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Encouragement for the Journey 30 November 2014

Encouragement for the Journey

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Greetings Fellow Traveller,

While reading the Huffington Post (On Line Newspaper) last Tuesday I came across an article about an eighty eight year old man, by the name of George Travis, of Louisiana, US.

He engages in a beautiful daily ritual, whereby, every morning he goes for breakfast at his local restaurant. There he eats his breakfast with a framed photograph of his wife Billy Mae who died last year, standing on the counter just next to him. He does this to ensure he keeps his wife’s memory alive.

Reading this, I had a recurring thought, namely, how memory and memories can be both a blessing and a curse. Some memories delight us, filling our hearts with love, while others, are too painful and we keep them locked away. Even though locked away, they can easily be evoked by a piece of music, a song, a particular smell, an movie image, or suddenly in conversation that memory comes alive and we experience the pain of an event which may have occurred many decades ago.

Memory is such an amazing gift; while we can remember and recall, we don’t always appreciate what a wonderful faculty we have been given. Then for some, their memory begins to leave them and they slowly enter a different world. This leaves their loved ones undergoing emotional pain, along with asking questions, without receiving satisfactory answers.

This Sunday we commence Advent, the journey towards the celebration of Jesus’ birth. This time of the year along with birthdays, often offer moments when memories will be evoked in many different ways. We may say things like;

Do you remember when?

Do you remember that Christmas when?

Who was with us for that Christmas at?

These questions will arouse our memories and conversations will flow from those memories. May they offer you moments to share and cherish. Where there are painful memories, may those around you, hold, support and love you, so you may continue to live in the present moment, with all its challenges, pain and uncertainty.

Meanwhile extravagant love and peace be yours.

Alf

P.S. Don’t forget on Sunday 14 December at our Quiet Service we will also have an Act of Remembrance.

 

November 29, 2014 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 23 November 2014

Encouragement for the Journey

imagesGreetings fellow traveller,

Today is our last Sunday before we commence our Advent Journey. It marks a transition moment on the Church’s Liturgical Calendar.

Transition moments are ever present in our lives, some arrive unexpectedly, and while for others we have time to prepare. I resist the temptation to spell out a list of transition moments, if I attempted such a list; the chances are I would miss something very important that was a transition moment in your life.

I leave you to reflect on your life and those transition moments:

What was happening for you?

What enabled you to come through the experience?

What did you discover about yourself?

Are there any ripples from that experience that you are still feeling?

I am aware, that for some of us, your transition moment is not in the past, but in the present, for this morning you are actually right now, going through your own personal transition experience.

Being a minister, I am privileged and honoured to hear stories of your transition moments. Each is very different, but what is very similar is that at unexpected times, fellow human travellers offer their love and support, which results in courage, hope and strength gently growing within.

We may often forget we human beings will experience transition moments from our birth until our death. There is no escaping the transition moments in our lives. Also, each person’s response and experience will be different and unique to them. It is useless to compare and judge another’s experience, for very often grief in its many guises will be present, and we don’t compare our grief experience, rather, grief is shared, not compared.

Through our Christian faith, we trust the presence of God, the One in whom we live and have our transition moments. This presence is present in many varied ways, especially in the love and presence of family and friends who hold and love us in our transition moments. For nothing cannot separate from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

Meanwhile with peace, courage and extravagant love

Alf

 

November 29, 2014 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 16 November 2014

Encouragement for the Journey

st-aidans-logo-icon

Greetings fellow traveller,

While preparing for today’s Anniversary Service, I gave some thought to how the past, present and future are constantly with us. They are intrinsically inter – related and inter-dependent one upon the other.

From a philosophical perspective, some philosophers support time as a fundamental structure of the universe, while for others, time is just a human construct, which cannot be measured or travelled in.

From a theological perspective, some theologians take the view that time is linear, beginning with God’s act of creation and culminating with God’s judgement at the end of the world. While for others, time is seen in a very different way through two Greek words Chronos and Kairos.

I personally find these two words most helpful. Chronos is linear time, with a quantitative perspective i.e. measured and from which we derive our words for chronology, synchronise and chronic. While Kairos is to see time from a qualitative perspective in which the holy, divine or sacred, may break into our human world. We could say that the membrane between the sacred and the profane, or spirit and physical world, for a moment becomes so thin, that we experience the presence of the Sacred, the Holy, the One we name as God, in ways that we are transformed in some way, leaving us to see people and things with new eyes. This happens in many different and varied ways.

Today in our St Aidans Anniversary Celebration, we seek to acknowledge and honour Kairos moments in the life of our Community. Kairos moments leave us with memories, so it will not come as a surprise, that at a gathering such as this, the presence of memories will be present; they will evoke for us a mix of thoughts and feelings. We honour these and the special people whose physical presence is no longer with us, but whose presence lingers on within the memory banks of our individual and communal hearts and minds.

May your memories rekindle and warm your soul.

May enjoyment in our gathering together,

bring you pleasure and delight.

May you be held within the sacred embrace of

God’s kairos moments.

 Meanwhile Peace and courage for your journey

Alf

November 29, 2014 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 9 November 2014

Encouragement for the Journey

 Journey picture  ex Ben C.

Greetings fellow traveller,

One of my favourite books is: Living the Questions – Essays inspired by the work of Parker J. Palmer, edited by Sam M. Intrator. A few years ago I offered you these segments from this book for your reflection. They are still relevant for us today:

“In a world running on cybernetic time, we skim the surface of things, unable to pause, go deep and let wonder and suffering take hold of us. In a media – rich world, we are systematically distracted from the suffering of others and numbed to our own. In a world where news is increasingly “spin” and multiple pieces of information on a single screen vie for our attention, we are insulated from the complex but clear – eyed truth that would call us to rigorous discernment between what hurts and what sustains the flourishing of life.”

 “Contemplation is not a special skill of a disciplined few who have mastered some esoteric set of techniques. Contemplation is any way of penetrating illusion and touching reality. We arrive in this world with an inborn contemplative capacity – the soul, the inner teacher, the God in every person – that helps us survive by keeping us grounded in reality, if we will let it.”

 “Be receptive to what you can download from the web of life. God is accessible on the inner – net; keep logging on. And keep the hope that it will be better – when you work for it.”

 May the blessings of a compassionate God

rest upon you

May the deep Shalom, Salaam,

Peace of God abide with you

May God’s presence illuminate your heart,

today, and in all your tomorrows

Meanwhile Peace

Alf

 

 

November 11, 2014 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 2 November 2014

Encouragement for the Journey

Grandparents' Day (smaller)

Greetings fellow Traveller,

While reflecting on our Kids N All Service this week and its theme of Grandparents and Grandchildren, a phrase came into my awareness ‘The Generation Gap.’

This was a term popularised in Western Countries during the 1960’s and it referred to the difference between people of younger generations and their elders, in particular between children and their parents, and grandparents.

It is true some generational differences have existed throughout history, however, modern generational

gaps have often been attributed to rapid cultural change, particularly with respect to such matters as musical tastes, fashion, technology and politics. These changes are assumed to have been magnified by the unprecedented size of the young generation during the 1960s, which gave it the power and inclination to rebel against societal norms.

However, sociologists also point to institutional age segregation as an important contributing factor to the generational divide. Those in childhood / youth phases are segregated within educational institutions; parents are isolated within their fields of work, while older generations may be relegated to retirement pursuits, voluntary service, and living in retirement villages. Social researchers see this kind of institutionally based age segregation as a barrier to strong intergenerational relationships, social cohesion and generativity (the passing down of a positive legacy through mentoring and other cross-generational interactions)

Glancing at what is happening here at St Aidans, we have sought to build bridges, to enable healthy cross – generational interactions to occur, through the following:

  • Kids N All
  • Café Church
  • Friday Fun Nights
  • ARK@S
  • Groups from Northcote Primary at Drop Inn
  • Teacher support at Northcote Primary

These worship services and activities offer opportunities for mentoring and the building of healthy positive relationships, were the energy and vitality of youth can enrich and delight those of another generation,

Meanwhile peace across our generational divides

Alf

November 11, 2014 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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