Tomorrow, June 30th at 3 pm on Whistle radio 102.7 fm will carry my interview. The host of the show Charlene Jones was very gracious. I had a grand time. You can also stream the show on your computer or go to my website and click books and then Fireweed. On the Fireweed page there is a link for the interview. Please leave a comment after you hear the interview. Thank you.
Tom and I were square dancing in Marlbank. During a rest break, we told Pearl about our encounter with a deer on the way home the week before. After hearing a detailed description of the accident and giving thanks that we weren’t hurt, Pearl said, “Driving can be dangerous. My husband and I say a prayer each time before we get in the car.” Then she laughed and said, “Never leave home without a prayer. Never leave home without it.”
We both chuckled, and the conversation moved on in another direction. On the way home, we joined the holiday traffic parade on the 401 instead of the more remote Highway Seven. I thought, that’s good advice, Pearl, not just for travelling, but for going to work, to the doctor’s, to school, anywhere. Always take your awareness of God’s presence with you. God is our companion. We can do more than stop for prayer before we go out the door. We can keep the conversation going, giving thanks, asking for guidance and strength. Our approach to life changes when we acknowledge God’s presence right beside us, God’s hand on our elbow, patting our back, holding us.
There is a plaque that says, “God is a guest at our every meal.” For me, God is more than a guest at meal times. There is a wonderful old hymn that talks about Jesus as our companion. The chorus says, “And he walks with me, and he talks with me. And he tells me I am his own.” Whether you walk or drive or fly, don’t leave home without reminding yourself of God’s presence in your life. Say a prayer, and not just for safety. Give God thanks for your blessings, and ask God to help you be God’s blessing for someone else. Give it a try. Don’t leave home without it. Prayer will make a difference in your life.
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” (Ephesians 6:18 NIV)
This month, we were blessed with the opportunity to celebrate fifty years of marriage with our friends, Nancy and Richard. We wanted to bring them something special because they are treasured friends. We knew of their respect and valuing of our First Nations people, so we went to Hiawatha, to the Mississaugas of Rice Lake, to look for a gift at their Old Railway Stop Store. We had a wonderful time soaking in the beauty of the work of local First Nations artists. Among a collection of prints by Barbara Edwards, I found the perfect painting, titled “Love in Twilight.”
I wanted to add the story behind the painting as part of the gift. It took a few weeks, but eventually, we connected with Barbara at the Hiawatha PowWow.
“Please tell me the story of your painting,” I asked.
Barbara responded, “I was asked to paint a picture as a wedding gift for a young couple. To me, it was an honour and a privilege. I painted them in each other’s arms, dressed in white buckskin, their eyes filled with love. When I finished the painting, my thoughts went to the young couple’s future. What would their lives be like in fifty years? I wanted to paint them looking back at all they had achieved over those fifty years, so I painted, “Love in Twilight”.
For Tom and me, Barbara’s beautiful print, “Love in Twilight,” speaks of being together, sitting side by side, legs and arms touching, soaking in the beauty and the stillness of a moonlit night. The couple have exchanged their white buckskin garments for the beauty and durability of the brown, undyed skin. In our minds, the two people in the painting represent our dear friends. Together they too have walked through many years and reached the peace, trust and safety that comes with mature, married love.
Our First Nation’s people are talented artists, a blessing to us all.
At the dance last week, we applauded the couple who were chosen as winners of the “spot dance.” They had obviously managed to be in the right place (whatever that place was) when the song finished. I leaned towards one of the other couples and said, “Oh well, I wouldn’t want to waste my luck on such a tiny prize.”
When I think about it, many of us have the same attitude when it comes to asking for God’s help in prayer. Oh yes, we complain to God, and we tell God what we need, but we don’t really expect God’s help in the mundane everyday things, like finding us a parking place when we’re late. We wouldn’t want to waste God’s time and caring on such a little need. We sure wouldn’t want God to get tired of our whining and not be willing to help us when we really need help, when we’re faced with a disaster. We know that we can suffer from compassion fatigue. We don’t want God to have a similar problem, especially when it comes to us.
Does God have a limit to God’s supply of love and caring? I don’t think so. Jesus compared God’s endless and abundant love to that of parental love. “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him. (Matthew 7:9-11)
For me it is extremely comforting to know that God’s love is limitless. I can’t wear God out when I bring my concerns to God. Just as a mother opens her arms to cuddle a child with a scraped and bleeding knee, God reaches out and draws us under the safety of God’s care when we come with our daily concerns and fears. We can trust that there is nothing too little or too big for our ever loving God.
Last month, our youngest granddaughter confirmed the baptismal vows her parents made for her as a baby. I prayed that she would feel God’s Spirit lift and carry her, not just on that day, but every day of her life. Tom and I gave her a gold cross to mark her commitment to follow in the “Way of Jesus” and her formally becoming an adult in her church family. We want that cross to be a symbol of faith for her. Every time she puts it on, and all the time she wears it, we hope she will be reminded that she is totally wrapped in love, the love of family and particularly God’s love. No one and nothing can take that love away.
We hope it will help her to look for and recognize God’s presence in her life in the multitude of little joys that surround her every day. At the moment, she knows the pleasure that comes when she offers Grandma and Grandpa a spontaneous hug. I watch her pour her love on her animals – cats, dogs, horses. I experience her joy as she flies on her skates at hockey. Together we can sit and read, leaving conversation behind, solid in our love for each other.
We hope it will remind her to live a life of gratitude. She knows how to say thank you. She knows how to express her joy. That cross is a sign of our hope and trust that no matter what comes in her life, she will continue to live that confidence. There will be times of questioning, disappointment, hurt as well as times of great celebration. That cross is a symbol of that sure foundation of faith and love she has today.
As Christians, we wear a cross as a symbol of the love and teaching we have received, as a symbol of the Way of Christ. Whether plain wood or solid gold encrusted with diamonds, the cross is worn to remind us that each and every person on earth is created as God’s special beloved child. In the words of St. Paul, “You are God’s temple. God’s spirit lives in you.” (1 Corinthians 3: 16)