Jesus said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. - Mark 6:31-32 (NRSV)
The last couple of days have been busy days for me, and I will be honest - I am looking forward to getting away to our cottage. There is something about being by the water that just seems to soothe me and restore me.
I appreciate the emotion conveyed in Jesus’ words to the disciples, who had just returned from their two-by-two missions to proclaim repentance and offer healing. They went to places where they may or may not have been welcome. The disciples needed a break.
You might not be able to get away to that dream destination this summer, but I pray that you can take time to step back from your work and daily routines, to reflect on it, and, where appropriate, to let go of things that cause you stress. Take Jesus' words to heart - and "rest a while."
A Summer Blessing for you:
May you listen to God's encouragement to stop and rest
May you follow Jesus' call to journey with him
May you be moved by the Spirit to sek adventure
And may the blessing of the Three be with you this summer,and always. Amen.
Peace, Rev. Gail
Spending Time in Prayer
Last Sunday in outdoor worship, we were thinking about what we need to pack if we wanted to intentionally spend time with God this summer. I mentioned that while I am away at the cottage in August, I will be spending some time working through a book called ‘31 Short Spiritual Practices.’ It got me thinking about the importance of spending time in prayer. Of course, prayer is always important, but I was wondering if you have ever put aside some time in the day to intentionally talk to God.
At Camp Bimini last week, one of the sessions with the 7-9 year olds, we spoke about prayer. We talked about how Jesus tells us not to worry about using big words, or about praying out loud on street corners – but just treat prayer as a telephone conversation with a friend. Of course with the children, they thought more about it as a tweet, or Instagram, or Facebook post! But seriously, I invite you this summer to put a time aside each day to just chat with God!
And, while you are thinking about that – I invite you to listen to this catchy little song “Prayer is Like A Telephone’ that became an ear worm for the kids at Camp Bimini.
Prayer is Like a Telephone
'Who is Jesus?'
I am working at Camp Bimini this week, and our theme is Alice in Wonderland. Yesterday we looked at the caterpillar character who asks Alice “Who Are You?” I took this phrase and linked it to the candle lighting liturgy said in Godly Play:
“there was once a man who said such amazing things, and did such amazing things, that people began to follow him – and then one day they asked, ‘Who Are You?’ and Jesus answered, ‘I am the Light of the World.’
As we spoke about the amazing things that Jesus said and did, it led us into a good discussion about who was Jesus. The children I am working with are just ages 7-9, but they had profound answers to this question, like:
I think he was God
I think Jesus was a very special person
I think he had special powers
I think Jesus was a leader that people followed.
As I reflected at the end of the day, I was reminded of the scripture from Matthew:
Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” Jesus said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” - Matthew 16: 13-15 (NRSV)
The first question isn’t hard to answer – we can find the answer to what others were saying in the Gospels. But Jesus’ next question is harder, because now he is asking us what we think?
And, Jesus is asking us to say it out loud – in public.
What would you say?
Who is Jesus for you?
How would you respond to that question?
And, are you willing to tell others what you believe about Jesus?
It is so easy to just speak about our faith on a Sunday, or only with others who we know attend church – but when was the last time that you openly spoke about Jesus with someone who was not a church goer?
I invite you this week to try and tell at least one person about Jesus. The children at Camp Bimini are!
Random Act of Kindness
Blessing to you All,
I received this reminder in my In box this week. The Random Act Of Kindness Foundation, to which I subscribe, is making July 2021 letter writing month. It made me stop and reflect on how few letters I actually write these days. Perhaps it is a sign of the times in that we are now so digital and just send a quick email, or a shorter text, or and even shorter one line tweet! And yet, I think it is true to say that most of us still enjoy finding a letter or a card in our mailboxes! How nice it is to open something that isn't a bill or junk mail. It makes us feel special, cared for, and loved. Sometimes the smallest action can make the biggest impact!
So, I am offering you a challenge!
This month, choose a name from our church membership that you don't know too well, and send them a card, a letter, or even a postcard from your vacation.
I also invite you to do this activity with someone from outside our church family.
Sending a personal note is a way of sharing God's love with others, and let's face it - the world right now needs more love letters than ever!
Remember " Kindness is going outside of your comfort zone to let people know they are important and loved."
If you are interested in more information about the Random Act Of Kindness letter writing campaign, check out these links:
https://loveforourelders.org for an organized campaign specifically for elders, https://www.moreloveletters.com to submit a letter to someone who could use a kind voice.
p.s. feel free to let me know if you receive any surprise letter and we will post it in the newsletter!
Stroll for Your Soul
Today we come to the end of our series of inspirational messages that will focus on Homes. I know that many of you have enjoyed taking time to stroll your neighbourhoods, back yards, parks, or just sit and look out a window. This resource has been adapted from, and used with permission from, The Prayer Bench (https://prayerbench.ca/).
It seems fitting our final reflection in this series is focusing on the animal that has significance for both settlers and Indigenous peoples – The beaver building dams and lodges
Reflection: The Common Tasks
“The trivial round, the common task,
will furnish all we need to ask,
room to deny ourselves, a road
to bring us daily nearer God.”
- from the hymn, “New Every Morning” (Sing along here.)
Respected first by Canadian Indigenous people as an important food source, and appearing in their legends as a symbol of wisdom, the beaver has a long history in this land. During the fur trade in the 17th century, the beaver was so fervently traded, that much of Canada was mapped by the settlers in pursuit of the pelt. The fancy fur hats were a symbol of prestige in Europe. The beaver was so hunted that they became almost extinct. They are protected now and are thriving.
The beaver has a single vocation: cutting down trees for sustenance and making a home. A beaver can cut down an average of 216 trees per year. They will work in pairs to down a large tree.
They are wonderful builders making dams of sticks, logs, debris and mud in slow moving water – and often even changing the direction of the flow of water.
They are graceful swimmers but awkward on land.
They are engineers making elaborate lodges with many dens and an underwater entrance and exit.
Constructing is their daily work. It is their “trivial round, their common task.”
I invite you to watch this short video to learn more about the beaver:
The Beaver at work.
Peace to your house Beaver. May God cause all to be well with you.
Focus for Your Stroll
As you stroll today, and this week, reflect on what is your work?
Really wonder about this. Go deeper than just your occupation, or the things on your “to do” list. Ask yourself what work you are called to do?
As you walk or watch from your balcony, notice the work of others around you, the work of human hands and the work of the birds of the air and other beings you see on your Stroll.
Bless their work.
The beaver alternates periods of activity with times of rest. What are some ways you can weave a bit of sabbath time into your day?
Peace. Rev. Gail
Each Wednesday we send out an inspirational message.