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Encouragement for the Journey 30 / 12 / 2012

Encouragement for the Journey

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Greetings Fellow Traveller,

‘Life is not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be lived.’ Anon

I thought I would repeat what I wrote this time last year, it is still applicable. New Year is a time for resolutions, making changes, charting new ways of being and responding to life. I found an article in the Huffington Post (On line Newspaper) on the 5 Spiritual Practices of Ageing Well by a Buddhist Writer Lewis Richmond. I want to use his five headings which are: Gratitude, Generosity, Reframing, Curiosity and Flexibility.

Gratitude:

It is surprising how our mood changes when we become grateful for our lives. Meister Eckhart has a delightful quote: ’if we could only say one prayer it would be thank you.’ Often we take for granted that which is familiar and present, take for example, our water and electricity supply, for people in Samoa after the cyclone their supply is unpredictable. Gratitude is being thankful for what is.

Generosity:

No matter our age, we can still be generous, not speaking here of money, rather offering simple acts of kindness, a phone call, a letter, email or text, or just giving of our time and that essential word of encouragement. When we are generous, we discover that the world does not revolve around us; there are others also on the journey of life.

Reframing:

How are we looking at our life, is it through negative spectacles or through positive spectacles which always offer us opportunities for hope and life. When things happen to us and they do, we can choose to explore different ways of giving meaning to those events, which change the negative to the positive.

Curiosity:

In life we may become narrow in focus, we have our interests and close friends, and it may become increasingly more difficult to start new interests and friendships. However, when we adopt a spirit of curiosity, we realise there are other ways of seeing and doing, we become open to wonder and mystery.

Flexibility:

Have you heard the expression: ‘I am too old to change.’ If we accept this, it is like having our feet in concrete shoes, we become stuck, unable to move and we slowly stagnate. Being flexible in attitude, we develop an openness to discover, to appreciate wonder and mystery, and our life becomes interesting and alive.

May the unfolding New Year offer you moments to live well within the embrace of life’s mystery.

Meanwhile Peace Alf

 

December 29, 2012 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 23 / 12 / 2012

Encouragement for the Journey 1326663868_golden star

Greeting Fellow Advent Traveller,

Today is the fourth Sunday in advent and we continue our journey of lighting the Advent candles, today it is the Candle of LOVE.

Mention the word LOVE, and all kinds of images and memories may come into our awareness. We each have our own thoughts, descriptions and stories of our experiences around that four letter word LOVE.

Is your understanding of LOVE influenced by Hollywood and or TV soaps and dramas? Or have you come to your understanding through some other pathway?

For LOVE to be more than just a word written, we need to embody it into our lives, allowing it to influence our attitudes, actions and of course our relationships.

A few days ago I came across a powerful question: Is each person capable of loving? I want to shout a resounding YES. However, I readily agree, for some, that capability for various reasons may be significantly reduced.

I still think the Apostle Paul’s description of LOVE is one of the most concise and powerful, because it seeks to offer a pathway for LOVE to become very practical and grounded in the here and now, in our relationships with other human beings.

1 Corinthians 13

Love is patient; love is kind;

love is not envious or boastful or arrogant

or rude.

It does not insist on its own way;

it is not irritable or resentful;

It does not rejoice in wrongdoing,

but rejoices in the truth.

It bears all things,

believes all things,

hopes all things,

endures all things.

Love never ends.

And now faith, hope, and love abide,

these three; and the greatest of these is love.

Meanwhile Peace and Love to you and those you Love this Advent and Christmas Season

Alf

 

 

December 29, 2012 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 16 / 12 / 2012

Encouragement for the Journey

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Greetings Fellow Traveller,

Today is the third Sunday in Advent and we continue on our journey of lighting Advent candles, today it is the Candle of Joy.

Joy weaves its way through the Christmas stories, from the joy of Mary and Joseph as they welcomed their baby, to the joy of the shepherds and magi as they came and celebrated the birth of Jesus.

There is something very human and ordinary about this event. Who has not been overwhelmed with joy at seeing a new born baby? I recall when I first saw and held my children and grandchildren it was a very emotional and joyous occasion, one which I will never forget.

Joy, the very word brings a lightness of being, as we humans become open to welcoming moments of celebration. Being joyful along with laughter does something very powerful in our brains. They release endorphins which in turn produce an increased sense of inner well being and positive feeling about life, others and our – selves.

Joy offers an antidote for the negative energy we find ourselves being confronted with at various times on our journey.

There is so much happening in Advent and Christmas, which offer opportunities to fling open the stable door of our heart and be joyful.

A question that is helpful to ask is: what can I be joyful for today?

Enjoy being Joyful 

I leave you with these four lines from W. H Auden:

In the deserts of the heart

Let the healing fountains start,

In the prison of his days

Teach the free man how to praise.

 In Memory of W.B. Yeats

 Meanwhile peace and joy

Alf

 

 

 

December 29, 2012 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 9 / 12 / 2012

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Encouragement for the Journey

Greetings fellow Traveller,

Today is our second Sunday in Advent. The candle we light during our Advent Candle Liturgy is for PEACE. The word Peace, offers many different connotations and descriptions, from the international scene to the personal.

Focusing on the personal, I am sure you have experienced a time when you felt at peace. In those moments, we respond deep within our being to what is occurring in an external environment.

Travelling through Advent, with the corresponding pressure of having to do and be in three different places at the same time. We may forget to plan moments when we ensure we are in an environment which is conducive to us experiencing peace. Without these moments we will become frazzled, anxious and in danger of breaking down physically and emotionally.

I leave you with a favourite poem of mine from Wendell Berry:

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life

and my children’s lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake

rests in his beauty on the water,

and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their lives with forethought

of grief.

I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

waiting with their light. For a time

I rest in the grace of the world, and am free

Wendell Berry

 Meanwhile may peace visit you this Advent

Alf

 

December 29, 2012 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 2 / 12 / 2012

Encouragement for the Journey

Journey picture  ex Ben C.

Greetings fellow Traveler 

Advent is celebrated during the four weeks leading up to the Christ Day. Traditionally it is a time of preparation for what will unfold. During this period we take time at the commencement of each service to light Advent candles, these represent

Hope

Peace

Joy

Love

Such a simple act yet filled with much symbolism and expectation. Today being the first Sunday in Advent I want to focus on hope. Courtesy of Wikipedia: Hope can first be seen in ancient Greek mythology with the story of Zeus and Prometheus. Prometheus stole fire from the god Zeus, which infuriated the supreme god. In turn, Zeus created a box that contained all manners of evil, unbeknownst to the receiver of the box. Pandora opened the box after being warned not to, and those evils were released into the world; hope, which lay at the bottom of the box, remained. This is the beginning of the tale of hope.

Hope within a Christian context is one of the great Christian essential virtues of our faith. Hope is not certainty, indeed, to have certainty one has no need for hope. In each of our lives, who has not had times when hope has faded and we feel the shadows of despair cast their cloak of darkness around us.

Lighting this Advent candle of Hope today is a reminder that our journey of faith, is always embraced by hope in the dynamic presence of the mystery of the One, who is the uniting energy who holds all together, the One, we name as God.

May hope embrace you.

Peace Alf

 

December 29, 2012 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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