Oct31ThuOctober 31, 2013
Living with Amazement
UCW Meeting ~ October 28, 2013
At the end of spring, Ev and Jo asked me if I would be the guest speaker at today’s UCW meeting. I said yes, but with a wee bit of hesitation...that you would accept me as a speaker at your meeting, that you would want me here....I am deeply humbled. I am still finding my place as a speaker to which people want to listen. Thank you. The spring ended, summer began and ended....and soon we were into the fall routine once again...and I had narry written a word for today’s gathering. Sometimes the words flow and sometimes they get stuck...or rather they get tucked away into one of my little compartments. As I take in knowledge and take in God’s words, I am in a place of receiving the Good Word, and I don’t always know how to reverse the process and give it back out. It takes me a while to process what I’ve heard or what I’ve felt, and then it takes me some time to find the words that need releasing to the wind. I am a middle child, I am an introvert. I am sometimes very insecure. I am often alone. I am missing my Dad and I am healing, every day. I am tucking away illness and finding little pockets of light. Each week at St. John’s I pour over my work, and my words, making sure they are just right, or rather just what God is asking me to say. I think, as a listener, what would I want to hear or what would I want to read? I take my time, and when God’s words are filed away and when they are processed, God’s words suddenly flow from my fingertips. I can’t stop it. When I am ready, God knows, and He fills me up for me in order for me to fill you up. ~ a ripple effect.
So the time came when I thought I had better get writing for today, and I felt stuck. Oh no, what shall I do? Well, I thought, I will listen to Joyce Meyer. In August I had traveled to Hershey Pennsylvania, to see Joyce and her spiritually directed seminar, as part of my professional development at St. John’s. The conference was comprised of about twenty hours of messages and music over the course of three days. It was breath-taking and breath-giving. I took pages and pages of notes, taking in everything I saw with my eyes, heard with my ears and felt within my soul. I wrote it all down, and then some. I had an endless supply of tears that sometimes poured out of me...like the morning we sang “How Great Thou Art” in a stadium along with 10,000 other like-minded people.
So what shall I write? I said to myself....remember how Joyce inspires me and fills me up? I immediately began to listen again...one minute into her message and God’s words began to flow through my fingers and into my computer.
Do you remember the moment when you were first amazed by God? That moment when you felt God was speaking directly to you? The feeling that filled your soul? The elation and the eye-opening? I remember....suddenly the stars were brighter and the sun was warmer. In the midst of illness and deep, deep despair I suddenly became visible, I no longer blended into the wallpaper in the room. I became filled with hope, I became aware of “me”. Flowers were more fragrant and the earth more rich. God seemed to find His way into all the pieces of my day. Prayers were answered and the Holy Spirit enveloped my every step. Do you remember your moment or your moments?
Do you remember what it felt like when you were so thirsty (physically or metaphorically...) and when that drink of water suddenly appeared in front of you?
Do you remember wishing for peace, and then realizing it was within you all along?
Do you remember that feeling of seeing an old friend and knowing you could pick up where you left off?
Sometimes we stop noticing these God moments....and we don’t realize they are gone until they return with fervour once again.
Sometimes we get familiar. Like the way we drive to an appointment, knowing the streets, the hallways, and our favourite chair in the waiting room. Sometimes we drive three city blocks without even remembering how we got from A to B.
We wake up, we eat our breakfast, and we go about our day, only to do it all over again the next day. I know people who say “I can’t wait until next week, or I can’t wait until Spring, or I can’t wait until Christmas.” I say....let’s wait....let’s wait....let’s be here and let’s be present and let us count on the blessing of this very moment. This moment. This is the good word. Afterall, we only have NOW, for NOW is always guaranteed. May we listen to God and be here NOW loving every single minute of NOW.
Why is it then, when we are most comfortable, that we say “God, where are you? Where have you been? Why aren’t you present with me? We sometimes think God has stopped giving us gifts? Where did the blessings go? We are content where we are, but has God really stopped being present? Why does this happen in our minds? Why do we question it?
If you ask God, He will say He never stopped....He will say, you just became used to it. He will say, “My amazing things have become familiar to you.”...but I have never stopped bringing them to you. For they are in your deep breath, they are in the light that shines in the sky, they are in the bulbs that come up in spring-time, the God moments are everywhere...they are in the grocery line when a new lane opens up, they are in the food you eat each day, and in the phone call that connects you to a loved one. The God moments are here in this space. He will say, My God moments are boundless and infinite...they will come when you least expect them, and they will come as you sit with a friend and have tea. They will come when you open your eyes and your heart and your soul. They will come. They are coming. They never stopped coming.
Sometimes it is in the lack of something or absence of someone that we notice when it used to be there. • Being in silence and wondering where the music went • Sitting in the dark, during a power failure, and then missing the light that once shone, by your night-stand • a twitch in your eye that seems to consume so much of your attention...and then wishing for the stillness once again. • Numbness in your foot, not having any sensation at all, and then trying to remember how it was when you could feel them
This list is endless.
And if we pause for a moment, our blessings are endless too.
How many of you have sat in a funeral wishing you had said or done more... How many of you have left a room full of people wishing you had gone up to someone to say “hello”? How many of you have gone home from an evening out, and then suddenly thought of the words to say? How many of you wished you had baked a casserole and delivered it to a friend? How many of you finished a year in school, and then wished you could do it all over again, but only better? How many of you have gone to bed at night wishing something could have been different? May we sit with these wishes, and God speaking to us moments, and make our tomorrows better. God always gives us chances to say and be and do good, each moment. God always gives us these chances.
Sometimes someone moves away, and there is an emptiness that we didn’t know would be there. - It is in the noticing they are gone, that suddenly we miss them - It is in the noticing they are not with us, that we suddenly realize what a gift they were when they were here.
Hilda Darcie, you are this. You are moving away, you are leaving this town to begin a new life in a new town, in a new home, in a new church. But please know this....as the pew in the second row, at St. John’s, sits empty, your spirit will be with us always. As the Sundays continue and we move into Advent, the antependium will be changed on the pulpit, and you will be with us in mind and spirit and emotions. As the display cases continue to evolve over the years, they will evolve, only because of you and your insight to do them in the first place. Hilda you parted the waters and walked with God. (Joshua 3) You walk with God and you have taught us so much. And as someone steps in to manage the library, over 2,000 books will be glanced over by new hands and fingertips, brushing the Spirit of the words into the air once again. As someone stands under your stained glass window, doves will fly and hearts will soar, and light will shine...God’s light. For it is because of you Hilda, that so many of us stand where we are today. We stand strong and assured. We will turn off our televisions and read a good book or read The Good Book. We will till our gardens and build a shed. We will pick up a piece of fabric and sew a tablecloth. We will hem a skirt or fix a loose button and it is you that will come to mind....with each creative nudge....God’s nudge.
So many of the pictures and the memories captured in this place are because of you and your camera and your willingness to step up and step out and record church events...day or night....weekday or weekend. Moments that were fleeting and gone before we could blink....you’ve got them all. My personal evolution in this church has been captured on your film, Hilda, and I am only one of many that are so thankful. I look back and see my terrified face as I sang my first solo and danced my first dance, as I unblended myself from the wallpaper and spoke my first words....all of those moments you’ve captured and in doing so, I can see and feel and know the glimpses of God...that God was with me in the beginning and that God is still with me now. Thank you Hilda.
Because in the beginning God created the heavens and earth and God saw that it was good. God created Hilda and God knew that Hilda was good. Hilda...Your presence grounded and secure. Your presence assuring and confident. Your presence knowing and trusting. Your presence lasting and peaceful. Your presence timeless and God-filled. Your presence filled up our cups, without us even noticing.
Our spirits know and our spirits will continue to grow. Hilda, as you move into your new beginnings, may your spirit soar and grow too. May new friends welcome you and embrace you and know you and love you, as so many of us do at St. John’s. May you stand in your solidness and vulnerabilities and wonder with God. May the road rise up to meet you, may the stars shine upon you and may grandmother moon hold you safely and lovingly.
When we live amazed, we too can be filled with so much. So let us live amazed, in all of our moments, get the lights on, inner and outer, shine brightly and be amazed. And then we can say “that was God”...not just a coincidence or a gut-feeling or luck.....No....it was God.
Hilda, you were a God-moment for each one of us, over and over again.
We got used to you Hilda, just like we sometimes get used to God.
Hebrews 1:3 – He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. ~ Jesus is the “beam” of God’s glory; for we have never seen the sun, only the rays of its light as they come to us. Even so, we have never seen the Father, but we have seen Him through the “rays” of the Son. Each one of us, rays of light.
Hebrews 1: 14 - Are not all angels spirits in the divine service, sent to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?
May we sit here today, amazed by your greatness, your quietness, your Spirit-filled way, and may we praise the Lord, and be amazed once again.
This is the Good News today...and I am amazed by this God-gifted moment.
Thanks be to God.