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Encouragement for the Journey 5 July 2015

Encouragement for the Journey

ValuesGreetings fellow traveller

Today is our Kids N All Service, with a theme of Values. Values may be described as the beliefs and ideals, which are shared by a family /a group / a community and are strongly influenced by culture and religious practice around what is good or bad, and desirable or undesirable. These values very often guide our actions and behaviour. I refrain from creating a list of the core values for us to live by; rather, I trust your judgement and experience of life.

I do remind us that values are present within all cultures, organisations, political systems and communities of faith. Very often, it’s because different values are present in the myriad of our relationships that we human beings fail to appreciate this and wrongly assume that everyone holds the same values we hold to.

On the entrance of the United Nations building in New York there is a poem by the (Persian) Iranian poet Saadi, that he wrote eight centuries ago, which says:

The sons of Adam are limbs of each other,

Having been created of one essence.

When the calamity of time affects one limb

The other limbs cannot remain at rest.

If thou hast no sympathy for the troubles of others

Thou art unworthy to be called by the name of a human.

 

In Persian:

بنی آدم اعضای یک پیکرند

که در آفرينش ز یک گوهرند

چو عضوى به درد آورد روزگار

دگر عضو ها را نماند قرار

تو کز محنت دیگران بی غمی

نشاید که نامت نهند آدمی

 This poem reminds me that we human beings are of one essence; we are interdependent and interconnected one with the other. Yes, we have different values, yet, we must learn to understand and value one other, through the values of compassion and empathy. If not, I fear for the future, for our children’s children.

 Meanwhile peace in our practice of compassion

Alf

July 7, 2015 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 28 June 2015

Encouragement for the Journey

 Rangitoto

Greetings fellow traveller,

There is not a day goes by, that I don’t read something, either on a printed form or on such piece of electronic wizardry. Reading is a gift; we may easily take for granted and often forget some people have great difficulty with words owing to dyslexia coming into their life.

Some years ago I wrote in this column on writers and their writing, poets and their poetry. I remind you how each may offer us different gifts at different times on our pilgrimage of life. Serendipitously, the right book comes across our pathway at the right time, and it becomes so important for our spiritual growth. We may look back and know it was a transformational moment on the journey.

Because each of our journeys are different, and behind the façade of our lives the eternal happens, we will each require different words to break through the hard shell of our ego to the tender real self deep within. Often, a book, which we found difficult years ago – now may touch us in a way we never thought possible. We now are able to soak up the words as the rain once more nourishes the dry thirsty ground.

I resist the temptation to offer you a list of the books that are my treasured friends. Rather, I invite you to return to your bookcase, cast your eyes over your books and allow yourself to be stirred within, as you look at titles, allowing your eyes to alight upon words long forgotten. Or how about that book you have promised to read one day and have so far not got round to it. If it is not on your shelf, call in at your local library.

Francis Bacon 17th Century English philosopher, statesman, scientist, lawyer, jurist, and author, offers us these words:

Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.

The key is being open to allowing a particular book we have chosen to guide and feed us on our spiritual journey. When we do, we will be surprised by joy and delight.

Meanwhile peace in your reading and on your journey

Alf

July 7, 2015 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 21 June 2015

Encouragement for the Journey

French cafe

Greetings fellow travller,

Yes, it’s here, Café Church has come around again. So it was not by chance, that while looking for a file in my computer this week I found the following note, from an Essay by Galerie St. Etienne, New York September 19, 2005:

The first European cafés date back to the mid-seventeenth century, industrialisation and the growth of bourgeois capitalism in the nineteenth century transformed these once humble institutions into grand establishments in which members of an increasingly diverse society could meet, not just to drink coffee, but to read, write, play cards, chess or billiards and to discuss the burning issues of the day. Paris, which gave us the word “café,” was in some respects the birthplace of café society, but the Viennese paradigm of the Kaffeehaus was equally important, especially in Central Europe.

When we enter the world of a cafe, with its rich tradition, there is always an opportunity to have good coffee, and for taking a moment to pause, reflect, to become aware that all of life is lived within the divine mystery, we name as God. We may say that the atmosphere and environment in a café, is like a microcosm of humanity, where our interdependence and interconnectedness is present, for no person is an island.

May your experience at our Café Church today, warm your heart, inviting you into a new awareness of your interdependence and interconnectedness to all of life, both within these and outside these walls.

May you experience each day the sacred gift of life either in a cafe or wherever you may find yourself to be. Let your heart be warmed in wonder.

Meanwhile Peace

Alf

July 7, 2015 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 14 June 2015

Encouragement for the journey.

seed growing

Greetings fellow travellers!

Since Mark and I moved to Northcote we have become empty nesters, and I have noticed how when our children do gather at our house for a meal, we like to tell each other stories of our journeys together. We like to remember places we’ve been or funny things we have done and as we tell the stories we reconnect and strengthen the bonds between us. We’ve had to be mindful to tell stories that also include Jessi’s husband so that he feels a sense of belonging in our family.

Over the last few weeks at St. Aidan’s, we’ve also had a family story telling theme – looking at the big picture of our history and all the hats required, and looking at the story of St. Aidan and our own faith family tree. The stories we tell each other have a deeper meaning than they may seem on the surface. Our stories can be liberating or limiting, they can be inclusive or exclusive, they can be wounding or they can offer healing. There are times when we can get stuck in our own story, or we can become so identified with something that happened to us that we allow that to define who we are and what we might become. When we tell our family stories we are enjoying the memories we have created together, and we are also looking forward to making more. This has got harder since everyone has left home and we are less often together. Hearing the stories of what my children are doing without me lets me see into their lives, but does not give me an opportunity to feel included in the retelling.

It is only when we do things together that we grow a sense of belonging and of community – of family. It’s only in being together that we are able to overcome the isolation of my story and see how our story is unfolding. What we will become grows out of how we tell the story of what we are now and how we perceive God’s Spirit at work in the things we do as church and as individuals.

So what kind of stories are we telling about our life and as the community of St. Aidan’s? Sometimes to find the mysterious element of the Spirit in our story is a challenge. It can be difficult to find the liberating element in a story of pain or failure. Sometimes the challenge is to find the learning edge in the story of exclusion, or the healing moment in a story of brokenness. Are we telling the stories of our life with an eye on the Spirit at work?

And what are the memories we want to share or revisit, remember and delight in? What are the memories we want to make together?

May we keep an eye open for the Spirit’s perspective in our stories and in our story telling, in our time together and apart.

Blessings and peace,

roxy

July 7, 2015 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 7 June 2015

Encouragement for the Journey

 St Aidan

Greetings fellow traveller,

Welcome to another Kids N All, the theme for today is ‘Our Origins and Roots.’ There is an overlap with the theme from our Café Church last month when we explored ‘ Who are we?’ During that gathering Roxy introduced us to Celtic Christianity which is part of our DNA.

Celtic Christianity does have some rather distinctive aspects. I offer the following for your reflection:

  1. HOPE – looks for and seeks good in all, rather than evil in all things.
  1. EQUALITY – of women and men, clergy and laity
  1. MYSTERY – is at the heart of the Infinite One we name God, who cannot be fully comprehended or explained by us finite human beings.
  1. ENVIRONMENT – we humans are the stewards of all creation
  1. HOLISM – awareness of the sacred at the heart of all life and a refusal to compartmentalise life.
  1. IMMANENCE – God is present within and among all creation

The above are just some of the aspects of Celtic Christianity that warm my soul. Even a cursory glance at the above and you will notice that there is a holistic approach to spirituality. I have the following note in my resources, which expresses that the Celtic Spirit has something to offer us moderns in the 21st Century:

The movement offers a rich worship tradition; fosters prayer in everyday language; is ‘green’ in its stewardship of the earth; affirms women and men equally; is committed to living in community; nurtures radical discipleship; is passionate about peace and justice; has no divide between sacred and secular; engages critically with contemporary culture; is rooted in mission not maintenance. (Author Unknown)

We are richly blessed with this rich tradition in our heritage, in our origin and in our roots.

Meanwhile Peace

Alf

July 7, 2015 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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