31st August 2014 – 12th Sunday After Pentecost A

The stories of prophets like Moses and Jeremiah put words and images to spiritual, transcendent encounters with the holy, that call people out of themselves to live for something more: more faith, more hope, more love. We may not recognize our own spiritual journeys in these larger-than-life tales, but the sense of feeling that God is on our side and that God is present to us in extraordinary ways is something we might well relate to. At least, we can be open to such feelings and encounters. If we only bring our rational minds to the faith, we might miss whole dimensions of God’s call on our lives. Like Moses turning aside, we can develop our peripheral vision and keep watch for the glimpses of God that will surprise and energise us.

In our journeying this week we are challenged to look for signs that God is at work in the world at large and within our own small sphere of experience

Blessings

Reverend Shan

(With Thanks to Words For Worship by Mediacom)

 

21st August 2014 – 11th Sunday After Pentecost A

Last week I challenged you to think of 3 things for which to give thanks to God, each day.  That’s 21 prayers of gratitude to God for the week!

I have taken the challenge myself and share with you 21 things for which I have had reason to give thanks during this week.

  1. Maurie – who knows and loves me – warts and all.
  2. Humour, especially in unexpected situations…. Laughter lightens the load and lifts the clouds.
  3. Family reunions and the ties of blood and shared experience that bind us together across time and space.
  4. Faith, hope and love without which I would barely exist.
  5. People who will stick by you and support you when you need to cry.
  6. The easy, innocent chatter and laughter of children.
  7. Friends who listen without judgment when you need to talk out your worries and
  8. Friends who can do so without feeling the need to fix you or the situation.
  9. The arms of my grandchildren wrapped around my neck or thrown around my waist in greeting.
  10. My dog putting his head on my lap for a pat.
  11. Unexpected gifts.
  12. My brother who took the time to call me just for a chat.
  13. Strength and energy to take Merlin for long walks.
  14. Our beautiful parklands and well kept playground equipment on which Sienna and Seth have been having so much fun.
  15. Rain
  16. My Mum, who is always ready to listen and pray.
  17. People who pray for me and who send messages of encouragement.
  18. Meaningful employment.
  19. Birthday invitations.
  20. A spare room to retreat to sometimes when Maurie’s snoring gets too much.
  21. My parish family

Love and blessings

Reverend Shan

17th August 2014 – 10th Sunday After Pentecost A

Like most of the world, I didn’t know Robin Williams, personally, but never the less I was deeply touched by his humour, his insights and his honesty in grappling with his demons. Apparently, in life, he was plagued by fears and anxieties. This despite the fact that he was a Christian! I know that rocky journey all too well. Sadly, no amount of love can heal us of such anxiety… In fact some will feel so unworthy of the love offered that they become even more anxious. For Robin Williams it seems that finally his fear of continuing to live and breathe outweighed all other fears, including fear of death. – that great unknown. I pray that he may finally Rest in Peace.

Please note that I have stated that Robin Williams suffered fear, anxiety and depression, despite his Christian faith. Cruel writers on social media have attacked him as a coward and worse. Please note – sadly, faith is not a guarantee of freedom from such feelings – or the sense that, somehow, one is drowning in darkness. The propensity for depression is many factored. Genetics and biological chemistry play a part, along with life events and personality. Faith may help someone to hold on and find hope but you cannot talk yourself, or someone else, out of depression! Telling someone to “get over it” only makes the situation worse and lessens an already low self-esteem!

It has been considered, by some, that suicide is the ultimate, unforgiveable sin. In the past the church would not allow for the funeral or burial of a suicide victim on consecrated ground. The belief was that the person was consigned to eternal hell. I am not of this belief and the church, for the most part, has moved from this stance. My understanding is that the act of suicide (in most cases – I can’t speak of suicide bombers) is the result of an overwhelming longing to escape the pain and darkness of life and, sometimes, the mistaken desire to set loved ones free from constant vigilance and concern. The victim of suicide has already been through hell! I believe that the God of love looks upon each one with compassion, weeps for their pain and loves them!

If you suffer from such feelings of depression, please seek help. Your G.P. is a good starting point… The web site – http://www.beyondblue.org.au is also a good place to visit. You aren’t alone.

Much love and many blessings

Reverend Shan