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Encouragement for the Journey 27 October 2013

Encouragement for the Journey

Journey picture  ex Ben C.

Greetings fellow traveller 

Thursday 31st October is All Hallows Eve or Halloween, meaning the day before All Hallows or All Saints Day. All Hallows or All Saints day is a festival that commemorates the witness of the saints and martyrs (known and unknown) of the Christian Church. In England it was known as “All Hallows” – thus, the day before was termed All Hallows Eve or Halloween, which means “a holy or hallowed evening.”

Nowadays we tend to leave Halloween to the imaginations of Hollywood movie producers and of course trick or treat. The Church in recent years tends to give greater emphasis to All Saints Day because it calls us to remember those who gave their lives for Christ and His Gospel. All Saints Day reminds us that we, too, are saints’ holy children of God who like the saints and martyrs of old, offer in word and deed glimpses of the light and grace of Jesus the Christ.

Let us travel to St. Vladimir’s Cathedral, Moscow, with eight thousand worshippers. The liturgy is in full swing. To one side an elderly woman was gazing intently at an icon of the saint. Outwardly it was just a painting. The look on her face showed that for her it was far more: a meeting with an old friend, perhaps, or even a window opening on to vistas of heaven.

The words of Symeon the New Theologian, a tenth-century mystic, who says “The saints in each generation, joined to those who have gone before, and filled like them with light, become a golden chain, in which each saint is a separate link, united to the next by faith, works, and love.”

For too many Protestants, All Saints Day (November 1) is merely a quaint medievalism recalling those dim distant days when people believed not only in saints but also in sea monsters, and the flatness of the earth. Those of us whose piety have been shaped by the Reformation may learn some valuable ecumenical lessons about the significance of the saints for the life of faith.

Let us be thankful for the communion of saints. Our mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers in Christ — and our eccentric aunts and uncles in Christ too! The strong and the weak. The eminent and the unknown. Let us be grateful to God, whose gift they are. “ We are all in the drama of life, but no one has seen the script. “ Truly all of life is inter – connected, we are inter dependent upon each other, this is part of the mystery called life.

Meanwhile Peace in dignity of difference

Alf

 

October 25, 2013 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 20 October 2013

Encouragement for the Journey

Different Kinds of Apples

Greetings fellow traveller

Today the theme for our Café Church is:

CELEBRATING DIFFERENCE

Sometimes, a writer is able to express ideas succinctly. One such writer I find helpful on this particular aspect of difference is Jonathan Sacks (Former Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth). He offers this:

“The world is not a single machine. It is a complex, interactive ecology in which diversity – biological, personal and cultural and religious – is of the essence. Any proposed reduction of that diversity through many forms of fundamentalism that exist today – market, scientific or religious – would result in a diminution of the rich texture of our shared life, a potentially disastrous narrowing of the horizons of possibility. Nature and humanly constructed societies, economic and polities, are systems of ordered complexity. That is what makes them creative and unpredictable. 

Any attempt to impose on them an artificial uniformity in the name of a single culture or faith, represents a tragic misunderstanding of what it takes for a system to flourish. Because we are different, we have something unique to contribute, and every contribution counts. A primordial instinct going back to humanity’s tribal past makes us difference as a threat. That instinct is massively dysfunctional in an age in which our several destinies are interlinked. 

I conclude with this poem from Ibn Arabi (1165 – 1240 Sufi Mystic and Philosopher) which offers hope and possibility for living with and celebrating difference between the various religions:

 There was a time I would reject those

 There was a time I would reject those

who were not of my faith.

But now, my heart has grown capable

of taking on all forms.

It is a pasture for gazelles,

An abbey for monks.

A table for the Torah,

Kaaba for the pilgrim.

My religion is love.

Whichever the route love’s caravan shall take,

That shall be the path of my faith.

 

Meanwhile Peace within the dignity of difference

Alf

 

October 25, 2013 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 13 October 2013

Encouragement for the Journey

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Greetings fellow traveller,

This week, I have been reminded of an important aspect of interpersonal relationships. Let me share with you.

Nothing worse could happen to one than be completely understood’ – Carl Jung

An initial reading of the above statement might offer the idea, something is wrong. That it should read misunderstood instead of understood.

No. It is correct, even though we may desire to be understood by those closest to us and those we may meet along the way. The reality is that we are never fully known, there are always layers upon layers within us, awaiting our discovery.

If another person should know everything about us, where would be go? What is left to discover?

To be understood is a gift, for we can only at best attempt to understand another, at the moment of their sharing something of themselves. To understand is not to ‘analyse’ or attempt ‘to figure out,’ or ‘interpret the words or actions of another’, rather it is an understanding of the heart.

This understanding of the heart is seeking to accept that others have their reasons for their actions or their language, for which we at the moment are not ‘privy’ to. Also the person themselves may not fully understand why they act or speak as they do. Perhaps, they have not yet arrived at that particular layer of their own understanding or awareness.

We can still care and accept another on the journey, for they too are like ourselves, for we each have layers of understanding waiting to be discovered. For one day we will know as we are fully known.

Meanwhile Peace in our unknowing

Alf

 

 

 

October 11, 2013 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 6 October 2103

Encouragement for the Journey

Friends

Greetings fellow traveller,

Welcome, today the theme for our KIDS N ALL is:

FRIENDSHIP

I make an assumption, if I am wrong, please forgive me, the assumption is: we each have a friend. This friendship will be in varying degrees of intensity, openness and intimacy.

At times for various reasons we may take that gift of friendship for granted, we don’t mean to do so, but we do.

Our human heart cannot live fully without the presence of intimacy. By that I mean, we all need special people in our lives with whom and to whom we can have a soulful relationship.

This is a relationship that nourishes, sustains and encourages us on our journey.

Knowing this, I offer you the following questions:

How do you nourish and feed your friendships?

What are the chief benefits of having friends who have known you for a long time?

During what stages of your life has friendship meant the most to you?

I leave you with an Arabian proverb:

”  A friend is one to whom one may pour out all the contents of one’s heart, chaff and grain together, knowing that the gentlest hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away

Meanwhile peace within the gift of friendship

Alf

 

October 11, 2013 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 6 October 2013

Encouragement for the Journey

Friends

Greetings fellow traveller,

Welcome, today the theme for our KIDS N ALL is:

FRIENDSHIP

I make an assumption, if I am wrong, please forgive me, the assumption is: we each have a friend. This friendship will be in varying degrees of intensity, openness and intimacy.

At times for various reasons we may take that gift of friendship for granted, we don’t mean to do so, but we do.

Our human heart cannot live fully without the presence of intimacy. By that I mean, we all need special people in our lives with whom and to whom we can have a soulful relationship.

This is a relationship that nourishes, sustains and encourages us on our journey.

Knowing this, I offer you the following questions:

How do you nourish and feed your friendships?

What are the chief benefits of having friends who have known you for a long time?

During what stages of your life has friendship meant the most to you?

 I leave you with an Arabian proverb:

”  A friend is one to whom one may pour out all the contents of one’s heart, chaff and grain together, knowing that the gentlest hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away

Meanwhile peace within the gift of friendship

Alf

 

October 11, 2013 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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