Psych!! I lied...I didn't get my picture in the paper at all.
(Well I did once when I was four or five, but that's got nothing to do with this post...although if that old newprint will scan halfways decently, I will post that photo one of these days - it's of me and my (at the time) best friend Joel standing in front of some flowering tree. We were very pleased with ourselves for making the big times, I can tell you! :) I don't remember why we warranted a photo in the provincial newspaper, though...maybe we were just such an adorable "couple" the photographer couldn't resist! lol)
But I got that same kind of feeling when I read Valerie's latest weekly email to our congregation. I felt the thrill of "hey, that's me she's talking about!", and also the warmth we all feel when a friend sees something in us that we do not see ourselves. I am sharing her email, and my reaction, with you because of a recent comment from Annie about how we "are so embarassed by our "icky stuff" that we hide the good stuff too". Annie's words have strengthened my resolve to celebrate my own good stuff and not always brush off words of praise thinking I don't deserve them. Like saying to Valerie how humbled I was that she saw such depth in my feeble attempts to share my faith...when I mentioned this to my mother, Mom said "Feeble? I don't think so!" I must keep in mind something I myself wrote not so very long ago, that we can more easily share our gifts if we acknowledge that we have something worth sharing in the first place. And sharing can also clear up minor misunderstandings...when sharing Valerie's words with Dave, I added that it makes me a bit sad that I can't share my faith journey with him and that he doesn't even read my blog...I've been thinking that he wasn't interested, but as it turns out, the truth is that I'd never thought to tell him the web address so he thought I didn't want him reading it. Oops! He has the address now...so I shall expect the appearance of the odd comment from him from time to time. :)
Here is Valerie's email (I've bolded the lines that touched me)...
Sent: Friday, August 22, 2008 11:42 AM
To: 'St. John's United Church'
Subject: Thursday Thoughts
Greetings and shalom to you
I am, at the moment, sitting at a desk in a residence room at Mount Allison University. It has been my privilege to be a guest these last couple of days at the Convention of Atlantic Baptist Churches. As guest I have been invited to sit with them through their business meetings and join with them in praise and worship (boy, do they know how to worship!) In this process I have come to see, once again, that though we are different in how we share our faith and in the policies we adhere to we have much in common and that is something to celebrate! The speaker this evening talked about “faith and work”. A Business man himself he shared how he has tried to live out his faith in the places he works and reminded those present that in fact the gospel call is to be in the world not separate from it. I found myself saying “ ministry of presence” and thinking about how successful we are at doing that. And then I thought about my friend Anne who has, over the last little while, shared with me snippits of conversations she has had with fellow workers and friends about her church and about faith in general. Conversations that reveal deep spiritual seeking and openness to share. If only we could do that more often what opportunities for learning and growing and dialogue which could lead almost anywhere!
There are a few things that need to be highlighted this coming week:
Monday 7pm - meeting of Worship and Praise in the chapel
Tuesday 7pm - first gathering of music team for the early morning worship. Remember that there is always room for more so come along and find out what its all about!
Wednesday 7pm - Finance and Stewardship in the chapel
There were many of you who responded to my request to start a prayer shawl ministry and I trust that you have already begun to create those wonderful gifts of comfort. The first dedication will take place during worship the first Sunday of October. Shawls can be dropped off at the church as they are completed and I will have tags ready to be put on.
We are still searching for one or two youth group leaders. I ask again that you give some thought and prayer to this request. If you find God calling you but would like to have some conversation about that please give me a call.
PS It is no doubt obvious to you that this is Friday. Just got back to the office and am sending this out shortly. However, God works in mysterious ways and I wasn’t meant to send this until now. Just got off the phone with Ruth, the secretary of council and I guess we have had a little mix up. Apparently, in our wisdom we scheduled a council meeting for this coming Monday night. I, however, did not write it in my book so have told some of you already that there isn’t one. As it turns out, Brian our Chair and Ruth are both going to be away so if you are on council There is no meeting this month. Our next meeting will be September 29th.