Hunter Alexander Aaron

Well how have you all been? I seem to have dropped the blogging ball of late because I was so preoccupied with life. Last week I took a course at Wycliffe College, University of Toronto. With the Anglican tradition in the forefront I basked in God's love taking a course called "Spiritual Formation". It was amazing and immersed me in my own spiritual thought. Much deep prayer and times of solitude and silence brought God even closer to my heart.

This week reminded me that in order to find and hear God we need to give God time in our lives to be present with us. It is now my daily practice to make and schedule time each and every day for prayer and meditation. This week reminded me how much it fulfills my life. This has been a sporadic practice in my past. I knew it was a great way to connect but it was this week that really brought it home and seeded it in my soul.

It was also this week that I was blessed with my first grandchild and my daughter her first nephew and, of course, my son his first off spring. It is in a grandchild that our own children cherish life and understand the gifts of God. I asked my son, as we looked into Hunter's sweet face, "Can you see the presence of God? You are looking into the face of God right here and right now." He hasn't found God's heart in his own yet, he knows God is present but still is working on giving over full presence. It will come as his child, with God at his side, faces him down. The mother of the child is reflective of Mary, young innocent and now so dedicated to her son. She is a natural born mother, showing her lioness tendencies when the nurses tried to take the baby to give momma time to rest. Her roar was heard all over the hospital, or at least she was sure growling when she talked to Hunter's dad. She was mad that they thought they had the right to take away her son.

This offers time for us to reflect on the path of Jesus and how the father's love and mother's heart in God was broken as Jesus was crucified that first Easter. God sent the son to die for our sins but watching it all happen must have been heartbreaking. It is with this in mind I remind each of us that we are children of God and as God watches us turn away from our creator we can hear the breaking of God's heart. Turn to your father, nurture your soul in your mother God and take the time each day to connect and prayerfully immerse yourself in God's love. Our umbilical cord is still attached no matter how old we get in this earthly life, in the end God will bring us home.


... the second coming

In moving forward academically and in the denomination of my choice, Presbyterianism, there are many levels of discernment that are required. I find all are challenging to my spiritual journey and cause me to really reach deep into my heart, communicate with God and sometimes pull up the proverbial boot straps of my faith. I must reconcile myself with the doctrines of PCC all while maintaining the integrity of my own faith. With this in mind, I find myself reviewing the ordination vows of ministers of word and sacrament in preparation of Guidance Conference. I am required, as a minister of Word and Sacrament, to pledge allegiance with The Presbyterian Church in Canada.

One clear point in the doctrine is the statement "until he comes again". How does this resonate as a faithful believer but moreso as a pledge of faith?

Part of my role as a clergy or minister of word and sacrament is to support and provide pastoral care. I have no issue with a heartfelt belief that Jesus will come again, to reconcile or to take up souls, my concern is when they "require" this belief for ordination and asks us to pledge it as so. I get further and further removed from process and closer and closer to God as I ponder the doctrines of denominational belief. As I journey, I have no issue with God it is in satisfying the human process where their is a need for those in charge to be okay with what I believe in order for me to be present with others in the overall journey of spirit that causes me to wrestle.

Everything can be supported by scripture when we cherry pick verses and seek to find particular evidence. However, I ask this question, if we cherry pick to support what we believe we are not listening to the truth of God. The scriptures are guidelines and certainly a lifeline to the times when Jesus was here and gave three years of his life to his ministry. I have reconciled myself to the theology around Jesus being "God Incarnate", believe it so and am faithful to this theology.

I have given myself to God and will simply take each day as it comes. Carefully listen and respond with integrity and honesty the best I can when these issues come to light. I walk in faith with my fellow Christians at my church and we are spiritually enriched with each other's beliefs and spiritual needs. Yesterday four of us went to a retirement home, where I conducted a service for about 20 seniors. All of different levels of function. There is a couple there from our church and they are so happy when we come. I have gone now three times and have never had to go alone. Each time some people come with me to support the couple and have a visit. Yesterday the man told me he loves me more and more every time I come.

That is the love of God and has nothing to do with the second coming.
That is the presence of the Holy Spirit among us and it speaks volumes to living for today not for what the scriptures predict or propose.
That is the work of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who set the stage for each of us to be good Christians and love our God with all our heart and love our neighbour as ourselves.
That is the love of God and has nothing to do with the second coming.

I do not deny scripture and there is always a Bible close at hand. My God speaks to me through all of scripture and asks me to bring my brain with me when I read. My God asks me to share this love with everyone I see. My God asks for love and in return I am fulfilled and refreshed. It just "bubbles out of her" was what was said yesterday; that is the effervescence of spirit and faith.


God is in you...

Here, where I live in southwestern Ontario, it has been a very hot summer. The humidity has been intense and my little apartment has been warm. I have a window A/C unit that I have only had on a few times and usually to just take the edge off at the end of the afternoon. I try to be environmentally conscious. Another way I am conscious of our world is to limit my meat consumption. As a society we eat way too much meat. We need so little to meet our body's needs and we can fill that need with other proteins. Legumes and soy gives the farmers reason to grow crops instead of animals and it is better for the environment.

I love myself and do the best I can for my overall health. I do have one vice and try to limit myself, and that is red wine. Although red wine is good for you, it is not good for you in large quantities. So I always am challenging myself to put the cork back in the bottle after 5 - 7 oz.

Does this challenge my connection with God? If I do not always do the right thing does it separate me from God? Only if I let it. God loves us just as we are and is there for us no matter what. The grace God offers gives strength to fight our challenges each day. In order to be connected to God we need to be connected with self.

John Calvin's opening words in The Institutes of the Christian religion is "There is no deep knowing of God without a deep knowing of self and no deep knowing of self without a deep knowing of God." We are in God and God is in us. Find that acceptance of self to let God be in your deepest darkest places.

In the heat and in the cold of winter we are connected to God as long as we stay connected. Prayer and daily meditation allow for our fears to surface and that gives a chance to challenge those fears and give them to God. Blessings.


Are we prepared?

I was searching for a motto this week because I remembered that the Boy Scout motto is "Be Prepared" so I went looking to find the history of it. Luke 12:32-40 talks about being prepared for the second coming of Jesus. How does this scripture work today, 2000 years later, when Jesus has not yet returned? Do we still believe, in the second coming, like the first century Christians? As Christians we follow the scripture but with every read it takes on new meaning, hence showing us it is a living word. Like a river roaring down the mountain encountering a boulder, the words of scripture can change direction by simply revisiting the text.

As I head into the pulpit this morning and deliver a message on being prepared, today, in this fast moving society, with all its faults, I will get back to you after it is over and see how I did. Am I prepared? I guess only God knows because I trust totally in God to give me the words to share with my congregation.

God bless you all on this Sunday morning! Go get ready for service! :-)


Modern faith ... is it possible to believe differently?

Most recently I attended a course called Jesus and Miracle at Emmanuel College. This is the United Church seminary and part of the University of Toronto. This course was so amazing and prepared me for the readings I have been doing for my second summer course Spiritual Formation. These courses along with my Sunday morning worship practice are making for some deep thought.

This week's lectionary included a reading from Colossians 3:1-11. As I was reading it I am taking into account what I learned in my course. What is the text saying to me? What is the literary context of this text? What is the author's theology? and Who is the intended audience? All deep and probing questions that make us stop and think about God.

Jesus and Miracle took us on a journey through the book of Mark where we looked closely at the miracles and the parables as Mark has arranged them. We could see literary intention in the writing and far more miracle than meets the eye. Jesus walks on water, calms a storm, exorcises demons and heals the sick and while he is performing these miracles those watching are transformed. They believed ... when you really look at Mark you see that those who do not get it are those closest to Jesus. Right from the first chapter the unclean spirit identifies Jesus for who he is, the holy one, and yet Jesus challenges the demon to keep quiet. Jesus was not unique in performing miracles in his day. There were many "men of deeds" or "miracle workers" and we have ancient texts to affirm this. But the writers of the gospels and the Apostle Paul could see that Jesus was not simply a man of deeds he was the Son of God. Special, unique and different. That lends to the miracles performed and is how we know Jesus today.

My son is alive after hitting a tree at 80 KM per hour on a dirt bike. He fractured his neck, broke his femur, broke his collar bone and bit through his tongue. It is a miracle. We see miracles every day but do not give credit where credit is due. My son was saved, and not just physically. Does he go to church? No, but his faith in a higher power, which was present with him that day, is very real to him and I know God had a hand in this accident and was watching over my son that day.

Dig deep into your faith and identify where you find God in your life and look to see how Jesus performs miracles right before your eyes. Blessings are all around us.