The whole point of the kingdom of God is Jesus has come to bear witness to the true truth, which is nonviolent. When God wants to take charge of the world, he doesn't send in the tanks. He sends in the poor and the meek.
God's plan is not to abandon this world, the world which he said was "very good." Rather, he intends to remake it. And when he does he will raise all his people to new bodily life to live in it. That is the promise of the Christian gospel.
Jesus doesn't give an explanation for the pain and sorrow of the world. He comes where the pain is most acute and takes it upon himself. Jesus doesn't explain why there is suffering, illness, and death in the world. He brings healing and hope. He doesn't allow the problem of evil to be the subject of a seminar. He allows evil to do its worst to him. He exhausts it, drains its power, and emerges with new life.”
Wherever St. Paul went, there was a riot. Wherever I go, they serve tea. 😊 -- N. T. Wright
On having his song “Here by the Water” accepted into the hymnal Voices Together, Jim Croegaert posted a video of this song with an introduction. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_S7FUKFMFbI
Two things he mentions in his story behind the song. One. The song alludes to a very dark night in his life when he was struggling, and he walked through a field to a place by the water ... and placed his life in God’s hands.
Two. He takes note of the times when, in the Old Testament, there would be a crossing of a river or some significant journey. And the Israelites would mark that place by building an altar out of the stones around there.
For Jim this is a metaphor for song-writing. Working with what he has. Putting things together. And putting them before God. Knowing God can make them holy.
“There are stars whose radiance is visible on Earth though they have long been extinct. There are people whose brilliance continues to light the world even though they are no longer among the living. These lights are particularly bright when the night is dark. They light the way for humankind.”
“My God, my God
May there be no end
To the sea, to the sand,
The splash of the water,
The glow of the sky,
The prayer of man”
->Prayers may be invisible but they are also invaluable. The word ‘intercession’ generally means praying for someone else (although, it can also be used of praying for oneself). We are all called to intercession. The apostle Paul writes to Timothy, ‘I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority’ (1 Timothy 2:1–2)…
Pippa and I have prayed for so many people over the years. It is certainly far from the case that all have been healed. We do not pray for the sick because they all get healed. We pray for them because Jesus told us to do so. Over these years we have sometimes seen extraordinary healings. Do not be discouraged. Keep on praying with faith and boldness, love and sensitivity.<-
One of my favourite pianists is Kim Deardorff. I often hear his performance of “This is my Father's World” (plus many other hymns) on Whisperings Solo Piano Radio. What I did not know until this past week is his story:
->Found in the garbage in Korea over 40 years ago I have been living a miraculous life ever since. God has blessed my life in so many ways including a wonderful gift of music. I started playing melodies from listening to records at the age of 3 and started writing on the piano when I was 5. In 2010 I was honored to become a Kawai piano artist!<-
From the Kawai site:
->Based in Nashville, TN, Kim Deardorff travels nationwide speaking and performing for audiences of all ages and sizes. He has and continues to work with a number of music and entertainment companies along with a host of prominent and award-winning artists, songwriters, and producers.
From humble beginnings as a newborn orphan in Korea, Mr. Deardorff has grown personally and professionally to become an accomplished pianist and inspirational speaker, having brought his message of hope and healing to hundreds of thousands of people. As an ambassador for the Holt International organization, Kim has helped to raise over 5000 new sponsorships for orphaned children all over the world.<-
Kim Deardorff says, “It doesn’t matter where or how you start out in life; God has a purpose and plan for everyone.”
Billy, a loving and loyal dog, became an internet star in 2020. His owner, Russell, had broken his ankle and was using crutches to walk. Soon the dog also began to hobble when walking with his owner. Concerned, Russell took Billy to the vet, who said there was nothing wrong with him! He ran freely when he was by himself. It turned out that the dog faked a limp when he walked with his owner. That’s what you call trying to truly identify with someone’s pain!
Author Jenny Albers advises: “When someone is broken, don’t try to fix them. (You can’t.) When someone is hurting, don’t attempt to take away their pain. (You can’t.) Instead, love them by walking beside them in the hurt. (You can.) Because sometimes what people need is simply to know they aren’t alone.”
Webservant’s Wish: I need YOU to take some pictures of Grace – the people and the place – and send them to me!
I want to put up new pictures on our website - www.gracemennonitechurch.com . Take pictures of our sanctuary, our church library, our kitchen, the gardens, etc. Take pictures of people if you have their permission. I especially want pics from our BBQ this afternoon. Please and thanks! Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you looking for a volunteer activity geared to Seniors? Niagara Warehouse of Hope wants you! Here is what I have learned:
“We (a group of Seniors) make milk bag mats for homeless people in our region and for people across the world. Our volunteers crochet the milk bag mats WITH A VERY LARGE CROCHET HOOK so it’s doable if your vision is failing. Also, the plastic strips are very light in weight.
AND we also have Senior volunteers who clean used, donated eye glasses which can be done at home. As well, we have home sewers, knitters and crocheters. Please give these options some thought. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you. Ada Boland Secretary, NWOH”
If this is of interest to you, please let me – Jan Steven – know. If you live in the North End, I can pick you up and bring you to NWOH. I too am interested in learning how to make milk bag mats.
Every day, Glen purchases his morning coffee at a nearby drive-through. And every day he also pays for the order of the person in the car behind him, asking the cashier to wish that person a good day. Glen has no connection to them. He’s not privy to their reaction, nor, it seems, is this his motivation: he simply believes this small gesture is “the least he can do.” On one occasion, however, he learned of the impact of his actions when he read an anonymous letter to the editor of his local newspaper. He discovered that the kindness of his gift on July 18, 2017, caused the person in the car behind him to reconsider their plans to take their own life later that day…
When we give out of our love for God, without concern for receiving the praise of others, we can trust that our gifts—large or small—will be used by Him to help meet the needs of those receiving them.
Photo from www.pexel.com
"I do not at all understand the mystery of grace - only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us."
"I just try to love and serve everyone, and bring everyone water, and lend an ear; that's what Jesus said to do."
“Here are the two best prayers I know: 'Help me, help me, help me' and 'Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
“And as it turns out, if one person is praying for you, buckle up. Things can happen.”