How do you see the glass?

How do you see the glass?

There is the story of two people, one saw the glass half-full, the other half-empty. One worried about having enough energy to take on that task or enough money to get the job done or enough respect to get the promotion. And so they said, “We can’t do that. We don’t have enough people or enough resources. Their list of “not enough” goes on and on.

The second person always had the glass which was half full. This is the person that we call an optimist . Full of hope and enthusiasm this one believes that somehow the task will get done. Why it’s half-done already.
Not long ago, I was introduced to a third person in that story. This person wasn’t worrying about the fullness or the emptiness of the glass. This one was full of gratitude to have a glass at all no matter how full or empty it was. You see without the glass you cannot even begin. Without the glass you have no hope.

In this world today where scarcity often is the operative word, we definitely need hope. In our busy chaotic lives we need to remember

that we have been given today. Yes, maybe we have far more things to do than we’ll get done. Yes, maybe we’re exhausted from too much doing yesterday. Yes, maybe there are people or troubles that will make our life difficult. Still, we have today.

We have today, to live, to love to laugh and to cry. We have been given this twenty-four hours. Whether we fill, half-fill, or leave empty this day, it has been given to us. This day is God’s gift. Whatever happens in it, whatever we do with or don’t do with it, let us drink deeply and give thanks. This day is God’s blessing.

“This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and give thanks in it!” (Psalm 118:24)

Our New Generation of “Foodies”.

My response to the October issue of the United Church Observer feature article titled Breaking Bread in a Hungry World.

Food its origin and its look, has become the “in” thing, a fad in Canada and the Western world. We post pictures of food on social media as if it were a prize toy or part of a video game. Television offers us an exclusive food network with competing and entertaining chefs.  Alanna Lipson, food stylist blames this new generation of “foodies” on our growing awareness of food quality and sustainability.

What message does this give to the four and a half million Canadians who live with food insecurity. Half of those households belong to the working poor, people often holding down two or more part time jobs in an effort to feed their family. (2012 Canadian Community Health Survey). Food banks, our Band-Aid solution are on the rise.

The infamous quote from Marie Antoinette, Queen of France in 1789 screams at us from the pages of our history books. When told by her advisors “the people have no bread,” she replied, “then let them eat cake.” This callous, cruel remark is often touted as the catalyst that started the French Revolution. Are we, the food secure, any different than Marie Antoinette as we rub our over filled stomachs and declare our need to diet?

Is it any wonder that militant extremists are able to recruit the hungry to terrorize us? Food is not just another commodity, another means of making a profit. We cannot continue to ignore the plight of the hungry.

Those of us who are not callous and not cruel must speak out and take action to push our government to set policies to ensure food security for all rather than higher profits for the few giant corporations that own most of the food chain. At the same time we can model a new focus on food as a basic human need and right for all people not an amusement to be enjoyed by few.


How Do I Bring Peace to This Troubled World?

Remembrance Day

Last month, I attended the Canadian International Biblical Story Tellers’ Festival. The Keynote speaker Cindy Mayhew shared both biblical and personal stories and brought us hope that this hurting, violent world can be transformed. Over the day and a half. she gave us the following:

Learn and tell Jesus’ stories of love, respect and forgiveness like the one about the woman caught in adultery.  “He who is without sin, cast the first stone,” Jesus said to those who were ready to judge and punish. And one after another they all went away. “Go and sin no more,” Jesus told the woman.

Learn and tell the stories from our history, stories of our mistakes and the damage we have caused. Stories of residential schools and children who were badly abused. Stories of mining companies that are exploiting third world countries. Bring the violence and the hate out into the light. Include the stories of those who have found healing and hope through God’s presence and action.

Learn and tell the stories of corporations and groups who have taken risks for goodness so that our environment is cared for, our people can find new life.

Learn and tell the stories of your parents and grandparents, stories of caring for your neighbour through building parks, starting food banks, sitting with a friend as she dies.

Learn and tell your own stories of God’s pushing you, or nudging you to call home and discovering your call was an answer to prayer. Learn and tell the stories of God’s action in this world today.

As you speak God’s story of love, you will truly make a difference. Your actions and words will help transform the world one person and one story at a time.  You will discover that you can sing the song, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me,” because you are bringing peace to this world.

“Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. (Isaiah 2:4)

“I Can’t Say No!”

Pick Me! Pick Me!
Pick Me! Pick Me!

Years ago, I participated in a skit called “The Last Christian.” The premise was that God telephoned me and said I was the only human being left on earth to  teach God’s message of love and forgiveness. In today’s world, it’s easy to believe we are the only ones left to do God’s work in our community, our church or our family. Consequently, we keep on as secretary of the board, or chair of fundraising or caring for our loved one, even when we’re exhausted and long after the joy and fun is gone.

My experience has taught me that when I finally have the courage to quit, the job eventually gets done by someone else. The hole I expected to leave disappears, just as a raindrop disappears when it hits the ocean. Even my loved one who needed me so desperately discovers the strength to go on without me, or someone else to fills my role.

The reality is that we don’t trust in God to make sure the job gets done. Fear pushes us to think we’re indispensable. I am grateful that I am not.  I can resign. I can bring in respite care.

The truth is that the quality of our service and our caring deteriorates when we’re exhausted and resentful. Before that happens, remember: you can stop and rest, because God is not limited to just you. You are NOT the last Christian, the last of God’s angels here on earth. Thanks be to God.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)