Connecting with the Spirit of God is like falling in love. You have to create space in your life for it to happen.
You will experience the holy in your own unique way. There is no magic recipe to make it happen. You don’t need to be part of a church, mosque or synagogue. You don’t have to believe in a particular dogma. You just need to be open.
Here are eleven ways to help you create space for the spirit of God in your life:
1. Choose a form of meditation that works for you:
I am using the term meditation in its broadest sense. It is any spiritual practice that can help you to quiet the mind.
Prayer is a form of meditation. When you pray you become open to the wisdom of God through listening with all your senses.
With intention, we can turn many life-giving activities into meditation. What do you enjoy doing? Do you love to work with the soil? Do you like to create things with your hands?
Today there are apps out there to help you meditate. The App I like the best is called “Insight Timer” which is available at The App Store or Google Play.
One of my favorite types of meditation is called Centering Prayer. First, you choose a focus word. Just be silent for a few moments and see what word comes to your mind.
Start with a few minutes gradually increasing the length of your meditations to between thirty and sixty minutes every day.
Just allow your thoughts to pass through your head and when you start to focus on an idea go back to your focus word to bring yourself back to the present.
Over time you will look forward to your daily practice and notice the difference when you miss a meditation.
There are many forms of meditation that include chanting, yoga, mindfulness, circle dances and more.
Learning to meditate takes practice. The more you do it, the easier it will be.
There is no telling when you will experience those holy moments with God. But the more you practice, the more likely you are to notice the sacred moments that happen every day.
Learning to meditate is all about quieting your mind. Learning to meditate is all about becoming freed up to notice the wisdom you have been given through your body, heart, and mind.
You are not only to practice meditating but to improve your observation skills. Spirit is sharing wisdom with you every day. As you strengthen your ability to notice what is going on within you and around you, you will be rewarded with a depth of spiritual wisdom that will change your life.
Journaling is a great way to observe and name what is going on in your daily life. If you don’t like writing you could do an audio journal recording it on your smartphone.
Take time every day to name what you are learning through the sensations of your body, your emotions, and your thoughts. Write this down whether that be in prose, poetry and/or drawings.
Give yourself time to fully experience the ups and downs of your day to day life.
Honor whatever you come up with. It is all good!
4. Listen to the feelings of your body:
Your body is full of wisdom. The spirit of God often communicates with you through the sensations of your body.
In the beginning, these sensations may feel intense and overwhelming. But the good news is that the more you can be with these feelings the less power they have over you.
Often when trauma is not treated, the energy will get stuck in your body. So every time you get stressed out this physical memory gets activated. But the more you can be with your feelings and release those old memories you become more open to the present.
As you live more and more in the moment, the spirit of God will be able to better communicate with you through your body. God working through your body will help you know if you are on the right path.
When your body is entirely online, you will inwardly know how you need to live your life. You will know without any effort.
5. Checkin with your heart every day:
The spirit of God is within your heart. Meditation and journaling help you to get in touch with your heart. It is a beautiful and vulnerable place.
Are you aware of your emotions? Meditation will help you to name what you are experiencing whether that be sadness or joy.
Meditation will help you see the difference between what you think you feel as compared to what you are experiencing in your heart.
Meditation will unlock in you the truth of the heart. This is God’s desire for you to reflect the love of God back to those you meet every day.
Your own heart connects with the heart of God. Your heart in alignment with God will show you how to live in the world. It will show you where you need to share God’s divine love in helping to build up a world where all can live with joy, hope, respect and good health.
6. Pay attention to your intuition:
You have your intuition. Intuition is that inner knowing of something you need to do. You might think of a friend or family member and know you need to call them. Then you call them, and you discover it was important.
Your intuition might tell you that you need to leave your job. It knows that your job is hurting you and your family. You leave your job and find a happier life.
Your intuition comes from your body wisdom that is able to notice problems well before our mind becomes aware of it. It will know that there is something or someone better out in the world for you.
God speaks to us through our intuition. The more you are present to the moment the more you are attuned to the many subtle ways that God informs your choices.
With practice and experience, you will become more aware of whom is speaking to you. You will notice the difference between your ego speaking and God.
7. Act out of faith:
This is where faith comes in. Your inner-critic will try hard to stop you. It will come up with all sorts of excuses. The inner-critic likes the devil it knows better than the devil it doesn’t know.
The inner-critic wants you to be safe. This was important when you were a child, but now an adult, you are capable of making your own choices; choices that are congruent with your emotional, physical, and spiritual well being.
With practice, you will be able to quiet your inner-critic. As it calms, you will get more and more hungry to risk doing God’s work. Tasks that you once thought you were incapable of doing become possible. Actions that frightened you no longer overwhelm you.
There comes the point where you need to make it happen. It doesn’t have to happen all at once. But take a step forward declaring to the universe that you are ready to make changes in your life.
Listening to your inner wisdom, the spirit of God, you will find a joy in your life that you never dreamed of was possible.
8. Live in the Moment:
As move into faithful living meditation will help you to live in the moment. Too much of your life you have probably spent too much time living in the past or future.
With practice, you will be able to focus your attention on the moment with access to all your internal wisdom. This gives you all the tools you need to make any choice in life no matter how small or significant.
As your life gets busy again, you may be tempted to let go of your daily meditation. You will notice a difference if you give up your spiritual practice. Daily meditation is crucial to staying in touch with the spirit of God.
You will find that you will have a lot more energy when you are living in the moment. You don’t get caught in unnecessary worry. You don’t fear for the future.
The decisions you need to make become clear because you inwardly know what is in your highest interest as an individual and as a community.
9. Find a community to encourage, support and hold you accountable:
If you are part of a church, mosque, synagogue or temple, you already have a built-in community.
As humans, we are not meant to be alone. You have been given unique gifts to share in the world. We need each other to bring out the best in each of us.
The spirit of God’s wisdom is often revealed where at least two or three people gather. We can help each other to see truths that, maybe, we can not see ourselves.
Each of us reveals the face, heart, and mind of God to each other. We become mirrors of the divine for ourselves and the world we live in.
10.Take care of your Self:
Daily meditation helps you to make room to take care of your physical, emotional, spiritual and intellectual needs.
Taking care of all your needs frees the spirit to work with you. When you have a healthy mind, body, and heart, there is little to get in the way of your relationship with the holy.
11.Manifest the spirit of God in your daily life:
Your body is your spiritual home! When you take care of your body, it becomes a welcome place for the spirit of God to reside.
When the spirit of God lives within us, God will become manifest in all you do.
Practising daily meditation has the potential to help you connect with the spirit of God.
People who meet you will notice it in how you treat other people. People will see it in how you care for others. People will see it in how you care for the earth.
You will experience the holy within you and around you. There will be a joy in your heart that will carry through the many challenges you will face.
With practice, meditation helps us to live intimately with God. When you live intimately with God, everything we do becomes a reflection of God’s love for all of creation.
When you are rooted in God, you naturally help to bring out the best in each other. Be that best for yourself and all you meet.
Roland Legge offers life/executive coaching through REL Consultants for individuals, and organizations to help them to be the best they can be. For more information, please arrange for a free 30-minute discovery call by phoning Roland at 1 306 620-7478 or book your appointment online Please click on “Discovery Call.”
Originally post at REL Consultants Blog
How many times have you asked yourself what is my purpose in this world? There are hundreds of books out there telling you how to do it. How many books have you read? No matter how much you have read, you must determine your process to find the direction for your life. Here is what nobody tells you about finding your purpose.
Discover Your Process
There is a fantastic tool called the Enneagram that can help you to find your path in life.
What is the Enneagram?
Have you heard of the Enneagram? It has changed my life. It can change yours. Working with the Enneagram provides a process for you to find your calling in life. How can it help you?
It helps you to become as present as you can be in the three centers (Head, Heart, and Body). Your job is to become self-aware and open. A good place to start is to name your energy center and to find out what type you are.
This psychological/spiritual teaching suggests that at the beginning of your life your inner-self chooses one of nine different ways to survive in the world which connect to one of three energy centers: Body, Heart, and Mind. For more information on these three power centers and nine types, please go to the Enneagram Institutes website:
At the beginning of life, connected to your body, heart, and mind, everything was in harmony. As you mature, the energy centers get distorted. Blinding you from fully experiencing the world as it is.
No Enneagram Type is Better than Another
No one Enneagram type is better than another. Each personality has its positive and negative attributes. In fact, your goal is to get as healthy as you can in all nine. You are much more than your personality.
If you are in the head center, like me, you may have far too much going on in your brain. Do you have constant conversations going on in your head? Do you worry more about the past and future than you focus on the present? On the positive side, you bring the gift of wisdom to the world.
If you are in the heart center, you might be more concerned with the needs of others than your own needs. If you want to care for others, you need to care for yourself. How good are you at taking care of yourself? On the positive side, you have the gift of knowing what others need, and if you pay attention, you also have the gift to know what you need.
If you are in the body center, you have a big heart but are fearful to show it. Once people get to know you, they will find you are one of the most compassionate people they have met. You have the gift of intuition which helps you to make wise decisions for yourself and your communities.
Finding Your Purpose
Finding your purpose is all about opening your three energy centers, the body, heart, and head. Discovering your Enneagram type gives you a tool to help you to get healthier through becoming more present.
You Are Amazing
You have an amazing body. How much have you learned from the sensations of your body? Take a moment right now to discern what is happening in your body. Are your muscles relaxed? What feelings are you experiencing in your body? What is your intuition telling you? Your body will let you know if you are in sink with your purpose.
You have a beautiful heart. How comfortable are you with your emotions? Take a moment to notice what is going on in your heart. Are you happy, in love, angry, frustrated, irritable? If you pay attention to your emotions, they will tell you much about what you need and give insight into building healthy relationships.
You have a brilliant mind. The struggle for many of us is that our mind gets too active. Your mind is at its best when the inner-conversation is quiet. If you learn what is important to you in life, you will know what you need to do in each moment.
When you are grounded in your body, open to your heart and a quiet mind you are at your best. You will know what your purpose is. It will be self-evident.
You Have What it Takes
Finding your purpose is not something you can force. What nobody tells you about finding your purpose is that it comes from becoming attuned to your three energy centers. It is not easy work unlearning old habits. But the rewards are more than worth it. The more present you can be for yourself the clearer the direction will be for your journey through life.
Roland Legge offers presence based life coaching through REL Consultants for individuals, couples, and organizations to help them to be the best they can be. For more information, please arrange for a free 30-minute discovery call by phoning Roland at 1 306 620-7478 or book your appointment online Please click on “Discovery Call.”
This Article was first published at REL Consultants https://www.relconsultants.com/live-your-best-life-now-blog/finding-purpose
Finding the Truth Within You
Are you feeling alone in the world? When you are amid feelings of despair it can be hard to see your way out. The good news is that there is a way out of hopelessness. Often the answer is right within you. I want to help you to discover the wisdom and strength that is within you. This is what it means to connect with God.
Reconnecting with Source
How many books have you read that promised you peace of mind and happiness and it didn’t help? The problem is that these self-help books are what someone else needs. Not what you need. I invite you to check out that place within you, that knows you best.
As you connect with Spirit, the darkness will gradually begin to fade as you become open to the wisdom of your body, emotions, and mind. It takes time and practice to become present enough to stay aware of the wisdom that comes from your three body centers. But every time you become a little more present it makes a positive difference in your life.
Your body, heart, and mind have been trying to communicate with you since the day you were born. What have you learned from your gut, heart and quiet mind? You have probably had gut feelings leading you in a certain direction. You have most likely felt love. When have you experienced intuition? If you have experienced any of these you are already connecting with spirit!
Listening to your internal source will shine the light on your life. The light will reveal what you need to hold on to and what needs to change.
Your process will be unique to you. Learning to love and honor yourself is a long-term process. The light within you will reveal sensitive places in your psyche that you have been repressed for years. It will be months and possibly years of healing to overcome the pain you experience. Yet, with practice, these parts of ourselves will become lighter and healthier.
Quieting Your Mind Down
Getting in touch with your inner self-sounds great but how do you do it? A good place to start is to quiet the mind. Here is what you can do:
- Practice some form of meditation gradually adding to the length of it as you gain confidence.
- Sit and be quiet or go for a walk in a quiet place.
- When a thought comes to your mind just acknowledge it and let it go.
- Do something you love such as gardening that does not require a lot of thinking.
- Often deep intentional breathing can help to settle your mind down.
Find a Practice to Help You to Go Deeper into Yourself
There is no one way to get in touch with your inner self. Each of the great religions has practices to help this to happen. If you are part of a church, synagogue, mosque or temple check to see what they can offer you.
If you are a Christian, you might like to check out Centering Prayer. It is a simple practice to get in touch with the Holy within ourselves through saying quietly to yourself a simple mantra to release your mind from being in the past or future. If you are interested, check out this website from Contemplative Outreach http://www.contemplativeoutreach.org).
Learning yoga is one way to get in touch with your inner spirit through breath and bodywork. This is has come out of some of the Eastern Spiritual movements but is not considered a religion. You will find yoga studios in most towns and cities.
Mindfulness and Meditation use breath work to connect with what is going on inside yourself. Using guided meditations can be helpful if you struggle with quieting your mind. There are some great apps available in the App Store and Google Play. One I use is called “Insight Timer” and it available at both App stores.
Check out what is available in your own community. There are many groups to choose from whether you consider yourself religious, spiritual, or secular. You are more likely to make these changes in your life if you do it with others. When you do this in the community you have people to support you and hold you accountable.
Going on The Journey
Enjoy the journey as you learn for yourself what it means to connect with internal source. What it means to connect with God, Spirit or Oneness. Remember the answer is no further than yourself.
Life is full of challenges. You know how easy it is to get caught up in hopelessness and despair. But once you begin the journey to wholeness there is no turning back. While this journey is never easy, it is a journey worth taking.
You have all you need! Go forth and live it!
Roland Legge offers coaching through REL Consultants for individuals, couples, families, and executives to help them to be the best they can be. For more information, please arrange for a free 30-minute discovery call by phoning Roland at 1 (306) 620-7478 or you can email Roland at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was first published on REL Consultants https://www.relconsultants.com
Getting out of an unhealthy Relationship
Are you in a relationship you need to get out of? What is preventing you from leaving? Is it more about what others will think of you if you leave. Is it about the money? Is it about the wellbeing of your children?
Family and Friends
Have you considered that your close friends and family maybe wondering why you are still stuck in this unhappy relationship? They might even be willing to help you in your time of transition. People who love you want the best for you.
Relationships are not supposed to End
Most of us come into relationships expecting them to be life long. Relationships come to an end for many reasons. Sometimes we choose our partner out of desperation to feel normal and not alone. Other times we don’t invest enough time together in our relationship that one day we wake up and don’t know the other person.
Learning along the Journey
There are times when one person in the couple grows in self awareness while the other in the relationship stays stuck. One might be happy with the status quo but the other is not happy and wants change. No one can be forced to change. We can only invite.
Children are Impacted
If you are staying in the relationship to protect your children this is not a good reason. Children are very sensitive and will notice the conflict between you and your partner no matter how hard you try to hide it. Your kids will be much happier if they have two happier parents living apart.
I would never end a Relationship!
You may be like me, who never dreamed they would be the one to end the relationship. But often it is the one who is seeking change is the one who needs to take the initiative to ether seek help or begin the process to end the relationship. Your partner might be angry with you at the time, but in the end, they may even thank you. Destructive relationships are not good for anyone.
Breakup are never Easy
Even in the best of breakups they are never easy. If you can work through issues with a mediator this is much better than fighting in court. Working this out together cooperatively will be a win win for all.
Life is Precious
Our lives are too short to not enjoy what we have been given. What makes you shine? What do you love to do? What brings a smile to your face. Who are the people you really want in your life? So now might be a good time in your life to invest time and money into helping you to find greater joy, harmony and purpose in life.
You are Loved
I was amazed by all the support I got from friends and family when I ended my first marriage. I discovered who my true friends were. I was showered was love. It didn’t take my pain away but it sure made it much easier to move on.
You are not Alone
Remember you are not alone! We are all here on this planet to support and encourage each other. No person can to do it all alone. There is no shame in asking for help from a friend, a family member or a professional. This is more a sign of strength than weakness.
Learn from your Mistakes
I asked myself what I needed to learn from the breakup of my first marriage. Who would want to repeat the same mistakes again? This takes some deep soul searching. It can feel scary to go within but it is the only way to get beyond that which is holding us back from living the best lives we can. Each of us needs to take responsibility for our part in the relationship.
Would you rather smile or Frown?
You are likely angry at your spouse. Probably with good reason. But holding on this is not in your best interest. It takes a lot of energy to stay angry. Here is something to try. Frown for a moment and notice all the muscles you use and how it feels and compare it with it how it feels to smile. I would rather smile.
Forgiveness is about Liberation
Forgiveness is not about saying to your spouse it is okay how you have hurt me. It is not about forgetting what they did to you. It is about getting to place where those memories no longer trigger you and/or negatively impact future relationships.
Give yourself the Gift of Self Reflection
The best gift you can give yourself is time to slow down and really notice what is going on inside your body, emotions and thoughts. Avoiding these will only make them come back stronger at a time you least expect.
As you go through your breakup take time to focus on your own needs. Go get a massage, they are a great way to connect to our body and it feels so good after the treatment. Spend time with friends and family you enjoy being with. Try some form of meditation to quiet your mind. This might be doing something you love such as walking, running, gardening, ceramics, painting or whatever delights you.
You are Worth It
Most of all as you move through this time of transition into a happier life do not be afraid to seek help. Whether it be a friend, family member, spiritual leader or professional there are people who want to help you.
You are worth it! Go and make the best of your life! You have many cheering you on.
Roland Legge offers coaching through REL Consultants for individuals, couples, families and executives to help them to be the best they can be. For more information please arrange for a free 30-minute discovery call by phoning Roland at 1 306 620-7478 or you can email Roland at email@example.com .
Wholeness and Relationship
Have you ever referred to your partner as your better half? Does this accurately describe who you are? It does not describe me. You know you are not half a person! You are a whole human being. When two people come together it takes two whole people to make a healthy relationship. Sadly, two many of do not bring our whole selves to our relationship because we are not aware of what we are capable of being. In this article, I seek to explore three ways to get in touch with our best self.
Wisdom of the Body
Your body is full of wisdom. One way you can learn more about yourself and world is through paying attention to your body. You have most likely experienced a gut feeling about something happening or about to happen in your life. Your body will let you know about whether a path in life is the best for you. If you are not sure slow down and take some time to ground yourself through some form of meditation that will quiet your mind, open your heart and help you to focus on your body.
You might a feel muscles tightening up in your gut, chest, throat or hands. Each of us have certain parts of our body that are more susceptible to stress in our life. What is that for you? Maybe your shoulders feel like they are trying to hold up the world. Take a deep breath, breathing into the parts of your body that are feeling uncomfortable and as you blow out notice the stress leaving your body.
It feels like I am going crazy
I know this can feel overwhelming at first because of sensations, emotions and thought that have been repressed for years. It might even feel like you are going crazy but I assure you, you are not! Try to be gentle with yourself. Allowing and accepting these intense sensations, emotion and thoughts takes time. The only way is to go through it. Just remember it is best to not do this alone. Find a close friend, family member or professional you can be honest with.
Over time you will get to know the difference between what you are frightened of trying and that which is not in your highest interest. Have you experienced times in your life when you felt ready to try something new in your life and yet feel a little scared? I have had those times and yet somehow, I new that what I was choosing to do whether that be school, a new job or a new relationship that it was in my best interest. I have also experienced times when my body has made it clear that I need to avoid a particular, path. I do well when I pay attention to my body.
Make a practice of daily of checking in with your body to discover what wisdom it can offer you. The more you do it the easier it will be. You will be so thankful for the wisdom of your body. Your body will help you to discover your higher self.
Wisdom of the Heart
Are you in touch with your emotions?
Are you an emotional person? How easy do you find it to get in touch with your emotions? Is it easy for you to cry? Does this embarrass you? You have nothing to be ashamed of! It is gift to have a heart that is open, unless your over sensitivity is getting in the way of you living your life. It is all about balance.
As you move through life it is learning to accept where we are at, in each moment of life. This is so we do not get stuck in our own insecurity. When our heart is open, we have the capacity to be gentle and forgiving of ourselves. When we can forgive, ourselves we can forgive others.
Your heart is a window into your inner world. Does it feel open? If your chest is feeling warm with energy moving around, your heart is open. If it is feeling cold and dead then you are shut off from this great wisdom. It might feel like you are short circuiting. There is no shame in this. It just means that your heart shut down to help you to survive. But in the long run you will miss so much in life if you allow it to stay closed. How familiar are you with this experience?
Being true to your Heart
Your heart energy is there and just waiting for you to create an environment where it can risk expressing itself. When our hearts are open we not only feel connected to ourselves but also to those around us.
Opening our heart is risky business because we can get hurt or unintentionally hurt another person. But the gift of truly loving another person and being loved out weighs any downside of being hurt. All aspects of the heart are part of the human condition. They are neither good or bad. They simply are.
Connection to the whole World
You are connected to the whole earth and its inhabitants through your heart. We can feel the joy and pain in the people we meet besides our own. An open heart helps us to be open to the needs of others while still caring for ourselves. Our heart reminds us of our humanity repeatedly.
Playing and Working Together
With an open heart, we can find ways of working and playing together in relationship that is beneficial for both. It opens the door for us to show our love for the people in our life through encouraging them to be all they can be. We no longer get confused thinking we want the best for our partner when we really are doing it out of our own insecurity. Our open hearts creates space for you to be your best self.
Wisdom of the Head
Is your head your enemy?
Does your head feel like it is your enemy sometimes? If you feel this way, remember you have the capacity to befriend it.
Releasing my mind from the chatter
When you quiet your mind, you have access to the wisdom of our head. But you ask, how do I quiet my mind. Most of us find it hard to slow the chatter in our heads. When we have, conversations going on in our heads it is hard for us to pay attention to what is going on in the moment. Most of us can not imagine a quiet mind because we can never remember a time when our mind was calm.
The good news is that you can quiet your mind with practice. There are many ways to do this from meditation, listening to music, singing, creating art and much more. This does not mean that you get to the point of emptying your thoughts, but to a place where you do not get stuck in your fears and insecurities.
Have you ever just woken up one morning and new what you needed to do. You somehow just know this is the next step you need to take. Trust this wisdom, because it is a gift to be embraced. Do not bother trying to justify your decision. If you know it is the write thing to do go for it. I have experienced breakthroughs like this when I am so tired my mind can no longer can try to control things. What has been your experience?
On the path to transforming Relationships
Synergy in Three
When your three energy centers are in harmony with each other you will be on the path to being your best self; a blessing to yourself and those you choose to be in relationship with you. Life will still have its challenges, but there will be a gentler flow and energy because you will be present in each moment to make the best decisions for you and those you love.
Freedom to be me
You will attract people with the same level of health. Relationships will no longer be a struggle because you are being fully open to yourself and your partner. There will no longer be manipulation by ether party. Each of you will be honest and want to make choices that will be beneficial to you both.
Joy in being with your own company
But even in times when you find yourself single you will be able to enjoy this time in life whether it short term or permanent because you will find ways to meet your own needs. You will have the blessing of great friendships that will bring out the best in you.
Finding your soulmate
If you do find your soulmate, there will be a synergy that creates the best type of relationship that grows from two healthy people. When two people come together in mutual love and respect the two create something even greater than two people could do individually. They create a beautiful mosaic that not only enhances, both, but the whole world.
Roland Legge is a coach and founder of REL Consultants offering to help individuals, couples, families and executives to discover the wisdom that is already within them. Call Roland today at 1 306 620-7478 to arrange for a free 30-minute discovery call or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org for a private discussion about how he can help.
Sermon – June 12th 2016
4th Sunday after Pentecost (Year C)
By Roland Legge
1 Kings 21:1-21a
By Roland Legge
Next Sunday we are going to take part in the sacred meal which we call communion. Why do we do it? We do it to remember Jesus. But even more importantly we do it because it gives us the opportunity to acknowledge that we are all part of God’s amazing family. This means that every person on earth is part of our family!!
Jesus is calling us to love our family even those we do not like. This is no easy task! But I have no doubt that this is what Jesus expects of us. Do you agree?
Our scripture passages today introduce us to two members of our family the religious people looked down upon. One of them, the so called “sinful woman” from the Gospel would be no different than a poor person would be today. Why was she condemned? She had been labeled a sinner. We do not know what her sins were even though she has been called a prostitute to this very day. She was certainly a woman that made all the righteous people uncomfortable.
We know she was a woman who had been touched deeply by Jesus. I am guessing that it was Jesus that helped her to recognize that she was loved by God even though she had sinned. It wouldn’t surprise me if Jesus had helped her to find meaning, purpose and hope in her life. This woman was so thankful to Jesus that she, with great emotion, shared her heart felt appreciation touching Jesus in intimate ways. This public demonstration of love probably made Jesus host’s even more uncomfortable.
Jesus new that she was sorry for her sins because of her genuine penitence, shown in her tears. Through the woman’s brokenness God was able to break through to her. Unfortunately, the Pharisees were too blinded to see the truth. Sadly, they could not see the beauty of the transformation taking place because of their denial of their own sinfulness. Would this sinful woman be welcome at your table?
Jezebel is a woman who would not be welcome at our table. Have you ever been called a Jezebel? If we have most of us would not take this as a complement. Over the centuries Jezebel has been labeled as evil personified. She was a woman to take seriously. But was she really as evil as we think? We are all a mixture of saint and sinner. Maybe if I give you another perspective of Jezebel you might feel more comfortable in inviting her to the family table.
Jezebel was a Queen and she took her role seriously. She was also a zealous follower of Baal. Her religion was different from her Jewish husband. It was an older religion. It had both male and female gods. Also, the gods of her religion seemed to be a lot less demanding. So it made sense for her to keep worshiping her god’s. But then she was seen as a threat by Elijah because she was promoting, what was for him, the wrong god. Jews were fervent in their belief in a single God rather than a religion of many gods. Barbara J. Essex sums up well for me a more accurate memory of Jezebel.
She was not a harlot or seductress. She was not involved in any sexual scenes. She was a woman from another culture and worldview trying to adjust in a new and strange land. She was not a villain to be eternally despised—she was religiously committed, politically savvy, determined, self-assured, bodacious, and clever. She was dedicated to her family and a zealous missionary for Baal. And she died as she lived—royally!
Bad Girls of the Bible by Barbara J. Essex The Pilgrim Press Cleveland Ohio 1999 pp. 63
Does this question your perspective of her? Are we now ready to invite Jezebel to the table?
Now back to our own time. Besides ourselves who are we going to invite to the table. It is obvious we are going to invite all our friends and family that we get along with. But who are the people the Spirit wants us to invite that we would rather not? I know there are people that would make me feel very uncomfortable. What about you?
Most weddings I have done in my life have been great. But once I began to prepare with a bride for a wedding she became very nasty and aggressive. She decided very quickly that she did not like me and was determined to not have me marry her. I didn’t. It was one of the very few times in my life when a person has made accusations against me that were far from the truth. I was angry and hurt. I was hurt again when the congregation invited someone I did not respect to be the celebrant for the wedding. But yet I know that this couple is invited to the table. I need to remember that the pastor who did the wedding should be invited to the table too. The miracle is that God invites us to the table no matter how imperfect we are.
I remember in grade one when I broke my leg I had the privilege to bring a classmate home after school to play. I remember there was one girl I did not want to bring home. But my mother made it very clear to me that she needed to be included. It would be wrong to exclude her. That was a powerful lesson for me. Yes, this girl I wanted to exclude needs to be invited to the table.
Inviting my ex-wife to the table would make me feel very uncomfortable. It is very tempting to blame all the problems of our marriage on her. I have come to a place in my life where I can be thankful for all I learned in my first marriage. I wouldn’t be as mature today if I had not gone through the trials and tribulations of my first marriage. I know I need to invite Yvonne to the table even if it will be difficult for me.
I do not believe that God is calling us to put ourselves in danger. But I do believe God is calling us to keep breaking down the walls between us. This is no easy job!! It is a lifelong calling. We might not get further than trying to see that of God in another person. It might not be more than naming an abuse which gives the abuser the opportunity to take responsibility for their behavior.
Who do you need to invite to the table? Who are the people you most despise? Who are the people who have a lifestyle that makes no sense to you? Who are the people that make you feel uncomfortable? Who are the people you feel inadequate around? We could fill our church several times over with the people we need to invite to our family table.
Are you ready to come to the table? God is expecting you!
Sermon – May 29th 2016
2nd Sunday after Pentecost (Year C)
By Roland Legge
Jesus on his travels meets this Centurion man. He comes to Jesus to save the life of a slave whom he greatly values. This is surprising, that a Roman would come to Jesus to save the life of his slave as the Romans considered the Jews as irritants. It is also surprising that Jesus would have agreed to help a Roman Military leader because it is they who were making life very difficult for the Palestinian Jews. Why was Jesus in awe of this man’s faith? I believe it was because this man had such faith in Jesus ability to heal and that this some how transcended all the differences in status, nationality and religion between them.
Healing, in the way of Jesus, has the power to break down all walls in society. In ancient times healing was a common occurrence. There were many people who claimed to be healers. There were the usual variety of people from the honest to the fakes. But, what was unusual about Jesus was that it transcended all ethnic, and religious boundaries. Jesus was willing to heal any one. So why do we have hang-ups with healing today?
In the United Church of Canada, we are not comfortable with the concept of healing even though it was a focus of Jesus’ ministry. So, why have we in the traditional churches become so resistant to the ministry of healing? Our Protestant forbears became so fixated through seeing the world through the rational eyes of science, psychology, philosophy, and medicine that religious mystery was put on the side-line. There was little room left for mystical, non-rational ministry of healing. We have been hindered by the intellectual walls that we have put up to keep out the mystery. However, I believe Jesus is calling us to renew our passion for healing.
I believe Jesus brings healing through his deep care for the whole person. He also has a deep care and love for the whole world and so desires to heal the world with all its inhabitants. You can not have one form of healing without the other. When you help to heal an individual you help to heal a family. When you help to heal a family you help to heal a community. When you help to heal a community who help to heal a nation. A simple way to begin a healing ministry is through prayer.
But a word to the wise from Morton Kelsey and Francis McNutt in how we pray for healing:
In our enthusiasm for healing prayer, a word of caution seems wise. Since Jesus is the savior and healer, we must always seek his will as we consider praying for healing. Our primary task is to listen for God and to identify where, how, and if God may want to use us as we pray.
The Healing Church by Karin Granberg-Michaelson found in https://sojo.net/preaching-the-word/healing-church?parent=47011
I believe that prayer is an important part of healing. Prayer can help us discern how we can be a healing presence in the lives of those we meet whether it be family, friends or people we do not know. I suspect the Centurion must have prayed for guidance. What do you think? Prayer can help us to find from within ourselves as to what healing we need in our own lives.
When we unleash the power of God’s love through prayer we never know what is going to happen. Healing can happen in so many ways. It often happens in ways that we least expect it to. In the end the love of God is a wondrous mystery. None of us can ever earn it, but we must be open to how ever we receive it. I believe that when we pray there is healing, yet it is often being not what we were hoping for.
Healing comes out of relationships, from solidarity with those who are hurting, from people with compassion for those who are sad and depressed, from the sharing of good food, it comes from having a safe place to live that is affordable, it comes from caring community that shares resources with each other, it comes from loving family that brings out the best in each other, it comes from social transformation through education social action and prayer. No matter how you look at it, it is the result of the Holy Spirit being at work.
So how do we incorporate healing into our own ministry? Morton Kelsey and Frances Mc Nutt gives us some suggestions in how to live this out.
1) sharing a call to a particular healing work with others, 2) seeking to know God personally, 3) praying for our own healing and that of others, and 4) offering ourselves to others for their healing. This parallels the Alcoholics Anonymous recovery program–finding freedom in sharing one’s confession of weakness and serving others still in bondage to their particular addiction.
I invite us to reflect on how we at Foam Lake United Church can become more and more a healing community. Already we have many people reaching to those in our community who are sick, grieving and/or lonely. You offer pastoral care to those who have had a recent death in their family through providing hospitality after the funeral service. You provide opportunities for folks to come together to play cards and enjoy a luncheon. How else can we be place of hope and healing in our community? How can we reach out to our young families? How can we reach out to the many middle aged people who have stopped coming to church? How can reach out to the many in our community and/or world who are suffering and struggling in many ways.
There is no magic solution to this. A healing ministry requires the attention of all members of the congregation to make this ministry important in the life of the congregation. Your minister and a few lay leaders can not make this happen alone no matter who they are.
The Good News is that in the end our congregation is enlivened when we become known as a place of healing and renewal. People will notice the difference whether we are long time church goers or new comers. More and more people will experience a deep connection of the Spirit that is beyond anything we could ever hope to describe. Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah! Amen!!!
Sermon – May 22nd 2016
Trinity Sunday (Year C)
By Roland Legge
Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31
Do you believe in the Trinity? Most of us in the United Church would agree that we believe in the Trinity. But what does this really mean?
Our scripture invites us into a dialogue to discover the many ways we can experience the holy in our lives. In Proverbs we are told about Mother Wisdom who has been with us since the beginning of time. Mother Wisdom or Sophia is the very feminine image of the holy. She is loving, creative, compassionate, wise and just. She is in full relationship with God. Romans reminds us of the person of Jesus who gave us another lens to view God, not unlike Mother Wisdom and God. In the Gospel according to John we are reminded of the Holy Spirit who is again much like Mother Wisdom, God and Jesus.
The doctrine of the Trinity has come to be to help make sense of the mystery of the holy. It suggests that God is both one and three. God is relational. For example, God expresses itself through the Spirit. God expresses itself through Wisdom. God expresses itself through the person and spirit of Jesus and most importantly through each of us. I love this description of the Trinity by Brian McLaren:
“In the early church, one of the most powerful images used for the Trinity was the image of a dance of mutual indwelling. The Father, Son, and Spirit live in an eternal, joyful, vibrant dance of love and honor, rhythm and harmony, grace and beauty, giving and receiving. The universe was created to be an expression and extension of the dance of God – so all creatures share in the dynamic joy of movement, love, vitality, harmony, and celebration. But we humans broke with the dance. We stamped on the toes of other dancers, ignored the rhythm, rejected the grace, and generally made a mess of things. But God sent Jesus into the world to model for us a way of living in the rhythm of God’s music of love, and ever since, people have been attracted to the beauty of his steps and have begun rejoining the dance.” -Brian McLaren, Found in Translation
I imagine God as this creative energy that continues to animate life for each of us and all of Creation. If I just look around I will see, feel, and experience God. I see God in each of you. I feel God within me. I experience God in the sound of the bird, the bark of a dog and the meow of a cat. Where do you experience God?
For me the creative loving force we will call God is a mystery. God is way beyond anything we can comprehend. When we express God we are limited by our humanness. Many of you grew up with the image of God as father. Some of you still appreciate it today. But God is way beyond the image of father. There is no perfect definition of God. Here are some descriptions I use:
And much more.
Feminist are transforming our church and world through their take on how God – Three in One can tear down the barriers that humans have built up through greed, fear, and hunger for power. This is what feminist theologian Rosemary Radford Ruther says:
Feminists are seeking an alternative understanding of power: power as mutual-empowerment, power that does not dominate, force, or coerce, but heals, reconciles, and transforms. In the presence of such power, we are not demeaned or rendered vile and unworthy, nor made helpless and called to submit; rather we are called into healthy self-esteem, into the power of one’s own creative agency that can affirm the good potential and creative agency of others.
Healing power dissolves the competitive model of power relations where one side’s power is the disempowerment of the other side; where one side’s victory is the defeat of the other side. Healing power repents, forgives, and transforms relationships so that both sides of former conflicts are enlivened, made whole, and enabled to rejoice in one another’s well-being. This is the appropriate understanding of the power of God, not models of power drawn from human relations of domination, war, and violence.
I believe that God is most active in community. When we come together in community doing the work of the Spirit the work we do gets magnified many times over. The mystery that what we do as a community is much more than what the same number of individuals could do alone. Why does this happen? It is because the God energy becomes stronger and stronger when people with the same intent come together. It somehow unleashes the energy of the Holy Spirt on more and more people. It inspires acts of kindness and compassion in more and more people. It spreads the love of God among more and more people.
The wonder of God as father, son and holy spirit or creator, redeemer and sustainer that this force of love continues to open our hearts that of recognizing God in more and more people. We would not be marrying divorce people if it wasn’t for the Holy Spirit. We wouldn’t be recognizing the ability of women to be clergy in our United Church without the Holy Spirit. We wouldn’t have become a welcoming church for Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual, trans-gendered and two spirited people without the Holy Spirit. The power of the Holy weaving in and out of our lives everything life-giving is possible, even the end of violence in our world not only toward people, but toward the whole creation.
May we unleash the power of the Holy on Foam Lake and continue to break down the barriers in our community whether they be social, religious, ethnic, sexual orientation, and age that prevents us from truly being the people of God. The Spirit will guide us on our way.
Sermon – May 15th 2016
Pentecost Sunday (Year C)
By Roland Legge
In the prairies we can relate to wind! Wind has a way of stirring everything up. It can be both a refreshing breeze on a hot day or make it frigid on some cold days in the winter. Wind can push us around. I remember when I lived in downtown Toronto I would have to be very careful when I would be walking down Bay street with the cold winds coming off Lake Ontario making it extremely difficult to walk. Think for a moment of your own stories of wind.
On this day long ago the wind of the Holy Spirit woke up a lot of people. It opened people’s minds, hearts and bodies into the fullness that the Spirit created us to be. Pentecost was not just a one-time event but one that takes place every day if we pay attention.
Pentecost is about awakening to the reality that God has given us everything we need to live faithfully and fully in the world. Instead of being threatened by this reality the spirit of Pentecost helps us to embrace this Good News. Now everything good in the world that we thought to be impossible is now possible.
I invite each of you to find the Pentecost spirit right in you. The Spirit is awakened in us when we are able to quiet our minds. The Spirit is awakened in us when we retreat into our inner world to find out what is going on. Miraculously, the Spirit speaks to us through the sensations we are experiencing in our minds, bodies and hearts. So God is never far away. Now isn’t that Good News!
The spirit sure shook up the early followers of Jesus. Suddenly religious, social, cultural and gender walls began tumbling down. Jews who were following Jesus wanted to begin sharing this radical new way of living with Gentiles, women, and many people on the fringes of their communities. This was radical!
In the ministry of Paul and other early leader’s women became a vital part of this ministry not only in preaching, doing social justice, but in the financing of this ministry. Peter had the audacity of baptizing an Ethiopian eunuch! Saint Thecla began a movement to liberate women who wanted to be free to do the work of God without the oppression of the men in their lives. Many people living in abject poverty no longer were willing to be oppressed and started to challenge their oppressors with courage and confidence. Why was this happening? It was happening because of the belief that Jesus passed on that all people are equal in the “eyes” of God.
Sadly, as Christianity was embraced by the ruling elite, our church lost its radical hospitality. Patriarchy took over again. It didn’t take long to come back. We were back to the status quo probably about 100 years after Jesus died. But there has always been a fringe that wanted to take us back to the intentions of Jesus and the early Christian community.
I am not saying the early Christian community was perfect. We can tell from the letters of Paul there were many disagreements. People held strongly held opinions and yes there was much acrimony. But the acrimony mostly came from the teachings of Jesus that challenged those with power and privilege.
Today much of the Christian church is trying to reclaim that Pentecost Spirit that breaks down the walls instead of putting them up. Young people around our world are hungry for meaning, purpose and making the world a better place. For them church needs to be about community where we encourage each other to build up the Kindom of God over and over again. They want to be part of something that is really going to make a difference in their lives. They want to make a difference in the world.
Today I am experiencing the radical hospitality of the Spirit just as much outside the church as it is in it. I am meeting people from all walks of life. People are hungry to clean up the environment. People are hungry to end the many conflicts in the world. People are hungry to stop bullying. People are hungry to end domestic violence. There is so much good going on in our world if we just look for it. This is the power of Pentecost in action.
I feel like I am living in the midst of Pentecost winds. My life is going through radical change and I am so excited. It feels like a lot of the walls I have put up in the past are coming down and I am finding new life beyond it. Before I was too scared to try. What would you like to do, but too scared to try?
Some of the great religious/social movements have been fueled by the winds of Pentecost. The end of slavery in the western world came thanks to many faithful courageous people. Human rights for African Americans came from millions of faithful people of all races. The Spirit kept the people going when it was very difficult. The end of Apartheid in South Africa ended because of millions of people around the world forcing the South African government to change and great spiritual leaders such as Desmond Tutu helped to make it as peaceful a revolution as possible.
The wonder of the Spirit is that it never gives up. When the spirit resides in our hearts we feel called to do our part even if we don’t get to see the fruits of our work. The Spirit is calling us in Canada to bond with our Indigenous neighbours and finally end the oppression against these peoples. The Spirit is calling upon us to clean up our environment to save our world for all of life. In the end the spirit wants each of us to have meaningful work, great friends, good health and hearts bursting with love to share with all we meet. The Spirit wants us to honor all of God’s creation. We are just learning about what this really means for us. When we welcome the Holy Spirit we will have the energy to do what we are being called to do.
May God grant us the grace to embrace the Holy Spirit. When we fully embrace the Holy Spirit Foam Lake United Church will find even more joy, hope, energy and new life. The Good News being that we already have all the resources we need to do this.