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That was a true story. Sometimes it can be a Paul Newman, but much more often it is something much more traumatic like the death of a loved one, hearing the doctor say it is cancer, losing your job, or even your car breaking down, those unexpected storms that throw our "boats" off course, that cause us to panic and that throw us off balance and create much anxiety even despair.A Michigan woman and her family were vacationing in a small New England town. One Sunday morning, the woman got up early to take a long walk. After a brisk five-mile hike, she decided to treat herself to a double-dip chocolate ice cream cone. She hopped in the car, drove to the center of the village and went straight to the combination bakery/ice cream parlor.
There was only one other patron in the store: Paul Newman, sitting at the counter having a doughnut and coffee. The woman's heart skipped a beat as her eyes made contact with those famous baby-blue eyes.
The actor nodded graciously and the star struck woman smiled demurely.
Pull yourself together! She chides herself. You're a happily married woman with three children, you're forty-five years old, not a teenager!
The clerk filled her order and she took the double-dip chocolate ice cream cone in one hand and her change in the other. Then she went out the door, avoiding even a glance in Paul Newman's direction.
When she reached her car, she realized that she had a handful of change but her other hand was empty.
Where's my ice cream cone? Did I leave it in the store? Back into the shop she went, expecting to see the cone still in the clerk's hand or in a holder on the counter or something! No ice-cream cone was in sight..
With that, she happened to look over at Paul Newman. His face broke into his familiar, warm, friendly grin and he said to the woman, 'You put it in your purse.'
As Frederick Buechner writes in his book Secrets of the Dark: "Christ sleeps in the deepest selves of all of us, and whatever we do in whatever time we have left, wherever we go, may we in whatever way we can call on him as the fishermen did in their boat to come awake within us and to give us courage, to give us hope, to show us, each one, our way. May he be with us especially when the winds go mad and the waves run wild, as they will for all of us before we're done, so that even in their midst we may find peace and find him."
Dear God, be good to me; The sea is so wide And my boat is so small.So how do we in the midst of our lives take the time to hear the voice of God, to still ourselves in good the quiet moments or in the stormy times of our lives?
Give us Lord the grace to walk by faith, through every storm of life to keep our eyes on you. And when we fail to see, or start to sink, or feel lost, stretch out your hand to raise us up. So may we learn to hold to you through good and ill, until we come to the haven where we would be, in everlasting joy and peace. Amen. [prayer by Jeffrey John]
I lie down this night with GodThis understanding of the Trinity, of God understood in three ways, is part of our intimate lives. It calls us to remember and renew a deeper understanding that to call upon God, is to call upon the three. The Trinity can also be seen in something much earlier, St. Patrick’s breastplate, a copy of which you have in the bulletin (or the Hymn we just sang #370).
And God will lie down with me
I lie down this night with Christ
And Christ will lie down with me
I lie down this night with the Spirit
And the Spirit will lie down with me.
I bind unto myself today
the strong Name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One, and One in Three.
Of whom all nature hath creation,Why I bring this up, is that as Christians, our understanding of God is important, and how intimately involved God is in our lives, helps us understand ourselves too. We remember that salvation is through Christ, but it is the Trinity that invites us into a deeper relationship with God.
eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
praise to the Lord of my salvation,
salvation is of Christ the Lord.
Think of a wedding -- one of the happiest days of their lives. During the reception, the whole family is on the dance floor. It starts with their son, who served as an usher, dancing with his mom. The new bride is dancing with her father. Soon the four of them are dancing together, holding hands, clapping, laughing and crying. Before long they are joined by the newest member of their family - their daughter and sister's new husband. It is a moment of complete joy and love for a family that together conquered the many challenges of marriage and parenthood and growing up.That is how the seventh-century theologian, St. John of Damascus described God. He spoke of God as periocoresis - from the Greek words for around (peri) and dancing (choresis). He wrote: "Father, Son and Holy Spirit are like three dancers, holding hands, dancing together in perfect love, perfect freedom and perfect harmony. They are deeply one and yet they are three. They are unified in one intimate, indissoluble substance, yet they are a recognizable community. Most importantly, they are what they are only in relationship to one another - in shared purpose, in mutual love that is expressed through each other for eternity. And so should we be united together."
It is a picture of God. (Connections)
“We can do no great things; only small things with great love.” ~ Mother Teresa of CalcuttaAs St. Peter’s walked on our birthday lap at Relay for Life, it was a moment of grace, a small thing done with great love, to keep celebrating birthdays in the midst of cancer, hoping and praying and working for more birthdays and less cancer.
A church had collected clothing for those in need and the youth group volunteered to sort, fold and pack the clothes. The youth made a game of it, trying on items that caught their imaginations, creating weird costumes, merrily clowning as they worked.
Then one of the kids felt a lump in the pocket of a worn cardigan sweater. He reached in the pocket and found a little bundle. He opened it to find a gold wedding ring. On the paper wrapped around the ring was written: "I have no need of this now. I hope it will help you."
The hilarity in the room was hushed. The ring glowed as it was passed silently and reverently from one young hand to another. No one joked, no one presumed to try on that sacrificial gift for a needy stranger. Tenderly, the ring was refolded inside the note. It was secured inside the pocket of the sweater with strong safety pin; the sweater was then packed off with the other clothes. [Cath. Digest]
“We can do no great things; only small things with great love.” ~ Mother TeresaAnd that willingness to sow even when we know tragedy happens, even as we walk in the shadow of death, is the faith of a mustard seed that is inside each of us, a small seed planted, tiny at first, but it will grow into something bigger & useful, such faith is part of the Kingdom of God.
Consider, as we reveled in the glory of Easter, this past April, the people of Sarajevo marked the 20th anniversary of the horrific siege of their beautiful city during the Bosnian Civil War. The longest siege of any city in the 20th century. The anniversary was marked by many events, exhibitions and concerts - but by far the most moving part of the observance was the chairs.
11,541 red chairs. Organizers lined up the red chairs along Sarajevo's main street - one chair for every man, woman and child killed during the 3 year siege of the city. 825 rows stretching for half a mile in the city of Sarajevo. 643 of those were smaller red chairs representing the children who were killed. Many Sarajevans placed flowers, candles and gifts, including teddy bears & toy cars, on the chairs. This was the first time that Sarajevo had any kind of public memorial service for the slain; so many victims had to be buried quickly in impromptu graveyards because of the siege.
The endless rows of red chairs made the mind-numbing numbers of war dead very real. It was a stunning sight: 11,541 red chairs lining the length of Sarajevo's main boulevard, a powerful image of all that is lost when innocent life is taken. (gleaned from AP)
“We can do no great things; only small things with great love.” ~ Mother TeresaLet us honor the gifts we have been given and use them in small ways with great love to proclaim the Kingdom of God in our world today. Amen.
"Teenagers can legitimately follow Christ in adolescent ways, including participating in age-appropriate youth ministries. But those ministries must also help youth catch a vision for growing up spiritually. Churches full of people who are building each other up toward spiritual maturity are not only the best antidote to the juvenilization of American Christianity, but also a powerful countercultural witness in a juvenilized society."
"The Millennial generation does not imagine they are accepting or rejecting the Christian Faith--they imagine they are entering into formation for a new way of life, and they expect the Church to initiate, guide, teach, equip, and send them. What follows delves into how this may play out when considering the practice of "communion without baptism."