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ENCOURAGEMENT FOR THE JOURNEY 18 AUGUST 2013

Encouragement for the Journey

I am Thankful For

 

Greetings fellow traveller,

The theme for our Café Service today is “Thankfulness.”

Gratitude or thankfulness is one of the most important soul foods, because it has the ability to enhance and maintain a spirit of well-being, nourishing us in body, mind and soul. Indeed it has the ability to transform the way we actually live our life.

When you constantly remind yourself of what you have to be happy for, you will be happy. And when you’re happy, you can live a longer and healthier life. The following are some reasons why thankfulness is so important:

• Being thankful reminds us of what truly matters in life. It is all too easy to get caught up in day-to-day stresses and take for granted the things that are important to us.

• If we remind ourselves each day of the things we are thankful for, we begin to focus more on the important and less on the superficial.

• Thankfulness makes our problems seem less daunting and more manageable. We all have issues from time to time with work, family and friends. However, these issues often get blown out of proportion, causing stress and misery.

When we are thankful, it always comes back to us. When we begin to be thankful for what we have, we also begin to be more thankful toward other people. This cultivates positive feelings, and as the saying goes, “what goes around comes around.” In addition, the more you focus on the best in life, the more you will attract the best in life.

Some may say that being thankful is easier said than done. After all, problems arise on a regular basis and it can be all too easy to concentrate on the problems and stresses in life. However, thankfulness is something that can be cultivated and fine-tuned. In fact, it is very easy to incorporate thankfulness into your life. Also, thankfulness costs nothing, but the benefits are substantial.

A healthy habit is to nourish our soul with thankfulness: To start nourishing your soul with thankfulness, take a few minutes each morning when you wake up to think of five things to be thankful for. This could be your job, your volunteering, your family, your health, or even your new smart phone. You don’t have to say your thanks out loud or write anything down. Just lie still for a few minutes with your eyes closed and focus on these five things that you are truly thankful for.

What five things are you thankful for?

Meanwhile Peace in a spirit of thankfulness

Alf

 

 

August 15, 2013 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 11 August 2013

Encouragement for the Journey

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Greetings fellow Pilgrim,

I wrote this a few year years ago, but it is still so very relevant. Enjoy:

The story is told of a man who is standing in awe and wonder gazing at the Niagara Falls, he is experiencing their majestic presence bathing him in delight. When suddenly a man hurriedly walked up to the viewing area with his wife, he snapped a few pictures and then rather impatiently turned to his wife and said, Ok Mabel, we’ve seen it, let’s go.”

Can you recall a time you arrived at a place you had never visited before? What was going through your mind? May be lots of questions about the history of the place, its customs, culture and the life of the people, perhaps you just wanted to stay there for a little while, but travel arrangements meant you had to continue.

In one sense we juggle being tourists and pilgrims. Yes, we long to be pilgrims, to fully engage in the pilgrimage called life, but alas, often we are like butterflies flitting here and there like our tourist above, not taking enough time to savour and perhaps stand for a while and appreciate the beauty that is in and all around us.

Take heart, you and I can be pilgrims, allowing the wonder and beauty of life to enter into our inner being, our heart, our soul, our inner world. We don’t need a photograph; the vista has been snapped on the camera of our heart, and we respond with praise and thankfulness, we become lost in wonder and love.

Being pilgrims requires a change of heart, we change gear, taking time to smell and taste life in all its fullness. This may mean we learn to live without having simple answers to complex questions, rather, we trust the wildness of the Spirit’s breath to give us life and hope, seeking to follow Jesus, the Author and great Questioner of our faith, on this our unfinished journey.

Meanwhile Peace

Alf

 

 

August 9, 2013 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 4 July 2013

Encouragement for the Journey Pentecost (resized)

Greetings fellow traveller, 

Today is our Kids N All Sunday with the theme of PEACE. I thought I would offer you a longer Encouragement for the Journey for you to take away and reflect upon for the coming week.

Peace is a fascinating concept; it embodies many different aspects, and is present within all religions. The root of the word peace is present in the

Hebrew word Shalom and the Arabic word Salaam and embrace the ideas of:

 • completeness, wholeness

• safety, welfare, health, prosperity

• quiet, tranquillity, harmony

• contentment, peace,

• friendship

Each of those words contain much more, than we could ever hope or imagine, for all are embraced within the word peace.

I recall a night in 1967 when as a young police officer I watched a convoy of troops travelling through Liverpool to the ferry en- route to Northern Ireland. My colleague and I offered opinions, on how long they might be there, little did we know it would be many years, with the loss of over 3000 thousand lives mostly civilians. It took over forty years for the British Army to finally pull out of Northern Ireland. Even today, there is still sectarian violence upon the streets of Derry and Belfast. Yet, in the midst of what seems an unsolvable problem, new hope and life is present and peace is growing.

A glimpse of this growing peace was evident in a remarkable piece of television when the BBC screened a meeting between a former Northern Ireland Protestant paramilitary and the widow and brother of a man he was convicted of murdering.

These ‘Facing the Truth’ meetings were chaired by Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who led the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa. During the filming, Tutu said:

“We had some extraordinary moments in the week or so that we were here, where it was like something divine had intervened, and it was exhausting but eminently exhilarating. I think human beings are incredible …” 

During these ‘Facing the Truth’ meetings, there was an opportunity for the victims and / or families to confront either the perpetrator or someone associated with the organization that had sanctioned, planned and accomplished the killing or injury. It was a time to hear each other’s stories, the effect that one person’s actions had on another, to understand and offer a response for ones actions that caused so much pain and suffering in the lives of another human being. It also gave an opportunity for coming to terms with the past in a way that is morally respectful and advances the cause of reconciliation and peace.

It may be a cliché, but our world continues to evolve at an ever increasing rate of change. We find ourselves living in very divergent communities from say 20 years ago, with varieties of multi faith and ethnicities present. The social and religious implications for this divergent community will continue to challenge community and religious leaders for the foreseeable future. We may think the streets of Northern Ireland are a far cry from the streets of the North Shore of Auckland. Yet, we are not immune from human behaviour motivated by prejudice and fear fuelled by misunderstanding.

This then raises the question how to do we respond with a Christian gospel which calls us to be peacemakers, with reconciliation, truth and justice at its heart, to those who are very different to us in their faith and ethnicity? A way is through increased understanding of each other’s faith and cultural practice.

What I wrote a few years ago in our Newsletter is still relevant today:

‘I personally believe, unless we are intentional about understanding our neighbours who practice their faith differently to us, we are unconsciously erecting walls that divide us. Instead we need to be bridge builders of understanding, that seek to span our differences over which we may walk to meet each other and join hands in reconciliation and compassion.’ 

What more can be said, may we seek to practice what we believe. I leave you with this quote:

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.” Albert Einstein.

Meanwhile Shalom, Salaam, Peace

Alf

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 6, 2013 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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