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Encouragement for the Journey 27 April 2014

Encouragement for the Journey

 Easter Cross

Greetings Fellow Traveller,

One of the questions I ask myself: what might resurrection mean in the trenches of everyday life, when stressors and difficulties are present? Is resurrection just something we remember and celebrate once a year, and for the rest of the year, it is business as usual, or does it have power to ensure we are no longer narcissistic, able to turn us away from the selfie of our own importance to a life of compassion and consideration for others?

Believe it or not, you and I are hard wired to be self – centred, in computer language this is our default position, from which we view the world as revolving around us. Were life is all about us, what we want, like and think we need, alas, there is never enough to feed the insatiable appetite of our inner narcissist. How different is that attitude to the men and women whose lives we remember on another ANZAC Day.

I write this on the eve of ANZAC Day, a day of remembrance, a time to pause for a little while and reflect on the sacrifice of others, not to glorify war, rather to be thankful and appreciate the glorious freedom and opportunity we have now, to make a positive difference in the lives of others.

When we pause to remember on ANZAC Day, we are being intentional to actually remember an event in our nation’s history and its affect upon our individual and communal lives. Likewise we can also be intentional and pause and reflect upon the resurrection of Jesus.

The story is told of an Episcopalian (Anglican) congregation in the USwhich valued asking questions and debating current and theological issues. On one occasion they were having an argument about the resurrection, whether it had happened or not and whether or not it could be proved. Someone asked a liberal bishop who was present, does he actually believe in the resurrection, “Believe it “he answered, “I have seen it too many times not to.” The Bishop here is reminding us that resurrection cannot be proved factually; rather it is to be experienced.

I invite you to pause for a moment and remember, those moments in your life, when all seemed lost, the sky was grey, the sun never shined and you wondered if life would be any different. Then, suddenly, without warning, you felt new life, new energy, new strength and renewed courage flowing in your veins. Resurrection has come, not with a fanfare of trumpets, but quietly, gently and there it was…….

When this happens we are changed, we are more sensitive and mindful of the needs of others, compassion and caring is present, we are less self – centred and desire to seek ways to make a difference for good in the lives of others. Resurrection thus becomes a daily experience, rather than just a yearly remembrance.

Do I believe in the resurrection? I have seen it too many times not to, how about you?

Meanwhile Peace

Alf

April 30, 2014 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 20 April 2014

Encouragement for the Journey

 Easter Cross (resized)

Greetings fellow Traveller,

I offer you this poem for your Easter journey: 

Because he is risen: – By Gerard Kelly,

Because he is risen

Spring is possible

In all the cold hard places

Gripped by winter

And freedom jumps the queue

To take fear’s place

as our focus

Because he is risen

 

Because he is risen

My future is an epic novel

Where once it was a mere short story

My contract on life is renewed

in perpetuity

My options are open‑ended

My travel plans are cosmic

Because he is risen

 

Because he is risen

Healing is on order and assured

And every disability will bow

Before the endless dance of his ability

And my grave too will open

When my life is restored

For this frail and fragile body

Will not be the final word

on my condition

Because he is risen

 

Because he is risen

Hunger will go begging in the streets

For want of a home

And selfishness will have a shortened shelf‑life

And we will throng to the funeral of famine

And dance on the callous grave of war

And poverty will be history

In our history

Because he is risen

 

And because he is risen

A fire burns in my bones

And my eyes see possibilities

And my heart hears hope

Like a whisper on the wind

And the song that rises in me

Will not be silenced

As life disrupts

This shadowed place of death

Like a butterfly under the skin

And death itself

Runs terrified to hide

Because he is risen

 

Meanwhile Peace

Alf

April 30, 2014 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 13 April 2014

Encouragement for the Journey

Journey

Greeting fellow traveller,

The story of Jesus travelling into Jerusalem is so well known, yet we may fail to appreciate that it is not an isolated story; rather it is part of the whole drama of Passion Week.

The event known as Palm Sunday is one of the few stories that is told in each gospel, but each writer changes the story slightly, to suit the particular audience they are writing for. They seek to portray Jesus in a particular light in relation to the events that follow and with the goal that the reader and hearer, may know and experience Jesus?

One of the most wonderful descriptions of meeting Jesus is offered by Albert Schweitzer when he wrote The Quest for the Historical Jesus, (1906) the last paragraph of the book says: 

‘The names in which men expressed their recognition of Him as such, Messiah, Son of Man, Son of God, have become for us historical parables. We can find no designation which expresses what He is for us.  

He comes to us as One unknown, without a name, as of old, by the lake-side, He came to those men who knew Him not. He speaks to us the same word: “Follow thou me!” and sets us to the tasks which He has to fulfil for our time.  

He commands. And to those who obey Him, whether they be wise or simple, He will reveal Himself in the toils, the conflicts, the sufferings which they shall pass through in His fellowship, and, as an ineffable mystery, they shall learn in their own experience Who He is. ‘

 

In our own experience, we too at times will struggle to describe and make sense of Jesus, but in that quest we may discover a Jesus; who will awaken within us, new hope, courage, and above all love and compassion on the journey of our lives.

On this journey, we age, and along the way collect memories in the photo albums of our heart. Looking back, and glancing forward, we continue to embrace and celebrate life. We give ourselves permission to change to grow, to explore the realm of the soul, our inner world, for may be in time, or perhaps now we will be able to say with Julian of Norwich:

‘All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.’

Meanwhile Peace travelling through Passion Week

Alf

April 30, 2014 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 6 April 2014

Encouragement for the Journey

Telling Stories

Greetings fellow Traveller,

The theme for our KIDS N ALL today is:

STORIES 

Believe it or not, there are more smart phones in the world than TV sets, cars or computers combined. We are living in a world where more and more words are being ‘processed’ on some form of electronic technology, either on a laptop or desk top computer, or a tablet or smart phone. Maybe, the popularity of these ‘electronic toys’ has contributed to the increased popularity of stories to convey meaning.

Human beings were made to tell and hear stories; it is part of our DNA. At the end of our day, we just cannot help but look for someone to talk to, to tell our story, to share our concerns and joys for the day. When we go home, we turn on our TV’s and watch the news—stories of current events, of tragic disasters, of politics, of showbiz, of anything. We crave for stories.

There have been many reasons why we tell stories; I want a mention a couple:

Firstly for Affirmation, it gives an opportunity for community building through the exchange of sharing something of our selves. In stories we discover our shared humanity and we are affirmed.

The second reason is for healing. It is interesting to note that most storytelling, even in the olden times, occurs at the dinner table. We enjoy eating while exchanging stories. Meals are boring without stories. Even in prehistoric times, our ancestors shared stories of the hunt around the fire while they were having their meal. This relationship between storytelling and eating has a very significant meaning for us. While we nourish our bodies when we eat, we nourish our souls when we exchange stories.

I leave you with a story about stories:

A disciple once complained to his master “You tell us stories, but never reveal their meaning to us.” The master replied, “How would like it if someone offered you fruit and chewed it up before giving it to you?” No one can find the meaning for you. Not even the master.

 Meanwhile Peace in our telling and hearing of stories

Alf

April 30, 2014 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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