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Letters - April through June 2007

First News of Dickinson and Belfield - April 2007

"Spring Really is Coming"

Looking outside does NOT make me think of spring. It is dreary. l have three dogs that were running around the house, scared, but a few minutes  ago because they heard thunder. They asked to go out next, but refused to stay out since they didn't like feeling damp. Snow is
nice, so they think; when it is cold out, snow actually insulates and makes them feel warmer. But cold, wet, noisy stuff? No way!

But without that cold, wet, noisy stuff we DON'T get spring. We don't get the nice flowery bush for the dogs to hide under when the sun shines bright. Nor are the dog-holes that Spirit digs quite so
cool without that added bit of moisture.

Unpleasant things are often needful if we want a balanced, healthy life. Yes, that Hagen Das Chocolate Chocolate Chip Ice Cream looks real good in the supermarket freezer. But for a diabetic, it really isn't a good thing. Sweets and candies look real good and taste real
good, but a diet of just these things does not make a healthy life. We need those dreary, rainy days to make life blossom.

Spring is here; Easter, in but a week. It is time to think about what makes life new and better for us. Personally, I find New Year's Resolutions hard to do as I don't find January at all that inspiring. That changes when the nights get shorter and the sun shines brighter. I start thinking about what I should plant in my garden. That makes me think again about all those things I should NOT have been eating these past few months. What better way to celebrate the gift of the resurrection that comes with Easter than to focus on what brings new life into our lives?

Christ went through Holy Week, through Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, to get to Easter and beyond. What do we need to go through to bring more joy into our lives? To experience that taste of the resurrection that we is available here and now? What cold, wet, noisy stuff do we need to experience to bring flowers to bloom in our hearts? The seeds of life have been planted there by God. What do we need to do to water and fertilize them and, with God's help, grow a garden filled with joy?

Each of us have different answers. For me, I need to take the time to teach my third dog how to walk on a leash and ride in a car. Due to previous experiences, Red is afraid of cars. He KNOWS how dangerous they are and needs to protect his new pack from those dangerous things. This results in ALOT of noise. Riding in a car with him is unpleasant. But his fear will lessen only through exposure to those nasty things called cars and having nothing happen. And then I will finally be able relax as I drive and enjoy riding with my three dogs. This summer, the time will come when I can go to Patterson Lake and walk all three with me and experience the presence of God in the nature that surrounds me. But not without much noise beforehand. It will be worth the effort.

I am looking forward to the fullness of spring.

Kathleen

Copyright 2007 DewSpirit Publishing


First News of Dickinson and Belfield - May 2007

"So How Come We Get to Call Ourselves Christian?"

What is it that gives us the right to call ourselves Christian?I wonder about this every once in awhile.There are so many different types and kinds of Christians out there, what is it that makes us one.

 
It isn't our understanding of what Communion, or the Lord's Supper, is all about.Some believe that the bread is the actual Body of Christ, while others believe that the bread of communion is meant to be understood as a symbol.My personal understanding has changed greatly as I moved from the understanding of my childhood Roman Catholicism, that the bread IS Christ's Body, to that of Mercersburg theology of the Reformed tradition of the United Church of Christ, wherein it is still bread but that Christ is somehow mystically present in the sacrament.
 
Nor is it what our understanding of what baptism means and when it should be done which holds us together.Some believe that a child must be baptized in order to go to heaven, and so the parents make the baptismal vows for the child, to be later affirmed in Confirmation; others believe that only those who already believe should be baptized, so the person makes the vows for themselves.Different readings and interpretations of the Biblical passages that institute these sacraments create differing theology.
Within our own denomination, and perhaps even within our own congregation, we find many different understandings of those two sacraments.And when we move away from the two sacraments that all Christian denominations that I know of accept as valid, we find many other differences in what and how we believe.We have the same Bible, but read different translations with different interpretations.And yet we are all Christians.What is it that holds us together in Christ?

Two different Biblical passages give me a key to understand this.1 Corinthians 12 speaks of the Body of Christ and how the different parts make up the same body.Two of my favorite verses are 12:20-21 "As it is, there are many parts, but one body.The eye cannot say to the hand, I dont need you! And the head cannot say to the feet, I dont need you!
The Body of Christ is one, and no part can say to another part that it does not belong.We may disagree with each other, but we can't throw out those with whom we disagree no matter how much we would like to do so.The love that Christ has for all of us holds us together as parts of his Body.

The other passage is the one I find myself preparing to preach on for this Sunday: John 13:34-35. As Christ prepare to head out to the Garden of Gethsemane after eating his last supper with his disciples, he says, "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

If we wish to truly call ourselves Christian, we need to love each other.Especially when we disagree, or even dislike each other, we need to love each other.We need to love each other as Christ loved his disciples on that night he headed out into the garden; that night they all fell asleep as he prayed, that night before they all deserted him as he was crucified.It is not our theology that identifies us as Christ's disciples, but rather our love for each other.Our theology may tell us what brand name (denomination) we belong to, but we all belong to Christ.
May our love for each other increase, as we become more fully the Body of Christ.
 
Pastor Kathleen
 
 Copyright 2007 DewSpirit Publishing


 

First News of Dickinson and Belfield - June 2007

Today, I've been arguing online in a group discussing the writing of a Budhist nun named Pema Chodron about hope.She sees hope as that which ties us up, wishing for a future that is different, preventing us from living fully in the present.

I see hope as hoping in the Lord - as something that opens us up to a more light-filled future.I wrote this:

How do we create our visions and dreams? Do they come from our self-absorbed ego? Then they get in the way of us being as full alive in the moment as we can be. Because then we have blinders on and cannot see anything that does not correspond to our vision. We do not hear the birds sing if we do not find them to be of value.

Or do we allow the song of the birds to influence the dream? Perhaps taking us to greater heights than we could imagine on our own?

I believe that the fullest life looks toward a vision of the future, but not holding or grasping it, open to a change in tune as another bird enters the symphony; accepting the present as fully as possible, but acting as co-creator with God through the sharing of love with the world around us, moving towards a future reality in which love rules. (Isaiah's vision of a new heaven and a new earth)

Someplace in that book I preach from every week, it says that without a vision, the people perish. It also teaches hope.

I guess part of my argument with Pema is that I don't really "hope for" improvement, etc, I "hope in" God's love for me. The God I worship is NOT a babysitter, but a lover whose vision for my life surpasses anything I can come up with on my own. And when I hope in this God, I can let go of my dreams and visions and listen for the new song of a bird just arrived to join the symphony.

The fullest life is one that is open to the wonder of God's love, open to God's vision and dream for us individually.I find that God is much better at dreaming than I am.

May God go with you this summer!

Pastor Kathleen


2007 -  January - March
2006 - October - December        
2006 -
to September

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