Category Archives: Worship events

Prayer Week

Last week was a week of prayer at our church.  For us this means that several stations are set up for participation in prayer of various forms.  Sometimes I feel as if this is designed especially for me.  It isn’t of course but it is a week that I appreciate very much.  

 

On Sunday morning I shared some of my experience with prayer during this week.  Randall did give us fair warning that he would ask for such stories.  

 

Lately, my grandson, Zakariya, has been very miserable with a cold – fever, stuffy nose, cough.  Grace, who still lives at home with him, had to work.  Because they live with us we interact with him everyday.  Sometimes we provide more care during his waking hours than she does.  He knows us and receives care from us as readily as he does from his mother.   When he is miserable he leans his head on my shoulder and lets me comfort him just as readily as if I were his mother.  All this because we are with him regularly.

 

The week of prayer gives me time like that with God my Father.   It gives me time to just rest in silence with him, to sit in his presence listening to him.  I begin to know him a bit better and when I have time to listen in silence, my heart can hear his whisper.  Over the past few years as I have learned to be with God in prayer, to lean on him as I would lean on a mother’s shoulder, to sit quietly and listen, we have become closer.  I am able to trust him more because I know that his love is this incredible solid thing.  I have experienced being in his presence and have felt his love hold me. 

 

I guess what I always hope is that setting up the stations for the week of prayer will provide opportunities for other members of our community to experience God in ways similar to mine; that in seeking God they will find a life changing relationship with him.

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Listening to God

When I go away, out of my ordinary routine, to a quiet place, with the main purpose being to listen to God, I often am afraid.  Not afraid of hearing God speak but of trying so hard, of wanting to hear him speak in certain ways, that I miss out on what he wants to speak into my life at that moment in time. 

 

The usual quiet places in my house have been invaded this summer.  The World Cup begins early in the mornings and as soon as the guys are up, the TV goes on.  That is my usual corner to meditate in the early morning.  I have found another corner, to be sure, but it still feels as if my still quiet place is disrupted.  Often there are sleeping bodies in various places – couch or floor this summer, too and extra moving around on my part is likely to disturb someone’s sleep. 

 

Don’t get me wrong – I love having the house invaded by the kids.  It is their home and I am glad they come back to it.  But for solitude???  Not a good thing.

 

So, I have been planning for awhile to get away to some very quiet place and take some time to listen to God more closely.  I seem to need these times.  The solitude nurtures my ability to listen.  There have been some hard things to work through this spring and I needed to hear God again. Friday evening I headed up to the Franciscan Forest Sanctuary close to Christopher Lake. 

 

On Saturday morning, I woke refreshed.  Breakfast was ready and I sat down alone at the table, looking out the large windows at the forest and the two hummingbirds flitting around between the Saskatoon bush and the feeder.  The male with his bright red throat would pause for awhile sitting on the bush or the top of the rail of the deck.  I thought how they just are.  They are beautiful and they were created for what?  They are not expected to do anything that I can determine, just fly, nest, raise their young – just be; just fit into their place in the whole scheme of life that God created.  In being what they were created to be, they provide something beautiful for us to enjoy.

 

The picture behind the table said “Just to be is a blessing, to live is holy.”  I am not sure who the quote is from but the meaning seemed very true in the incredible silence of the morning.   Just living in that moment was holy.

 

As I sat just reflecting on these things, I found my eyes filling with tears.   As the trees surrounded and seemed to embrace the sanctuary with the forest, I felt as if I was being held like a small child by her mother, just being still in the care of someone who loves me very much.  The feelings and the experience are a bit difficult to describe. The sense of being mothered was overwhelming and good.

 

It caused me to reflect on the longings in me to be a mother – to be mothering the children I have; to embrace them as they are and give them a place where they are always welcome, safe and loved.   I think that desire also comes through in my desire to provide what I can to nurture faith in others so that they can find this safe place in God’s care.

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Centerpoint

Last year I travelled out to Strathmore AB for a weekend retreat – Centerpoint.  This is sponsored by Covenant Bible College once a year.  It is a well kept secret although it is not intended to be a secret.  Here is what they say about it:
       “Covenant Bible College invites you to come away for a while, for the sole purpose of having an opportunity to hear from and speak to God.  Centerpoint is a retreat concentrating on spiritual disciplines and practices.  This gathering will focus on silence, solitude, contemplative prayer, and the labyrinth.”

It is happening from May 30 to June 3, 2006 and is a come and go event – stay a day or for all five.

Cost is $35 per day.  On campus housing is available at $25 for the first day, $20 for each additional day or you can stay in a local hotel. 

Registrations need to go in ASAP.  Call Hedy or Kathy at 403-934-6200  or e-mail Kathy at kathyb AT covenant biblecollege.ab.ca 

I am planning to go and will have a couple places in my vehicle from Saskatoon, there and back leaving Friday and returning Sunday afternoon.  E-mail me if you are interested.  They need to know soon – like very soon. 

Last year I went and found my experience there like a cup of cold water in the desert.  I would highly recommend it if you would like to experience God more deeply in this kind of a setting as well as learning more about the spiritual disciplines.  It is a very relaxing and quiet time.

 

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Good Friday

I walked over with Leo to St George’s for this morning’s service.  Leo got called out almost immediately to deal with the news of an evacuation order for one of the First Nations reserves north east of here – flooding.  I was able to stay and was blessed by several things about the service. 

 

I appreciate how liturgy seems to ground me in the solidity of the Christian faith.  It brings me a deep sense of comfort, these words that have been spoken in similar forms down though the ages, at least in the English speaking world.

 

The words spoken in the sermon also caused me to reflect on what Christ did for me by dieing for me – and for us all.  He spoke of how Christ loved us, knew the wrongs we would commit but loved us so much in spite of that.  Like parents that love their children who may continue to do wrong, love them while holding them to a standard they may not agree with at all, God loves us.  He keeps seeking us to bring us back to his ways, his sacrifice always available to us. 

 

I know what it is like.  I know the hurt of being a parent and watching my children make mistakes.  I love them and it hurts to watch helpless.  So is that how I make God feel?  He cried over the city of Jerusalem.  How many times has he watched me mess up, hurting for me till I listen to him again?

 

I guess what I heard spoke to a place in me that was ready to hear.  It was a good to be reminded this morning of the sacrifice that Jesus made and of how much it cost him.

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Maundy Thursday

Sharing and serving each other around the Lord’s Table.  This is one of the most dignificant services of the year for me.  I guess the only difficulty in partaking is not going around the whole circle serving everyone.  There were many there tonight who are significant in my life.  God has given me good friends.

I missed those who could not be there. 

Tomorrow we will walk up the street to take part in the Good Friday service at the Anglican Church.  I think that I need smallness and maybe a bit of liturgy in my day tomorrow, rather than a big joint service across town.  I am sure that God will be present in both places.

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The Women's Retreat

I’m back!!  Well, maybe you didn’t know I was away.  last week was so crazy busy that I hardly had time to catch up to myself before heading out to the lake on Friday for our annual women’s retreat.  Fortunately my Friday was fairly light so that I had time to go by the church and pick up some stuff from the prayer room for our prayer room at the camp lodge and I had time to run quickly to the big box W store and grab a cheap pair of ski pants.

Both of these errands were important to do as it turned out.

The prayer room is an important part of our retreat.  We have set up a prayer space every year for the past three years.  Each year I think a few more people use it.  This year I brought along The Divine Hours for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle and left it in the room for others to use.  And I invited anyone who wanted to to join me for Compline.  So we had a good time together in that space.

The ski pants were also important to have along.  Saturday during our free time in the afternoon, Dixie took some of us on a “short” walk down the trail by the beaver pond.  I think the walk is shorter in the summer.  Walking about 5 K’s in the snow is real exercise.  It was fun though and the day was beautiful.  My legs are still tired but I loved the walk.

This women’s retreat is always a significant spiritual event for me.  In fact I always have such high expectations for what I will get out of it that I tend to get frustrated with myself.  I guess even the recognition of that unrealistic expectation on my part is some progress.  And God was very gracious to me today.

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Todays Sermon

Well, most of the time no one remembers the sermon. 

But today, not everyone was snoozing.  My daughter stated at the dinner table, “That was a real good sermon today wasn’t it.” 

So, hats off to Randall for saying something significant enough to be heard and thought about.

He was speaking about Money, how it becomes an idol if we put it at the centre of our lives.  The amount is rather irrelevant.  Worrying about it is not good – either about having too much or not enough.  Hold onto it lightly, its God’s stuff.

Then she proceeded to ask me for some money so she could go get some school supplies and new pants!

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