A Deserted Place, All By Ourselves
Stress is defined as the body’s reaction to events or circumstances which may; excite, frighten, endanger, thrill, be tragic or joyful etc. The body literally prepares itself to fight for, or run for, your life! “Tell us something we don’t know!” you are probably thinking. We are all too familiar with the negative effects of stress in our lives. Everyone is affected differently; different triggers, different types of reactions, different defense mechanisms.
When the apostles got back together with Jesus after their mission of healing and teaching they were wired for sound! They were so excited that they were able to actually heal some people, drive out some demons, and that people actually wanted to hear them speak! It was thrilling to suddenly be in demand, to be popular. They probably felt like they could continue on this track forever, after all, the adrenaline kick to their system was continually being fired by the people crowding around them. They had more energy, could sense the world more keenly, were stronger. What a high!
The other thing that the body does when faced with stressors, whether positive or negative, is to shut down some of the less vital body functions. With limited resources, it can hardly add the extra without taking something away. It shuts down the digestive system until you are safe again; it turns off the immune system. If you might die (what the body assumes when stressed) what difference will it make if you digested your lunch or catch a cold? When we deal with one stressor after another over a period of time our body will suffer, the heightened alert state can only go on for so long before a crash!
Jesus knew that the apostles were headed for a crash if they didn’t get a rest, some mental and physical down time, a chance to eat and digest a meal, to sleep a bit. When they were alone together he often took the chance to teach them and explain some of his parables to them more clearly. All of this would enrich their ministry and enable them to continue. He was concerned for their wellbeing even when they weren’t aware of any risk.
There is so much in this one set of bookend stories today about which I could speak. I say bookends because, as I’m sure you noticed, they are the stories immediately before and after the great stories of the feeding of the 5,000 and Jesus walking on water. In fact several sources I looked at suggested ignoring the fact that the lectionary skipped that section of the story and preach about it anyway. The two things I’m going to look at this time are Jesus’ compassion (for his apostles and the crowds) and their faith in his healing power.
Busyness followed them despite their attempt to get some time to themselves. They headed off in boats to find a quiet place away from the crowd and it didn’t work because the crowd found them. The fact that Mark tells us that the crowd got to the isolated location first is used to indicate their great need and the fact that they were now with Jesus in a deserted place rather than out in the public eye where there was risk to his life. It is also important to note that it really shows that they didn’t even have a moment to get settled before being back on-the-job.
I would say that few, if any, of us have crowds of fans following us around and trying to guess where we will be in order to line up for a chance to see us. This is reserved for the Queen, teen heartthrobs and the like. What crowds do we have following us? What busyness presses in on our time apart? We have work, and family, and church, and kid’s activities etc. Our cell phones, our laptops, smart technology all allow us to be available to the world 24/7. We can have real-time online chats with people around the globe, which may well mean in the middle of the night for one of us. We may be in the middle of handling a situation and be interrupted at any moment by someone else’s crisis; one of the kids forgot gym clothes, a telemarketer wanting us to add services on our phones, a friend in trouble. Neither the original situation, nor the new one gets the focused attention we may want to give. So long as we have these items with us and turned on, they will beat us to our quiet time. We may be in a deserted place, but not alone. The world is there with us, just like the crowds who managed to found Jesus and his apostles in the deserted place.
I expect you may remember, from other posts, me mentioning my friend The Rev. Charles Deogratias, a Presbyterian chaplain with the Canadian Forces. Charles and his wife Hyasinter grew up in a refugee camp after their families had fled the genocide in Rwanda. They live in Canada now but have never lost touch with their own country, their own people. As Charles gets nearer to retirement they have started a project called The Heartprints Community Center. They have purchased a piece of land in Rwanda and are raising funds to build and operate a community center on the property. The concept is really interesting. Aware of the great potential and desire to learn and improve in Rwanda, and the wealth of knowledge and experience here in Canada which, especially after retirement, often goes untapped; the plan is to have the Rwandese government to identify the expertise they need for their projects and for the center to assist with finding the people. Volunteers would be cared for there at the center, with meals and accommodations etc. and each day they would be picked up and taken to where their help is needed. This is different from a typical mission trip where people from here try to identify a specific project or need and go into an area to carry out the short or long term work. Just as Jesus showed the apostles, one thing that Charles agrees will be very important is that at the end of the work term (3 weeks, 6 months or whatever a person is able to give) volunteers will have a break and a chance to enjoy the country, to go on a safari, to rest from the needs of others and care for their own needs.
After their unsuccessful attempt to get away on their own Jesus sent the apostles to go ahead of him to Bethsaida, a community on the North Eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee. The next thing today’s story tells us is that they were barely out of the boat at Ganeseret before people recognized them and were begging to touch Jesus’ cloak fringe for healing. Did you catch that? What were they doing in Ganeseret, North Western shore, when they were headed to Bethsaida? Whether due to confusion during the storm(see the story of Jesus walking on water), a lack of confidence on the part of the disciples, or coincidence they did not arrive where they had headed. They were, as it turns out, in the wrong place – at the right time!
People were begging to touch even a fringe, bringing sick from all the surrounding area for healing. In contrast to the issue of lack of miracles in his home town, due to lack of faith, here there was great faith that Jesus would heal them. One commentary I read stated that this faith in a touch of Jesus’ coat was nothing more than superstition, after-all these people had never met Jesus, never heard his message of repentance. This is an interesting point, but the people who did know him the best, at home, didn’t believe at all and the apostles, who were now even partners in the teaching and healing, still had doubts. The people in Ganeseret had needs, and they had faith that they would be met through Jesus Christ.
Do you remember the rock musical Jesus Christ Superstar? One line in the song Everything’s Alright is sung by Jesus in response to Judas’ outrage at wasting expensive oil which could have been sold and the money given to the poor,
“Surely you’re not saying
We have the resources
To save the poor from their lot?
There will be poor always
Look at the good things you’ve got!”
“There will be poor always,” is a paraphrase of the words of Jesus as recorded in the books of Matthew, Mark, and John; three of the four Gospels. Some might take this as a rather callous statement; it might seem that he is suggesting we just forget about them because we cannot solve the problem of poverty and suffering. We know, however, that it wasn’t meant that way. As the song continues Jesus indicates that they should be taking advantage of the time they have with him, to hear him teach. We are able to see, in stories like today’s, that Jesus had compassion on crowds wherever he went. Up until this set of stories his compassion had been for specific people who were sick but here this compassion is extended to include the whole crowd, a whole flock of lost sheep. He healed them and he taught them even when he had been trying to get a break. But we are not Jesus. Time apart, by ourselves, to be healed and to hear Jesus’ teaching is an important part of our ministry as Christians. There will always be people to help whether we take time to look after ourselves or not, but we will not always be able to help unless we do take that time. Amen.
Mark 6:30-34, 53-56
Jesus Christ Superstar is a rock opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber, with lyrics by Tim Rice.
Today we begin with a confession. I am that distracted blogger referred to in today’s title. By what have I been distracted? *hears the beep indicating new email and quickly switches tabs to see what it is* It doesn’t seem to take much these days to distract me. We give my dog a hard time because he will get barking over as little as a leaf blowing by, but I’m afraid I’m more like him that I would like to admit. I’m hoping that I am not alone in this trait of distraction.
On the up side, as far as I know no traffic accidents are caused by my distraction. Unlike driving with my cell phone to my ear, there are no immediate effects to my distraction. People don’t get a notice that I have posted anything for several days, no one’s hurt in this story. No one but me that is.
For every day that I go without posting I get less and less inclined to even click on the link to wordpress. I spent most of the weekend on the computer but just left that tab in the corner and ignored it. I began to feel guilty, even about not doing something no one asked me to do, with no deadline except the expectation I have set up for myself.
With Easter two weeks away, I would like to claim that my distractions have been church related; planning and practicing for Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and 6 weeks of Easter Sundays. This, at least, would feel justified. No, my distraction has largely been looking at things people have for sale on-line. I don’t need anything, don’t have any intention of buying most of what I see, and yet there I sit skimming through the latest offerings on etsy.com or ebay. It can be mesmerizing!
Whatever our distractions may be, and I’m sure there is huge variation in causes, pulling our attention back to the things that really matter to us; our faith, our families etc. can be a tough one. Everyone else has some idea about what should get your attention. The Pharisees felt that Jesus was giving all his attention to the wrong people. They did all they could to distract him and get him back on their religion and the people at the top. But in the end it was for those of us at the bottom that he suffered humiliation and death, so that we might have eternal life.
Here’s to our efforts against distraction in these last 13 days before Easter!
OK, I realize that this picture is not one of a line of ducks, as one might have expected from the title of this post. It is however evocative of spring and Easter and that is my topic for today.
As I look around my living room right now I see a snowman plate set hanging on the wall across from me, the remnants of my Christmas village still sprawled across the railing and top of the bookshelves, an empty vase, and other general clutter. I did finally take down the last of my nativities earlier this week, although it hasn’t made its way to storage yet. With only 31 days before Easter, I had better get on the ball or it will be too late for bunnies and chicks and we will be into summer!
I’m not suggesting that the season of Lent is about home decor, nor that there is any need to actually decorate our homes seasonally at all! For many of us, though, as is our home – so goes our mind. The most important thing about Lent is getting one’s focus on a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ, and we can’t do that if we are still stuck in Christmas, or clutter, or unfinished projects, or whatever else may surround us.
There is, of course, no actual time limit to getting our relationship with God on solid footing. God accepts us whenever we come to him. Our church calendar provides these designated periods of each year as a reminder, a way to keep us on track. So, I’m just putting it out there, you have 31 days left to get those ducks, or bunnies, or flowers lined up!
Posted in anticipation, Faith, Reflections
Tagged Christianity, distractions, Easter, Easter bunnies, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Lent, spring decorations
As I was driving up to Montreal last week I drove past countless fields at various stages of planting. Some fields were bare, with the earth prepared and awaiting seed, some were newly planted with a bright fresh crop of green or yellow covering them, some were burned over and likely to be left fallow for the summer, and between them all there were wild areas with an abundance of plant life most would call weeds. What do we see when we look at ourselves, our congregations, families,colleagues etc.? Do we see fertile ground awaiting seed, rows of plants growing to bear seed, or a tangled mess of weeds?
Living Faith 4.2.1 says, “The Spirit enables people to receive the good news of Christ, to repent of their sins, and to be adopted as children of God…the Spirit enabled us to believe.” Living Faith 6.1.2 “God brings us to faith in many ways. We may have trusted in God from childhood; or our faith may have come later in life. Faith may come suddenly or only after a struggle to believe.”
Given these statements, it is clear that it is not really you and I who are bringing people to faith. The job of sowing faith is the work of the Spirit through the Word. It is with this understanding that we come to the parable of the Sower and the Seed this morning ( Matthew 13:1-9 and 18-23).
Have you ever prepared a garden bed? There are many things that need to be removed; sod, old patio stones, weeds, and rocks in the ground. Whether in our own hearts or those of others we’ll need to remove preconceptions and prejudices against Christianity and or the church as an institution, negative prior experiences, hurts, and fears. Some of us have built up walls around our hearts which may take considerable care to break down. Sledge hammers are never called for, and it is important to save all we can of the soil. Our primary tools for this work are our open minds, our love, compassion and our listening skills. Once cleared, we add fertilizer of some kind in order to aid in the growth of the plants. Here we apply such offerings as Sunday School, Bible studies, service groups, book clubs, VBS, and of course heartfelt weekly worship. Even if all hearts are already prepared to receive the Word, care needs to be taken over time to watch out for and remove any weeds which may come up and attempt to take over, and the weeds are many and insidious.
I can easily justify my lack of follow-through in my garden at home. After all, if I don’t support the local farmers by buying their produce I am contributing to the economic decline, right? The problem is, at the end of the day I will still have the hearty crop of weeds there reminding me daily of my failure. There will, however be another spring and another chance to get the job done properly. Those of us in the church would do well to
remember that only ¼ of the seed in the parable turned out to be productive. Numbers are not everything! The number of people in the pews on Sunday, the number of children in Sunday school each week, the total number of families and members, don’t need to cause stress. When they are high we may be on the top of the world and feel that we are truly doing the work of the Kingdom, and when they are low we may fear for the survival of our congregation. Even if our programs or events seem less successful than we would like, so long as one plot of soil was readied, or one seed planted we have done well.
Whatever Kingdom gardening we may be doing, we need to remember to take time out to praise and worship the Father who has sown the word in our lives, the Son who is that word, and the Spirit who inspires us to listen.
Living Faith is the Statement of Christian Belief of the Presbyterian Church in Canada and can be downloaded at http://www.presbyterian.ca/resources/online/2447
Posted in Bible Study, Faith, Lectionary, Reflections
Tagged attendance, Bible, Bible study, blog, change, Christianity, church, details, distractions, faith, God, help, Holy Spirit, improvement, Jesus, Kingdom, listening skills, Living Faith, love, Matthew 13:1-9 and 18-23, numbers, patio stones, Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Church in Canada, problems, promise, rocks, sledge hammers, Statement of Christian Belief, Sunday school, survival, weeds, worship
On Feb 20th I wrote a post I titled, While Visions Of Seed Packets Danced in My Head (http://wp.me/p1hsO8-6p). At that time, with my garden under a foot of snow, I was distracted from tidying the living room by the lure of a gardening book. An hour later there I was with my pencil and paper making plans for what to plant in my vegetable garden and wondering if last year’s compost would be ready to use. As soon as the snow cleared, sometime in April, I was out in the back yard with my work boots and gloves on, and my tiller in hand turning soil and getting all the weeds out of a section of the
garden. I got about half the area cleared that day before hitting the shower. Time passed……a little over a week ago I was sitting on my deck with a lovely view of what was once bare earth and is now covered with weeds of various types, many taller than my tiller which is still stuck in the ground where I left off.
The Gospel reading this morning, Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23, is all about gardening, or agriculture to be more specific. In this very familiar parable Jesus shares a story with a crowd of people beside the Sea of Galilee, so large that he actually gets into a boat to get free of the press of people. He talks of something with which all these people would be familiar, a man, the sower, planting seed. This man has a “packet” of seed. We assume that all the seed is basically the same and equally capable of growing and bearing a good
yield. Some of his seeds fall on the path and are snatched up by birds, some fall on rocky ground where they begin to grow but with shallow roots they shrivel up under the sun. Some of the seeds fall among the weeds where they begin to grow only to be choked off by the weeds. Some of the seed falls on good soil, grows and provides an extraordinary harvest. He sows all his seed, but in the end only one quarter of the seed produced a
harvest. Interestingly, the harvest was many times more than might have been expected from the whole amount of seed
Israel, situated as it was in the Fertile Crescent, was a culture which based on agriculture and much of the imagery in the Old
Testament was related to sowing and reaping. Their laws included regulations on when and where to plant, what kind of
seeds to plant, when they should harvest, and even what to do with any grain left in the field. They were used to God being referred to as the sower. In creation he planted every plant of every kind in the Garden of Eden. He is variously said to have sown Israel and Judah into the land, sown peace in Zion, and sown righteousness in the nations.
For the most part, although they were familiar with the trials of farming and the vagaries of rocks, birds, and weeds, people didn’t understand the point of Jesus’ story. The disciples, who didn’t get the point either, had the benefit of Jesus’ extra time and patience when he explained it to them later, when they are alone together. Unlike in the Old Testament, in the New Testament the imagery of the sower is used to represent the sowing of the Kingdom. Jesus explains to the disciples that the seeds in his story represent the Word of God. When the Word does not get into the soil at all, on the path, it is stolen by “the evil one.” For the other examples, where the seed reaches the soil, our hearts, the image refers to what happens with us. Sometimes we are turned away by troubles or persecution for our beliefs, sometimes overwhelmed by the distractions of the secular world, and sometimes the seed takes root and we produce a good harvest.
There are many ways of interpreting the message of this parable for our lives. Are we meant to look at ourselves as the soil, the seed, the plant, the sower, or the harvest? If Jesus is the seed and we are the soil, what kinds of harvest how can our soil provide a
better harvest. If we are a seed and plant and we produce a good harvest, what form does that take? A lot of time is spent in considering the present condition of the soils. One interpretation I read took the view that within each of us we may have areas of
all the types of soil, thus when the seed is sown some of it may find good soil while other parts of us are unwilling to yield. All of these points are worth consideration, however, when I first thought about this week’s readings it occurred to me that maybe we aren’t supposed to focus so much on the current condition of the soils in the Parable and which type we are ourselves, nor on how we can do a better job of sowing the Kingdom in our communities, but on what we do in our churches and ministries
to prepare the soil for planting.
Posted in Bible Study, Faith, Lectionary, Reflections
Tagged Bible, blog, change, Christianity, church, details, distractions, faith, God, help, Holy Spirit, improvement, Jesus, love, Matthew 13:1-9 and 18-23, Presbyterian Church, problems, promise, survival
I’m looking across the room at a picture of Winnie the Pooh in his classic thinking pose. His eyes are scrunched closed, one arm is around his chest and this other hand is up to his temple. Even looking at the picture I can hear him saying, “Think, think, think.” Maybe he is trying to think of an answer to a question piglet has asked, or maybe he is working on a hum, but he is thinking hard!
Here at the front of the room the same scenario is playing out. OK, I’m not physically squinting my eyes or knocking on my temple, but I am mentally trying to squeeze some kind of coherent thought out. I have an assortment of posts in the works at the moment, but they are stalled at some point or other. Some are just cool titles at the moment, while others were going along fine until I hit a mental snag on a point of logic or an annoying fact making my conclusion questionable.
There are various ways I get around this. Today’s choice was to write about the block itself rather than try to dislodge it from my path. Other options which I often use for blog writing include; saving my work and then choosing tags, previewing the post as it stands, heading off to http://creativecommons.comto find a good image to use, doing a spell check, or fixing the font and paragraph spacing. If all of these distractions fail to help me reach the dangling strand of my thought, I just stop for a while and do something totally unrelated.
There are times when the strands just won’t be caught and I eventually give up on the post altogether. Those bits often come back at a later date when they end up fitting like the missing puzzle piece into a completely different topic. I’m sure you are familiar with the adage, “I think, therefore I am.” It is the thinking that really matters and a slight change of focus can make all the difference.
Posted in Pet Peeves, Reflections
Tagged blog, details, distractions, help, improvement, Piglet, problems, quiet, reflection, survival, think, thinking, Winnie the Pooh, writer's block, writing
I expect most of us are familiar with the expression, “The medium is the message” coined by Marshall McLuhan. The phrase is as old as I am, well ten months older. At the time it was spoken in reference to the quickly changing face of media and our tendency to focus on the obvious effects and not really look for a deeper level. I don’t pretend to really understand McLuhan’s message, but I think that it is important to look at our messages, especially as they are becoming more and more public through blogs, Twitter, Facebook etc.
When I prepare a message for any of my usual churches I do so knowing that, for the most part, I will be preaching to a Christian audience with a fairly similar frame of reference to mine. When I write something for my blog it is different, I have no way of knowing who may read my post so things I wouldn’t normally explain get explanation. Things that are totally open to the world on the internet need a different filter than comments to my friends and colleagues over lunch. Awareness of audience is even one of the sections on rubrics for evaluating student writing.
I am working on a service I will be leading at my sister’s church in the Montreal area. I have led worship at all four of the Presbyterian churches in my area, but this will be my first time preaching out of the province. I am somewhat familiar with the church as I have worshipped there and sung in the choir on occasion, but I don’t really know it. I do know that there are several retired ministers and theology professors who attend her church. While I am used to having one or two retired ministers in the congregation for my services at home, they are people with whom I am very familiar and comfortable. This is not the case for my sister’s church, and who knows what other areas of speciality I may trip upon in my message?
One service I did on Aboriginal Sunday a while back went well. At the end I greeted people at the back as usual. One woman hung back for a bit and when she came up to me said she was debating whether or not to tell me what she really thought. I asked her to go ahead. She was not pleased with my message and gave me various reasons mostly related to her perceptions of “special treatment” for First Nations people in our area. While she had, in part, missed the actual point of the sermon, she needed to talk about the issues it raised for her and I hope that helped her in some way.
So, would I write a different message if I was speaking to the un-churched, the working class, a room full of professors, or atheists? In the end, all I can do is what I usually do. I will study the texts carefully, review what other’s have said on the topic, do some fact checking, and then write what seems to flow. Hopefully what I say will give people something new to think about, something to inspire them, or something about which to debate.
Posted in Bible Study, Reflections
Tagged atheism, audience, Bible, blog, choices, Christianity, church, debate, details, distractions, expectations, facebook, faith, God, inspiration, leadership, Lectionary, preaching, reflection, sermon, stress, theology, writing
I am supervising exams this week at my school. Right now I am covering another teacher’s class while he has a break. This is a grade eleven math class, and if they have questions I will be of no use to them at all. I did pass math in high school but that was a very long time ago now.
What I see in front of me is a group of twenty some students with calculators, papers, and pencils. They glance back and forth between their exam, the calculator and the booklet. Some are looking off into space as if praying for divine inspiration or intervention, others are hunched right over their desks. There are looks of determination, fear, and the occasional wry smile as we briefly make eye contact. There is near silence, papers turn, pencils scratch and feet shift on the floor, but there is no talking.
When you walk into an exam room, prepared or not, you know that in the next two hours your work will be judged. If you have a good day and a following wind, your exam mark may raise your over-all grade but you know that it is more likely to go the other way. On the up side, when the hours are over, so is the course and in June that means summer break!
Many of our life evaluations, however, do not take place in a classroom and are not neatly scheduled and limited to a two-hour block of time. We are often not even aware that we are being tested; that a customer is forming judgments about our competence or friendliness; that a student is deciding whether or not we are trustworthy enough to ask for help; total strangers may be deciding whether we are doing a good job raising our children. We will never know the results of most of these tests. Unless a customer goes to complain or compliment we won’t realize that they don’t return to the store or that they avoid our check-out. The student who decides against us will just walk away, and we almost certainly will not hear the strangers opinion of our parenting.
Whether or not we have any right to evaluate the people we meet and work with, we do it naturally. Unless you are a person’s supervisor or they do something hurtful to you, I see no reason that we should share negative feedback with them. Neither do we need to share with a person the nasty thing we heard someone else say about them, though we might want to defend a friend with the person doing the criticism. What I think we do need to be doing, however, is telling people when we think positive things about them, or when we hear someone else making a positive comment about them.
We don’t hear enough positive feedback. Certainly we don’t tend to give ourselves positive feedback, we tend to focus on our flaws and our failures. This does little good, and contributes a great deal to our level of stress. It may be as little as a smile or the like button on Face Book, or as big as nominations for awards or letters of thanks, but we need to praise more, encourage more, love more!
Posted in Reflections
Tagged choices, compliment, distractions, evaluation, exam, feedback, high school, improvement, love, prayer, quiet, stress, students, survival, teachers, test, testing, time, worry
One of the things that all people seek is the “right path” for their lives. My grade twelve students are hitting it head-on right now as they make their plans for future career paths and any related schooling which may be required. How do you balance what you enjoy with what will pay the bills? From an early age people ask us what we want to be when we grow up? And who among us has not at one time or another wondered if our parents had us by accident? As Christians we have the added dimension of calling. What is it God has planned for us? For what use were we given our particular talent set?
If you doubt that people are looking for this calling, Google search for Rick Warren. His book The Purpose Driven Life has been translated into 50 languages and has sold some 25 million copies. Along with the phenomenal success of his book, Warren has trained 400,000 ministers in his Purpose Driven Church strategy. The topic of the first 7 of 40 chapters in his book? “What On Earth Am I Here For?”
In my case, I basically fell into my current career. Early in junior high I planned to grow up to be a minister. In grade nine I decided I was going to go to Mt. Allison to take music and education. I wanted to be just like my junior high band teacher. I did go to Mt. Allison for a university degree in music, but by then I was certain that I would not be teaching school! I didn’t even like kids! Twenty-five years after graduating I am looking at retiring from teaching in six or seven years.
Even as I was in the midst of this career I still felt called to ministry. I began doing pulpit supply work around eight years ago, and five years ago actually applied for a position as university chaplain. When I did not get that position I took it to mean that, for the time being at least, I was doing what was intended. That may have been too simplistic a view, but the years since have been some of the most satisfying of my career.
I feel my life experiences have uniquely prepared me to teach my courses on family and child development (I haven’t taught music in years) and to work to further justice and positive climate in my school. I also believe that all of this is still preparing me for ministry within the church.
According to the PCC pamphlet, “Am I being called?” “The primary vocation of all Christians is to be in relationship with God through Christ. We delight in God’s gracious love and respond in praiseand gratitude. As the Shorter Catechism says, “Our chief end is to glorify and enjoy God forever…For most Christians, their primary arena for exercising their vocation is in the world and the exercise of their vocation in the church is in a voluntary capacity.” Whatever your vocation, may the Spirit of God guide you in your work.
For more about Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life go to rickwarren.com
For more on calling to ministry with Presbyterian Church in Canada check out this link http://www.presbyterian.ca/files/webfm/ourresources/mcv/Am%20I%20being%20called%20for%20web%20booklet.pdf
Posted in Reflections
Tagged calling, career, choices, Christianity, church, details, distractions, faith, God, help, Holy Spirit, leadership, ministry, preaching, purpose, reflection, Rick Warren, students, vocation
Today was Good Friday. Depending on the way you view the liturgical calendar Lent either ended last night or tomorrow, the day before Easter. This leads to my quandary of the day…do I go back on Facebook and Twitter?
If you count Sundays, I have not logged on to my FB and Twitter accounts now for 45 or 46 days. In some way I didn’t really miss it. I didn’t feel tempted to log on. I took them off my home page list on my browsers and my BlackBerry and I guess the old out-of-sight out-of-mind thing works. On the other hand I had many bouts of feeling isolated which I can only attribute to that lack of interaction which comes from at least keeping up with the doings of my friends.
Did I make use of the time I saved and the loss of distraction throughout Lent in order to spend more time in prayer, study and reflection on God? I did a really good job of it for a while at least. I did, as I planned, spend more time reading books and doing cross word puzzles. I completed my on-line course and prepared two services. I’m really glad I decided to make this sacrifice and it is really hard to believe it has really been so long.
How did you make out? Did you give something up for Lent? However we spent Lent, Sunday morning it is time to celebrate the risen Christ. Sing songs! Shout hosannas! Give thanks that God has given this amazing free gift to all of us!
Posted in Reflections
Tagged Bible, Christianity, distractions, Easter, facebook, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Lent, music, praise, prayer, reflection, sacrifice, thanks, Twitter, worship