Each week on Thursday, Valerie sends an email to our entire congregation (or at least to those who've provided their email addresses) as a way of keeping in touch between Sundays. This email is often a newletter of sorts, telling us what's going on in upcoming Sundays, letting us know who is need of our prayers and support through difficult times, keeping us up to date on our sponsored refugee family's situation, and other congregational news. Or it might be a call to offer up our talents toward various ministries, such as youth group, prayer shawls, funerals, music, etc. Recently she invited us to "give some prayerful consideration to what your gifts are and if, in fact, you are being called by God". She wrote: "I do not yet know your name but I do know God is calling – Do you not hear?"
Other weeks, her emails are reminders to "take the time to experience the presence of God in the people around you and the places you find yourselves in. In the darker moments and in those times of complete joy, God is there and we are indeed blessed."
But today, her email included a reflection on our coastal drive, which I wrote about myself yesterday, so I want to share it with you in full...
Rev. Valerie's "Thursday Thoughts" this week:
"Blessings one and all
This week I had the great joy of making a pilgrimage to the Ocean with a friend. It was a beautiful drive, filled with interesting stops and lots of story telling. When we arrived at the ocean the wind was blowing hard but the sun was shining. As we stood on the cliffs I was struck by the awesome beauty and vast expanse of what lay before us. I wondered, as I watched the waves crash against the rocks, how something so fierce and potentially dangerous could, at the same time, be so calming and peace filled. Then I remembered a story that I heard recently -
Two artists were asked to paint their conception of peace. One came up with the picture of a quiet lake, nestled deep among tall trees, with the light of the moon on its placid surface. The other painted the rugged, fearsome Niagara Falls on a windy day, with the spray flying in all directions, and a small, knarled tree bent over the raging waters. On an extended limb of the tree was a little bird, singing its song from its precarious perch.
The second artist's concept of peace is the only kind of peace a follower of Jesus can ever know. it is not tranquility, or detachment from this troubled world, but an inner sense of stability and repose, in the very midst of life's tensions and trials. That is the only kind of peace Christ can convey because it is the only kind he himself ever possessed.
May we all know such peace that enables us to face life head on with our feet firmly planted.
I trust that those of you who made your way to cottages and camping last weekend had a restful time and I look forward to seeing you this Sunday.