Category Archives: Worship events

Today's ramblings

Tonight was the last night that our prayer stations will be up in the sanctuary.  It’s been a busy week and today was no exception.  The day started off early with a Sunrise service on the river bank in front of our house.  You can see a picture of our little gathering on Randall’s site taken as the sun rose above the trees over the river. 

Then everyone came in to our house for good strong coffee or tea and of course hot cross buns.  I’m sure there must be a good reason why these particular buns are a traditional Easter treat but I can’t for the life of me remember why.

It was good to have a house full of friends this morning. 

Then I had guests to get lunch ready for.  This year I decided to skip some of our more traditional Easter fare for some really good bison steaks.  My kids had scrubbed the potatoes the night before so there was very little hard work getting the meal together.  We were thirteen for dinner but everyone brought something so we had more than enough.  Eric made a couple of delicious pies that he had made – mango and pumpkin.  He impressed his little sisters.

Everyone left fairly early this afternoon, leaving me with time to go for a walk along the river bank.  Spring is slowly but surely on it’s way.  The pussy willows are out. 

and there are more and more birds.  Geese and ducks and I believe I saw a robin. 

This afternoon as I walked, I could hear the ice breaking up. You only notice the power of the moving water when the ice meets an obstacle and it starts to pile up in heaps.  Otherwise the water carries the ice along silently.  It all looks so peaceful and then all hell breaks loose as it encounters an obstacle that tries to impeded it’s movement.  Slabs of ice pile up with loud crashes as the slabs are impaled on each other and piled ever higher until a small mountain is formed in the middle of the river.  There must be a sandbank there that has stopped the ice’s movement.

A huge slab of ice crashes it way past this obstacle.  As it does, the side is sheared off and then the narrowed slab makes it’s way past and moves on with the force of the water till the next obstacle in met. 

It was good for me to get out into the world that lies around me again.  The walking path along the river is clear of ice and easier to negotiate than it was a couple of weeks ago.  I seem to need this contact with the outdoors.  I find it an easy place to talk to God – he’s just so much all around me and everywhere I am reminded of his power.  At the same time I am so aware that I am a creature he loves. 

But at the end of my walk I also made my way back to our prayer stations in our church sanctuary.  I spent some time there just kind of wrapping things up, I guess.  I was all alone, so I sat and looked out into the space where the people sit – my friends.  And as I thought about where they had been sitting this morning, or missing from their usual spots, I was reminded of things they are praying about and things I needed to pray about them.  And then there is this larger world out there past the walls of our church – so I just kept on going for awhile.  It was good and I will regret tomorrow when I will have to go and take things down. 

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Worshipping together

Good Friday interdenominational service this morning.  I guess there were 7 or so churches of the “evangelical” sort that participated.  It was a good service.  It is different worshiping with churches that do things in slightly different ways than we do. 

Our worship team led the music.  That was a bit scary – different sanctuary, different and much more sophisticated sound equipment, different keyboard – Janet having to stand and sing and lead us.  She had the hardest job of the worship team.  And I didn’t mess up too many times – mostly just little bits. 

It was also gratifying to have people thank us afterwards for the music and for the choice of songs.  So Janet you led us well. 

But I miss the more intimate fellowship we have in our own church.  Maybe that is not how one is supposed to feel but there it is anyway – how I feel.  I guess it is partly the friends and the style of worship, the songs we are familiar with, our own particular “non-liturgical” sort of rituals that make our church feel like home.  And I think we are very blessed to have a pastor who is not afraid to shepherd us along towards a deeper faith in God, pointing us(or trying to) in the direction that God shows to him, challenging us and feeding us and just being an example.  I think he loves us, like a reflection of God’s love that we can see, and he’s helping us to learn to love each other.  Maybe that is why it feels like home.

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Maundy Thursday

Tonight we gathered for worship and to share in communion.  It was Maundy Thursday — Holy Thursday.  We have a little tradition now of two years duration.  This is the night we gather around God’s table and serve each other. 

When I got home from work tonight, my daughters asked if this was the night we would be serving each other communion so I guess it was a significant enough event for them last year that they remembered it and wanted to do it again.  They wanted to go tonight – absolutely no arm twisting needed. It is interesting how my teenagers will attend and participate in an event like this but do not like going to Youth Group events.

Tonight I thought there were some very significant things going on.  Children were serving each other, their parents and their youth leaders.  I was moved as an adult daughter served her parents and siblings.  Because I know her and we have shared stories, I am a little aware of just how significant this act was.

I was also just aware of God’s presence uniting this diverse group of people somehow by the simple act of serving one another. 

And following this, I took my daughters out for something to eat.  It was fun and we had a chance to talk again about some important things together.  We talked about God answering our prayers and how sometimes it seems like he answers right away and other times it seems to take a long time.   So I read them a bit of a quote from Anne Lamott in Bird By Bird where she says “Still one of the most annoying things about God is that he never just touches you with his majic wand, like Glinda the Good, and gives you what you want…”  It gave us a good chance to talk and those are always good times.

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Teaching about communion

Today I helped in our children’s teaching time which goes on during the sermon part of our morning worship service.  The lesson covered the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem to the last supper.  My role today was to lead the kids through an explanation of what communion is all about and to share in this with them. 

We had a dozen of the wildest kids today.  I’m sure glad Jesus knows what it is like to be a nine year old boy because otherwise – well lets just say one of the boys seemed to think the answer to every question was “camel”.  Not sure what he had for breakfast!

So, Lauralea was doing the preliminaries and they were all supposed to be sitting on the carpet around, listening.  That is where the “camel” answers started to every question.  At that point I was sending up silent prayers to God for help.  What on earth was I going to say that would convey the importance of the sacrament that we were about to talk about?

Then we moved to the table where the elements were waiting and they sat.  And they more or less listened with attention.  I hope they carried away something of meaning.  Maybe in their childish ways they even experienced some of God’s love and grace – they certainly came as little children – silliness, inappropriateness, restlessness and all.

And this is basically what they were taught –
When someone very special to you has to go away, they sometimes will leave you a keepsake to remember them by.  Sometimes the keepsake is a picture, sometimes it is a special piece of jewelry or another object that the person used.  Sometimes, we remember a special person when we hear a favorite song of theirs being sung or go to visit a special spot that they liked to visit.

When Jesus was getting ready to leave his disciples, he knew that they would miss him.  They didn’t understand what was happening and Jesus knew they were going to feel very lonely and confused.  He knew that they would need a special way to be reminded of everything he had talked to them about and of everything that he would be doing for them in the next few days. 

So Jesus gave the people who loved him a special gift – a special way to celebrate to remember him by. 

The Jewish people were used to celebrating special feasts to remember what God had done for them.  They were actually celebrating one – the Passover – when Jesus gave them the special gift of remembrance from him that we call “communion”.

When we share communion together, we are worshipping Jesus.  We are remembering together that Jesus died in our place, as a sacrifice to God for our sins.  That is why we talk  about remembering Jesus’ body that was broken for us when we eat the communion bread.  And we remember that Jesus shed his blood for us when we drink the “wine” or juice.  When we take communion we are being obedient to God by remembering that  he died for us.

When we take communion, it is a good time to think about how much God loved us and about how much Jesus gave us.  Since it is a special gift to us, we should never treat it with disrespect.  When we eat the bread and drink the juice think about what it means.  Remember what Jesus did and how much he loves us.

 

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Baptism

How does one reduce to a single blogging entry a day like today?  Five young people were baptised today.  It has been a great day.  My daughter, Sara, was baptised.  It seems either that I should say no more or that whatever I have to say should be profound enough to capture the meaning of the afternoon.  I doubt that my words will be adequate. 

Out of the brokenness of our world comes a little girl.  We, looking for a child to adopt, are given a gift so precious and so full of promise that in the accepting of her to our home we become the ones most blessed.  We didn’t ask for a child with any special talents, just a child to care for and share our love with.  We didn’t require that she be intelligent, just a child that needed a place where we could help her reach as much of her potential as she could.  Letitia – “Joy”  the name she had been given.  Sara – “Princess” our name chosen for her.  Sara Letitia is a joy and a princess and a blessing. 

God, touch her life with your hand and help her to grow reaching the potential which you have given her.  Let us not get in your way but give us the wisdom to be parents to her.  Help her to put you first in her life and grant her your protection throughout it.

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A Kneeling Start To Advent

Usually we get things off to a kickstart.  This year our Advent was launched with a kneeling start.

I guess we expect to experience God in our worship but often miss Him since we are distracted by other things in our lives.  Today, in our morning worship, He was with us in a profound way.  I guess a week of prayer where so many came and met God does this to a congregation.  We almost took over for Randall the entire time of his words to us and we heard instead from God through the stories of people who had been affected in special ways by God through our prayer walk.  And then Randall challenged us to go now and live what we believe.  A fitting ending to a week of prayer, World Relief Sunday and the beginning of Advent.  Good thing we are not Americans or we would have had to fit Thanksgiving in there somewhere too!

The week was an intense experience for myself.  It was like being on a prayer retreat, even though work went on as usual and all the other activities of the children made demands on my time.  I was able to spend some time in this very sacred space each day.  Leo was away the whole week (he’s going to regret missing this) and so aside from the kids demands on my time, I was free.  Going up to the church after everything settled down for the night at home was a good way to end the day.  Started it that way a couple of times too.  God’s presence was so close, for me, in the silence.  It was like I had described in a poem I wrote awhile ago:

Sometimes,

You are so close.

The perfume of your presence

Lies in the air around me.

You envelop me

And fill me

With your breath of life.

God did come and visit me during this week.  Although I won’t be able to carry on the same rythmn of these past days, I know that what God has been working on in me, will continue.  So I look forward to how God is going to carry me deeper in my faith and teach me more about Himself.

Now Advent can begin!  And that will lead us to the wonder of our God’s incarnation.
And I am ready for this celebratory time – the music and the candles and the sparkling lights and even the parties to start. 

 

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A Week of Prayer

Today I was helping to set up the stations in the sanctuary of our church for our week of prayer.  There is a path that leads from confession, leaving our fears and worries, offering up whatever we are and have, being silent before God, praising through our expressions of prayer and finally accepting the gift of God’s affirmation of who he has made us to be.

When we had finished our preparations this afternoon it felt as if we were in God’s presence, that he will be meeting us in a special way as we come to him this week.  Sometimes God’s presence is so close – as if we are truely walking on Holy ground.  This afternoon was one of those moments for me – and this is just the preparation! 

Psalm 63: 1 to 8

O God, you are my God;
     I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
     my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land
     where there is no water.

I have seen you in your sanctuary
     and gazed upon your power and glory.
Your unfailing love is better to me than life itself;
     how I praise you!
I will honor you as long as I live,
     lifting up my hands to you in prayer.
You satisfy me more than the richest of foods.
     I will praise you with songs of joy.

I lie awake thinking of you,
     meditating on you through the night.
I think how much you have helped me;
     I sing for joy in the shadow of your protecting wings
I follow close behind you;
     your strong right hand holds me securely.

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