Archive for July, 2014

Variety and spice

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

One thing that I enjoy in life is doing different things.

I remember driving to work and finding that every day began to look the same.  I started to take a slight detour on the way – just a block or two without causing any great delay.  Amazing how life perspective changes.

These next few weeks will be that type of jog around another block.  I’m looking forward to working with my wife on some painting jobs she has.  We will visit relatives and perhaps see the beach of a lake.  Although we call this holidays, in some ways these are just different ways to breathe each day. 

And I look forward to how this will spice up my life in this next while.  Now the question is, will this be hot chili or soothing vanilla!

Golfing in the rain

Friday, July 25th, 2014

We had set the time for a game of golf.  My step-son and I were to end up on the links for nine holes.  This was to be a time for him to learn more of the game, and for me to enjoy swinging a club once again.

The day opened with cloudy skies that opened to the sun off and on.  By lunch time I was hoping for enough time without rain to get us on and off the greens without incident.

So, around 2:45 we headed to the golf course.  Of course, there was only one threesome in front of us – with an electric cart.  And at the first burst of rain they were off. 

We sat in the clubhouse for a few moments waiting for the rain to subside.  Some moments passed and we stepped onto the course.  The manager had called and told the staff no one else was to be allowed on the course.  We were told we could try the course, but that a raincheck  was available. 

Two holes later we were soaked to the bone, had driven a few good balls, and in the end had a tale to tell. 

And maybe that’s what golf is all about! 

What God has done in us

Monday, July 21st, 2014

This is the story that arises in our lives.  Not what we have done to impress our world.  But what God has done to bring us into the “next world.”

I say this because I’m living most often these days among those who are older and soon to be stripped of life in this world.  I buried an 83 year old today.  I visited a 99 year old recently.

Our talk is not of changing our world.  Our talk is of a world to come, of the aches and pains of this world, of family and friends whose situations in this world are a concern to them.

Seems to me that life is best described as God working in and through us.  The more we let him sway our thinking and actions, the more we come aboard His desires and direction.

Bluntly put, and without a desire to become fatalistic, God will do what God purposes.

Coming on board with God means that I get to partner with God in the happenings around me.  And nothing could be better than that.  I purpose to shine light on God and God then shines light on me.  Pride of life has nothing to do with who I am, and everything to do with who God is.

A slight reversal to how our world views life.

But then, I’ve always been one who saw life from upside down!!

A Sunday Funeral

Sunday, July 20th, 2014

There is a certain place in life where life on earth is no more.  For those past saints (and sinners), life is in a new format.  And, in Christian Theology, a new body and new format of life is yet to come.  In between there is a blessed time together with Jesus, but certainly a longing for a reunion with both others and our bodies.

That is the type of thought that makes a Sunday funeral worth considering.  For the years  of my ministry and time involved in the church, I can’t remember going to a Sunday funeral. 

Today, in a sense, is a new beginning for me.  I will conduct a funeral service where we will inter a body in the ground with a sense that on resurrection day, that person will have a new body.

This is all based on the resurrection of Jesus – celebrated each Sunday in our services.  While other faiths may concentrate on a Friday or Saturday or another day of the week (and our own Christian writers tell us to be sure we don’t turn the day of the week into an idol), Christians use Sunday to remind us that Christ is risen.

And because he is risen, we too have a confident hope that we will arise to a reunion with Christ and others. 

A great message for a funeral service taking place this afternoon.  I’m looking forward to this!!

The reunion

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Today we leave for a reunion.  Of family.

Family I don’t really know.  In remarrying, I also married into a whole new family.

The other day someone asked how you know that you are family.  Their answer had to do with sitting around a table, eating and talking deep.

I see and understand that approach, particularly for a church family.

But in this case there is a different branch to the family.

I have chosen to be a part of “family”.  Without ever meeting all the family.  But having met one of the family and become deeply committed to that person.  Now I am meeting more and more of the family.  Some of them are great – in fact, I couldn’t have chosen a better group.  Some are living with physical sickness – I understand their toils. 

And today I meet more.  I imagine some will be very likeable, others perhaps less so.  That is not the question of whether they are family.

They are. 

The question really flows back to me.  Am I willing to be family to them?  Because I have committed to this family, the answer is “yes”. 

YES – with great joy!  And perhaps, YES – with a push.

But definitely YES!

Late night visit

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

I have been visiting a parishioner for the last few days in the hospital.

Yesterday was one of those days where the end is approaching.  So later in the evening I dropped in to the hospital.  Some of the family were standing by the bed.  I chatted with them and prayed for them.

These days are not unlike days from the not too distant past when my wife passed away.  You hear the same breathing and gurgling.  You sense the effort that is required to stay alive.  And you know a passing to another place is imminent.

Although the family was somewhat reluctant to have me pass through those same circumstances again, they were also glad to have me there.   And perhaps that is the point of the scripture that tells us we can comfort those with the comfort with which we have been comforted.

And so, my days will be filled with activity in this next little while.  A part of that activity will be “paying it forward”.  And I thank God for the strength and the comfort that He has given.  May God comfort this family in like measure.

Together after two weeks

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Tonight my wife arrives home.

With our summer plans this year, I started with a week away at a conference.  My return was just after my wife had left to do fulfil a painting contract in Regina.

Our paths did not cross, but thankfully we have been able to talk to each other each day.  Not quite as fulfilling as face-to-face conversation, but well worth it.

Today, we get back together.

I am thankful – and looking forward to tonight. 

In the dirt

Monday, July 14th, 2014

Today gives me an opportunity to be in the dirt.

We are having a rototiller revival!

That basically means anyone who has a rototiller can bring it by the church.  Others (and they themselves, if they wish) will spend time tilling around trees and generally cleaning the grounds.

This is something well worth a bit of exercise and an opportunity to work alongside others.  We’ll see who comes – I will be there to at least do some clean up if nothing else.

And so begins a new day! 

First John

Friday, July 11th, 2014

First John is one of those books! 

Let me just say that this is a book found in the Christian Scriptures.  I’m learning that most people around me have not been brought up to recognize the books of the Bible – as I am somewhat ignorant of the Kuran or of the rabbinical books of the Jewish faith.

Probably my first real push into the book came  in a time when I was travelling full time in a singing group.  Each week we had a time of concentrated study together (we call these devotional times).  Our leader had picked up a book that smelled new, with grapes on the front and published by “Benson”.  Funny how certain details stick out.

Inside was a commentary on First John.  Now, 40 years ago, most commentaries were dry reads.  You had to really focus because the writing was academic and often unrelated to life.

This book/commentary was open and fun and storytelling.  While I can’t remember much of the actual wording, I do remember that the thrust was to live together in harmony – both before God and before other people.

So, as I was looking for a sermon series, one of the reasons I turned to First John was that very theme.  We are all surrounded by other people and God is always present.  We are always going to have to work at working/playing/loving/living together.

Now, 40 years later, I’d like to go back and dig a little deeper.  Perhaps something old and something new will make for a good combination!

Back home again again

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Well, the last week or so went quickly.  The trip to Ottawa was there – and then back.  Conference business and services were packed in with a little time to see the Parliament Hill.

Today was a regroup day.  I did laundry and mowed lawn and shopped.  I talked to a friend, my daughter and my wife – all over the phone! 

Tomorrow is back to work day. 

And Sunday is our anniversary – one year of marriage!

Good to be back! Again and again!