Faith from the Edges

Faith and life from the perspective of me.

Archive for the month “December, 2014”

#Ask #AdventWord

We have been lighting the candles, Sunday by Sunday, in our home parish each week. We have been focusing on reconciliation. God’s reconciliation with us, ours with creation, reconciliation between First Nations and settlers within Canada, and reconciliation with the future generations. We are being deliberate and careful and working hard to honour the traditions of the people on whose land we live.

Today two women from our parish who are both First Nations lit the fourth candle. We all looked at each other at the end and realized what an important moment that had been. A year ago that wouldn’t have happened. A year ago it wouldn’t even have been thought of as being important. Our parish began a conversation a few months ago about how to live out reconciliation with our neighbours who are First Nations. This Advent our wreath has been a symbol of that work of reconciliation.

My heart filled with hope and joy. My heart is aware that God is doing something important in our midst.

#Ask #AdventWord

Ask for God’s signs of reconciliation and they will be given to you. We are going to keep on asking, working and hoping for reconciliation. It is where God is leading us.

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#Thank #AdventWord

I am having a bit of a pain day. Guess I overdid it getting ready for yesterday’s open house. Which by the way was worth it. So today I am sitting in my pj’s watching TV and being grateful. Yep, grateful. Grateful that I can take a day to recoup, grateful that I have a partner who understands, grateful for comfy blankets and a warm house, grateful for small mercies, like Trostan our 12 year old tuxedo cat.

#Thank #AdventWord

Somehow he always seems to know when I need that extra bit of comfort, that extra bit of loving care. He shows up and sits besides me or on my lap and loves me. How wonderful is that? Here’s a public thank you to this amazing, loving cat of ours, who just loves us all the time.

Who does that sound like? Who in your life loves you all the time, no matter what, shows up and sits besides you?

Today I give thanks and wait patiently for the greatest gift of all. God’s love made incarnate.

 

#Heal #AdventWord

The dear one and I have tried for the last 20 plus years to have an open house during the Advent/Christmas season in whatever parish we have been living in. I do a lot of baking and cooking, he does a lot of cleaning, then we host together. It is our gift to the folks we minister with and for.

Part of this is about building relationships. Relationships of trust, humour, love, honesty and grace. We are grateful to this place we call home for being able to do that. It has also been incredibly healing for both of us.

We are also on a healing, trust building relationship with folks who are First Nations, some of whom are members of our parish and some of whom aren’t. Today one of those who is a member of the parish and a big supporter of the work I am doing for the diocese gave us a gift. It is a dreamcatcher ornament. It will hang on our tree with pride. It is a sign of the trust and grace that is building here and a sign of hope.

#Heal #AdventWord

I hope that we are up to the task that God is giving us, of being agents of reconciliation, agents of grace and love. I will continue to pray each day for this country of ours to heal and to be open to a new way of living together. I will continue to honour those whose land we walk on. I will give thanks that signs like this dreamcatcher are given. Signs of reconciliation, love and trust.

#Beautify #AdventWord

Today’s word is beautify. I had some ideas about this earlier in the day, but just didn’t have a chance to get at it until now.

I love to decorate my house during the Advent season, getting ready for the Christmas celebration. At last count we have about a dozen different nativities – not as many as some, but a lot more than many. We put them all out but the Baby Jesus’ don’t go in until after the Christmas Eve service. It is about getting ready for the amazing beauty that is the Incarnation. It is a tradition we started even before we had children.

The favourite of our sets is the one the dear one and I made together. Our first Advent as a married couple we realized we had no decorations, not one! We decided that we would make our own nativity set from toilet paper tubes, construction paper and glue. A couple of years later the dear one built a stable and we modified some of the characters but we still have many of the originals.

#Beautify #AdventWord There it sits on the sideboard in the dining room with the collection of angels. A place of honour and beauty in our home.  God came into the world in the form of a beautiful baby. A baby that was loved and cherished. A baby that lived, shared that life and God’s love with others, that went to the cross, died and then was resurrected. All for us. We beautify because we have been loved and we want to share the joy of that love with others.

#Become #AdventWord

Yesterday was a tough day. My RA was flaring and I didn’t get anything done. In fact I called in sick as the pain meant that I couldn’t even think straight. Funny thing to call in sick when you work from home, but needed to be done to maintain relationships with my colleagues. It means that I am now a day behind on these posts – so you are likely to get two in one day today.

This picture is from a few months ago, but it typifies how I was doing yesterday. Curled up under a blanket, a cat on my lap, watching mindless TV and napping just to get through the day.

#Become #AdventWord

I really want to become healthy, I really want pain to become part of my past and not my future. This continues to be my daily prayer. I am doing the best I can to make that happen and I am waiting to see a new rheumatologist in the new year.

We all want to become better. Better people, better at our relationships with each other, better people of faith. We are all looking for ways to make that happen. What I realized yesterday is that this is not a short process. That it takes time and hard work and darn it all, patience. I will continue to pray to God to become healthier and for the pain to diminish. I need that and I think God wants that as well.

What do you want to become? What do you think God is calling you to do better?

My God doesn’t kill kids

This is from my friend Tim. He says what I have been feeling all day after hearing that children were killed by extremists in Pakistan. I am happy to share his thoughts with you.

Faith, Folk and Charity

In the light of today’s outrageous attack on a school in Pakistan, I think it’s vital for people of faith all over the world to stand up together and say very clearly, ‘Our God doesn’t kill kids’.

In no way do I judge the whole of Islam by the acts of the Pakistani Taliban, who have claimed responsibility for this act. This year, at the prayer service for peace organized by the Edmonton Ecumenical Peace Network, we were joined by several people from the Muslim community in our city. I know that they are people of compassion and love, who pray and work for peace as much as I do.

But we have to stand up – all of us who claim to believe in a loving God – and say to the whole world, ‘We cannot do this kind of thing in the name of God’. I say this as…

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#Experience #AdventWord

The dear one and I have been doing a lot of getting ready these past three weeks for the coming of Christmas. Much of that has been around decorating, liturgy planning, food preparation and gifting others with what is needed. I realized today as we were putting up the outdoor lights that I love that we love to experience this season so much. That we get thrilled by simple things, like decorating our home, having shortbread cookies with tea. I get thrilled that the dear is so good at figuring out things because he has experience and can get it done.

#Experience #AdventWord

This week we get to experience a number of things. We are volunteering to deliver toys tonight to families that need them for gifts. We will experience the quiet of a Longest Night service tomorrow. We are opening our home on Friday to our parishioners and will get to experience good conversation and good food. We get to experience counting down the days until all our lovelies are here for the holidays.

We have experienced some really hard times together. We are mostly through that now. We bring that experience with us and it adds to the general delight we are both feeling now.

What experience has brought you life and light? Is your experience bringing you to light and life?

#Focus #AdventWord

When I got up this morning and read what the Advent Word is for today, focus, my immediate thought went to list making, as that often helps me keep focus. However I wasn’t happy with that. So I just let it mull around for the day, until a short while ago when I was making my third batch of lemon curd. It is something I have been making as a gift and blessing for others for almost 30 years now. It was something my mother made. It just feels right to this sometimes very British soul to be making it at this time of the year.

It was while I was making it that I realized that I need to keep focus while making it. I have to stand over the double boiler for close to 15 minutes and stir and stir and stir. I can’t wander away and do something else. This is it. If I do the lemon curd will be wrecked and that would be just wrong. I have to stay focused on this particular task and not get distracted.

#Focus #AdventWord

It got me thinking about how I need to focus during prayer time, during worship, during conversations with those important to me. That being able to focus is a gift from God and I am grateful for that.

What do you need to focus on as you get ready for Christmas? What is calling out for your attention at this time?

#Expand #AdventWord

The dear one is the rector of lovely, small Anglican parish, Immanuel, Wetaskiwin. The people of this parish are working hard to expand their presence in our community and beyond. They are working hard at being a generous, sharing people. They are working hard at being a place of reconciliation. Today we saw some fruits of that work. It was such a joyful morning there today!

#Expand #AdventWord

Today was Food Bank Sunday, something we do once a month, and we had also decided that as part of our outreach in the community we would be part of the Secret Santa program our small city is doing. People brought in food, lots and lots of food and people brought in toys, lots and lots of toys. There was so much joy, so much love, people had expanded their hearts and became generous. They became agents of God’s reconciling love for the world.

My heart is full. The dear one’s heart is full. I think the whole community of Immanuel should be grateful that God has moved us in this way.

In what way is God asking you to expand and be open to love and generosity?

#Risk #AdventWord

A year and a half ago I was invited to go to a northern First Nations community to be part of a Bible Camp with On Eagles Wings. I wrote about that here, if you want to see more.

It was a risk for me to do that. I had felt disconnected from the church for a long time. I hadn’t done any work with children in over 2 years. I wondered if I would be enthusiastic enough (as one has to be leading these things), I wondered if I would have enough energy to get through the week, I wondered if the children would be open to the message from God that we were bringing with us, I wondered if God would use my gifts.

#Risk #AdventWord

That’s thing with taking a risk and putting yourself out there. You wonder and if you are me you worry. Well I didn’t need to. God took my risk and opened up my heart again. Opened it to love. Opened it to ministry. Opened it to healing. It was amazing.

I look back at that week and realize it was as if I turned a corner. Opportunities opened for me. Relationships were strengthened. New friendships were made and are still continuing. Work became possible and reconciliation happened.

What risk is God calling you to take? What new life is waiting for you just around the corner?

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