22 Jun

Newsletter, June 21

Rev. Sheelagh’s Thought For The Week
From a little book I use for daily devotions entitled “Our Daily Bread” comes this little homily for Wednesday, June 21. It’s thought provoking in a time when we are so self oriented:  I share it with you:-
“How to be Miserable” (source unknown.)
“Think about yourself. Talk about yourself. Use “I” as often as possible. Mirror yourself continually in the opinion of others. Listen greedily for what people say about you. Expect to be appreciated. Be suspicious. Be jealous and envious. Be sensitive to slights. Never forgive a criticism. Trust nobody but yourself. Insist on consideration and respect. Demand agreement with your own views on everything. Sulk if people are not grateful to you for favors shown them. Never forget a service you have rendered, shirk duties if you can. Do as little as possible for others.”
St. Paul encourages us to empty ourselves of all this ego stuff – and fill that space with love and service to Christ and God. Sounds a lot healthier to me – so hey, let it go! +

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15 Jun

Newsletter, June 14

Rev. Sheelagh’s Thought For The Week
The second part of this coming week’s gospel is well known to many of you who serve in leadership here at St Stephen’s.  At the start of each meeting we begin with dwelling in the word, using a passage from Luke 10, where Jesus sent out his disciples in twos to visit the villages where he planned to go.  Travel light, eat what is given to you, and bless all you encounter, they are told.  But also beware – for the Lord sends us out as sheep into the midst of wolves.  It seems that being a person of faith was always to inhabit a hostile world.  When we encounter hostility, we are counselled to rely on God who will give us what we need to say at the time.  We could all use that advice, especially in a world where a wrong word, or an ill advised sentiment expressed in an email is so dangerous to our relationships today.  Maybe pausing long enough to be guided by the Spirit would avoid some of the blunders we all make.  Especially in these hot summer days – when our patience is short and tempers flare quickly, let’s pause for a moment, say nothing, until we have blessed people first.+

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07 Jun

Newsletter, June 7

Rev. Sheelagh’s Thought For The Week
Sometimes… it’s just about trust.  This week I am with my family as we make some family decisions about my father’s care.  Alzheimer’s is a horrible disease that takes away dignity and respect.  It isn’t about what or who my dad knows now, but what we hope for.  Simply a place where he will be treated kindly, gently and with respect.  The gift of the Holy Spirit has always been present as I look back over the most important events of my life and probably yours too; for example in knowing that we are in love, choosing a life partner, welcoming a child, changing a job, or discerning a calling.  The Spirit of God is present right there in the moment as we pray and discern these things.  I think we actually notice the presence of the Spirit in the harder moments of our lives, because it is then that we really understand that we have so little control, and are most willing to place our trust in God.  Come, Holy Spirit, come, as we walk through whatever awaits us.

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01 Jun

Newsletter, May 31

Rev. Sheelagh’s Thought For The Week
This weekend brings us to the end of the Easter season, with Pentecost, and the beginning of what is known as ordinary time.  Maybe it’s ordinary because there are no more climactic events, like the Resurrection, Ascension or Pentecost, where the divine seems to intervene directly into the life of the church. But let’s not rush.  Pentecost is, and should be a big deal.  It’s the moment where despite differences and everyone seemingly speaking in different tongues, everyone hears the same message.  How much our hearts yearn for that?  Peace, justice, equality, dignity – are all fruits of the kingdom of God.  Maybe the only universal language is that which shows itself as love.  The meeting of the eyes, the time to be present, the sharing of laughter and joy- these are all marks of love incarnate.  As we baptize Samantha this weekend, fly our red banners, celebrate our children, graduates, choristers and our musicians, let’s be open to the spirit of God’s love and joy.  Will we see the spirit of God alight on each one of us?  I hope so, at least in our smiles and faces. +
25 May

Newsletter, May 24

Rev. Sheelagh’s Thought For The Week

Rogation days are set aside in our church calendar to remind us of the four seasons of the year. They hearken back to a time when we were more in tune with agricultural seasons and the gift and blessing of our Creator God. Rogation Sunday in rural parishes is filled with meanings we have forgotten. Many hold a procession into the fields, to sprinkle Holy water and bless the crops and the coming harvest of wheat, corn or tomatoes.

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17 May

Newsletter, May 17

Rev. Sheelagh’s Thought For The Week
“If you love me…” Is the question we are asked this week.  We should not be too quick to answer.  This is deep stuff, and reluctant as we are to have a silence that might suggest wavering commitment, we should weigh our answer carefully.
What does it mean to love Christ and how does it change our behavior?
“Love one another as I have loved you,” comes to mind, but then we are not Jesus, and we have neither the depth of love nor the sacrificial resolve to do as Jesus does.  We are all just a pale imitation.  A bit like fish sticks compared to real crab!
For me loving God, has always been about an intention to try to follow Christ’s way.  It is to be loving, forgiving, accepting of others even when we disagree.  Being right is a lonely place.  If you love me, is about relationships where respect, dignity and self sacrificial love are the foundations.  And, because none of us is perfect, I am always grateful for the chance to realize my failures and know that I am loved enough to try again.  So how does “If you love me”… affect the way you are?

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03 May

Newsletter, May 3

Rev. Sheelagh’s Thought For The Week
Good shepherd Sunday is always the fourth Sunday after Easter, reminding us that God cares for us and seeks us out.  This year we have our family friendly service and we will listen to a children’s version of the gospel read from a chair this week, like story time.  If you have a toy lamb or sheep, bring it.
Sheep farmers know that sheep learn specific clicks and whistles, and will faithfully follow the shepherd they know.  The Gospel of John tells us we come to know God’s voice when we hear it, and follow what we hear.  I wonder when and how you have been aware of God’s “voice”?  I also wonder what our children will make of it?  We’ll see.  Don’t miss it!

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