Vacation

So I went to New Harbour for most of my vacation.  Cleaned the church A LOT (I love Lysol with Javex!), moved stuff around and climbed up to the steeple.  It’s quite high up, but I wanted to see for myself just how much rot was up there.  I wish I had gotten my Mom to take a picture (Dad and Bob were on strict orders not to let go of the ladder!) maybe next time.

Anyways, once I got up there, it was pretty cool to see how they structured the inside.  I was also relieved to see less rot than I was expecting. Don’t get me wrong – I could see the sky when I shouldn’t have been able too.  And I couldn’t see all sides of the beams, so there may still be some unexpected surprises.  However, we can now move forward with the plan of just replacing the rotten boards and re-shingling instead of having to re-do the whole end of the church.  Hopefully, with the sale of a few pews, we’ll be able to get it weather tight before winter.  I hope.

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Steeple. See the light? You shouldn’t see the light.
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Looking towards the other end. I wish the lighting was better. This picture just doesn’t do it justice.
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Rotten wood, dirt, bird droppings, and part of the trap door.
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Where I accidentally busted the ancient hinge that I didn’t know was there. There was only one way to open the trap door and they hinged it that way from the inside. I had no clue until after I got it open that there were hinges that were rusted in place! The door itself was so rotten that it will need to be replaced.
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Busted hinge and a cobweb. Yeah, it was creepy like that.
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Rotten wood, dirt, mold?, bird droppings?, and “the wiring”.

On the way back down I removed the last, and nastiest old blind (much to everyone’s amazement!). Once I got all the way down, we decided that we could sleep there, even if there was crazy rain.  We did have a slight problem though.  In the cleaning and mold ridding frenzy, we took down the blinds.  Even if we hadn’t, the strings were so rotten they crumbled when touched.  We set up the former “minister’s room” as a dressing area, but what would we do when the light came streaming in?  After some creative thinking, we setup the tent – an instant room! I just wish I had taken a picture.  Next time 🙂

Normally, we don’t let the dogs sleep with us, but I wanted them to get used to the idea of sleeping in a tent so we could possibly take them camping.  Skipper LOVED the idea.  He happily put himself to bed very early.  Maggie was a different story.  She was awake the whole first night.  Jumping on the air mattress, jumping off the air mattress.  Giving Bob kisses on his forehead, whacking me in the face with her tail.  Kissing me on the forehead while whacking Bob in the face with her tail.  At 4am, Bob, Skipper and I decided we’d had enough of Maggie’s excitement and put them in the kennel.  Maggie was NOT ok with that.  She proceeded to drag the kennel towards the tent.  It’s a big kennel, she’s just 10lbs!  So I rooted around and found a light, shone it into the kennel and told her “night, night”.  We slept until 9am.  The next night went much better.  Less agitation from Maggie.  Skipper is now a devoted air mattress and tent fan.

We’re planning to spend Labour Day Weekend there, which will also coincide with our anniversary. 🙂

Once we get the roof tight again, our next goal is a composting toilet and rain water collection system.  Our goal is to be as “off grid” as possible.  At this point the lot isn’t big enough for a septic field and being as close to the cemetery as it is, we doubt that any water would be potable.  At this point it makes the most sense to bring drinking water from my parents’ place and use rain water for washing hands, dishes, etc.  Our good friends, Jeff and Kara, have a great collection and gravity fed tap system.  We are thinking we will likely be able to rig up something similar fairly easily.  Hopefully, with any kind of luck, we’ll be ready for overnight guests by Labour Day Weekend 2017 – that is if you don’t mind roughing it a little bit 😉

Oh yeah! One last picture before signing off tonight.  This is “our” beach 🙂

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Our “beach” 🙂

The river was quite low (we’re in a drought in Nova Scotia) so there was way more beach than usual. Maggie was so muddy after 20 mins of sniffing around down there! lol  I can’t wait to go swimming there – maybe my niece Ashlynn will be up for a little splashing with me on Labour Day Weekend…

July 10 2016

Links of Interest/Bibliography:

Levite

Priest

Samaritan

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

Gospel Parallels

The Good Samaritan

Lectionary Studies

 

Worship Outline:

Hymn: Jesu, Jesu, Fill Us with Your Love VU 593
Words of Welcome and Announcements
Centering & Lighting the Christ Candle & Love Candle

Hymn: We Are Pilgrims VU 595
Call to Worship
One: Welcome! Welcome to a place where each of us are different.
All: In the United Church of Canada, we value diversity.
One: Welcome to a place where diversity of thought is respected and encouraged.
All: In the United Church of Canada, we challenge each other and ourselves to examine empire and the hierarchy it upholds.
One: It’s a work in progress, but we are committed.
All: We are committed to welcoming all, in our worship and in our faith community.

Opening Prayer
May this be a time of self-reflection and discernment. May the Holy Spirit fill this place. May we be moved by the Holy Spirit and our own reflections to act with Love. Amen.

Hymn: This Is My Commandment Joyful Noise 131

Who is your neighbour?
Readings: Luke 10:25-37
Hymn: Christ Has No Body Now but Yours MV 171

People in Your Neighbourhood

Minute for Mission

Offering Invitation
We give because we can. We know that our abundance can affect the lives of others.

Offering

Offertory What Can I Do? MV 191

Offering Prayer
May these gifts, those given through PAR, as well as our gifts of time and talent become agents of change in the lives of others. May they be used for the good of the whole. Amen.

Prayer Music: Put Peace into Each Other’s Hands MV 173 v 5

Prayers of the People & Prayer of Jesus

Commissioning and Benediction

Musical Blessing: Like A Rock MV 92

Reflection:

The Good Samaritan
In two week’s time, we’re hosting a Vacation Bible School. Our theme “Who is My Neighbour?” is based on the story of The Good Samaritan and getting to know the different people around us. I’m looking forward to this, and have been prepping some art work to tell the story to the kids. So when it was time to work on worship this week, I was pleased to discover the story was The Good Samaritan. So let’s dig in and do a little reflecting on this story that inspires so many people.
Who are the characters?
We’re going to start with the people involved.

The Lawyer
The first part of this passage isn’t part of the actual Good Samaritan story. It’s more of an introduction. The funny part is that this introduction bit is in both Matthew and Mark as well, but the story that follows it is only in Luke. But this introduction is almost as much of a lesson as the story that follows it. The Lawyer is obviously an educated person. Even with all this education though, the Lawyer is still having difficulty understanding what to do. The Lawyer even quotes the teaching from the ancient scriptures back to Jesus word for word, but still doesn’t understand how to use them. The Lawyer questions Jesus further and Jesus replies with the Good Samaritan. In the Matthew and Mark versions of the story, Jesus responds back with questions which go unanswered. While the interpretation of the story is left up to us, in this version from Luke, the questions are answered and a commissioning is given: “Go and do likewise.”

The Person
We don’t know much about the person who is injured in the story of the Good Samaritan other than the person is travelling from Jerusalem to Jericho. It wouldn’t have been an easy trek, and obviously the person had more wealth than the robbers – or so the robbers thought. The Person was travelling alone, so it was most likely a man, as very few women would have made that kind of journey alone. From what I’ve read about it many women in this day and age wouldn’t make the journey alone, but more about the road a little later. We can assume the person in this story is a Hebrew person, as Jesus was telling this story to a group of Hebrew people. When you are in a larger group of people, it is assumed that all people in the story are in the majority of the listening audience unless explicitly stated.

The Robbers
The robbers are also somewhat anonymous in this story. We know there was more than one of them. We know that the road from Jerusalem to Jericho was and still is a haven for robbers looking to pounce on a trapped target, so we know the robbers were looking for an easy target.

The Priest
The Priest in the Hebrew community was someone from the tribe of Aaron. He would have had specific duties in the temple and would have been wearing specific type of garment. The Priestly people would have placed a heavy influence on the rites of worship. At that time, the priest would have believed that their ways of practicing the Hebrew faith were the right way.

The Levite
Similarly the Levite would have been someone from the tribe of Levi. People from the tribe of Levi also dressed a particular way, and firmly believed in a lack of material possessions. As with the Priestly tradition, the Levite traditional would have believed that their ways of practicing the Hebrew faith were the right way.

The Samaritan
A Samaritan is another branch of Hebrew faith. It means “Keepers of the Law”. The Samaritan would have dressed according the traditions of the Samaritan faith, and would have believed that their ways of practicing the Hebrew faith were the right way. We know the Samaritan was wealthy enough to have an animal accompany him, enough money to stay in an inn, and enough money to leave some with the Inn Keeper to look after the person.
All three people while Hebrew, would have had issues with each other’s faith practices, in a similar way to Unitarians, Catholics and Pentecosts. Just three very different ways of practicing. Fortunately for us, as religions and faith traditions have evolved, we’ve increased our understanding and respect for the different ways people choose to practice their faith.

The Inn Keeper
The Inn Keeper gets a relatively small role, which I think is somewhat of a disservice. The Inn Keeper was the one who offered a safe place for at least two of our travelers to stay. The Inn Keeper went above and beyond, at least in today’s day and age, to offer this safe haven to those who needed it most.

The Neighbour
While the lawyer gave Jesus a somewhat ambiguous answer: “the one who showed compassion.” It’s often assumed that the one who showed compassion was the Samaritan, I think the Inn Keeper deserves a nod of recognition too.
The title of neighbor goes both ways. One can be helped and one can do the helping. It’s in this cyclical action of helping and being helped that we begin working towards The Good of The Whole.
What is the setting?

The People
It’s a somewhat homogeneous setting, all of the people seem to be from the same geographic area and although they are from different faith traditions, all the faith traditions stem from the same root. The traveler, the Priest, the Levitite and the Samaritan all seem to be headed to Jericho from Jerusalem.

The Place
The Road From Jerusalem to Jericho is well known to all of those involved, except for perhaps the traveler. When I looked up information about this road, I found out that it was rocky and uneven, narrow and meandering along the edge of the mountain. It dangerous, not just because of the narrowness along the cliff, but because of the rocks and corners for robbers to hide in, making a person on the path quite vulnerable. Apparently it was even called the “Way of Blood” in reference to just how dangerous the journey would have been.

How does this relate to our current setting?
The beauty of the teachings of Jesus is the timelessness of his main message. If everyone treated each other the way they wished to be treated, it would be a very different world. Our current context seems to offer us very similar opportunities, only this time society becomes the robbers on the difficult and dangerous path that is life. Who do you see travelling on this dangerous path? How has our church become the compassionate one? Are there people we aren’t noticing? Are there people that we make a conscious decision to avoid or maybe make excuses to avoid? It’s so easy to do…oh I don’t have the time…I don’t have the money…I’m not whatever enough. There are more excuses than there are people to help. The trick is not taking the easy road. May we always look for ways to help on the hard road.

July 31st, 2016

Links of Interest/Biblography:
Peace Mala
Golden Rule Poster
Jane McGonigal TED Talk
Press Play TED Radio Hour
Charter for Compassion
The Work of the People – I’m Sorry
The Good Samaritan
A Song of Faith

Worship Outline:

Hymn               Love Devine, All Loves Excelling                VU 333                   Words of Welcome and Announcements
Centering & Lighting the Christ Candle & Love Candle
Hymn     Spirit, open My Heart                                         MV 79

 Call to Worship
One: As we sing and as we pray,
All: Spirit, open our hearts.
One: As we speak and as we listen,
All:  Spirit, open our hearts.
One: As we reflect and as we transform,
All: Spirit, open our hearts.

Opening Prayer
We pray that love, grace and compassion fill us, as we work to listen, to feel, to understand what we might never have considered before.  May the truth be spoken with Love, may the words be heard with Compassion, may transformation come with Grace.  Holy Spirit, fill us, flood this place. Amen.

Hymn        Blessed Be the Tie That Binds                           VU 602

VBS Summary

Song: Love, Love, Love One Another

Compassion Video
Litany: Compassion: a litany evolving from Story & Faith
Words adapted from Luke 10:25-37 and A Song of Faith
One:  Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
All: In and with God,
we can direct our lives toward right relationship with each other and with God.
We can discover our place as one strand in the web of life.
One:  We can grow in wisdom and compassion.
We can recognize all people as kin.
We can accept our mortality and finitude, not as a curse, but as a challenge to make our lives and choices matter. Made in the image of God,
we yearn for the fulfillment that is life in God.
All:  “If you do this, you will live.”  If we do this, we will live.
One: Becoming bound and complacent in a web of false desires and wrong choices, we bring harm to ourselves and others.
All: A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead.

All: This brokenness in human life and community is an outcome of sin. Sin is not only personal but accumulates to become habitual and systemic forms of injustice, violence, and hatred.
One: Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
All: So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
One: We are all touched by this brokenness:
the rise of selfish individualism that erodes human solidarity;
the concentration of wealth and power without regard for the needs of all;

One:  the toxins of religious and ethnic bigotry;
the degradation of the blessedness of human bodies and human passions through sexual exploitation;
All:  the delusion of unchecked progress and limitless growth that threatens our home, the earth;
One: the covert despair that lulls many into numb complicity with empires and systems of domination.
All:  We sing lament and repentance.
One: Because along came a Samaritan.
All: When the Samaritan saw him, he was moved with pity.  He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
One: Yet evil does not—cannot—
undermine or overcome the love of God.
All:  God transforms, and calls us to protect the vulnerable, to pray for deliverance from evil, to work with God for the healing of the world, that all might have abundant life.
We sing of grace.
One: The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’
All:  The fullness of life includes moments of unexpected inspiration and courage lived out,
experiences of beauty, truth, and goodness, blessings of seeds and harvest, friendship and family,
One: intellect and sexuality, the reconciliation of persons through justice and communities living in righteousness, and the articulation of meaning.
All: Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?”
One: “The one who showed him mercy.”
All:  And so we sing of God the Spirit, who from the beginning has swept over the face of creation, animating all energy and matter and moving in the human heart.
One: “Go and do likewise.”

I’m Sorry Video

Minute for Mission
There are many ways to offer compassion to others.  I invite you to prayerfully consider how St. Luke’s can offer compassion to others.

Offering Invitation
There are many ways to offer compassion to others.  I invite you to prayerfully consider how St. Luke’s can offer compassion to others.

Offering

Offertory  When Hands Reach Out and Fingers Trace                  MV 136

Offering Prayer
May these gifts, those given through PAR and all of our time and talents become compassionate acts of Love. Amen.

Prayer Music:       In Loving Partnership We Come                       VU 603

Prayers of the People & Prayer of Jesus
During the Prayer of Jesus, you are invited to use the translation and language of your choice.  A variety of translations and expressions of the Prayer of Jesus (also known as The Lord’s Prayer) can be found in Voices United pages 921-927.

Commissioning and Benediction

Musical Blessing  Wherever You May Go                                       MV 216

July 24th, 2016

Links of Interest/Bibliography:

The Text This Week
Honest Prayer, Part 1
Spong on Prayer (Belief.net)
Did Jesus Teach Us to Pray the Lord’s Prayer? 
Rex Hunt Liturgies
Prayer of the Cosmic Christ (available on iTunes and Cd Baby)

Yeah, I was a little Spong heavy this week, but I like what the guy has to say.

I didn’t have a sermon this week, instead there was a three person panel interview.  I’ve included my responses (as best as I can remember them).

Worship Outline:
Hymn                     Open My Eyes                                      VU 371

Words of Welcome and Announcements
Centering & Lighting the Christ Candle & Love Candle

Hymn                     Dance With The Spirit                         MV 156
 Call to Worship
One: Come, join me in prayer.
All: We’ve come to worship.
One: Our worship is prayer.
All:  Our singing is prayer.
One: Our reflection is prayer.
All: Our listening is prayer.
One: Our acceptance is prayer.
All:  Our action is prayer.
One: Our lives are prayers, both asked and answered.  Come, join the prayer.

Opening Prayer
Source of unending Love,
May this be a time where words and actions come together to form a prayer more beautiful and powerful than we can possibly imagine. Amen.

Hymn                       Seek Ye First                         VU  356
A Handful of Prayer
Readings: Luke 11: 1-13
Prayer of the Cosmic Christ                                               rEvolve
Prayer Stories

Minute for Mission

Offering Invitation
There are many ways to pray.  One way is how you choose to spend your money.  I invite you to prayerfully consider your offering to St. Luke’s and the prayers that your offering can answer.

Offering

Offertory               It’s A Song of Praise                                            MV 30

Offering Prayer
May these gifts, those given through PAR and all of our time and talents become the answer to many prayers. Amen.

Prayer Music:                       And When You Call for Me                MV 96

Prayers of the People & Prayer of Jesus
During the Prayer of Jesus, you are invited to use the translation and language of your choice.  A variety of translations and expressions of the Prayer of Jesus (also known as The Lord’s Prayer) can be found in Voices United pages 921-927.

Commissioning and Benediction

Musical Blessing                  May We but Wait                                MV 175

Interview Questions with my responses:

1. What is your first memory of praying? (who taught you to pray?)
I don’t remember when I learned how to pray, but my baby book says that I had both “The Lord’s Prayer” and “Now I Lay Me” memorized at three years old.
2. How has your prayer life changed over the years?  (who has influenced your prayer life?)
Spong, the speaker in the video earlier, has probably influenced my prayer life most.  I was introduced to him in theology school.  The idea of prayer being a transformation and something concrete, felt better to me than simply paying lip-service and doing nothing to change the problem.  Yoga also changed my prayer life.  Facing my ego each time I step onto my mat is like a prayer of confession for me.
3. Who do you pray to and why? (Who is paying attention to your prayers?)
I don’t believe that God is like Santa, I don’t pray to God.  I pray to a deep sense of compassion in people.  I pray to myself, and I pray to you.  My ultimate goal when I pray isn’t necessarily that our prayers be answered, but that we become the answers to someone else’s prayer.
4.  If you could define “prayer” what would your definition be? (What is the difference between praying and hoping?)
Prayer is the opportunity for transformation.
Prayer is the opportunity to reflect on the self and discover a hidden call.
Prayer is the opportunity to hear the concerns of others and the opportunity to offer miracles.
5. What is your preferred way to pray? (how do you make time to pray?)
Since I don’t believe that God hears and answers each of my prayers, my preferred way to pray is through deep conversation, compassionate action and yoga.
6. Could you pray with us?
I led a few Sun Breaths.