7th Sunday After Pentecost – 31st July 2011

By the time you read this reflection our MARKET DAY will be a “thing of the past, for another year”. As I write however, we are still counting down. I know most will breathe a sigh of relief… I think this is especially so for Joan (who has put so much time and energy into the organization) and Kay, who has shared the organizing, while continuing to juggle her various hats and coping with countless interruptions and the invasion of her “space”.

Others involved are too numerous to mention but I do want to say a special “thank you” to Helen Maguire for coordinating ‘Paul’s on Ernest’ and all those family members who have been dragged along to help ‘man’ the various stalls.

Regardless of our need to generate an income our  “Market Day” provides us with the opportunity to work together in community. I know you are tired and not all has been “smooth sailing” but, what I see as you gather is a family. As St Paul writes “you are the body of Christ and individually, members of it” – 1 Corinthians 12:27. I am proud to be part of the “Body of Christ” here at St Paul’s.

I came across this story and I wanted to share it with you as it seems to illustrate a profound truth…

An old Cherokee told his grandson, ” there is a battle between two wolves inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, lies, & ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy, & truth.”
The boy thought about it, and asked, “Grandfather, which wolf wins?”
The old man quietly replied, “The one you feed…”

Love and Blessings

Reverend Shan

24th July 2011 – 6th Sunday After Pentecost

One of my favorite spiritual writers (or Christian mystics) is Anthony De Mello who tells a story about some people who were on a raft off the coast of Brazil.

They were perishing from thirst, because, as you know, ocean water is too salty to be safely drinkable. What they did not know, however, was that the water they were floating on was fresh water. A nearby river was coming out into the sea with such force that it went out for a couple of miles, so they had fresh water right there where they were. But they had no idea. “In the same way,” says De Mello, “we’re surrounded with joy, with happiness, with love. Most people,” he concludes, “have no idea.” And that’s true.

I was reminded of this story as I shared discussion with a group of people who were pondering on the reason that people are not turning to the church and God when they are seeking after meaning.

There are a lot of hurting, shattered people in this world for whom help is at hand if they only knew it. There are a lot of lonely people looking for deep abiding love and it is within reach even only they would take hold of it. The treasure is just waiting to be discovered.

Let those who have ears hear!

Many Blessings

Reverend Shan

3rd July 2011 – 3rd Sunday After Pentecost A

I know that some of you have struggled with colds and flu this week. Others have suffered sadness and grief, and some have struggled with chronic illness. There have been funerals and worries aplenty too. My own week has not been easy either, and full of worrying news with regard to friends and relatives whom I love. On Monday I attended the very sad funeral of a young man (the son of some friends) I first met about 20 years ago, when he was just 8. I remember him running, at a hundred miles an hour, with our children when we were living at St Johns College at Morpeth, as I trained for ordination. For some reason, unknown to anyone other than himself, Michael took his own life. Naturally, those who love him are confused and grief stricken! He seemed to have everything to live for… what a dreadful tragedy!

I can only imagine the burden of pain his parents and siblings are carrying at present. They tell me that their faith in a loving God and the support of friends is all that keeps them going. Michaels Dad said that he couldn’t understand how anyone could survive such deep sorrow without a deep faith and trust in God.

Jesus says (Matthew 11)- 28 ‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’

I am reminded of an old story about a little boy who was out helping dad with the yard work. Dad asked him to pick up the rocks in a certain area of the yard. Dad looked over and saw him struggling to pull up a huge rock buried in the dirt. The little boy struggled and struggled while Dad watched. Finally, the boy gave up and said, “I can’t do it.” Dad asked, “Did you use all of your strength?” The little boy looked hurt and said, “Yes, sir. I used every ounce of strength I have.” The father smiled and said, “No you didn’t. You didn’t ask me to help.” The father walked over and then the two of them pulled that big rock out of the dirt.

Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Love and Blessings

Rev Shan