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Encouragement for the Journey 26 / 6 / 16

Encouragement for the Journey

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Greetings fellow traveller,

For this Encouragement for the Journey, I complete the trilogy of my favourite words, which commenced with Mystery, followed by Journey and today Love.

To welcome another is an act of gracious hospitality, an act of spacious love. I welcome you at St Aidans today, for all of life is interconnected, interdependent and mutually reliant. For in some mysterious way, we all are participating in the great cosmic dance of life. The name of this dance is love. I like to imagine that love is the life energy that animates everything that exists.

Whenever we love, we allow the life energy of the universe to flow, bringing healing, compassion and hope to all we do, when we refuse to love, we create a barrier within us, and we become malnourished. For in giving and receiving of love, we are fed and blessed. Love is more than images flashed on our TV and Cinema screens and sung in the lyrics of popular music.

Love is more than a feeling it is an action. I recall reading of the last public gathering at which the late Prime Minister David Lange spoke. He was asked the question, what was perhaps the greatest moment in his ministerial career, was it when he won the Oxford Union Debate? (You may recall this debate 1 March 1985, were David uttered those well known words ‘I can smell the uranium on your breath,’ when he argued for the affirmative that Nuclear Weapons are Morally Indefensible). David replied to the question, “No, it is to love and be loved.” A few months later he died.

His response is a powerful reminder that ultimately it is love that truly matters, not what we may achieve materially or if we receive public accolades, but how we love. May your presence here this morning offer you encouragement ‘to love and be loved.’ This is what it means to be truly human and is at the heart of the Christian story. There are millions of quotes about love, this is a favourite of mine, and I offer it to you:

Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, humankind will have discovered fire.  – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

May this week offer you moments for loving extravagantly.

Meanwhile peace, for all shall be well

Alf

June 28, 2016 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 19 / 6 / 16

Encouragement for the Journey

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Greetings fellow traveller,

This week I offer you the second of my three favourite words:

JOURNEY.

I readily admit this word in some quarters has become just a cliché, offered in conversations to describe anything that is in process with the outcome uncertain. This is summed up in the following quote:
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The principle being offered here, is to focus on what is, namely to be mindful of the present moment, i.e. the journey of life is then lived moment by moment.   When the focus is upon the destination, there is a tendency to not see, hear, or feel what is present, there is always that desire to be elsewhere, anywhere, rather than being present, with what is. Modern humans are having increasing difficulty in being present with reality.

The story is told of a tourist who with his wife arrived at the wonderful Niagara Falls. Upon arriving, he took a couple of photos, and then turned to his wife and said, ‘lets go, we have seen it.’ He could have been there no more than five minutes. Here was a man driven by the destination, to be somewhere else, other than where he now finds himself. When we take this approach we can easily miss so much of what is in and around us. When we just focus on the destination, we rarely see our fellow human travellers, who are present, but not seen. We may choose to be destination focused, or slowdown, change and become a traveller and enjoy the journey.

During the last six and half years, at times we have experienced ‘creative chaos,’ but we have enjoyed the journey, and for that I will be eternally thankful. Thank you for travelling with me, in and with Christ, it has been a wonder – filled journey.

Meanwhile peace and joy on the journey.

Alf

June 28, 2016 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 12 / 6 / 16

Encouragement for the Journey

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Greetings fellow traveller,

For my final three Encouragements for the Journey offerings, I intentionally return to three of my favourite words, which I regularly use in my written and oral communication.

This week it is MYSTERY.

I readily admit, when we use words, we don’t necessary communicate. I like this quote from Alan Greenspan:

“ I know you think you understand what you thought I said but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant”

Communication is not an easy process, with all kinds of variables present. So when I write the word: MYSTERY. What arrives into your awareness?

Maybe, it’s a particular genre of fiction, which involves a mysterious death or crime to be solved, or, the mystery of the ever expanding universe with its billions of galaxies, or, why is there suffering and pain in our world?

Mystery for me is not a problem gap, which silently waits further knowledge data for the said mystery to be solved, or a set of questions waiting to be answered. Then once data is present the mystery will be solved.

Mystery can be known without being solved. It may be experienced, sensed, felt, appreciated and loved, without being fully understood. This requires a surrendering the need to control, allowing intuition and imagination to be present. It is whole brain thinking, not just focusing on the left-brain or logical thinking.

Mystery is an essential and vital aspect of our lives. Unfortunately, modern Christianity offers a diet of answers, rejecting any possibility of questions and uncertainty. However, the opposite of faith is not doubt but certainty. Mystery enables us to live faith filled lives.

Mystery is all around and within us, inviting us to become vulnerable in the presence of the Sacred Mystery of Eternal Loving Goodness, we name as God.

Meanwhile Peace in the presence of Mystery

Alf

June 28, 2016 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 5 / 6/ 2016

Encouragement for the Journey
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Greetings Fellow Traveller,

From time to time, I hear a word I have not heard before. This experience occurred a few weeks ago, when I heard the word: Bhakti…. Upon hearing this, I was curious of its meaning, I was told in its broadest sense it means ‘spirituality.’ Later to Google I go and discovered the following:

Bhakti is a Sanskrit word: which literally means “attachment, participation, devotion to, fondness for, homage, faith or love, worship, piety to (as a religious principle or means of salvation)”

The description offered to me of spirituality being an embracing term fits well. We often forget that each person has Bhakti. In our Kids N All today, we hear again of that well-known story of Daniel. Who had a strong Bhakti and how his presence made a difference for good in the lives of those around him.

A pause for a moment and dream, what would our communities and nation be like, if we saw each other with and through the eyes of bhakti….?

Now that is an interesting and delightful proposition ……

I leave you with this description of spirituality from Brother David Steindl-Rast:

Sometimes people get the mistaken notion that spirituality is a separate department of life, the penthouse of our existence. But rightly understood, it is a vital awareness that pervades all realms of our being. Someone will say, ‘I come alive when I listen to music,’ or ‘I come alive when I garden,’ or ‘I come alive when I play golf.’ Wherever we come alive, that is the area in which we are spiritual. And then we can say, ‘I know at least how one is spiritual in that area.’ To be vital, awake, aware, in all areas of our lives, is the task that is never accomplished, but it remains the goal.” 

Meanwhile peace in our bhakti moments

Alf

June 28, 2016 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 29 May 2015

Encouragement for the Journey

French cafe

Greetings Fellow Traveller,

Once more I find myself in a café writing this week’s Encouragement for the Journey. A cafe is an interesting and fascinating place in which to write. I admit I would like to have been around in the 1920’s and spent time in the cafes of Paris, Berlin or Vienna. Alas, that will never be, for time travel is not yet quite perfected. This week I came across the following book with this cartoon on the cover:

The focus of this book is how a café is not only a place to enjoy a cup of good coffee, it is also a space in which one may think and have conversation. Since the eighteenth century artists, writers, poets, and philosophers to name a few, have gathered in café’s to have creative dialogue, exchange ideas, debate, and in some ways this changed the cultural face of Europe and the world. I think I will get this book and enjoy what it offers, for now, the title intrigues me: ‘The Thinking Space.’

In our busy, gadget filled world, we need more than ever to create and ensure ‘Thinking Spaces’ are present in our lives. The kind of Thinking Space we each need and create will be different for each of us. Sometimes this occurs over coffee at a table with a friend or at times when we are alone.

What is important is that we make space for our own personal thinking space, in which we reflect on our lives, on what is important and what changes we may need to ensure our lives become more in balance. In our thinking spaces we find the courage to open our eyes for the next step on the journey.

I leave you with this poem from – Tomas Transtromer. (Swedish Poet)

Espresso

Black coffee at sidewalk cafes

with chairs and tables like gaudy insects. 

It is a precious sip we intercept

filled with the same strength as Yes and No.

 It is fetched out of the gloomy kitchens

and looks into the sun without blinking.

 In daylight a dot of wholesome black

quickly drained by a wan patron…

 Like those black drops of profundity

sometimes absorbed by the soul.

That give us a healthy push : Go!

The courage to open our eyes.

Meanwhile peace in our thinking spaces

Alf

June 1, 2016 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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