Blog Post for March 4
Good morning everyone,
Everyone is invited for breakfast on Sunday at 10:00. The bulletin said, “Breakfast includes blueberry French toast casserole with cinnamon chunky apples and/or maple syrup, sausage, juice, muffins, yogurt, tea and coffee.” What a morning it will be.
In the Old Testament, one of the most important rituals is the passover meal. It reminds the Jewish people of how God redeemed them out of Egypt. There is matzos, bitter herbs and veggies. Religious Jews re-live this once a week, on Fridays.
Mennonites celebrate communion, remembering the last meal Jesus had with disciples, but never every week. Here at Floradale we do it twice a year. We do it to remind us of the sacrifice of Jesus. We share the bread and cup to remember. What do you remember when you take the elements?
Please come to our Good Friday communion service to renew our faith and come closer to God.
Please come Sunday to renew our commitment to each other. We all love to eat, and it will be a great breakfast. Let us treat it as a communion breakfast and recommit ourselves to God and to each other. The banquet begins.
My heart is open to you
Please come and sit in my heart.
Ponder Anew – February 26
Good morning everyone,
What is your deepest desire in your relationship with God? The people who guide other people in their spiritual path or journey, will often ask a question like this. We are all at some place in our lifetime with God. At times, we are in a good space with God. We know that God loves us, and we feel that love through the Word or through creation. We are at peace with our job, our life, our marriage and with God. It is a wonderful comforting place to be. We are at a place where we can pray to God, with thanksgiving and celebration, and joy.
Then, there are the other times in our lives, where we pray, when God seems to be absent. We have sinned, and we cannot feel that God has forgiven us. We might be afraid that God does not care, or is even angry with us. They might be things that happen without cause. It is what life is all about. We might do good works to try to find God. We might pray with the Bible to find God again, for the first time. We might go to Cuba or Toronto to find rest in God. Where do you usually go, after you have lost God, in order to re-orient yourself to the Divine?
Psalm 13 says,
“How long, O Lord?
Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
But I trust in your unfailing love
My heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
For he has been good to me.”
What happens with those ….. in your life, where we go from despair to hopefulness in God?
May we all find God in extraordinary ways as we walk toward Jerusalem and the cross.
Shalom and strength.
Ponder Anew – Feb 19th
The gospel is the hospitality of God. God invites us into the house, and wants us to sit down and enjoy a meal. I believe that God will welcome us at all times to the banquet that is always being prepared and served.
We got a glimpse of this when we went to the Creperie restaurant in Elora. On Tuesdays it is Acoustic night. Many women and men arrive to sing for three or four hours. Some have music while others play without notes. Many of the musicians also sing. They all come to enjoy the music and each other. It is great hospitality to each other.
The host of the evening is the owner of the place. He is engaging and very welcoming. He has offered us a different juice to try… and has also given us truffles at the end of the evening. We can stay the whole evening, although we play no instrument. We are welcome to just be there… just like God offers a place at the banquet table. Just come and enjoy the presence of God.
Shalom and strength for life and faith.
Ponder Anew – Feb 12
Good morning everyone,
“Fear not for I have redeemed you.
I have called you by name
You are mine. ” Isaiah 43:1-2
This is my verse to and from God until Easter Sunday.
Life is very hard sometimes. Recently Bell Canada had its annual mental health focus called, “Let’s Talk”. We understand that many of us struggle with depression and anxiety, and other sorts of pressures. And especially during these dark days of winter when we cannot get outside or there is little sunshine, it is more difficult to stay on top of things, work and events.
Let us be more compassionate with each other. We may not know what each of us is struggling with in our own lives. We can carry our emotional crosses together. May God be with us in new ways during our walk to the cross and resurrection of Easter.
We need healing and hope
When we are not doing so well.
We ask for your loving presence
Today and tomorrow.
We do not want to fear.
We want to love.
And be loved. AMEN.
Shalom and strength for your journey of life and faith.
Ponder Anew – Feb 5
Good morning everyone,
As you know, I spent the last eight days in silence. With all that is going on in my life, I thought this might be a good event again. I have done about 6 of them, each of five to eight days. Although, it was good to spend time in prayer and with the Bible, I think I needed people, instead of silence. Did I really say that ? Yes, I think I would have benefited from talking with people (especially my wife) as I thought of what is ahead for us.
God still had some things to say:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name.” from Isaiah 43 was a text that I lived with for three days. It will be my verse for Lent this year. I realized I fear many things, and so God’s voice through Isaiah, said to me that I need to put all of those fears before God for redemption.
A second verse given to me by my director, Dan Leckman, was from Matthew 11. “My yoke is easy and my burden is light”. These are the words of Jesus to his disciples. Following Jesus can be easy and light, if we can give him all the tough stuff.
Finally, on Thursday morning, as the retreat was ending, the Beatitudes from Matthew 5, spoke to me that I am a blessed child of God. I needed this kind of reassurance as I live into the future.
Thank you for the eight days with you,
Even if I did not always appreciate the difficulties,
on this journey.
Continue to speak to me
as I put my trust, and not fear
Shalom and strength for the journey,
Ponder Anew – Jan 22nd
God called Moses from within the bush, “Moses, Moses.” And Moses said, “Here I am.” God said, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Exodus 3:4-6
I did my first multi-day silent retreat about ten years ago at Loyola House in Guelph. I was first introduced to the ministry in Guelph by an Old Order Mennonite. Really! That is what happened.
Each time I go it is a different experience with God and with the people there. The food is very good, and the rooms and beds are fine. So, I do not go there to suffer physically. I believe that they provide a safe and healthy environment so that I can focus on my relationship with God.
Sometimes I need to address sin in my life. At other times I have found it hard to sense God. The week gets long for me. It can be a tough journey.
What am I looking for this time? I am not sure. My future is uncertain. Maybe it can be a time to celebrate my 25 years with Floradale. To see how God has been with us over this time. I will pray for you and I would ask that you would pray for me. I begin the retreat on Wednesday.
Shalom and strength for our journeys of life and faith.
Ponder Anew – Jan 15th
Good morning everyone,
Yesterday, I met the son of my high school basketball coach. Allan McDougall coaches the senior boy’s basketball team for Jacob Hespeler Secondary School in Cambridge. I had met Allan about nine years ago when I coached the the junior boy’s team at EDSS. I was at a game yesterday where Ryan Bauman was playing the Jacob Hespeler team at EDSS.
I re-introduced myself to Allan, and told him who I was. He said to me that his dad is now 75 and still lives in the same house in Niagara-on-the-Lake. I told him that I remember when Allan used to sit on our bench, next to his dad, when he was 8 eight years old. Allen went on to win a Canadian championship while playing at Brock University. He was a very good player.
Allen told me what a great childhood he had had, and included the memory of sitting with our high school team on the same bench. He became a much better player than any of us ever were. He also told me that it was a great honour to play for his dad. His dad was a good coach, and history teacher, and a mentor to me.
It was so nice to hear Allen say that he was so appreciative of the great life and community that he was a part of growing up. Such a positive guy.
I invite us to think of the many positive things of our community and church that we call home. Do not dwell on the negative, but focus on the strengths of each other and the presence of God. Do not put others down… build up everybody as it applies to you.
Shalom and strength for the journey of life and faith.
Ponder Anew – Jan 8th
Our Church Council Chair Rick Martin challenged us on Sunday to read through the whole Bible in 2016. We were a little bit behind, so we are to read Genesis 1-26 and the first nine chapters of Matthew. Normally we should read about three chapters from the Old Testament and one chapter from the New Testament every day.
What did you see (or hear if you read out loud)? Both sets of chapters are stories, so I find them easier to read. In both Genesis and Matthew there are genealogies, lists of family. As you read them did you stop to think about who they were in the sacred story? In Matthew, the writer mentions Rahab, Ruth, Tamar and Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba. It is out of the ordinary that women would find their names in a history of Israel.
What did you see? There are two stories of the creation of male and female, both in Genesis 2. We can find other interesting things that the Bible says and does not say. But, what does it do for your spirit and soul to read such stories? When you open the Bible to the Psalms, to the prophets and to the words of Jesus, what are you looking for, for your soul?
We need to read the Book because it is fundamental for our faith. We need to be able to argue about it. We need to be honest about what we do not understand. Blessings to all of us, as we read the Book together in 2016.
Shalom and strength for the journey of faith and life,