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Encouragement for the Journey 24 April 2016

Encouragement for the Journey

Unknown-1

Greetings fellow traveller,

Like many of you, I learnt my X’s table by rote with constant repetition, somehow, something happened and I memorised the tables. Repetition is a method for learning, howbeit, not so common these days. Today I repeat familiar words; we need to live in this present moment with all its ambiguities and uncertainties.

Future thinking is a strange and mysterious experience, we can have our hopes and dreams, but ultimately we need to live in this moment.

Robert Lax (American Poet) who lived over thirty years on the Greek Island of Patmos. Wrote in his journal of 22 July 1969

To be enlightened is not to shine: nor to bring multitudes to a hill where one sits cross – legged, to listen. It is to know what one is doing (or even, perhaps, to enjoy it)

I really like his thinking, for we have complicated life and faith, setting faith apart in a compartment within our lives. For there is but, one life, and in that life, we seek to know what one is doing. I find that beautifully simple and yet profound.

I recall Jesus saying something very similar; I have come that you might have life, life in all its fullness. That is being fully alive, to know what one is doing, to see, hear, feel, smell, taste and touch life as we travel along its journey. When this happens we have come truly alive in God and God is alive in us.

These words of John O’Donohue in his poem Fluent are a favourite of mine:

I would love to live

Like a river flows,

Carried by the surprise

Of its own unfolding

That to me is living in the moment, being carried by the energy of life, which continues to surprises us.

Meanwhile Peace in the awareness of life

Alf

PS.  ‘The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands, but, in seeing with new eyes.’  

–  Marcel Proust

 

April 30, 2016 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 17 April 2016

Encouragement for the Journey

Greetings fellow traveller.

Unknown-1

I have been writing this weekly column for nearly six and half years and this week’s offering is the first of its kind.

On this Sunday morning with its theme of Family Violence, it seems appropriate to mention a matter of extreme importance. Which in some way is indirectly linked, namely becoming aware of our own personal security.

Let me explain, in the past month I have been told of three instances where personal valuables have been stolen. Including two handbags, one of which had cash, house keys and a raft of personal documents, which showed a home address. It was later discovered they had entered the home of the handbag owner and stole jewellery. These thefts usually occur in public places, two have been in a church setting, while the other in an exercise class. The alleged perpetrators are two women who work in tandem and have perfected their craft into an art form.

At various moments on your life journey, you may well have been the victim of some kind of criminal offence. The experience is never easily forgotten. I recall when Fleur and I and our family lived in a small rural town in the North Island, we were broken into on two occasions along with having various thefts from our property. It really felt like a personal violation of our personhood.

This is in some small way, a similar experience for the recipients of Family Violence. Their personhood is violated, either, sexually, or by physical violence, and or emotional and psychological violence. Think for a moment the affect upon the children who are abused, or witness abuse of their parent or caregiver.

Let us develop ever-widening circles of awareness of Family Violence and its insidious affects upon children and adults in our community. Along the way may we become that much more aware of our own personal security in public places, especially for us humanoids who like to carry a handbag.

Meanwhile peace in our awareness

Alf

April 30, 2016 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 10 April 2016

Encouragement for the Journey

Unknown

Greetings Fellow Traveller,

Some years ago I came across a writer by the name of Lois ‘Studs’ Terkel. He was born May 16 1912 in New York City and died October 31 2008 in Chicago aged 96 years. An interesting thing about Studs was that after he turned 90 years of age he still wrote another 5 books with such interesting titles as:

  • Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Reflections on Death, Rebirth and Hunger for a Faith (2001)
  • Hope Dies Last: Keeping the Faith in Difficult Times (2003)

Reading this, I had a ‘light bulb moment:’ A light bulb moment is when you have a sudden realisation or inspiration about something, like the light bulbs used to indicate an idea in cartoons.

After the light bulb moment comes the hard work to implement the idea or insight, if not the inspiration or insight may be lost.

My ‘light bulb moment ‘was a reminder that we humans are never too old to explore new frontiers of life’s meaning for us. I have known this for some years, but reading of Studs’ life and his writing, I was encouraged how he sought to bring a measure of hope and celebration to his life. I felt challenged and encouraged as I develop new creative options upon my retirement.

There is a wonderful stanza in David Whyte’s poem The Opening of Eyes:

 It is the opening of eyes long closed
It is the vision of far off things
Seen for the silence they hold
It is the heart after years of secret conversing
Speaking out loud in the clear air

 The opening of eyes long closed, could well be a light bulb moment, in which we see things differently. Then everything and everyone has a new kind of luminosity, hope flourishes, offering new possibilities of creative moments with our fellow travellers in the synergy of life. For we are never too old to change and be a source of encouragement and hope to others.

Meanwhile Peace in our light bulb moments

Alf

April 30, 2016 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 3 April 2016

Encouragement for the Journey

I am Thankful For

Greetings fellow traveller,

While traveling along the journey of life, we continually experience a wide variety of thoughts and emotions. Occasionally we become distracted, failing to appreciate what is before our very eyes, or what we have just heard, or maybe we have put food into our mouth, but we have not even tasted it, because we are too busy checking our mobile phone, or I Pad or having dinner watching TV.

So much is occurring in and around us that we can express our gratitude for. Liz towards the end of last year, introduced us to the Gratitude or Thankfulness Jar, whereby on a regular basis we place in the jar our gratitude / thankfulness for ……… Then at the end of the year, we open the jar and delight in the myriad of blessings we have received during the yI am Thankful Forear. How is your jar going? It is not too late to start!!!

 There are so many quotes and descriptions of gratitude; this is one of my favourites:

‘Gratitude as a discipline involves a conscious choice. I can choose to be grateful even when my emotions and feelings are still steered in hurt and resentment. It is amazing how many
occasions present themselves in which I can choose gratitude instead of a complaint.’


Henri Nouwen

Now that is a powerful statement, …’I can choose gratitude instead of a complaint.’ When we do that, something happens within and we see others and ourselves so very differently.

Another aspect of gratitude is to acknowledge the significant contribution our fellow humanoids have made in our lives. This often occurs, at just the right moment, when we need the spark of another to encourage us. Albert Schweitzer expresses this so beautifully:

‘At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.’

Meanwhile peace in a spirit of gratitude

Alf

PS. For those who like to Web surf, you may wish to check out, the following web page:

http://www.gratefulness.org

April 30, 2016 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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