Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Love



I chose the word “love” this week out of my envelope of words…4 letters with a scope of meaning that seems limitless.  In Bible Study yesterday we were reflecting on a passage from Ephesians which uses the beautiful phrase, “with the eyes of your heart be enlightened” In pondering those words it seems they lead directly to love – when we see with our heart, we are moved and love is expressed.

On Sunday, the eyes of our hearts were enlightened when we heard 3 teenagers and 1 adult speak of their own faith journey.  It moved everyone in the sanctuary – it was powerful testimony.  One young woman said, 
Jesus was sent here to teach us all how to live in God’s way, the way he intended us all to live.  Jesus came first of all to tell the people about God and how they were never alone.  He also came as a teacher.  He taught various people about how to be kind to each other and the basic lesson that we are all human.  He didn’t discriminate about skin colour, or if you were rich or poor because it didn’t matter to him and it shouldn’t matter to us.  “Love your neighbour as yourself…” if we could all do that think of how peaceful this world would be.”

At the core of all that was shared, was a deep sense that the absolute most important aspect of our faith in Jesus Christ was a realization that God, in Jesus, came to show us how to model the love that is God’s deepest desire and the most important aspect of a church community is to be a safe place of welcome, acceptance and support…”All are welcome” and “all” means “all.”

Love is an action far more than a feeling.  Love is a choice and often not easy.  I am seeing love lived out in so many ways, as parents willingly sacrifice for their children, as friends make space in busy lives to help someone with drives to cancer treatments, as people volunteer countless hours for our production of dinner theater. When the eyes of our heart are enlightened we are able to see love more clearly.  May this be a week where you notice all the places love is alive and active and may you see opportunities to share God’s love with others for, as the very old camp song goes, 
“They will know we are Christians
 by our love, by our love, 
they will know we are Christians by our love.”

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Discipleship



My word for today is discipleship.  What does it mean to be a disciple?  The word disciple must share the same root as the word discipline – which has multiple meanings or connotations – a discipline can be a field of study – to discipline is to offer some sort of corrective measure to another so that they adhere to a certain way of being – discipleship is about following and learning, sharing and growing in a particular path or way.
Jesus called 12 people from a variety of walks of life to be his first disciples and then of course there were many woman, never officially called disciples who supported his work, offered hospitality, stayed at the cross to the bitter end and were the first messengers of the resurrection.
To be a follower of Jesus is to be a disciple.  I think discipleship is a lifestyle, a way of being.  It is an answer to the question, “Will you come and follow me?”  The words of the hymn in Voices United #567 ring in my mind,
 “Will you come and follow me, if I but call your name?   
Will you go where you don’t know and never be the same?  
 Will you let my love be shown, will you let my name be known, 
will you let my life be grown in you and you in me?"  

The first aspect of discipleship is saying “yes” and then it involves a lifetime of figuring out how to live into the “yes” and that looks different for all of us.

This Sunday we are celebrating conformation with 10 teenagers and 2 adults.  This is one of the ways we mark the commitment to discipleship.  Each of these people will be saying “yes” in response to the invitation to follow Jesus in their life. 



 Confirmation Retreat with our teenagers at the cottage.

 We are invited daily to say "yes" and to discern in this day what that looks like.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Truth

Through the season of Lent I undertook a spiritual practice of arbitrarily choosing a word each day from a collection of 75 and writing a brief reflection - it was intended to help me reflect theologically; using Scripture, music, imagery and experience.  I posted those reflections on the Cole Harbour Woodside United Church Facebook page and shared them on my own Facebook page.  Truth be told, I was not sure I wanted to make my musings public but I also knew that was the best way to keep me accountable to the practice.  Truth be told, I was surprised by the number of people who read them and said they enjoyed them.  Quite a few people have said since Easter how much they missed them so I have decided to start a blog where at least once a week I will share "My word for Today." 

I will also use this blog when we travel to France in June as a way of letting people who are interested know what we have been up to each day on our travels.

The word I chose for today is "truth" and truth is a fascinating concept.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus is before Pilate and we have this fascinating dialogue...
"Therefore Pilate said to Him, "So You are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice." Pilate said to Him, "What is truth?"

I like that question - "What is truth?"  It is not always something factual.  My truth may not be your truth but that does not make it invalid. My experience may be different from your experience but it doesn't make it less true for me.  Yesterday Paul and I marked our 32nd wedding anniversary.  It has been a wonderful and wild ride together.  Over the years we have always tried to speak our truth - sometimes those truths have been easy to share, sometimes more difficult - but always we have chosen to share our truth with love and I think that is why we are still together.

My commitment in this blog is to speak my truth, however the Spirit moves me.  I will willingly share "My Word for Today" and hope that in response you might share your words and insights with me as well. 

Milan

Our last day in Italy was spent in Milan visiting 4 very impressive sites. We started at the Cathedral which is the 4th largest in the wo...