beauty of my surroundings.
However as the snow melts I feel discouraged as I see a trail of plastic bottles, cans and other litter thrown out of car windows along Route 148 and the side roads. Recently there are many articles and media feeds about plastic pollution floating in the oceans. This is wreaking havoc with fish and other ocean life. Here in Canada I see the same damage in my own 'backyard' and I want to do more to fix this.
Let's all do something about this and start cleaning up the damage. First we can do this by using reusable/refillable bottles. Next, let's continue our work by organising groups to pick up litter on the side of the roads, parks and beaches in our own neighbourhoods .
Celebrate Earth Day by taking care of our earth.
Read more about how we can end plastic pollution.
Stop for a moment. Close your eyes. And listen. Just listen.
If you are like me, it can take awhile to tune into the sounds around me. There is so much chatter in my head. So many thoughts cluttering the spaciousness of my surroundings. But when I can settle into the listening, that's when I might hear God.
Prayer has two parts. The talking part, and the listening part. We are really good at the talking part. We are good at words. Good at getting our point across and listing our requests. There is much to pray for in our world. We want God to know what is on our hearts. We want God to know what we celebrate and what we yearn for. What grieves us and for whom we desire peace and healing. This is important, but I dare say that God wants us to know what is on God's heart too. This is why we need to listen.
It takes practice. But it is worth it. It brings our hearts closer to God's heart. It makes our relationship stronger. And when our relationship with God is strengthened, our relationship with all Creation is made stronger. Compassion and joy overflows.
Stop for a moment. Close your eyes. And listen. Do this for 5 minutes every day. And see what happens. You may be surprised!
Many North American churches are resurrecting an old Easter custom begun by the early Greek Christians --- "Bright Sunday" or "Holy Humor Sunday" celebrations on the Sunday after Easter. For centuries in all Christian faith traditions, the week following Easter Sunday was observed by the faithful as "days of joy and laughter" with parties and picnics to celebrate Jesus' resurrection
The custom is rooted in the writings of early church theologians (like Augustine, Gregory of Nyssa, and John Chrysostom) that God played a practical joke on the devil by raising Jesus from the dead. "Risus paschalis - the Easter laugh," the early theologians called it.
God smiles, this much I know
for God created laughter
so that we might join in the enjoyment of Holy creative energy
those wonderful colour schemes of bird butterfly and flower.
The shapes and expressions on so many creatures and insects
These weren't created by a boring God
they were drawn by a God with a sense of humour
and that's a comforting thought! (John Birch)