As Easter approaches many people will ask Christians why we celebrate the Easter story. Is it still significant today?Can people really have an encounter with God? Is it important? The short answer is yes, yes and yes.
People love to tell the story of how they met God and what God means to them, and I love hearing them.Each individual story is significant and important and holy. Each is unique, for God interacts with us at the level of our understanding; of our worldview; of our emotional state (messy or stable). Your story is important, but it is only one of many millions of little stories within the larger story of God’s interaction with humanity.I want to summarise all our stories by telling you two stories.
The first one is about Adam and Eve and God. The second story is of You and Me and God.They are basically mirror images – the same story but reversed.
And the Easter story – the story of Jesus’s death and resurrection is at the centre.
The mirror, as it were, that reverses the stories…………
It is now two weeks on from the tragic events that occurred in Christchurch. There has been unprecedented media attention and video clips posted on social media. All, of course, accompanied by thousands of varied responses. I plowed through the comments and opinions to some of those videos. Many of which have greatly troubled me. There are numerous beautiful and compassionate well wishes, but there are also many divisive and hateful comments. The far left and the far right have always been poles apart, but in the past few years, this seems to be widening even further with growing intolerance. The verbal attacks are vicious and rude. It seems to me that what starts out as fear degenerates into anger and then spirals down into hate.
The terrorists, who hate with a passion, will always want to create fear and intimidation. Their aim is to kill and destroy what they have learned to hate. When our response is to retaliate with hate, then we are no better than they are. We are on the same downward spiral.
As I write the word ‘Christchurch’ I wonder about the church of Jesus Christ and our response to this tragic event. Is it different from what Christ’s response would be? If we are truly going to be Christ’s church in our present world, we need to be more in tune with what Christ’s response would be. I’m not talking only about the institutional church, but the individuals who make up the body of Christ.Continue reading “No room for Fear – Anger – Hate”
A friend and I often pray together. She does not attend church but is on a journey of knowing God. I have been in church circles all my life and am still on a journey of knowing God. We held hands the other day as we began to pray and it amused me to notice our different physical reactions to focusing in prayer. My friend inhaled audibly and deeply and raised her head to the ceiling. I parted my lips and exhaled bowing my head. In the quiet few moments before we actually voiced prayer God’s presence was very palpable.
It occurred to me later as I recalled this, that both postures were beautiful expressions of welcome and submission in God’s presence. Neither one action was more appropriate or respectful than the other. In fact, combined they spoke to me of how to fully experience God’s presence. How to breathe deeply of the pleasure of God’s company. Continue reading “Breathe deeply God’s presence”
In the summer months, it is usually my custom to get up to watch the sun rise; to open my bible and journal and then take a walk along our country road. The early mornings are delightfully fresh before the heat of the day rolls in. I love the quiet of the early morning before the day’s business and chores distract me from spending time in that still place. In the winter time, I usually watch the sun rise from inside my home. Wrapped in my cozy dressing gown, I leave my walk till the warmth of the afternoons.
These routines are sometimes interrupted by circumstances, and sometimes by my sleepiness or laziness, but it is my preferred way of starting my days. And it is always rewarding. It keeps me focused on what is important. It keeps me aware of what is happening around. It helps me to start off on the right foot, living in the moment of each brand new day. Being grateful and thankful for God’s many blessings.
I wrote about a couple of such mornings some time ago. I came across it today as I searched my old journal for a quote. I shall share it with you, for it describes our little corner of the world. I live in the quaint town of Maleny, in the hinterland behind the Sunshine Coast of Queensland. Continue reading “Being gratefully aware”
How tall can a tree grow in a month? I asked myself this question as I sat at my table and looked out the window. Before we went away for our month-long holiday I could see the rolling hills as I sat here, now with the summer rain and heat, a couple of trees have grown and are obstructing a lot of my view. Although they are pretty in themselves, they hinder my vision to the inspiring quaintness that is our country town.
We chose this place because of the view. It calms the soul and quietens the spirit, helping me settle into that-still-place to pray and contemplate. Those trees would be very welcome were they blocking out a brick wall or being used as a privacy screen, but they are obscuring something more significant and beautiful and inspiring. Something much bigger than themselves.
Despite their beauty, they shall have to be cut back.
Pondering this little observation, I began to wonder what things in my life may have developed and now dominates my vision, obscuring the vision of what God has placed in front of me? What hobbies or pursuits or concerns have grown to such an extent that I no longer see beyond them?
Good things, beautiful in their own right, but are they blocking my vision to the bigger picture? Blocking the possibilities of what God may want me to investigate. Blocking the broader scale of what’s out there beyond my comfortable little world. Things that may call to me – to explore; to venture their paths and avenues; to learn about and to serve in.Continue reading “Restricted View”
New Year – New focus – New experiences – new learning – new perspectives – new challenges. I’m looking forward to 2019.
Because I consider myself a forever-student; a forever-growing-evolving person, I find myself reading a lot. Because I’m a reader, I’m a gatherer of thoughts. I have notebooks full of sayings and ideas and quotes. And because I’m inspired by these, I want to be a thinker of good thoughts. I write most days, journaling my thoughts. Then I blog. And the plan is to write a book or two.
Basically I don’t want to stagnate. I want to challenge what I believe and why I believe it. I want to reinforce those things that are important and be willing to change in those areas that God challenges me in. I plan to accomplish much this year.Continue reading “Happy New Year”
Nobody knows what the truth is anymore.The media presents us with mixed messages, false messages, sensational messages, half-truths.
The so-called reality shows are no more than rigged entertainment.
Pictures are so photoshopped you would never recognise the real-life person or thing should you encounter it.Common reasoning is “don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story” or “don’t let the truth block out your preferred point of view.”
No thinking person believes that any news bulletin or current affairs program or Youtube clip is unbiased. It’s not so much what is presented as to how it is presented and what is left out. Quotes are taken out of context or manipulated to mean something totally different than originally meant.
To add to the perplexity is the notion that “all truth is relative,” or as it is more commonly put, “there are no absolutes.” The result is that confusion reigns and lines are blurred.
While wading through these big issues, I began thinking about myself and the people in my immediate world. Are we any better? Do we always honestly present the truth? Do we lie; to others and to ourselves? Aren’t the photos we personally post on social media carefully selected, flattering and maybe a little touched up? Aren’t we selective about what we say about ourselves? We are not above wearing masks for the sake of appearances.