Monday, 27 April 2020

The sun always shines, even on the darkest of days

Because the Rev John, and others from our Marsden Road Church have been eager and worked hard for everyone to be able to have access to a weekly church service, it is now posted in full on the Marsden Road Website, with cross links to Rev John’s weekly blog and Margaret’s “Reflections on Sunday Morning” blog, but even more importantly there is a “team” of people who email, print, post or personally deliver both the church service and the weekly newsletter to anyone who wants to receive it, in the manner most appropriate to their needs or wishes. 

For some weeks now the Rev John and his wife Wendy have invited people to join them for a “virtual” and safe meeting in their home, via the miracles of modern digital technology.  This works well for those people who have a computer or a device with the right program, a camera and a microphone and who have already felt the need to have embraced a technology that the majority of people today consider to be absolutely necessary. However, those who do not need or choose to become involved in this different way of communicating can remain fully involved in life.  We must be careful to remember that people who have not become too engrossed in the “new” way of communicating online are often more observant and careful when making “real” connections with other people.   Personally, I feel it is well worth stopping often and slowing down to listen, share and communicate in the old ways.

Margaret has asked me to “mind” her blog while she is recovering from her operations and I feel that in the present situation when so much effort has already been put into making the Sunday Service available to everyone, I might share some “Random Reflections” and thoughts provoked by the Sunday service with her followers.

There are many people all over the world at the moment who are struggling to cope with the situations they find themselves having to face each day – who among us would have believed that we would be faced with so much change, sadness and worry when we began to think about the dawn of the year 2020?

We will need all our Faith in God to live by that new “Easter Perspective” the Rev John spoke about on Sunday morning and to “Dare” to “love one another deeply from the heart” (1 Peter Chapter 1 verse 22).

Yesterday morning I felt the impact of the Call to Worship very strongly as my husband and I joined the Marsden Road Church Service via ZOOM (a new computer program) as we sat in our pyjamas at the computer in our study.   We don’t have a camera or a microphone on our computer so the little screen that appeared with our name to show that we were present was black & blank and we were unable to contribute to the conversation!   I was aware that, although there were about 20 familiar faces rolling across the top of the computer screen, there were many dear people “missing” as the service was about to begin.  It was a wonderfully comforting thought that in other homes and retirement villages around the local suburbs some of those “missing” people were also able to share in the service when they chose to do so. 

As those of us with ZOOM “gathered” there was, as is usual, a bit of friendly chatting before the Rev John called us to begin the service.  While listening to the chatter we became aware of the friendship and phone calls that had been shared among those of is “at church” and those friends not on our screens, yet in our thoughts and prayers during the previous weeks. That was a really good feeling.

Call to Worship

Walking down the road of life, how often do we meet Christ in a stranger? Chances are good we won’t recognize him, even though our hearts may burn within us. Chances are even better he will move on to bless another unless we offer hospitality to our fellow travellers. Walking down the road of life, look for Christ . . . and be prepared to find him in a stranger.

That has always been a concept that I love and value!  Have you ever felt uncomfortable as you walked past a homeless person on the steps of a grand city church; have you wondered was it God sitting on those steps dressed in rags?  Did God wonder why people went inside to look for Him?  Did he wonder why we walked by without stopping to help?

Have you ever felt that God “used” you when you were able to help a lonely or worried person as you passed by?  I believe God sometimes prods us and raises our awareness to step up and engage with a stranger.  Walking down the opposite side of a wide corridor in a hospital I surprised myself when I saw a lady with her head down and looking close to tears and without even consciously thinking, I found myself stopping and gently asking; “Do you need a hug?”  She held out her arms to me and sobbed.  She told me she had just learned that her mother would not be able to recover and was close to death - I knew that God had given me the mission to comfort her before she went out to her car to begin a lonely and sad drive home. 

In many ways the world has been turned upside down by the overwhelming speed of the continuing development of digital technology.  In many ways it has also become an impediment to actual communication which requires stopping to speak and more importantly to listen to all the people we meet “walking down the road of life”.  

As Rev John stressed this morning, “That is, we must put on our new Easter glasses and live “as if” the world has more love than it does, “as if” there is more hope than people are willing to embrace, “as if” the kingdom of God can reign on the earth today.”   Our Easter glasses also give us the holy boldness to ask, “What if?” What if every child had a warm, safe place to sleep? What if there was enough food for every person on this earth? What if we all lived from a sense of abundance rather than scarcity? What if today all the killing of all the wars stopped?”

The sun always shines, even on the darkest of days

I feel that I am truly blessed that I can always “Look for the Silver Linings” and see they are there somewhere, even on the darkest of days.  For me the sun is always shining someplace.  Sometimes I ask myself why I have been so blessed and why I can hang on during a storm and wake the next day ready to go on.  I understand and care deeply for those who are unable to wake each day with a strong feeling of hope for the day.

It doesn’t seem fair when I see the struggles of others and inexplicably; some who struggle the most, appear on the surface to have “golden” lives.  However, we can never really know about the deepest troubles and the struggles, real or envisioned, that plague the minds and lives of other people - even our closest friends and sadly, sometimes family.  Yet, some people seem to have every reason in life to feel ignored or targeted by an unconcerned society, or feel depressed and marginalized by circumstances not of their own making.  The fortunate ones have a mystifying gift, which I can only think of as optimism. Some alternative words for optimism are hopefulness, cheerfulness, sanguinity, confidence, buoyancy and brightness. 

No wonder this gift allows people to go on and find those silver linings and hopefully share them with those whose joys are lost in dark clouds.  

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