Saturday, 31 March 2012

Saturday - Lent 5

Weeee,  what a ride yesterday.    Many many thanks needs to go to Husband Mine as he drove and chauffered and drove and picked up and dropped off so that our Museum would be all prepared for this evenings Vimy Night Fundraiser Celebration.   

The Table clothes are now sewn and squeaky clean (see photo for table clothes in process),  Live Auction items are ticketed and priced and recorded,   Tickets are all sold and waiting list is being called.   In short,  an awesome day.  

Yet in amongst the hustle and bustle of the day there were definite times of prayer retreat.   Nothing says renewed enthusiasm and joy like taking 5 minutes,  sitting down and relaxing in God's love.   Or going for a walk in the brisk morning air and give thanks to God while walking.   Aaaaah.

Saturday's  Prayer of Preparation:
LORD,  we pray You to continually inspire Your Church universal with the Spirit of truth, unity,  peace, and glad hosannas.   Give Your grace to all Ministers, Elders, and Lay Preachers that by their life and their faith they may show forth Your Word of Truth and celebrate You this day in love and in joy.    Please remember this day  Elders as they continue to learn and grow in their work that You have chosen them to do.   Open the hearts of each Elder so they may always hold fast to the Good News of Jesus and with great enthusiasm,  share this Good News.       Give Your grace to all Your people as we  meet together in Your presence.  May we hear and receive Your Word with purity of heart and true obedience, to serve You all the days of our life.  May we come before You tomorrow with our hearts raised in Glad Hosannas.   This we ask in Your son's  name.    Amen.

Many blessings

Friday, 30 March 2012

Friday - Lent 5

Twelve table clothes cut and sewn.   Eleven more table clothes to cut and sew for the Museum's  Vimy Night Fundraiser on Saturday.   Many thanks to Husband and Old Son for helping drag 47meters of fabric across our kitchen floor.    Sometimes when you get into the middle of a project,  do you ever wonder just WHY you thought it a good idea?     Twenty three meters into this project I thought my creating table clothes was nuts.   But the quote from Ignatius popped into my brain.... Ignatius said if we just gave our lives to God,  we would be amazed how God would create our lives to be fuller.   Letting go and letting God.   A mini retreat through the day.  Taking time for reflection and prayer.  Suddenly those mountainous 47 meters of fabric  don't seem as large... and especially calling in the family helps tremendously!  Thanks gentlemen!

Last evening Old Son make it to Band Practice.  Hurrah!    And the Museum Curator and I took a field trip up near Riding Mountain National Park.   A gentlemen is loaning the Museum his father's  collection.  His father was a WW2 prisoner of war in Singapore.   The Collection is immense and one can tell it was a labour of love for this gentlemean.   How neat that a Collector's  Son would share his father's collection with our Museum so all could see and enjoy rather than just a few people enjoying the Collection.   

Return to the Lord our God.  The Almighty God is full of tenderness and has great compassion for us.    You are faithful and hear us when we call.  You love us and lift us back up when we fall down.  You provide us with the enthusiasm to carry out the sharing of the Good  News.   In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

Read:  St Matthew 11: 1 – 6

When Jesus finished instructing the disciples on their work,  he continues on his ministry by teaching and preaching in Galilee. 

John the Baptist is locked up in prison but hears what Jesus is doing.   John sends his disciples to Jesus to ask, “Are you the One we’ve been expecting, or are we still waiting?”  This is an interesting question to ask as John the Baptist was the one to Baptize Jesus and heard the words from heaven.      But we have to remember two things about John.  First that he was a prophet who baptized for the remission of sins in preparation for the final judgement.    John expected that Jesus would go forth quickly and strongly and become the long awaited Messiah.    Yet Jesus has just finished saying to the disciples in the previous verses that even the  work of God can start small.    Do not get overwhelmed by the large work (or large Harvest),  it is best to start small.      The second thing we need to remember about John is he is sitting in jail awaiting death.   When one is confined to a space and death is imminent,  frequently one begins to ask questions about life.    Here John asks his disciples to question Jesus and ask if Jesus really really really is the long awaited Messiah.

Jesus tells John’s disciples to go back to John and tell him this:
The blind see,  the lame walk,  lepers are cleansed,  the deaf hear,  the dead are raised,  the wretched of the earth learn that God is on their side.  Blessed is the person who does not fall away on account of me.

Do not fall away on account of me.    Hold fast and hold strong. 

You,  O Lord, are our fortress and our strength.  In times of storm,  to You we hold fast.  In times of despair,  we call upon You knowing that You are already with us in our lives and our work.   May the God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ grant us peace and love in believing. This we ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Many blessings!

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Thursday - Lent 5

In the hustle and bustle of bringing the pieces together for our Museum Vimy Night,  it is so important to take time away during the day to be centred in God.  And amazing how sitting in a rocking chair in the living room or sitting outside for a few minutes and praying refreshes the heart and soul.  

It was delightful to stand in the 26 Fd Regiment Orderly Room yesterday and hear the laughter that permeates the office.   Good laughter is a sign of health and happiness.    

Thank You God for laughter and great sense of humour!

Father of mercy,  God of all consolation,  strengthen us in our very lives to adore and to serve You faithfully.  We give ourselves to You this day open for Your Word and Your Work.   This we ask in Jesus’ name.    Amen.  

Read:  St. Matthew 10: 40 – 42

Jesus says to the disciples and to us today that we are all intimately linked in the work of the Harvest (the sharing of the Good News of Jesus).    It is a large work that Jesus has called the disciples (and us!) to do. 

If someone offers to help,  accept the person’s offer!  This is something we have forgotten in our Church’s  today.  To accept a person’s offer.   Have you ever offered to help out and been told, “Oh no thanks,  this is easier to do myself”.   So how does that share the Good News?  It doesn’t.  That skreetches the Good News to a stand-still.   Always remember the Sharing of the Good News begins even with the smallest task.
Or have you been on the other side and the task given to you seems HUGE and you seemingly have no help?    Well,  says Jesus,  ask people to help out.   In Churches this means either phoning people directly and asking for their help or putting an announcement in the Church bulletin.   Communication is so important.    And so is prayer.    When any new program or idea or event begins in the Church,  we not only need people to help carry out the program but most importantly,  we need people to carry this program in prayer.     And we have to be specific in the prayer. 

Do not be overwhelmed by the large work.  It is best to start small.   The smallest act of giving or receiving is an awesome example of  how to share the Good News of Jesus.

Thus day,  phone your Elder and ask how you can help with Sharing the Good News of Jesus for your Church.

God Holy, God strong and Holy,  God Holy and Immortal  grant us peace so that we may live this day in Your joy and praise.     Help us to remember that we are Your hands and the aid of Your Work.   Give us the strength and delight to serve You forever.  Amen. 

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Wednesday - Lent 5

Wow.  I am always so amazed at the generosity and hospitality of the Museum Volunteers. Yesterday I was sick at home.  During morning coffee break yesterday,  the Museum Volunteers called me and had all of us on speaker phone so I could hear what was being discussed about our upcoming Vimy Night on Saturday.  How neat!    At one point there was a huge garbled sound on the phone... then the Curator said, "Lorna,  you fell off the middle of the table so we have now put you on the end of the table!"   Heh heh heh.
Our Museum Vimy Night celebration is coming along quickly.    The major elements are all in place
but it is the minor things like remembering to pick up the stir sticks for coffee that keep me making "to do" lists!
How amazing that God does not need "to do" lists!

Thank You Lord God Almighty  that You know how many hairs we have on our head.  You know us intimately and love us.  You provide life and eternal life for us.  We thank You that You are Our God and we are Your people.  This we ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Read:  St. Matthew 10: 29 – 39

How much does God love you?   Even the hairs on your head are counted.  Wow!  How neat is that to know!  Even the hairs on your head are counted.     God loves us so much that even the smallest detail is known by God.  Wow!    That is so re-assuring.

When the disciples heard these words,  they must have been reassured that their journey to collect the Harvest would be with God surrounding them with His care and love. 

Jesus continues (in verse 34)  that Sharing the Good News (bringing in the Harvest)  will not be easy.  Not at all.  As the disciples have heard previously,  sharing the Good News is difficult… some will listen and ignore the Gospel.  Some will listen and try to take apart their belief,  point by point.   Some will listen and try to tell the disciples that their lifestyle is way better than the disciples lifestyle.      Sharing the Good News is not easy BUT it comes with eternal rewards in heaven.

Then Jesus comes to the pinnacle of some very important instructions,  “Anyone who does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”         The Message states: “If you don’t go all the way with me, through thick and thin, you don’t deserve me.  If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself.  But if you forget about yourself and look to me,  you’ll find both yourself and me”.

 Give us strength O Lord to do what we have to do, and do not remember the sins we commit.  Save us Lord of all.   Strengthen us with Your presence;  give to us all the light of Your consoling presence.  Save us Lord of all.   Conform us to the truth of Your Word in faith, keep us obedient to the disciples teaching of the Gospel of our Saviour,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.  (Taize  “Praise in All Our Days”  Mowbray,  1981).  

Many blessings!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Tuesday - Lent 5

Hello all!  Old Son and I have been down with the flu for the last couple of days hence why there has been no  blogs.   When one gets sick it is amazing how one has to slow life down.   Events and committments still get accomplished but oh so much slower :)    But hurrah for e-mail.  Our Museum is planning a Vimy Night fundraiser celebration on Saturday 31 March 2012.  Amazing how e-mail is excellent in sharing last minute ideas!   And receiving last minute RSVPs.   :)  

Give Your grace to all Your people, and to us met together in Your presence.  May we hear and receive Your Word with purity of heart and true obedience, to serve You all the days of our life.  Remember Your love O Lord.  We bless Your Holy name for all Your servants who have passed from this life in faith and in obedience.  We pray for grace to follow their examples and to share with them in Your Kingdom.  Remember Your love,  O Lord.  (Taize “Praise in All Our Days”  Mowbray  1981).

Read:  St. Matthew 10: 24 – 28

Humm.  These verses contain teachings of Jesus that make us go, “Huh?”    A student is not above his teacher?   Nor a servant above his master?  The head of the house is called Beelzebub?   Huh???

Frequently when we go “Humm” or “Huh”  with trying to interpret the Scriptures,  it is a good idea to read a couple of different translations.   Scholars have dug into the Scriptures and translated from the Greek.  Sometimes a Greek word has many means and just a tiny shift in that translated word makes the understanding of Scripture come alive.  

The Message translates this passage as “A student doesn’t get a better desk than her teacher.  A labourer doesn’t make more money than his boss.  Be content – pleased, even – when you, my students, my harvest hands, get the same treatment I get.  If they call me, the Master, “Dungface”, what can the workers expect?   Don’t be intimidated.  Eventually everything is going to be out in the open, and everyone will know how things really are.  So don’t hesitate to go public now.  Don’t be bluffed into silence by the threats of bullies.  There’s nothing they can do to your soul, your core being.  Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life – body and soul – in his hands”. 

Be content.    Don’t be intimidated.    Don’t be bluffed into silence.  If you hear of something wrong,  speak up!     God holds your entire life in his hands.  

 Good words of instruction from Jesus as the disciples go forth into the Harvest.      Jesus is saying here that they will be discouraged and they will be bullied and their belief will be questioned.  BUT!   God is with them and holds their entire life in his hands.  

Go forth this day knowing the God is with you and holds your entire life – body and soul – in his hands.

Prayer:  Creator,  Sustainer, and Redeemer,  may we go forth this day knowing that You are with us.  It is You who holds our entire lives – body and mind  and soul – in Your hands.  We give our thanks to You.  Amen.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Friday - Lent 4

Heavenly Father,  have pity on us.  Guard and bless all travellers.  Comfort the afflicted.  Support the aged and care for the sick.  Have mercy, Lord.   When you call us to leave this world, give us grace to trust in Your redeeming love.  Have mercy, Lord.  You died for us that we might die to sin;  You rose for us that we might have eternal life. Have mercy, Lord and grant us Your peace.   Amen  (Taize, “Praise in All Our Days”  Mowbray  1981).

Read:  St. Matthew 10: 11 – 15

Now Jesus gives the disciples instructions on their behaviour while travelling.   Stay at  a modest place with modest people.  Note it doesn’t say the disciples stayed at Inns… they stayed with people.  Remember in the Middle East that hospitality was a part of their culture.   Opening one’s home to a traveller was a given. 

The disciples were to knock on a door.  If they welcome the disciple,  the disciple was to be gentle in their conversation.  But if they didn’t welcome the disciple, the disciple was to quietly withdraw.    The disciples were not to cause a scene.   The disciples were to shrug their shoulders and be on their way.  

In some translations,  it says if the people would not receive the disciples then the disciples were to shake the dust from their feet and be on their way.   Shaking dust from one’s feet is an image of Jews who had been in pagan territory.  They shook the dust from their feet to that they might not make the holy land unclean.  Thus,  an unwelcome house or town is to be treated as a heathen. 

Hospitality.   How do we provide hospitality to those who are doing God’s work today?  Do we open our homes and our tables up to Ministers and Elders?    Just as the disciples were to spread the Good News of Jesus,  those who opened up their homes to the disciples were helping spread the Good News of Jesus.  

Today,  give your Minister or Elder a call and invite them for a meal!

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself,  and God the Father who has loved us, and given us by His grace eternal consolation and joyful hope,  comfort our hearts and strengthen them in every good word and work.  This we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.   (Taize, “Praise in all our Days”  Mowbray, 1981).

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Thursday - Lent 4

Museum had another great evening with Army Cadets.  Last evening we were out at 71 Bty 2520 RCACC Brandon Cadets showing the Vimy Powerpoint Presentation.   Awesome cadets!  
Please keep my Mom in your prayers as she undergoes cataract surgery today.

Return to the Lord,  for God is tenderness and compassion.  You love truth in the inmost heart.  Teach me the depths of wisdom; cleanse me with hyssop and I shall be clean.  Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.  Restore the sound of joy.  Forgive me of my sins and restore to me a life lived in Your love.  This I ask in Your Son’s name.  Amen.

Read:  St. Matthew 10: 5 – 10

Jesus sends out the twelve disciples with this charge: 
1.  Don’t begin by travelling to some far-off place to convert unbelievers
2.  Don’t try to be dramatic by tackling some public enemy
3.  Go to the lost confused people right here in the neighbourhood
4.  Tell the people  that the Kingdom is here
5.   Bring health to the sick
6.   Raise the dead
7.   Tough the untouchables
8.   Kick out demons
9.   You have been treated generously so live generously.

Wow!  That is quite a list.   But this is the mission of today’s  Church too… start with your neighbourhood.   How else will people in the neighbourhood know that you were sent by God to help them?

Then Jesus says, “You don’t need a fundraising campaign before you start.  You don’t need a lot of equipment!  YOU are the equipment, and all you need to keep that going is three meals a day.  Travel light.”   Wow!

You don’t need a fundraising campaign.    Wow!   Tell that to the Board of Managers J    But if we don’t need a fundraising campaign,  how will we let everyone in our neighbourhood know about our Church? How will we keep a Church roof over our heads as the roof starts to leak?     Jesus answers these questions by saying, “YOU are the equipment”.     YOU are given the resources by God.  

Read over the list of nine items that Jesus charges to the disciples.    Read over the list again with your Church in mind.    How will you tell the people that the Kingdom is here.   Telling.  No texting on cell phones,  no roadside banners.  Simply telling your neighbour about God.  
This week pray for the Elders,  the Spiritual Leaders, in your Church.  Pray that they may
study this Word of God and have compassion on the Harvest.  Then ask the Elders how they want you to help.

Great God,  we bring before You today those who are Your Spiritual Leaders.   We ask that You will have mercy upon the Elders and grant them great joy in their calling.   We pray that You provide the Elders with a renewed sense of Your presence. May the Elders know of Your redeeming love.  We ask that the Elders may ask each of us this day to help them spread Your Good News.     This we ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.  

Many blessings!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Wednesday - Lent 4

Museum Day yesterday.    What a blessing.   People often say that Museums are dusty, old,  and dead places.  Oh that is so not true.    Yesterday we discovered through some early "Ooops,  I need to get those photos of new weapons in our Weapons Verification book" that we actually have one more firearm that isn't on our Weapons Verification list... and has been that way for quite a while.  Oopsie. We had two awesome gentlemen come out from CFB Shilo to do a weapons check.    We had two visitors in looking for how to access online information on their Grandfather who was part of WW1.....   or  if you ever need to know.     Two gentlemen who were working keeping the Armoury beautiful popped into the Museum for a break.  Our librarian reached cataloguing 1900 books - articles.   Uniforms got changed in the display cases.    Three medals were appraised for an individual who wants to donate them to our Museum.   Tickets were sold for our Vimy Night on 31 March 2012.    .... and that was only half the day's work.     Eight people working together to serve others.   Amazing how active some places are and that activity is positive activity.      Can you say your Church is that active with positive activity?  If not,  why not.

Check out  homepage... click on Lent Retreat.  It is awesome!  A great positive activity booster and retreat for your day!

Lord, hear our prayer and let our cries come to You.  Answer us when we call.  Hide not Your face from us and in the day when the burdens get too large for us to hold,  remind us that You are our burden bearer.  It is to You we turn to complete us and make us whole and Holy.  This we ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Read:  St. Matthew  10: 1 – 4

Jesus prayed for help with the harvest. Remembering that prayer leads to action,  what action did Jesus take?   Jesus called the disciples and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and heal every disease and sickness.   

Instead of trying to do everything himself,  Jesus gives authority to twelve others.  Now there are thirteen people helping with the harvest.

During the Exodus,  Moses was in a similar predicament as Jesus.  He was trying to do everything himself.  His father-in-law dropped in on him and said, “Are you nuts?  Why are you trying to do everything yourself?  You need to pray and gather those who are called by God to be Spiritual Leaders to help you”.  (Exodus 18:  13 – 26)  And Moses was smart enough to listen to his Father-in-law.   Moses prayed for  Spiritual Leaders and then choose many to help him with the task.

Today the tasking of helping with the ministry of the Church is presented to the Elders.  They are our Spiritual leaders.  And after much prayer,  the Elders are the ones who will ask each of us to “help with the harvest”.   When was the last time your Elder called you and asked you to help him/her with the harvest?

O God,  the light of Your glory shines in the darkness of our lives.  Make us attentive to Your presence, prompt to serve You and ever eager to follow in the steps of the One who is the true light and the source of life,   Jesus Christ,  Your Son,  our Lord. With one heart and with one voice,  we ask that You lift up the life and work of our Elders.  This we ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen. 

Many blessings!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Tuesday - Lent 4

Two years ago the Presbyterian Church in Canada had a National Conference called "The Emmaus Project".  It was a time of meeting and meditation and reflection.    One of the speakers was Mr. Bill Easum.
Reading through Bill Easum's  "Ministry of Hard Times" yesterday was fascinating.   Mr. Easum commented on something that I've been mulling over in my mind lately.     Prayer and Fitness.    Our clergy and sessions must do a good hour of prayer and devotional each day.  And this is prayer, meditation, and study outside of Sermon prep or Sunday School prep time.    Mr. Easum says if those who are called by God to work in the Church do not set the example of good devotion,  then the standards of those sitting in the pews drops.    
Mr. Easum suggests that Sessions would be smart to have each Clergy (and I'd include Elders in this too!) do three other things...
1.  Take regular Continuing Education.  And this doesn't mean going to a fancy hotel with your family and taking books along that never get read.  Continuing Education means going to a class somewhere or taking a class online. Learning stimulates creativity and new ideas and brings about fresh sermons for those of us who sit in a pew.   If Clergy never go on Continuing Education,  the Sermons become dry like an old Fall Leaf.  
2.  Regular Retreats away to a lonely place.   Yup, lonely.  Lonely not in "I"m sooo alone"  but lonely where there are no distractions.   No cell phones.  No phones.    No e-mails.    Possibly laptops to do online retreats and writing.  Or better yet to a Retreat Centre with Spiritual Directors.
3.  Keeping physically fit.  Clergy must do something physical each day.  Builds up the serotonin which makes for happy ministers.      Best advice one Elder gave Husband Mine many years ago was,  "When you are frustrated with the congregation,  get out your rake and shovel and go dig in the garden!  Better to take out the frustration on the ground than it is on a person!  And while your digging,  say your prayers".  Smart Elder.   Thanks Jim Carr from Port Carling Ontario!

When times seem tough,  O Lord,  and we think we are the only one’s working in Your name,  open our eyes to the miracles You bring each day.  When we think there is no one else to help us do Your work,  open our mouth to ask others to be Your hands.  Lord have mercy.  Amen.

Read:  St. Matthew 9:  35 – 38

The two chapters of the miracles of Jesus have now ended.  St. Matthew describes the
work that Jesus continues to do each day.  Yet one thing stands out in reading that Jesus visited towns and villages… he had compassion.  He healed the broken hearted and the broken lives because he had compassion.    He taught from the scriptures because he had compassion.    He healed diseases and sickness because he had compassion. 

“What a huge harvest” Jesus said to the disciples,  “How few workers!  On your knees and pray for harvest hands!”  (The Message translation  Matthew 9:38). 
Jesus knows that he and the disciples alone can not be the only workers to bring in the harvest.. together they pray for others to help them spread the Good News of Jesus.. the Good News of Jesus that begins with compassion.

Today is no different.  We look at all the people who need help or healing or teaching  of scripture today  and it is in the millions.  Then we look at how many are still attending Church and we get discouraged.  Yet,  did Jesus get discouraged?  Does it mention in these verses Jesus and the disciples giving up because the task was too great?   No,  not at all.   Read again what Jesus and the disciples do in verse 38.   Some translations say “Get on your knees and pray”.     Other translations say “Ask the Lord of the Harvest to send out workers into his harvest field”.    

These verses are a great example for us today.   Jesus  did not try and do everything himself and get discouraged with his efforts.  Instead,  he prayed about the situation but didn’t leave the prayer request and sit on his hands.  Not at all.   Jesus offered up prayer for help with the “harvest”  and then took action… and then what happened?    You will just have to wait until tomorrow to find out  (or read ahead today if you can’t wait for the answer).   

This day remember when you pray to ask God to lead your prayers from prayers of “the task is too big and I can’t do it alone” to prayers of compassion with action.

Almighty God,  from whom all holy desires,  all good counsels and all just works proceed;  give us,  Your servants, that peace which the world can not give, that our hearts may be set to serve You faithfully, and be ever free to praise You with joy,  through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.    (Taize  “Praise in all Our Days”  Mowbray,  1981).

Many blessings!

Monday, 19 March 2012

Amazing Monday - Lent 4

For the past three weeks,  I've been playing the piano for St. Andrew's  Presbyterian Church in Brandon while the Music Director has been on holiday in Florida.  The congregation is so graceful as they don't mention my fumbles,  wrong notes,  wrong key signatures, and singing along on the wrong verse as I play the hymns.  God bless them.   They are a Church that is a blessing.... and I don't think they know they are a such blessing to those who are wandering in the desert!   Time to write a thank you letter to them so they know how many blessings they share with others!

Healing God,  whatever You have in store for us today,  we rejoice.   If we are to sit
in prayer before You,  we rejoice.  If we are to stand in grocery line-ups,  we rejoice in Your presence.   If we are to have meetings,  we rejoice in Your presence.  We respond to You,  “Yes Lord” in all the things You ask us to do today.    This we ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Read:  St. Matthew 9: 27 – 34

“Do you believe I am able to do this?” Jesus asks the two blind men.   They respond,  “Yes Lord!”      Jesus touched their eyes and said because of their belief, they were healed.    Jesus instructed them to not say a thing but they started sharing the good news the minute they were out the door.    (Remember they have to go directly to the Priest so the Priest can declare them clean…. Although the Gospel kinda hints that they made a very long side trip J).

As the healed men were leaving,  a man who had been struck speechless by an evil spirit was brought to Jesus.   As soon as Jesus threw the evil spirit out,  the man began to talk.  The crowd was amazed but the Pharisees stated the healing happened because Jesus was in league with the Devil.   

Three people were healed that day because of their belief in Jesus but the Pharisees were blinded to the healing powers of Jesus.  How sad.  
How often are we blinded to the miracles around us each day?     How often
do we see the negative aspect of our lives and forget the positive life that God brings us. 

Today and tomorrow,  view every part of your life as a positive wonderful gift from God.

Divine Healer, thank You that our lives are a positive wonderful gift!  O Holy Spirit, to give us balance and fullness of life,  please instil peace, clarity, fulfilment, and serenity into our lives.  Allow us to experience harmony, unity, and support in our lives and in our families.  Thank You.    In Jesus' name.  Amen.

Many blessings!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Sunday - Lent 4

Happy Sunday!  Lent 4.

Work on Saturday.  Amongst getting Museum paperwork somewhat completed,  here are two photos of a quilt I was also working on yesterday.  The bits and pieces are slowly getting together.   This quilt has a Carpenter's Wheel as the centre then flying geese (10 per side) and Bear's Paws to hold
the quilt down... or together.

And the quilt blocks peeking out from under the Carpenter's Wheel are a Judy Neimeyer Wedding Star that I started for my sister in, gulp,  2003.   
Diagram of Quilt in progress ....

May you have a blessed Sunday!   

Composed by The Rev. Dr. Emily K. Bisset
Produced by Presbyterian World Service & Development
Lenten Liturgy 4

Leader: How often, like our brothers and sisters in the wilderness,
we have failed to trust God’s covenant!
People: We have let God down and hurt one another.
Leader: But Jesus came into the world and was lifted up in order that
love might be reborn.
People: Let us be glad, for we are not condemned, but held in the
covenant of grace.
Leader: May God provide for our every need as we wander through
our own wilderness.
People: May Christ our Saviour never condemn us, but deliver us
to salvation.
Leader: May the Holy Bond of Love keep us in eternal care.
People: May we be empowered by embracing God’s covenant
and accepting God’s changes.

Many blessings!

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Saturday - Lent 3

Happy St. Patrick's  Day to you all!    Isn't it interesting how we celebrate St. Patrick's day by wearing green.  We focus upon wearing green and all things Irish yet we forgot who St. Patrick actually was in history and what an impact he had on Sharing the Gospel to the Irish.   Through the call of God, 
St. Patrick had a huge influence upon Sharing the Gospel with the people of Ireland.  For over 30 years St. Patrick preached Christ in Ireland.  

As a young boy, St. Patrick was captured by the Irish from Britain.  After years of  being a slave - shepherd in Ireland he  escaped and went back to Britian where he became a Priest.  Then he was called by God to go back to the land of his captives.  Wow.   Talk about forgiveness!    And forgive he did!

Here is a portion of  St. Patrick’s famous ‘Confessions’.....   Pray through this prayer slowly
and think how you will share the Gospel of Christ with those you meet today.

I bind to myself today
God’s Power to guide me,
God’s Might to uphold me,
God’s Wisdom to teach me,
God’s Eye to watch over me,
God’s Ear to hear me,
God’s Word to give me speech,
God’s Hand to guide me,
God’s Way to lie before me,
God’s Shield to shelter me,
God’s Host to secure me,
Against the snares of demons,
Against the seductions of vices,
Against the lusts of nature,
Against everyone who meditates injury to me,
Whether far or near,
Whether few or with many.
Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
Christ in the fort,
Christ in the chariot seat,
Christ in the ship,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.       Amen.
(     17 March 2012 Living Space)

What a great prayer to pray in order to prepare our hearts for Worship tomorrow!!!

Many blessings!

Friday, 16 March 2012

Friday - Lent 3

Happy Friday!  Yesterday was a plethora  (isn't that a neat word... plethora) of activities and retreats.

My Mom said that by helping her pick up her new humidifier and putting it together for her was my good deed for the day.  Hurrah.   :)     Isn't it interesting what people consider a good deed.  To me, helping my Mom is part of being a family.  

Husband is now in Winnipeg for the weekend.  Old Son got to University AND Band Practice last night which was a blessing.  

The Museum has four donations of medals and sweetheart pins.  Amazing how these items are metal yet have such a rich history and the stories that come out of the families who donate the medals is awe-inspiring!      Yesterday in trying to find an artefact that was close in size and era to put an appraisal price on the artefact,  I discovered the Canadian Archives War Diaries online.    Okay,  that was a two hour diversion.  But what a blessing to find these WW1 War Diaries.  It is so neat to read about the actions of a Battalion and actually be familiar with the Commanding Officers named who came back and lived in Brandon for the rest of their lives.  
What else is interesting is what the War Diaries state for the Battle of Vimy Ridge and what the Historians say about the Battle.   Sometimes the two differ greatly.    And we no longer have veterans to ask of the Battles.   The Veterans of all wars and skirmishes have touched our lives in ways we will never realize.   Thank You Veterans. 

Thank You O Lord,  that You have touched our lives.   Your touch is healing and reviving.  May we share Your gift of touch with those we meet this day.  This we ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Read:  St. Matthew 9: 18 – 26 

These verses of Scripture contain two healings from the gift of touch.   A local official  comes to Jesus and asks if Jesus could come and touch his daughter and she will live.   Jesus got up and went with him.

As Jesus was leaving to go to the local official’s house,  a woman who had been haemorrhaging for twelve years touched Jesus’ robe.   Jesus turned and said to the woman, “Courage, daughter.  You took a risk of faith and now you are well”. 
According to the Torah,  this woman would have been unclean for  twelve years (Leviticus 15: 25 – 27).     By touching Jesus’ robe,  she made him unclean too.  That is why Jesus said she took a risk of faith.

Then Jesus continues on to the local official’s  house.   Jesus says to the mourners and crowd that had gathered, “Clear out.  This girl isn’t dead. She is sleeping”.   The mourners and crown tell Jesus that he doesn’t know what he is talking about.   Jesus got rid of the crowd,  went into the house,  took the girl’s  hand and pulled her to her feet.   She was healed!

Touching is actually very cultural.  What one touch in one culture would be considered normal,  other cultures would consider an insult.  Yet here Jesus is touching people to heal.      When Ministers are Ordained or when Elders are Ordained,  they are ordained and blessed  through the “laying on of hands”.    Usually the laying on of hands is upon the Minister’s  head.   This is a visual sign that the Minister is Ordained to fulfil the work of God and to be a blessing.
The “laying on of hands”  comes up out of the Old Testament (Exodus 29:1-10).  Those who had the laying on of hands were set apart for the work of God.

Today when you touch anyone or anything,  remember that your touch is a blessing to others.    

Lord,  we know Your strength and Your kindness. Lord have mercy upon us.  With one heart and one voice,  we pray to the Lord God Almighty.  Lord have mercy.   May we remember this day Your touch is a blessing to ourselves and to others and may You grant us peace.    Amen.

Many blessings

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Thursday - Lent 3

Our weather here in Brandon MB has been so unseasonal.  With high winds for the last two days and warm temperatures,  our snow has melted leaving a spring-like feeling in the air.   People are commenting on the wonderful warm temperatures.  Then it is almost as if they divide themselves into two groups... those who say that Spring is here and isn't that wonderful and those who say that this is just a small break before the blizzards come dumping many feet of snow onto our fair town.  Two very different outlooks on the future.  We can't say one is right and one is wrong because we have not lived out this future weather yet.   
Differing perspectives and understandings.   During Lent,  some Churches state that the congregation needs to fast as this provides cleansing not only for the body but also for the mind.  Presbyterians  traditionally have not fasted.   Rev Dr Herb Gale wrote in his blog last year his understanding of fasting. 

O Christ, Son of God,  may we always share in Your love; and since You gave Your life for us, may Your Passion help us in all the trials of our existence, making of us true and living members of Your Body, for You live and reign now and forever more.  Amen.

(Taize “Praise in All Our Days”,  Mowbray 1981).

Read:  St. Matthew 9: 14 – 17

Fasting.  In the Torah,  Fasting was only required on the day of Atonement and publically proclaimed fast days.   The fasting that John’s disciples are asking about are the private days of fasting.  Fasting is a way to cleanse one’s body  and to renew one’s body.  Fasting is also a time of repentance and turning again to God.

Yet Jesus gently reminds John’s disciples that Jesus is the bridegroom and the guests of the bridegroom only have joy.  When the bridegroom is taken from them,  then they will fast.  

During Lent,  quite a few denominations state that people should fast.  

Presbyterians do not usually fast during Lent.    Dr Herb Gale,  Moderator of the 137th General Assembly and Director of Planned Giving stated in his March 2011 Blog: “ In keeping with the spirit of the season, many Christians often adopt spiritual disciplines such as fasting during their Lenten journey. When we normally think of a Lenten discipline, we usually think of giving up something, for example giving up meat for Lent or giving up desserts.   The idea is to give up something we value or enjoy to help us appreciate them more deeply and to grow closer to One who graciously gives them.   This is what lies behind the ancient tradition of fasting during Lent. 

While there is certainly a great deal of merit in such acts of self denial, I have found in my own life that when I have practiced such disciplines I often become more preoccupied with myself rather than less so, which seems a bit counterproductive.  That is why I have decided to do an alternative sort of spiritual discipline this Lent.  Rather than give up something during Lent, I have decided to give something each day during Lent.  That is, I have decided to be more intentional about practicing generosity during this Lenten season.  Each day during Lent, I will do some sort of intentional act of self giving. I’m not sure what those acts will be – I’m planning on figuring it out as I go along – but each day I resolve to do some act of grace (i.e. an unexpected, undeserved, and unconditional gift of love) that I wouldn’t normally do and see what happens as a result.  An example of such an act that I still remember with fondness was a road trip I took with some classmates during my university days.  While we were driving along a toll road, we decided to pay twice as much at each toll booth as was required, telling the toll booth attendant that the extra money was to pay for the toll of the car behind us.  That one simple act transformed the paying of tolls from something we all resented into a kind of happy game that I have never forgotten. 

The acts I choose may be large or small, open or hidden, for someone I know or for a complete stranger.  Who knows, I may end up doing more than one act on any given day – after all, God offers us any number of possibilities to practice generosity in any given day, and I’ve discovered from my own experience that giving is often fun.  So why limit myself to just one act of generosity a day?  But I am going to commit myself to one act a day, and I am going to keep a journal of my Lenten journey into generosity so that I can have a record of what I learn along the way.   I can’t think of a better way to follow in the path of him whose entire life was one continuous act of self-giving love and who didn’t say, “It is finished,” until he had finally given himself completely away as he was offering his life on the cross.  

By the way, my first act of generosity is to make this pledge and share it with you.  I invite anyone who would like to join me in my Lenten discipline to do so. I would like to call our group the Kenosis Fellowship.  Kenosis is the Greek word for “emptying” – a key theological term used to describe Christ’s way of self-giving love.  In Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi, Paul gives this advice:

Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.  Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God as something to be exploited (or grasped), but emptied himself taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:4-8)

So I invite you during Lent to become part of the Kenosis Fellowship and pledge yourself to doing at least one act of generosity that you would normally not do each day during Lent.  Be creative and have fun.   I would also invite you to keep a daily journal of your experiences.  And maybe as an act of generosity you can invite someone else to join the fellowship.  Oh, by the way, don’t feel it’s too late to become part of the Kenosis Fellowship if you decide to join half way through Lent, or even during Holy Week.  It just means you will be on a shorter journey, but still as awesome!”

This Day O Lord,  help us to do one act of generosity in Your name. This we ask in Jesus' name.  Amen. 

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Wednesday - Lent 3

Another fantastic day at the Museum yesterday.    Our Museum is only open one day a week but with the amount of activity we have on the one day,  we could easily be opened a few more days.   But,  as the Curator says,  we are all volunteers and we don't want to burn out our Volunteers.      Good thinking.

Which lead me to think about burn out .... bad stress.... balance in life.      In my short lifetime,  I've discovered when someone has a passion for what they are doing,  then their tasks and jobs are a joy.  When one gets burdened down with frustration and sorrow,  then burn-out and bad stress occurs.

When we are joyful,  lifting our small burdens to God is easy.  But it takes discipline.  When we become sad and sorrowful and frustrated,  somehow we forget to lift our burdens to God and then we get bogged down even further into the mire of sorrow and burn out and bad stress.  While these two comparisons sound simplistic,  it really is that simple.    

And thinking of simple....  Old Son finally purchased his very first Lee Enfield No 1 Mk 3. The rifle was made in 1916.    It needs a lot of work and we still don't know if it will fire.  But in the meantime, this rifle is getting a good cleaning.   How symbolic to Lent and ourselves.... we all need times of good cleaning and tossing our burdens to God.    As simple as that. 

O Christ,  we get up this day and follow You.    Where we go today,  we know that we go in Your name.  Whatever we do today,  we do in Your name.  In our sitting and in our rising,  we give You thanks and praise.  Amen.

Read:  St. Matthew 9: 9 – 13

Matthew the Tax Collector is sitting in his booth.   Jesus comes up to him and says, “Follow me!”   Matthew gets up and follows Jesus.      Simple really.    Matthew got up and followed Jesus.   

Jesus then goes to Matthew’s  house for a meal (hospitality!).  Yet many of the dinner guests were unsavoury characters.  The Pharisees see this and asks the Disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with Tax Collectors and sinners?”  For the Pharisees, this was a new concept… that someone would actively seek out sinners.       Jesus hears what they are saying and answers, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.   I desire mercy, not sacrifice.  For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”   Jesus is healing and forgiving sinners.   Jesus is lifting the burdens from their shoulders.      

As you go throughout this day,  say this statement over in your mind, “It’s  Simple Really.  I get up and follow Jesus”.    See where the day (and God) leads you!

Heavenly Father,  Your words are simple.   This day we will get up and follow Jesus.  We follow Jesus knowing that You bless us and keep us as we travel together.  This we ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Many blessings!

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Museum Tuesday - Lent 3

Good Morning!  Happy Tuesday - Lent 3.    Today at the Museum we had planned to have a surprise Cupcake Birthday party for Curator Emeritus Mr. Neale during morning coffee break time. Imagine our surprise when Mr. Neale happened to make mention that he was going to a CNIB function this morning and would not be at the Museum this morning.  Heh heh heh.  Good thing cupcakes will keep until afternoon coffee break.   So we will celebrate his birthday this afternoon.   :)

Yesterday,  I was whining to a friend about the Church(es) on the weekend.  I get so frustrated when Spiritual Leaders do not take time to seek out training nor seek out rubrics for doing worship properly.   My whining was/is wrong.  Just because I  think Churches and Spiritual Leaders should have higher standards doesn't mean that their standards are our standards.  I need to learn to accept them for who they are......and hurrah for forgiveness.   One keeps balanced and whole by asking for forgiveness from God.

O Christ,  Son of God,  may we always share in Your love;  and since You gave Your life for us,  may Your Passion help us in all the trials of our existence, making of us true and living members of Your Body,  for You live and reign now and forever.  Amen.  (Taize “Praise in All Our Days”  Mowbray,  1981)

Read:  St. Matthew 9: 1 – 8

Once again,  Jesus steps into a boat and travels away to his home town.  Almost as soon as Jesus gets out of the boat,  some men bring to Jesus a paralytic man.  Jesus has compassion on the friends and upon the paralytic man Jesus says, “Take heart, son… your sins are forgiven”.

Some teachers of the law are listening and are horrified at what they hear Jesus uttering.  Jesus knows their thoughts and asks them why they have evil thoughts in their hearts.  Just so they know that Jesus has authority on earth to forgive sins, Jesus asks them which is simpler to say, “I forgive your sins”  or “Get up and walk”.      Jesus says to the paralytic man, “Get up,  take your mat and go home!”    

Remember that for the Teachers of the law,  each sin that is committed is done against God.  Only God can forgive sins.   They hear Jesus saying to the paralytic man, “I forgive your sins.”    Can’t you see the Teachers of the Law with their mouths dropped open and their fingers pointing to Jesus and all they can utter is, “But, but, but…..what are you DOING?” 

  The crowd was amazed that God had authorized Jesus to work among them. 

This day,  know that Jesus says to you,  “Take heart, son/daughter… your sins are forgiven”!        

God of Light and Love,  we ask You to forgive our sins.    Forgive our sins of the things we have not done.  Forgive us our sins for the things we have done that hurt others.  Forgive us our sins for walking past those who need Your help.    O Lord,  You have set us free.  You tell us that our sins are forgiven and we rejoice greatly.  Amen.

Many blessings!