Encouragement for the Journey – 30/10/11

Greetings fellow Traveller,

A few weeks ago I was at a book sale and experienced great delight at finding a book by Hermann Hesse entitled ‘Wanderings.’ It contains a collection of his reflections and poems from his wanderings around the southern foothills of the Swiss Alps published in 1920. In one particular reflection he has these words:

‘Not a stone here that I did not love. Not a drop of water in the waterfall that I wasn’t grateful for, that didn’t come falling from the secret chambers of God.’

Those words ‘…… the secret chambers of God’, struck a chord within me. I was reminded that much about life is a secret or as I like to describe, a mystery.

To honour this mystery, I desire to look at life the world through different spectacles, for there is much more present before our eyes, than we can ever imagine. Of course I am being poetic, this helps me to describe glimpses of another world which lies beyond the gossamer veil, and is forever present.

Continuing in a poetic vein, I am enjoying these lighter mornings, delighting to hear a chorus of bird songs, each different, each bird offering it’s praise for the beauty of the new morning. Birds, perhaps we have a favourite bird who voice touches our heart or whose plumage is truly breath taking. How about the humble sparrow?

Last Tuesday when I was in my office here at St Aidans, a sparrow landed on the window sill and commenced to sing, then suddenly off it flew. My memory was triggered, of a time in 1974; I was working in the stables of the Mounted Police Department of the Merseyside Police, grooming my horse. A sparrow flew around me then alighted on a window sill. The words of Jesus came to mind, how I was of more value, than many sparrows. This was a comfort to me, as I was preparing to leave the UK to live in New Zealand and feeling anxious of what was in store.

An important question we may ask: is this world a safe or an unsafe place? The way we see the world, our neighbour and ourselves, with each having a place in the secret chambers of God, offers us a poetic worldview of life, of being embraced within God. That for me is a safe place to be and from which we may look at life.

Meanwhile Peace Alf

October 30, 2011 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey – 23/10/11

Greetings Fellow Traveller,

A TV program I enjoy watching is the Australian edition of Master Chef. Earlier this week one episode had the final five contestants cooking for the person who was the inspiration for their culinary journey. For each contestant it was a family member. One particular contestant introduced his mother and sister, and he went on to say that his sister had had a liver transplant fifteen years ago, and her courage was his inspiration. There was not a dry eye in the Master Chef kitchen.

Watching that scene unfold, I was reminded once more, that we just don’t know what has happened or currently happening in another’s life, unless they tell us. On many occasions we may act upon on our perceptions becoming judgemental and critical, this may often be far from factual. I am reminded of those words of Jesus, in Matthew 7:1 ‘Do not judge, so that you may not be judged.’ The first part is very clear, but the second part, who judges us, simply we judge ourselves; our attitudes always shine through in how we treat another human being. It is no wonder, that Jesus continues this teaching with an invitation to take the log out of our own eye, before we can take the speck out of our neighbour’s eye.

When we look at our own attitudes, what drives and may motivate us, we discover that we have within us, uncharted seas and unexplored landscapes upon which are all kinds of untamed beasts roam. Who are we, we are many. Upon learning to accept ourselves, we learn to practice compassion, having empathy to ourselves and the fellow travellers we meet along the way. Then, if we suspend judgement, becoming open, at those times, in unexpected ways, we may receive encouragement for the journey.

Meanwhile Peace


October 23, 2011 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey – 16/10/11

Greetings fellow traveller,

After a two week break, I once more return to writing my Encouragement for the Journey. In a strange sort of way, I have missed the weekly discipline of writing this column. For what I write, first has to encourage me, before I offer it for your encouragement, for we are all in the same boat, sharing a common humanity.

What then has encouraged me?

Certainly the passion and skill of the Rugby World Cup continues to hold my attention, along with the enthusiasm of the supporters, a reminder that Rugby is only a game. Then I heard at the weekend that my niece in England had a baby girl, a real joy and cause for celebration, thanks be to God for another new life upon our wonder – filled Earth. While on holiday, I gave myself permission to read stuff I don’t normally read, so off to the bookshelf where we stayed and I chose J. K. Rowling’s – Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and John Le Carre’s – Smiley’s People. Two very different genres, they gave much pleasure and joy to the reader. I do indeed take great delight in reading a good book, reading is such a gift, and we dare not take it for granted.

But wait there is more, I also watched again the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, (approximately 11 hours) not at one sitting. One of the last scenes has Frodo Baggins, sitting at his desk in the Shire; he has just completed writing about his adventures. Closing the book, aware of how he feels in body and spirit, says ‘some things time does not heal, some things we never fully get over or come to terms with.’ When I heard that, I knew at last I had the theme for a book that has been bubbling around inside of me for over ten years. It now has a working title of ‘Living with the Unresolved of the Heart.’ It is true that something’s don’t heal, yet, we gradually learn to live with our absences in a different way. Along the way, faith, hope and love become increasingly precious, but the greatest of these is always love. May love sustain and encourage you on your journey, as it does on mine.

Meanwhile Peace


October 16, 2011 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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