Tag Archives: change

Love Is the Key


The movie “A Wrinkle in Time” opens in theatres next month. A passage from the book has been with me for many years. This children/adult fantasy is the story of Meg’s journey to seek and rescue her little brother Charles Wallace. Three creatures, Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who & Mrs. Which, give her gifts to help. In the following passage all Meg knows about Mrs. Which’s gift is that Meg has something that the evil “It” has not. When she finds her brother, “It” has invaded him. She feels “It’s” power attempting to overtake her mind as well.

“Her body trembled with the strength of her hatred and the strength of It…Hate was nothing that IT didn’t have. IT knew all about hate… “Mrs. Whatsit hates you,” Charles Wallace said.
And that was where IT made it’s fatal mistake, for as Meg said, automatically, “Mrs. Whatsit loves me, that’s what she told me, that she loves me,” suddenly she knew! Love. That was what she had that IT did not have. She had Mrs. Whatsit’s love, and her father’s, and her mother’s and the real Charles Wallace’s love, and the twins’ and Aunt Beast’s. And she had love for them.
But how could she use it? What was she meant to do? If she could give love to It, perhaps It would shrivel up and die, for she was sure that IT could not withstand love. But she, in all her weakness and foolishness and baseness and nothingness was incapable of loving IT…she could not do it.
But she could love Charles Wallace…her own Charles Wallace, the real Charles Wallace…the baby who was so much more than she was, and who was yet so utterly vulnerable. She could love Charles Wallace.
Charles, I love you. My baby brother who always takes care of me. Come back to me, Charles Wallace, come away from IT, come back, come home. I love you, Charles Wallace…”

Love is the key, the key to world peace and to environmental degradation. When we learn to use it wisely and with passion, we can change the world.

What will I do differently this year?

                                    The following is taken from my book,                                    “Dipping Your Toes in Small Group Devotionals.”
01-january-00-title-copy-copy-copyWhat will I do differently this year? Is there anything I can actually
change? The Biblical story about the Wise Men seeking Jesus tells us,
 “having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.” I’m sure they just wanted to return home as quickly as possible. The familiar roads would look very good to them. I smile when these Wise Men do as they’re asked without even one question. Maybe it’s the warning that makes the difference. After all, Herod’s reputation at the time was dreadful. He gave the order to chop off heads at a whim.

Most of us are not nearly as compliant as those wise folk.
When the suggestion is made that we do something differently,
we often refuse. After all, we’ve always done it this way. Why
change? Even when what we’re doing is unsuccessful, we find it’s
difficult to try something new. Today, we receive a constant barrage of warnings:
Global warming will destroy the earth as we know it.
Change your ways!
Society is becoming obese. Stop eating so much fast food.
Change your ways.
Our health is at risk. We need to exercise. Change your
ways.
Our churches are shrinking not growing. Change your
ways.
They make no difference. We continue to resist change. We don’t
even want to think about a new path.

Will we travel down a new path in 2017. Will I eat less, exercise more, go to bed earlier, be more diligent about caring for the world.
Can you make a change in your faith life – read Bible regularly, attend church, care more.

Instead of believing that change will cramp our lifestyle, we can see the adventure change offers.

Change begins with one small step, one random act of kindness, one day of exercises. Starting small may leave us open to God’s help.

You can go into the year on a new path. Remember, with God’s
help the ripple effect of your effort will change the world.

Discussion:
What new path do you think God has for you this year? What effect could it have on you, your family and community, and your world?

Prayer:
Gracious God, you have blessed us with the gift of this New Year
of living and loving. Forgive us for our mistakes of last year. We
list them now in the silence of our hearts…

Merciful God, forgive us all that is past. Open our minds to new
paths. Keep us aware of your presence with us as we journey. We
pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Is Change Difficult for You?

George St. United Church
George St. United Church

Change can be painful and exciting. Last month, George St. United Church congregation held their final worship service in the building that has been their Spiritual Home for 140 years. Many people in our Peterborough community have been baptized, confirmed, married, and had their funerals conducted at George St. United. Now, God has led the congregation to make a change to a new vision as they join with St. Andrews United to become a brand new entity – Emmaunuel United Church. For many congregational members, this is a sad and painful ending. For some of these same people and for others, this is an exciting new beginning. Both congregations will bring the best of their pasts – faith traditions and faith stories of work done here in this community and around the world. Together, they go forth in faith to serve God through a new vision. Both buildings may be left behind or maybe not. All the details of this immense change have not yet been worked out.

 

Change is like that for all of us.  A move to a new community can bring stress as we seek to let go of close friends and familiar places and endeavor to begin again. Our long awaited retirement can feel empty and lonely without work to give our lives value. The anxiety of a new job with it’s unknown problems can make us wish we could turn back time. Often with change, we feel as if our world is ending. It’s tough to begin again.

 

Change comes to us as individuals whether we want it or not.  I remember the year that my last child started university. I worried that our house and my life would be empty. After all, my life had revolved around my children’s lives for twenty-four years. I was also excited about the possibilities that lay ahead with my new freedom.

 

As Christians, we believe God calls us from the loss and fear of change to a new life that can be better, and for sure will be different and glorious. We spend time in prayer, talking the whole situation over with God. We spend time with family and friends, seeking discernment for the next steps in our journey. Just as two of our city congregations are seeking to let go and find a new form of ministry that will serve today’s community, so do we as individuals endeavor to let go of the past and seek out our new life. It is the process of birth, death and rebirth that is a part of living. Yes, it takes courage and trust. We have built that trust over the years because God has led us through each change that has come.

 

Check back through your history. Tell the stories of the times of change and new beginnings. Identify the goodness that came with your new life. Give God thanks.

 

“You will show me the path of your life;

In Your presence is fullness of of Joy;

At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11 NRSV)

Thought for the Day

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 See, smile, feel God’s peace with you today.

Peace Be With You!

This morning, I am mourning the deferral of a very special interview I had scheduled with Raheel Raza as part of my research for my next book, One More Step even though there is no deadline for its completion.

As I write this, my imagination speaks. “See God smile and hear God’s words: ‘Peace be with you. Writing this book is your ministry, yes, but first and foremost I call you to live well each moment of today. Enjoy this unexpected freedom as my precious gift.”

Changes in our plans are sometimes difficult. Today, receive with peace whatever task is added or taken away.  Whether your moments bring joy, sorrow, or confusion, hear and receive Jesus’ words to his disciples: “Peace be with you.” Speak them to yourself and to others, often.

 

Flashing Neon Sign

Flashing Neon Sign

No Matter What
No Matter What

When I fell and damaged my back, the stairs in our home became obstacles. My husband found himself solely responsible for our beautiful flower gardens. We asked ourselves, “Is it time to move to a smaller place in town?”

I sought God’s help with the decision. “Surely, my back will heal and the move won’t be necessary,” I pleaded. “Besides, how can my husband get us packed by himself? Do you really want us to move, God?” I prayed. I tried to listen. I wanted to follow God’s will. I needed a flashing neon sign telling us what to do.

Friends came for a meeting. I told them my dilemma. They responded, “We’d love to help get your place ready to sell.” Immediately they started making two piles – stuff to keep and stuff to give away. Two hours later, our living room and kitchen were ready for viewing. Was this God’s sign to move? We looked for a condominium and found nothing in our price range. Was this God’s sign to stay?

My daily scripture reading was Psalm 23. The last two lines flashed like a neon sign. “Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord, forever.” I knew this was God’s message. Whatever our decision, God’s goodness and mercy were with us. We would dwell with God in whatever house in whatever place.

When life decisions are difficult, pray, consult friends, look at all the options. Make your best informed choice and then, trust that God is with you and will bring goodness and mercy to your life.

 

“Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord, forever.”

How Can I Forgive?

Anger dominated his thoughts. Like a slow poison, a litany of bitterness rolled over and over in his mind.

“I did my best. It’s just not fair. Their expectations are way too high.

All they do is nitpick. None of them are perfect either.

Two of them are out to get me. They just want rid of me.”

After several weeks, he offered his letter of resignation. His anger increased to a fever pitch when it was accepted. Now, rejected and bitter, feeling wronged and persecuted, he must move on. How?

Forgiveness is the antidote to the poison of bitterness Forgiveness isn’t easy, partly because we’ve been taught that to forgive we must forget. For some, forgetting means that somehow we must pretend the unfairness never happened. It’s as if we’re required to say it’s okay to be treated unfairly, or to be beaten.

For me, forgiveness means that I must stop fighting the reality of what happened.  Yes, my boss, my husband, my friend, took advantage of me. Forgiveness means shifting my focus from the people involved to how I can prevent that same situation happening again?

Demanding that others must see the error of their ways in order for me to feel good, can mean that I’ll have a life time of misery.  No matter how hard I try, I cannot force someone else to change. The only person I can control is me. Therefore, I must let go of the anger and pain because I need a clear mind to learn from what happened. I need to change myself so that I’m not in a position where someone can treat me unfairly again. For me, that’s what forgiveness is all about. That’s why, when Peter asked Jesus, “Lord how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me”, Jesus could respond, “…not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18:21-22.