grace

TGIF with Ingrid July 13, 2018: God is Here

TGIF with Ingrid

July 13, 2018

What I am Trusting

This year, St. George’s United Church has partnered with Habitat for Humanity North Island as our focus charity.  We held a fundraising garage sale (we raised $2000 which we matched for a donation of $4000!) and have members and team spending time onsite at the build location on Lake Trail.  Rev. Ryan and I have also offered morning prayers and devotionals onsite for those who are working (every other Thursday).  Rev. Ryan was up Thursday and I went to listen and support him and those who were building.  He shared the story in John about Jesus walking on the water and urging the disciples not to be afraid, and reminded us all that over and over again, Jesus told them, tells us, not to be afraid.  Because God is present.  Ryan said that sometimes, especially when we are participating in a social program or charitable project or some other philanthropic work, it can feel like we are chipping away at a boulder with a pen knife.  Perhaps.  Until we remember that we aren’t the only ones at work.  God is there too.  God was there first in fact.  And God will be there after we are finished.  I am trusting that God is here, and I do not have to be afraid.

 

What I am Grateful For

I had to offer an apology this week for hurting someone I care about.  In my irritability (I had a headache for nearly a week which was thankfully corrected by my chiropractor) and my tiredness (did I mention there is summer day camp at our church?) and my frazzle (my spouse is working) I responded without the love, tenderness, and grace this person deserved.  Today I am grateful for relationships where we can tell one another the truth.  She told me that she was hurt and confused by my response.  I am so glad she did, because in that moment I was able to recognize the ways in which I was not living into my call as a Christian, to live in love, and that I hadn’t taken much time for rest.  I apologized for my behaviour and asked for forgiveness which was readily offered to me.  Honesty is so important, and I know that there are folks that cannot offer or receive honesty (even in love) but I am grateful for those in my life who are willing to risk being honest about how my behaviour affected them, and gracious enough to love me through it.

 

What Inspires Me

This week I am inspired by all those who fall down and get back up to try again.  Folks who don’t give up despite the scrapes, the bruises, the broken bones and broken relationships.  I suppose that we have all been these people in our lives – we would hardly be human if we weren’t resilient and determined, if we didn’t keep moving even when we thought we couldn’t. 

 Inspire: if we go back to the mid 14th century, the common understanding was “to fill the mind/heart with grace” or “to prompt or induce to action”, coming from the Latin “to breathe upon or into” or figuratively “to excite or inflame”.  Going even further back we get to the word pneuma (pnein) in Ancient Greek which is often translated as spirit or God’s breath…but can mean “influence or animate with an idea or purpose.”     

And so, as I consider these everyday try-againers in our midst, I am brought to wonder about their inspiration.  My faith tells a story of folks who are propelled forward by God, enlivened and breathed upon to be filled with the strength to carry on.  It is a powerful consideration – that our determination, our perseverance, our yearning for better (our hope!) comes from a place deep within us that screams “LOVE!” and compels us to move forward.  Perhaps it takes some of the pressure off of us too.

 

How I am Practicing My Faith

This week I wanted to share about a group called Renovaré.  They describe themselves as providing practical resources for cultivating a life – the with-God life – that makes us like Jesus from the inside out.  They have printed resources (the Bible I read is filled with wonderful additions, reflections etc.: you can find it here) articles, and a weekly Podcast.  This past weeks was entitled “Abundant Simplicity” and gently invites listeners to tear back the clutter of life, relationships, possessions, and schedule – anything that keeps us from the abundant life God invites us into.

I would invite you to check out www.renovare.org and explore what they have to offer that might strengthen your relationship with God or, as they would put it, your with-God life.

One of the best lines I took from this podcast was “don’t start a spiritual discipline unless Jesus invites you to do it!”  In other words, don’t decide for yourself what your practice is, trust that the Holy Spirit will tell you what she wants you to do.