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Encouragement for the Journey 19 May 2013

Encouragement for the Journey

Pentecost Dove

Greetings Fellow Traveller,

I have mentioned previously, how for me, a good café is very conducive for writing and reflecting. I would like to have been around in the 1920’s and spent time in the cafes of Paris, Berlin or Vienna. Alas, that will never be, for time travel is not yet quite perfected.

Cafes are extraordinary places, offering all kinds of mouth watering delicacies and tasty morsels. Of course I am not forgetting good coffee and tea. The heart of a cafe is not the barista or the kitchen; it is the table at which human beings may sit sometimes alone or with another person and have a conversation. Hold that thought of being with another person in a cafe for a moment.

Today in our Café Church, we celebrate Pentecost, the giving of the Holy Spirit. If we perceive the Holy Spirit to be just for us, who are in the Church, we do immense injustice to the Spirit’s presence in the whole of creation. The Church does not own or have a monopoly on the Holy Spirit. The presence of the Spirit permeates the whole of creation.

I WANT TO STATE VERY CLEARLY IT IS MY BELIEF GOD’S SPIRIT IS THE SPIRIT OF THE COSMOS. IT IS THE VERY BREATH OF LIFE IN EVERY APECT OF CREATION AND WITHIN EVERY PERSON. THERE IS NO BOUNDARY BETWEEN RELIGIOUS AND NON – RELIGIOUS. ALL ARE EMBRACED WITHIN THE MYSTERY OF SPIRIT- THE DIVINE RUACH (the feminine life force at the heart of all life)

So the next time you enter a Café, alone or with another human being, pause for a moment, imagine that the Divine Ruach or breath of God has already gone before you and is already present in every person in that Café.

Likewise here today in our Café Church, pause for a moment, imagine that the Divine Ruach or breath of God has already gone before you and is already present in every person in this place, present in every conversation taking place across each table. Along with being present in you and in any conversation you may have.

What a wonderful thought!

Meanwhile Peace in the eternal embrace of the Spirit

Alf

 

 

May 22, 2013 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 12 May 2013

Encouragement for the Journey

Pentecost (resized)

Greetings Fellow Traveller,

This week a long awaited parcel arrived, it was a parcel of books I posted while I was in the UK in February. I was quite pleased they arrived safely, now I can commence my study leave report. Opening the parcel I took time to flick through each book and saw my underlining’s and notes I had scrawled during my study leave. For this week’s encouragement I want to offer you a sampler of what I have read and discovered. I will not comment on them, rather I let you savour them for yourself.

Firstly from: ‘Spiritual Awakening – A Guide to Spiritual life in congregations’ by John Ackerman:

There is a big difference between saying the words and the underlying meaning or attitude. David Steindl – Rast, a Benedictine monk known worldwide for his wisdom says:

 “We must distinguish prayer from prayerfulness …. Prayerfulness is an attitude of the heart ….There is no human heart that does not pray, at least in deep dreams that nourish life with meaning. Moments in which we drink deeply from the source of meaning are moments of prayer, whether we call them so or not.”

 

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Soon after I arrived at Sarum College, I found a book with a delightful title: ‘To a Dancing God’ by Sam Keen in their second hand bookshop. I already have a few of Sam’s books and I could not resist this one. In reading this quote, please note this book was first published in 1970:

“It is difficult to avoid the impression that Western Culture has formed a conspiracy against silence. Words and noise are everywhere. Our education is dominantly verbal, conceptual and dialectic. We read, or listen, or watch, in order to be entertained. The verbal diarrhoea of disc jockeys pours from the omnipresent transistor into the waiting ear of millions. Chatter fills every corner into which silence might creep. Even what we call thinking is most often a highly refined form of inner conversation……. Thus we avoid silence in order to preserve the illusion that we live in a world we control and to avoid confronting out of fear of being out of control.”

– – – – – – – – –

My final one for this week’s journey is from a book by John Drane ‘The McDonaldization of the Church – Spirituality, Creativity and the Future of the Church’. The following is from a section on Community and Mystery:

 “People are desperately searching for a place where they can belong and be valued. In a world of dysfunctional relationships, in which people are hurting and constantly being put down, either by other individuals or by the more impersonal operations of the system in general, for the majority the entry point to anything that might be regarded as ‘fullness of life (John 10:10) will begin and end when they find a safe space where they can be themselves and be affirmed and lifted up in the struggle to be human. …..They are going to be far more likely to judge the authenticity of the Church by experiencing community and the mystery first, and then reflecting on what they have experienced. In missiological terms, a key theological question will then be: what do people experience when they engage with the church?”

From the above, I hope you have caught a little glimpse of what both challenged and encouraged me on my study leave.

I am curious, while you read and reflected on these quotes, what questions, thoughts and ideas resonated within you? Would you be willing to share them with another person and / or with me?

Meanwhile Peace

Alf

 

 

May 22, 2013 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 5 May 2013

Encouragement for the Journey

 

Happy Mothers' Day

 

Greetings Fellow Traveller,

A little something for the adults

Today at our Kids N All service our theme is ‘Mothers’ I do appreciate that next Sunday is Mother’s Day. But today is our usual Kids N All Service so we thought we would celebrate it today.

While reflecting upon our theme of ‘Mothers’ I had a interesting insight. I realized the only physical objects I have from my mother are a couple of books, given on special occasions, some birthday cards and a portable communion set which she gave me when I was ordained in 1979. Of course, I also have me.

Sometimes our memories of our mother are evoked with actual physical objects; these remind us of her presence in our life. But mostly I think we rely upon our memories and imagination. Whereby, we may catch glimpses of our mother’s continued presence in our life.

For some, they never knew their birth mother, maybe they were adopted or their mother died when they were just a baby. We can only imagine what that is like for them. While others, for various reasons, don’t wish to even think about or remember their mother.

Each mother child relationship is different. Even in the same family, each sibling will experience their mother in very different ways. I recall a conversation I had with my brother a few years ago; we were comparing our childhood memories of our mother. It soon became very evident our experiences were very different. Someone listening to our conversation may have thought we came from different families. My family experience was extremely strict, rigid and judgemental, while his was far more relaxed and easy going. When I reflect on this it reminds me; that we are all walking a different journey, each in our own shoes.

Mother’s Day will bring different memories and stories into our awareness. Because we have been held within our mother’s womb until our birth, we may like to imagine this as a metaphor of being held within the cosmic womb of divine love. For non are excluded from such an embrace of love. For in the mystery of the One who is love, we live, move and have our being. Some may give the name God to such a mystery, however, the name is not important, what is, is that this love is the foundation and motivation for life and thus our spirituality. Now that is worth celebrating.

Meanwhile Peace

Alf

 

 

May 22, 2013 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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