Category Archives: Kristin’s Reflection

Lent- Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday’s palm parade is Jesus’ way of showing God’s kingdom as compared to the kingdom of Rome. It’s a protest the powers that be, and the belief that “this is the way is has to be” and a sign of hope that there is a better way- God’s way.

Here is my Refection from this past Sunday, when we celebrated “Palm Sunday”.

Reflection

We see in Zechariah that this victorious king comes riding on a donkey colt. This is a sign of humility and a sign of peace. You can’t fight a war on the back of a donkey colt. And it is the same in Mark. This isn’t just because Jesus was too tired to walk on his own. And book study this week, Susan’s daughter Brooke mentioned she had walked the road down from the Mount of Olives into Jerusalem, and it was not a long walk. It is a sign and a symbol of the peace and justice that Jesus preaches in God’s kingdom in opposition to the kingdoms of the world.

 

I didn’t know this until  few years ago, but at the time Jesus was riding in Jerusalem, there was another procession happening. Pilate was arriving in Jerusalem from the other side. As governor, he lived in a beautiful place by the sea, but he would have arrived, in Jerusalem for the Passover. Not as a pilgrim, as Jesus, and his fellow Jews would have done, but as a show of Roman might in case anyone got the wrong idea and decided to rise up against Rome. Remember, the Passover celebrates the way that God rescued the Jews from another oppressive kingdom- Egypt. And Judea is under Roman oppression now- with  a governor from Rome, with temple priests and authorities put in place by Rome, and working on their behalf as well. In the book The Last Week, Borg and Crossan called this the domination system: you have political power and vast wealth in a few hands, who dominate the rest, and a widespread sense-among the powerful and the powerless- that “this is just the way it has to be” either because God made it this way, or just “this is the way it always has been”.

 

Pilate’s procession would have had soldiers, horses, weapons, everything necessary to take down a riot, and his procession would have been a good show of might in order to prevent it from happening.

 

So Jesus’ procession is almost like a parody of Pilate’s procession, except instead of showing it as ridiculous, he’s showing it as opposite to God’s kingdom. As the one “who comes in the name of the Lord”, Jesus does not come with a show of earthly power. He comes humbly, on a donkey, he comes in the way of the king that Zechariah wrote about- a king whose kingdom is marked by peace- a breaking of the weapons of war, and cutting off of armies.

 

Later in this Holy week, we’ll see Jesus preaching and engaging with the temple authorities, but here, it is just Jesus and his followers. Jesus on a donkey, not a war horse, surrounded by followers waving palm branches cut from the trees, not soldiers holding banners and arms with swords.

 

It’s a protest, but more so, it’s a symbol- of a better way- of God’s way- showing that there is a different way to be in the world. It doesn’t have to be this way- with power and privilege being used to dominate and oppress others. It’s doesn’t have to be about might, and about the kingdoms of this world fighting against one another. God’s way is a way of humility, of peace, of joy.

 

Now we today don’t have an empire exactly like Rome. But we do have political power and wealth accumulated by a few, and people who abuse their power, and we do have a sense that this is the way it has to be. And not resisting it. Why else do we have such low voter turnout every election?

 

We live in a country that in general, has good regulations and social systems to care for those who are marginalized. But we do have some similarities with Judea in Jesus’ time which is occupied by Rome. But we also live in a country that was founded on land that had been originally occupied by other nations. Our history is one of the oppression and genocide and abuse of Indigenous people. And I’d like to say, that it’s all in our history. But we know it’s not. We were reminded of this recently, we had two trials that ended, for the deaths of Colten Boushie and Tina Fontaine, and justice was not achieved for either of these deaths.

 

I think anyone who keeps their ears or eyes open in our country nowadays knows that the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people is not yet reconcilied. We know the terrible legacy of residential schools, and colonization, and the effect on the Indigenous people of this land. And we know about the terrible conditions on reserves, and we know about the high rates of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, and we know about the higher incarceration rates, and racial profiling.

 

And yet, most of us, who are not Indigenous, let it be that way. I hope we’re past the bad theology of a couple hundred years ago, saying God made it this way, that the white people were meant by God to come here and civilize the people who lived here. But I think there is still a sense of “this is just the way it is”; if she hadn’t done this, that never would have happened.

 

But yet- even in our country’s culture of the oppression of Indigenous people, we see hope. We see protest, we see symbolic actions, signs that there is another way. Last summer, when we celebrated 150 years of this country’s history, a teepee was erected on Parliament Hill, a reminder, and a call to make the next 150 years better for us all.

 

This past few weeks, Indigenous and non-Indigenous people have come together, in candle light vigils, in protests, in walks, to comfort one another and to demand better justice for Indigenous people- recognizing that this is not just their tragedy, it is our tragedy.

 

And there is more than just symbols. An Indigenous Manitoba party leader elected. Recently Bill C262 passed the second reading, another step towards making sure the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People is enshrined in our laws.

 

Jesus could have done things a much different way. He could have just entered Jerusalem with no fanfare, not protested, not spoke out about injustice, not got into conflict with those in power. He could have done things a lot differently, that would have been a lot easier for him, and he probably would have lived longer. And then we wouldn’t be here today, because that wasn’t why Jesus came. He came to preach the kingdom of God- of love and peace and justice for all people. And one that is near at hand, but can’t be fully here unless all people actually get to enjoy it. We, as Jesus’ followers today, get to be a part of that kingdom. But we also have a call to work for justice, to make it more fully present.

Hope- Advent 1

Reflection from Nov. 26, 2017

What does it mean to hope for Christ’s coming in the future?

Jesus speaks as though there will be a big triumphant coming all at once. But he also says, no one knows. He says these things will happen within the generation, and yet, nothing like that has happened yet.

 

So what does Jesus mean by this coming? What is he trying to get the disciples to do? He says- keep awake- keep alert. Why do we need to keep awake, is it so that we don’t sleep and miss out on God’s coming? That’s kind of like what Jordan was saying (click here to watch the video of Moderator Jordan Cantwell’s Advent message) about being aware of where God is already present in the world. That has a lot to do with hope- knowing that God is with us, always, no matter what.

 

Remember also what Jesus says about keeping awake like the servants in his parable, they keep awake to keep working- each servant has a task that has been assigned by the homeowner, who is away on a journey, but will return. Is that how it feels for us sometimes- that God is absent? That we are all alone. That the work we do is for nothing?

 

Could it be that what Jesus is asking us to do is to keep awake, and not give up hope? To keep working for God’s kingdom, even though it feels sometimes like we are like we are alone- to keep trusting that she is with us.

 

This may not be what we want to hear- because we want what is written in Isaiah- we want God to tear open the heavens and come down with a great show of power and might and fix all our problems.

 

What if what is actually going to happen is more like what is written at the end of that passage: “God is the potter, and we are the clay”?

 

What if instead of big displays of power, God works through molding us into the people that can heal this world?

 

I was thinking recently about the phrase “thoughts and prayers” that gets tossed around a lot after tragedy strikes. And some people have taken to mocking it, saying , nothing ever changes, and that it is an empty phrase. And they have a point- mostly this is around gun violence in the States and criticizing people who send thoughts and prayers, but will not act to change the gun laws.

But prayer does require action on our part. I believe thoughts and prayers are useful and can’t create change. But praying to God doesn’t mean asking God to tear open the heavens and come down, it’s a conversation with God.

 

When we pray, we also invite God to respond back to us, to invite us to do something about what we prayed for, to be guided into the work God has for us, and we need to be open to that.

 

If we pray for ourselves, for change, we need to be prepared to hear how God can guide us to make those changes, if we pray for people we knowing struggling with loss, we need to be prepared to hear God guiding us to be the ones who offer help and comfort, if we pray for people suffering due to injustice, we need to be prepared to hear God guiding us to work to correct that injustice.

This is how we hope as Christians- actively, with hearts open to hear how God will mold us like a potter, how God will equip us, his servants, to fulfill the task that we have been given, so that God’s kingdom can come, on earth as it is in heaven. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Canada Day, celebration and committment

Happy Canada Day! Our service this morning focused on celebration and gratitude as well as lament for all that we have been, and hope for our future.

Here is the link to an article I mentioned in church today. It is written by Idris Elbakri, former president of the Manitoba Islamic Association. It is about the desire to celebrate the country he and his family, as immigrants, have chosen to live in and all the things they love about Canada, and balancing that with the painful history between Canada and Indigenous peoples and wanting to be in solidarity.

http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/manitoba/canada-150-immigrants-indigenous-opinion-1.4184134

Here is an article about the teepee set up at Parliament Hill and our Prime Minister’s visit with the people gathered there. I mentioned I hope this would be a sign of hope for our future, that our leaders and all Canadians would work for reconciliation and right relationships.

http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/pm-trudeau-visits-parliament-hill-protest-teepee-1.3483713

Here are our Prayers of the People- which today was Prayers of Gratitude, Lament and Hope- this was adapted from a service of worship developed the United Church of Canada for the 150th anniversary of the Confederation of Canada. May we all pray and work together for God’s vision of justice and peace in this land and in the whole world.

Canada Day Prayers of Gratitude Lament and Hope

 

Alternate versions of Psalm 23

This past week I was re-writing Psalm 23 to look at what it means, in terms of Jesus calling himself the Good Shepherd who comes that we might have life, and have it abundantly. (John 10:10-11)

This is my first version:

Abundant Life Psalm 23

God leads, protects and provides for me; I don’t need anything else.

The Creator of this beautiful creation gives me all I need: gives me rest, quenches my thirst, and restores my soul.

The God of love and justice leads me to live love and justice.

When life is hard, when the way before me feels dark is full of the unknown,

I am not afraid, for you will never leave me alone.

I am comforted knowing that you will always be there to guide me and protect me.

You give me all I need, even as there are those who want me to believe I need more than what you provide.

You heal me, you name me as your own.

Your love is abundant, and you give me abundant life.

Your love and grace pursue me throughout my life.

I am not alone, I am at home in God’s world, for ever.

 

I then got to thinking what the opposite of Psalm 23 would be- without the faith and trust in God’s promise. So I wrote this version. It’s an extreme, but so is the original Psalm 23- it’s an ideal of faith and trust. I think we can all find ourselves in this at some point:

Lonely Psalm 23

I am adrift, I do not know how to protect myself. I am not satisfied with what I have and struggle to get more.

I must keep busy to keep up in a busy chaotic world.

My thirst is never quite quenched, my soul feels broken.

I walk this path alone, and I am confused about why.

Life is hard, dark and dangerous.

I am frightened because there is so much unknown, and there is no one I can turn to for comfort.

I never have enough, there is always someone who wants to take from me.

I am broken and belong to no one and with no one.

Love is scarce in my life, my life is also scarce.

Bad luck and judgement follow me at every turn.

I have no home to feel secure in.

 

Doing some more thinking, I realized that while often we all feel alone and without God with us, far too often, we don’t reach out, we rely on ourselves instead of God. So I wrote this version. Again, it’s an extreme, but I think we can find a bit of ourselves in it:

Individualistic Psalm 23

I can lead and provide for myself; if I need anything, I will get it for myself as a result of my own hard work.

This world is full of resources for my use- land, water, whether it can be restored or not, I will take it if I feel I need it for my well being.

My way is all that matters- the purpose of life is to make myself happy.

If there are things that are scary and unknown, I will avoid them.

I fear those who are different, the only safety and comfort I find is with people just like me.

I prepare an abundant table for myself- and throw away much of it, not thinking about people who go without- they are different than me.

There is nothing wrong with me that needs healing, and I refuse to heal others.

My life is not abundant yet- but I’m working on it.

I will pursue success and greatness and wealth throughout my life.

This is my home. I control who can come in.

 

Finally, I realized that the line about “walking in the paths of righteousness/ love/ justice” means that abundant life in the Psalm needs to be seen not only in what God does for us ourselves, but what God wants to do for all, and that part of abundant life is responding to the call to walk down that path that God leads us down. So my final version (for now!) adds on to my first version, with our call to ensure abundant life for everyone.

Abundant Life for All Psalm 23

God leads, protects and provides for me; I don’t need anything else. And I work to ensure there is no one in need.

The Creator of this beautiful creation gives me all I need: gives me rest, quenches my thirst, and restores my soul.

The creation is a gift I appreciate and protect. I am restored as the earth and all its people are restored.

The God of love and justice leads me to live love and justice.

When life is hard, when the way before me feels dark is full of the unknown,

I am not afraid, for you will never leave me alone.

I reach out beyond what I know, knowing we are all your children.

I am comforted knowing that you will always be there to guide me and protect me. And I comfort others in their time of pain.

You give me all I need, even as there are those who want me to believe I need more than what you provide.

I invite others to your table, I love and pray for those who would be my enemies.

You heal me, you name me as your own, and so I do what I can to heal, and to make each person know that they belong.

Your love is abundant, and you give me abundant life

And I share your abundant love with all I meet.

Your love and grace pursue me throughout my life. never letting forget my blessings and my calling.

We are not alone, We are at home in God’s world, for ever.

God gives the growth

Here’s my reflection from Sunday , Feb. 19:

The people of Corinth were thinking themselves far more enlightened than they actually were. They may have admitted they weren’t perfect, but they thought they were 99% of the way there.  So Paul takes them down a notch- basically tells them they are mere children in the faith- not ready for solid food, so he fed them on milk.

I don’t actually think it’s that big an insult to the Corinthians, after all, Jesus has a lot of good things to say about children, but they probably thought so , which is the point of what Paul is saying- it’s the arrogance that they think they know more than they do that is the problem, not the imperfection of their faith.

Because we are all on a journey of faith. Take a moment and think about whether you believe the same thing about God, now as when you were a child? As a teenager? What about 10 years ago? We will never understand God’s purposes fully, never perfectly follow God’s commandments, or practice our calling as Jesus’ followers exactly as he would have us. We’re on a journey. And along the journey, we learn new things, about God, about God’s children, about ourselves.

We do this as individuals, and also as a church. Yesterday, our Presbytery celebrated becoming Affirming- that is, consciously being welcoming to all people, regardless of any of the things we divide ourselves over, including sexual orientation and gender identity. It wasn’t all that long ago- within my lifetime, that the Untied Church first broke ground on the issue of LGBTQ issues.

And why, because we just decided we’d ignore the old laws and make it easier. No way- because it wasn’t easy then and it’s not easy even today. But we did it and we continue to do it today because we’ve grown in our faith- we’ve learned more about God, and how all that we know about God is seen through the radically loving and inclusive Jesus Christ. And we’ve learned more about the world and the people around us, and how sexuality and gender identity works. And we’ve learned more about out calling as Christians- as we’ve seen the pain and death that comes from marginalizing LGBTQ peoples and say- Jesus would want us to stand with these people, and realize they belong as part of us.

I think this concept of learning and growing in faith is what’s going on with this part of the sermon on the mount. If I can summarize what Jesus is saying, “You should strive for more- more love, more respect, more care for one another- than what these laws tell you to do.”

Ideally, we would approach everything from a sense of the love that God has for each of us, see everyone with God’s eyes- if this were the case, we wouldn’t need the law, because we’d never even think of doing any of these wrong things. We wouldn’t need to come to church and keep learning and growing together. But we’re not there yet- there is always more to learn, there is always more we can do so that we live the way God would have us live.

Paul points out that he planted the seed, Apollos watered and God gives the growth. Our spiritual leaders come and go, each doing their part to contribute to your learning and yet you are still here, a community of faith called to live out God’s mission in this place. God is working with you all the time, helping you grow together. No matter where we are on our faith journey- God is there.

God’s weakness and foolishness

This is my sermon from yesterday, on 1 Corinthians 1:18-31, and Matthew 5:1-11.

Paul writes: “God’s weakness is stronger than human strength, God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom” It seems like such a strange way to think- how can God be foolish or weak? Weakness and foolishness are words we don’t associate with God.

Remember who Paul is writing to- some folks who are one of the first Christian communities, but they are falling into a terrible trap of comparing each other’s gifts, trying to figure out who’s the greatest. Paul wants those who are following Jesus to be different, to act differently than the world, but the people in the Corinthian church are still following the way the world sees greatness and wisdom and strength. The result of this in the divisions that Paul mentioned in the earlier part of the letter that we read last week, and that he goes into more detail about later on.

So I was thinking of our world today. The way our world sees strength and wisdom vs weakness and foolishness.

And this week I saw a bit of both pop up in the news.

This past week was Bell Let’s Talk Day- yes, it’s just one day promoted by a company but it’s an opportunity to try to end the stigma around mental illness.

It’s an important message, because there is a stigma- it’s one of those things people don’t like to talk about. Because it seems weak to have a mental illness. Even today, people don’t like to talk about going through mental illness- there’s a discomfort that goes with it that doesn’t go with a physical illness. I know this because I went through depression, many years ago. And I saw a counsellor, and I went on anti-depressants, and many people I know don’t know because it’s hard to talk about. Because it looks like weakness to so many.

The other thing I saw happening this week was the debate about refugees and immigrants re-opened after the Executive Orders in the States closed the American borders to anyone from 7 predominantly Muslim countries, including Syria and paused the Syrian refugee program. The point of this to keep the States safe, this is seen as a smart move, a wise move, in a world where we don’t know the intentions of the people we are letting into our countries. To keep open borders in the world today is seen as being foolish and naive.

These are just two examples of what the world today sees as weakness and foolishness. To see more, you can look at the things Jesus lifts up in his Beatitudes:

the poor, the mourning, the persecuted, the meek: these are the weak;

the peacemakers, the ones seeking justice, the pure in heart, the merciful, these are the foolish.

Our world sees strength in being rich, healthy, successful, powerful and wisdom is lived out in winning battles, getting your own way, getting revenge.

And yet Jesus says- these people that seem so weak, these people that seem so foolish- these are the ones that God’s blessing rests upon, these are the ones to whom I am sent.

And Paul says- even more than that, remember that Jesus himself would have been counted among both the weak and the foolish. Remember the cross- it is a sign of both weakness and foolishness that the one we follow today, Jesus, God’s Son, would be put to death in such a terrible way and that he would not fight back, but would forgive the people who did it.

Paul says, we live in a world where people demand signs and wisdom, where leaders feel the need to look strong at all costs, and yet we proclaim Christ, which is just Greek for Messiah, which means the Anointed One, God’s chosen, we proclaim Christ crucified. So God’s wisdom and strength is at odds with what the world see as strong and wise,

Paul says God chooses the weak and the foolish, to shame, or as another translation says, to confound the strong and the wise. Now I want to be clear that I don’t think this means it’s God’s will for these times of weakness and pain to occur- God doesn’t actually will anyone to be poor, as a virtue, or to be ill, or persecuted, as a test, God doesn’t will death on anyone, and for others to be left behind to mourn- in fact I think that’s a really terrible thing to think about God. I certainly don’t think God sent me depression as a test, and, even though I think it helped me grow as a person, I don’t think God sent it to me to do that. But, in this imperfect world, bad stuff happens, and it can happen to us: we can experience illness- mental or physical, chronic or acute, or experience grief and loss, or poverty, or failure, and when it happens, in our moments of apparent weakness, the world that is obsessed with looking strong, often turns away. And that’s why mental illness can feel so terribly lonely, and can be so hard to recover from.

But God does not turn away. God is right there, present with us, even more so in our times of weakness. And God calls us to not to turn away, but to stand with those who the world sees as weak, to speak about things people don’t want to talk about, and say, guess what? 1 in 5 Canadians will experience mental illness, and everyone knows someone who has had it. Calls us to say, it’s time to stop pretending this is something that only happens to handful of weak people, and it couldn’t happen to me or anyone I love. But it happens often, to young, old, men, women, rich, poor. Calls us to say: maybe this seems weak in the eyes of the world, but God’s weakness is stronger than human strength. God’s strength is there even in the times that looks like weakness. And God knows how much strength it actually takes to speak up about the struggles we’re facing.

And God, whose Son did really foolish things like forgive, and make peace, and not fight back, and teach about love, and give freely, without expectation, or extreme vetting, calls us to be foolish like that too.

God calls us to be a voice for those who rights are taken away, for those who have had doors closed to them, for those who are mistrusted, to speak up about injustice and say: maybe this seems wise in the eyes of the world, but God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom. To God what is truly foolish is to let fear control us. God knows how much wisdom it actually takes to see beyond the lines of nationality, race, religion and the other things we use to divide one another.

As Christians, we follow Jesus, who started his life as a refugee, who was poor and homeless. And he lived his life foolishly: he spent time with those the world had written off: the sick, mentally ill, those considered sinful, he challenged those in power, he lifted up those considered weak, he preached about God’s blessing being found where the world would not expect it, that the weak and foolish were the ones to whom he is sent and he taught openly about a different way to be in the world: a way of love, compassion and justice. Let us go, and live foolishly too.

Creation Time- Spring!

Those of us who were away over the summer are back, school, activities and routines are starting up again, and the leaves are starting to turn- it’s fall (well, at least it will be in 2 days!)

This season always seems like a good time to me to look at the gifts of Creation- Thanksgiving is coming up, and the harvest is happening, and the world is a particularly beautiful place. So that’s why we often use the time between Labour Day and Thanksgiving as Creation Time- to celebrate this gift we have been given by God.

This year, we’re looking at the different seasons and the gifts of each one, and tying them to different parts of our Christian experience. Last week, we talked about winter- not my favourite, but lots of people love winter, and we must admit, those piles of snowflakes can be a gift as well- and we also talked about repentance, the need to recognize when we’ve done wrong, and commit to doing better, with the assurance that God is with us in our dark and cold moments, just as God is with us in happy times and when we do good.

Spring Church Tree

This past Sunday we moved on to spring- see the lovely tree the children helped decorate to celebrate spring blossoms, and warmth, and all the signs of new life that spring brings us. And we talked about healing- how just like the spring heals the world from the cold of winter, God offers healing to our world as well- a world where many of us are doing well, but there are many who are being exploited and kept in poverty, marginalized and oppressed, hurt and ignored. In our own country, we are still in the process of reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. Our whole country needs healing to overcome the hurt of the past 5 centuries.

God promises healing and reconciliation will come to the whole world- just as sure as the spring will come after winter. But we also can be a part of fulfilling God’s promise- we can help to make, as it says in the Lord’s prayer: “Thy kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven”.

It is my prayer for each of us that we can accept God’s healing love for ourselves, and for our whole world. Amen.

So many children…

This past Sunday’s lectionary reading was of the Syrophonecian woman who comes to Jesus to ask him to heal her daughter. Jesys initially refuses, saying “It’s not right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs”, but after she says that “even the dogs eat the crumbs from under the table” he does heal her daughter.

Lots of writing has been done on this piece, particularly around why Jesus would refuse, and why he would call her a dog to boot! I think it’s important to remember that Jesus was a human, who learned many thing in his life- on Sunday we made a list of things we learn growing up- in school learning to walk, talk, tie a bow, learning to love. So as much as it is hard to understand this story, there is a lesson about learning- that it doesn’t just happen as we grow up, but even as adults- we can learn about people who are different than us, we can grow and change our minds, we can find out new things and grow in our faith and about what God has in store for us.

The message on Sunday was from the mother’s perspective. “So many children, lost, sick and dying, and so many parents, risking life and hearts to find hope for their children.” In a sad alignment of story and current events, this woman was from Syria, the same country where there is civil war tearing lives apart, causing many people to flee as refugees. Last week a photo of a small boy, Aylan Kurdi, washed up on the shores of Turkey after the boat his family was taking sank. He is sadly one of many who are caught between the danger at home and the danger of trying to leave.

Here at home, there are also many children caught up in things that have no control over. In our province, 29% of children live in poverty, 10% more than the national average. The Mission and Service group at Neepawa United has been working on the subject on child poverty since spring, and this month, two long planned events are finally happening. A “poverty luncheon” on Sept. 20, which will remind us of the low quality food that people that use the food bank have to eat on a regular basis, will also have guest speakers from the Salvation Army and Family and Child Services share with us a bit of what child poverty in our area looks like. On Sept. 30 we will be hosting a All Candidates Forum, with a highlighted theme of child poverty, as we feel this is an issue that our government needs to prioritize, and which has not been brought up enough in this election. It’s important for us all to learn as much as we can about this issue, so we can better know how to solve it- in the short term, we can donate to help those in need, but in the long term, we need changes to be made so that people don’t end up in poverty in the first place.

 

Time to Just Be

This past Friday, the youth group went to Big Valley. Mostly it was just a time to play in the water and skip stones, but we also had a brief reflection offered by Rita. In it, she reminded us of the importance of “just being” still and quiet, especially in our busy world. And that being outdoors, in teh midst of God’s creation, can hep us feel closer to God. We know, of course, that God is with us no matter where we are, but somehow, outdoors makes God feel closer, at least for me!

Sunday was Pentecost. In Brookdale, we celebrated the Spirit of God being with us all, through dancing with streamers, remembering that, like the wind, we can’t see God, but we can feel and see what God does to us and the world. We also took some time to be still and quiet with scripture and song, having less words, and more space to listen where the Spirit is speaking back to us. I know for me it was a helpful reminder of the need to be still and quiet and not worry so much about the little things, but trust in God! It was particularly helpful for me to be reminded of this as the service in Brookdale ran late and I was late to Neepawa!

In Neepawa, the children planned and led the service, around the theme of “Growing in God’s Garden”. They reminded us of how the world around us gives us clues and reminders of God’s glory, peace and love. Here is a Flower Poem that some of the children read at the service:

I am like an olive tree, growing in God’s garden. I trust in God’s constant love

I will thank God for His wonders.

I thank him for the water.

I thank him for the sunshine.

I thank him for the soil.

I will say that God is good.

I will speak of God’s love and kindness.

God is my glory and the joy of my life.

I am like a unique flower in His garden spreading the rich fragrance of Christ my Lord.

Blessings, Kristin

Christ Has No Body Now

On Sunday, we read a prayer/poem of St. Teresa of Avila, a Spanish mystic, author, theologian and Carmelite nun from the 16th century. This poem reminds us that the work of Jesus in the world is our work, and that the things we do on a day to day basis to help others, we do on his behalf. We did some brainstorming about the things we can do with our hands, feet and eyes to do good, bless the world and show compassion. Think about all the things you did today, or yesterday. How was your body acting as Christ’s body?

Blessings, Kristin

Christ Has No Body by St. Teresa of Avila

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.