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Encouragement for the Journey 29 September 2013

Encouragement for the Journey st-aidans-logo-icon

Greetings fellow traveller, 

Today, is our Annual General Meeting, you will notice, looking at the liturgy, that it is placed within the worship service. This is intentional, for our AGM reflects our life together and what better way than having the AGM in the context of communal worship.

Traditionally, Church AGM’s are times to look back, honour achievements made, ask questions along with acknowledging with thankfulness the varied acts of service offered with great love and energy during the past year. We also need to accept the budget for the year ahead.

Another aspect is of course becoming aware of the challenges we will face in the coming year.

Challenges can be viewed, either as a crisis or an opportunity.

I am writing on Tuesday morning, the day after the storm hit the Auckland region; unfortunately there have been reports of power outages and damage around the region. Then this morning I looked out at my neighbour’s garden, it was alive with birds taking advantage of the soft earth to forage for bugs and worms. For some the storm was a crisis, with loss of power and damage for others an opportunity. Of course you may think I am stretching the analogy somewhat mentioning birds, but what about the various builders who will obtain work repairing damaged buildings.

How we view our challenges is very important, it will determine the energy and vitality within our community.

I invite you to see our challenges through opportunity spectacles, not crisis spectacles. This is not a head in the sand approach; rather, it offers us energy and hope to face the challenges TOGETHER. 

We are seeking to become a Community, not a group of individuals doing their own thing, for the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Meaning; it’s the energy that comes from the interactions within the community, that produces our creativity, which is very different from each person on their own. This energy or synergy is present in our Community of St Aidans, and it will produce an abundance of creative solutions to the challenges we face.

Meanwhile peace within the synergy of opportunity

Alf

 

September 26, 2013 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 22 September 2013

Encouragement for the Journey

Bright yellow daffodil

Greetings fellow traveller, 

This week the theme of Season of Creation continues. Today the focus is on possibly, the most well-known and admired of all Christian saints: St Francis. He was born in Assisi, Italy in 1182, died in 1226.

Reading accounts of his life, one is confronted with a man who was in advance of his years. He leaves a legacy that offers current world dwellers a challenge: the love of nature, the love of animals, the sense of social compassion, and a sense of the spiritual dangers of affluence.

The legacy of his ecological – spiritual legacy comes through in the gracious inter – connectedness of the whole of creation, beautifully expressed in his Canticle of Brother Sun; see today’s liturgy.

His extraordinary sense of empathy with all of creation, which embraces an almost romantic poetic imagination, draws people to this most unlikely poet and Christian saint.

You may be wondering why St Francis. Why do we need to listen to a man who lived in the 13th Century as a monk anyway, surely we have made technological advancements in our world, that the voice of St Francis is no longer needed.

Unfortunately, a triumphant technological worldview sees our world as some vast machine which can be manipulated and exploited for the benefit of the insatiable appetite of human beings in search of more, never knowing, when enough is enough.

St Francis’s life and message still challenges us how we may wish to live, with care and responsibility to creation, along with the power of simplicity.

St Francis recognised that power of the heart is greater than the power of the mind that the power of the unseen is greater than that of things seen, that the power of simplicity, of giving is more significant than the capacity for acquiring more and more. With that message, he is still relevant for us today.

Meanwhile, let us be instruments of peace

Alf

 

 

September 26, 2013 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 15 September 2013

Encouragement for the Journey

Beauty-is-Gods-handwriting-Emerson

Greeting Fellow Traveller,

The theme for our Café Church today is BEAUTY.

Mention the word BEAUTY or BEAUTIFUL and a variety of images may enter our awareness. A quick Google search and I discovered: Beauty may be described as an attribute, a quality or characteristic of a person, animal, place, object, or idea that provides a perceptual experience of pleasure or satisfaction.

If you reflect on a recent particular beautiful experience, how may it fit with that description?

The age old saying ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ well describes an important aspect of ‘beauty,’ for it is always a very subjective experience.

An aspect of beauty, we may forget is when we experience beauty is it is often determined by culture, religion, ethnicity along with social and historical influences.

If you recall a recent experience of ‘beauty’ it may involve you in an interpretation of that object being in balance and harmony. This may lead to feelings of attraction and emotional well-being.

When we experience beauty, something happens inside us, we may feel ‘an inner glow or delight’ a sense of delight of joy. It is almost like we have been given soul food that feeds us in a special way.

Even though our focus is on beauty, we need to remember that beauty is not all brightness and glow. If you recall some words of great poetry or the sounds of majestic music, they are often fused with pathos. This may reflect an intensity of pain and wounded – ness from the inner world of the composer or poet. We may describe this as the beauty of the flaw. For each of us, indeed the whole of creation has its own flaw, through which the light of beauty shines.

In living with your flaws,

may acceptance and compassion

encourage you with peace.

May beauty await you,

offering its delight and joy.

Peace

Alf

 

September 26, 2013 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 8 / 9/ 2013

Encouragement for the Journey

Beauty-is-Gods-handwriting-Emerson

Greetings Fellow Traveller, 

Sometimes, just sometimes, on our journey, we arrive at place we have been before, but, we quickly leave, not wanting to stay, because the consequences of staying will mean changes we are not at that moment, prepared to accept.

I had one of those experiences this week, as I prepared for this Sunday’s service. I checked the lectionary readings and I discovered it was the month for celebrating and honouring Creation.

Part of me quickly engaged with thought of celebrating Creation, our Floral Affair next Saturday along with our Café Church next Sunday with its theme of Beauty readily came to mind.

But, following my initial energy burst, I allowed myself some space and silence. I acknowledged to myself, that ecological awareness and spirituality have been strange bed fellows. I knew I had been at this place before, at the cross roads of ecology, spirituality and the faith journey. Each time I arrive at this place, I take a quick look around and quickly move on. I could not recall a time I have offered a reflection on ecological issues and the spiritual journey.

This time, I have decided to linger around the crossroads, see what is there, where are the signposts pointing and who may be a guide on the journey. Of course, this decision is filled with unknowingness, for where will the consequences of these decisions take me.

For this month of September, I invite you to linger with me at the cross roads, maybe take tentative steps along a different road and catch glimpses of the wonder and beauty of creation. Of course you may already be doing this, if so, I would like to hear from you.

My initial insights confirmed what I have known for a while; there is an interconnectedness of all life. A spirituality that negates and neglects the ecology and creation of this living organism called Earth is deficient of grace and compassion. Also, how does my spirituality affect you and vice versa. Now that is just for starters………………….

Meanwhile Peace waiting at the cross roads

Alf

 

September 10, 2013 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 1/ 9 / 2013

Encouragement for the Journey

fathers-day-clip-art-13 (resized)

Greetings Fellow Traveller, 

On this our Kids N All Sunday, we celebrate Father’s Day. Father. The very word is filled with all manner of images. Its very utterance evokes memories buried just below the surface. Who can tell what still walks within the labyrinth of the human heart.

For many of us our Father is no longer alive, and we live with the memories of that person who once had a physical place in our life. For some of us, we never knew our Father; there are of course different reasons for this. For others when it comes to Father’s Day we are numb, no feelings it is just another day. While for others memories of our Father are tinged with both pleasure and pain.

This Father’s Day, I invite you to consider that each person’s appreciation and understanding of their Father will be different and consequently their response will be different.

Father’s Day is more than a commercial ploy seeking to encourage spending on cards which are read once then forgotten or the purchase of expensive gifts. Rather, it is a time for other things, precious things which no amount of money can buy.

I am not even going to suggest what those precious things could be, sorry to disappoint you. Instead, I leave that to your imagination, for you alone know what you hold within your own heart.

I am speaking here of course of becoming aware what is happening within, learning to appreciate there is another vast universe awaiting our exploration. Travelling in this vast inner universe does not require mega dollars, rather, just time, moments of silence and a commitment to care and nourish our own soul.

Along the way, we will once more be reminded that being an adult will bring opportunities for growth, change and wonder along with learning to live with the unresolved of the heart.

May this Father’s Day, offer you moments of joy and continued courage to live with the unresolved of the heart.

Meanwhile Peace

Alf

 

September 10, 2013 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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