Spirit is willing, flesh is weak

I have recently reconnected with a person from my past and it is an awakening of my spirit.   I have the opportunity through the lens of my friend to revisit what I believe in and what makes it authentic.  How do I see God?  What does Jesus represent to me? Where is my faith in light of doctrines and church obedience?  As I walk this journey I am steeped in governance in ministry and a course called, "Confessing Our Faith".  The "our" of this course is The United Church of Canada (UCC).  An inclusive, pluralistic and progressive organization which is reaching into the 21st century world. The UCC is a place were everyone can come to the table and sup.  Sharing in the bread and the wine is a way of sharing common roots and understanding the good news of our gospel with others who may find God in an other way.  Does it really matter how we get there as long as we better understand what it is that we are seeking?  My friend and a woman I greatly respect, Gretta Vosper, has shed a light on this thinking even while placing herself in danger.  She has relinquished the title, "God" because she wants us to understand the weight this title carries.  In the USA it is printed on their money, "In God we trust" but in what God, whose God and by what definition are we to know this trust is authentic?

My journey has only yet begun.  Although I have been on it for a long time, 50 years or so, I realize I am always at the beginning.  I cannot ever move beyond the beginning because as I realize more and more about what I believe, what I stand for, how I live my life it feels like a fresh start yet again and I walk it with wide eyed innocence.

Matthew 26:40-41 says, "Jesus returned to the disciples, he found them asleep.  He said to Peter, "couldn't you stay awake with me for even an hour?  Be on guard, and pray that you may not undergo trial.  The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."  Jesus asks us to stay awake and prepare ourselves for the world.  We never know when we will be on trial for what it is we stand for, trust and believe.  When we anchor ourselves in our beliefs and know what it is we truly believe we can then withstand what Jesus did.  That is the point of the resurrection in my heart, he stood for what he believed and it was raised up after humanity killed him for it. He stood for something so much greater than we can ever conceive, but we can stay awake and welcome the spirit that takes us on this wonderful journey and exploration. 

These pictures are ones I took while studying and exploring the island of Java.  My journey has only begun, where are you on yours?


trimming the sails...

With a full week under my belt in my new location I am reflecting on how the past fades into just that, the past.  Yesterday I was in the pulpit at St. James for the one of the last three Sundays there.  The scripture on which I was focusing is in Mark 9:30-37.  Where the disciples argue about who is the greatest.  What does it matter who is great?  We are all great in our own way and with God by our side, in our heart and helping us to focus on being great we would have a hard time losing that argument.  I feel great and I feel capable of doing great things for others.  Helping in the world and sharing the good news.  In reading for my classes I am discovering how young the United Church of Canada is in perspective.  With 2000 years of church history there has been much fighting and arguing about who is the greatest.  Today there is fighting between religions asking the same question, "who is the greatest?" and it is all a moot point.

We are all great.  Great in all we do when we keep those close to us in our vision and care for our brothers and sisters.  I have helped St. James see how great they are and how they can be greater in the community and I hope to do that again in another church.

When we see our greatness through the eyes of a child and embrace the child in everything we do then we win.  My friend was saying in his comment that we cannot control the wind but we can trim the sails.  I am trimming the sails as I listen to God's call.  As I move with the wind and let the Spirit take me I am thankful to God for my greatness and my passions. 


Fabulous Fall Planning

Even though we have had summer weather since early spring I do not believe anyone gets sick of it.  I find the heat difficult to deal with but I love the green and the beauty of the summer abundance.  That being said the changing of seasons is a part of Canada's life.  Unlike our neighbour to the south who can move around within its boundaries and change their weather experience, Canada weathers four seasons from coast to coast.  Personally, I love it!  I think it is a physical way to learn about our spiritual lives.

The changing of seasons is witnessed in our lives as well as our environment.  We have times of greater darkness and the days are not always full of sunshine.  We weather turmoil and stormy seas at times and learn to cope in the eye of a hurricane.  It is not what comes our way that strengthens us but how we deal with the challenges in our lives.

May the storms in your life be supported and may you be strengthened by love.  It is in tough times we feel the love of others and this love reminds us that God is with us as we struggle.  Feel supported as you weather life, lean on others and share these hard times.