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The Bridge

“There are times in life
when we are called to be bridges,
not a great monument spanning a distance
and carrying loads of heavy traffic
but a simple bridge
to help one person from here to there
over some difficulty
such as pain, fear, grief, loneliness,
a bridge which opens the way
for ongoing journey.

When I become a bridge for another,
I bring upon myself a blessing, for I escape
from the small prison of self
and exist for a wider world,
breaking out to be a larger being
who can enter another’s pain
and rejoice in another’s triumph.

I know of only one greater blessing
in this life, and that is
to allow someone else
to be a bridge for me.”

– Joy Cowley, Aotearoa Psalms

PEACE AND CONTENTMENT

I feel your abundant love
Flowing to me like the wings of a dove
I hear the sweet sounds of the river,
And feel it’s waters bathing my parched
And thirsty soul. Rejuvenating my body
mind and spirit!

What peace and contentment I find
Every moment I am with you!
Such beauty and comfort surrounds
You…oh what love you bestow
upon me and the awe of your divine
Presence! You are all I need for
Everything is in You Oh Lord!
You are Peace and Contentment!

– Peace and Contentment by Margaret C. Mullings

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12 Signs of Spiritual Awakening

Take your own 12-point pulse, to see if any of these are happening to you. If so, your spirit may be coming awake – so, hold on! This ride of your life is about to get really interesting!

•An increased tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen.
•Frequent attacks of smiling.
•Feelings of being connected with others and nature.
•Frequent overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
•A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experience.
•An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.
•A loss of ability to worry.
•A loss of interest in conflict.
•A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.
•A loss of interest in judging others.
•A loss of interest in judging self.
•Gaining the ability to love without expecting anything in return.
– source unknown

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Retreat 2010

The chatter of women
rise in laughter,
drop to near-whisper
in more private conversations.

Greetings spring across the hall–
joyous echoes as friends
welcome and are welcomed,
both old and new–
“one is silver and the other gold,”
as the childhood song goes.

Arms encircle,
holding each other close to our hearts.
His Love weaves lives together,
warp and weft entwined–
treasured.

Voices harmonize in worship,
song of sopranos and altos swirling upward–
like curls of incense rising to heaven,
seamlessly blending with the holy chorus
of the angels.
~ Susanne Barrett

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Beloved, let the fact of what our Lord suffered for you grip you, and you will never again be the same.

– Oliver B Greene

EASTER SWEETNESS

Easter Sweetness: A Poem
by Peter Menkin

To delight in the Paradise
of Easter; it is the Lord’s.
The Christ!
Alleluia!

Oh, speak in the night, a conversation
of the spirit, a complaint, a plea.
It is the Lord’s will, a renewal
For humankind. Celebrate in the fullness
of living.

Do so in the Church at prayer,
Meditating on the day, ones failings,
Surprises opening to God.
So one speaks, listens, waits
And lives in the knowledge of Easter,
Its seasonal presence. This divine gift.

So may we rest in thee, in aloneness.
We rest in thee, together our love in emotion and soul
binds us joyfully — thank you
for the morrow in the bringing
of the quickening spirit, a
millennium of blessings in color,
in shadow, in light, early morning.

There is God, our beloved
He calls us.

HOLY SATURDAY

Holy Saturday is that time between the certainty of yesterday and the unimaginable tomorrow. It is today. Today is where we live our lives. At some point in our life, we may have come to understand that today lies always between birth and death. Or does it? Once again, the Christian paradigm turns the world upside down.
As children, we relish every moment, every today. Life, for the most part, full of surprises and wonders. Each moment is new and the next is another adventure into possibility. As adults, we tend to anticipate the next moment while clinging to the last one. Today too easily slips away as we allow ourselves to dwell in our grief and our regret.

In grief, we want to stop time and hold onto what we lost. We do not want to step into the future alone. It is too much. In regret, we mire ourselves down with “if only’s” and perhaps, consciously or unconsciously, punish ourselves for what can never be changed. When we do this we miss the point, which is that today is filled with opportunity for change so that tomorrow can be different. Tomorrow can be a place of wonder and surprise.

To live each day as a kind of Holy Saturday is to relish each day as a child might. It is to leave yesterday behind and engage the present moment as possibility. Today is lived, not between birth and death, but between death and resurrection.

Holy Saturday is a reminder that the day after death is the day before resurrection. This day of reflection and remembering is ours as gift and promise.

May the joy and hope of Easter inform all your todays!

– Gayle MacDonald, minister at Humphrey Memorial United Church.

A BLUE ROSE

A Blue Rose

Having four visiting family members, my wife was very busy, so I offered to go to the store for her to get some needed items, which included light bulbs, paper towels, trash bags, detergent and Clorox. So off I went.

I scurried around the store, gathered up my goodies and headed for the checkout counter, only to be blocked in the narrow aisle by a young man who appeared to be about sixteen-years-old. I wasn’t in a hurry, so I patiently waited for the boy to realize that I was there. This was when he waved his hands excitedly in the air and declared in a loud voice, “Mommy, I’m over here.”

It was obvious now, he was mentally challenged and also startled as he turned and saw me standing so close to him, waiting to squeeze by. His eyes widened and surprise exploded on his face as I said, “Hey Buddy, what’s your name?”

“My name is Denny and I’m shopping with my mother,” he responded proudly.

“Wow,” I said, “that’s a cool name; I wish my name was Denny, but my name is Steve.”

“Steve, like Stevarino?” he asked. “Yes,” I answered. “How old are you Denny?”

“How old am I now, Mommy?” he asked his mother as she slowly came over from the next aisle.

“You’re fifteen-years-old Denny; now be a good boy and let the man pass by.”

I acknowledged her and continued to talk to Denny for several more minutes about summer, bicycles and school. I watched his brown eyes dance with excitement, because he was the center of someone’s attention. He then abruptly turned and headed toward the toy section.

Denny’s mom had a puzzled look on her face and thanked me for taking the time to talk with her son. She told me that most people wouldn’t even look at him, much less talk to him.

I told her that it was my pleasure and then I said something I have no idea where it came from, other than by the prompting of the Holy Spirit. I told her that there are plenty of red, yellow, and pink roses in God’s Garden; however, “Blue Roses” are very rare and should be appreciated for their beauty and distinctiveness. You see, Denny is a Blue Rose and if someone doesn’t stop and smell that rose with their heart and touch that rose with their kindness, then they’ve missed a blessing from God.

She was silent for a second, then with a tear in her eye she asked, “Who are you?”

Without thinking I said, “Oh, I’m probably just a dandelion, but I sure love living in God’s garden.”

She reached out, squeezed my hand and said, “God bless you!” and then I had tears in my eyes.

May I suggest, the next time you see a BLUE ROSE, don’t turn your head and walk off. Take the time to smile and say Hello. Why? Because, by the grace of GOD, this mother or father could be you. This could be your child, grandchild, niece or nephew. What a difference a moment can mean to that person or their family.

From an old dandelion! Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

“People will forget what you said, People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel!” ANON.

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We have gotten so used to the ultimate Christian fact–Jesus naked, stripped, crucified and risen–that we no longer see it for what it is: a summons to strip ourselves of earthly cares and worldly wisdom, all desire for human praise, greediness for any kind of comfort; a readiness to stand up and be counted as peacemakers in a violent world; a willingness to let go of those pretenses that would have us believe that we really aren’t worldly. Even the last rag we cling to–the self-flattery that suggests we are being humble when we disclaim any resemblance to Jesus Christ–even that rag has to go when we stand face to face with the crucified Lord.

– Brennan Manning

QUIET TIME

We need quiet time in the presence of God. Although we want to make all our time time for God, we will never succeed if we do not reserve a minute, an hour, a morning, a day, a week, a month, or whatever period of time, for God and God alone.

This asks for much discipline and risk taking because we always seem to have something more urgent to do and “just sitting there” and “doing nothing” often disturbs us more than it helps. But there is no way around this. Being useless and silent in the presence of our God belongs to the core of all prayer.

In the beginning we often hear our own unruly inner noises more loudly than God’s voice. This is at times very hard to tolerate. But slowly, very slowly, we discover that the silent time makes us quiet and deepens our awareness of ourselves and God.

Then, very soon, we start missing these moments when we are deprived of them, and before we are fully aware of it an inner momentum has developed that draws us more and more into silence and closer to that still point where God speaks to us.

– Henri Nouwen