Father’s Day seems to be summed up in barbeque and crafts made from macaroni and glue, especially with puns about fishing (“Dad, you’re a great catch!”). On this day, we celebrate the qualities of nurturing, strength, and challenge that we seek from fathers, knowing that we may not have experienced those qualities as fully as we may have wished in our holding environments. I think of grandfathers on this day as well, with the extra layer of perspective and unconditional love that they are often able to offer. When I lived with my grandparents as a student as Graceland University, my Grampie could not help but jump in the car and run to the store if there was anything I needed! His love showed me the truth of God’s love.
The connection that Jesus had with his heavenly father is especially touching to me. I grew up praying, “Dear Heavenly Father” in my prayers, which had a grand yet distant ring to it. When Jesus says “Abba,” meaning “Daddy,” it is sweet in a humbling sort of way. Its intimacy draws God close, without barriers or resistance.
God is a mystery that transcends race and gender. Still, I wonder: could I pray to God in this way? We can have many kinds of unitive experiences with God and Spirit, but I feel that this language is a special manifestation of a soul at peace with God. I pray for that peace in myself and for you!
May you find sheltering in this celebration. May you find love. May you find the peace that passes all understanding and know yourself as a beloved child of God.
Last week in the column we looked at membership and belonging. Today we’ll flip that coin and look within. Our humanity is hardwired for connection and at the same time tuned for meaning. Why are we here? What is the meaning of life? What is a good life?
We all grow older, if we’re lucky, but we don’t necessarily grow up. It’s the time we spend in study, self-reflection, prayer, and meditation that feeds our inner life and helps us transition from milk to solid food, as Paul says in I Corinthians 3. We have many ways to distract ourselves from real, burning-bush experiences with God, and our intellect is one of the big ones!
At the Spiritual Retreat at Hills of Peace (June 24-26), we will be opening ourselves to spiritual growth in a safe container at a beautiful campground. We will examine the stories of Mary, Martha, Jesus, and Lazarus for those moments of spiritual connection that show us ways to grow. We will use all of our senses to experience and appreciate the Holy. We will slip behind our figuring-out minds and listen to our hearts and bodies; to the still, small voice that longs to be one with us.
As you clear your vision about where you belong and who you long to be, make room in your heart for the One who knows you best!
Where are you?
Last week in the column we looked at Psalm 139, at God’s ability to hold us in knowledge and love. We do not have that same insight as Mission Centre Presidents! As we prepare for voting at Mission Centre Conference, we received a question about where each of you have membership, whether it’s in a congregation or as a non-resident. This is a great time to reflect – do you know where your membership is? Would you like to update it? Any of us would be glad to hear from you if you would like our help in that process!
This is also a great time to reflect, where does my ‘membership’ lie in other areas of my life? Has COVID disrupted the ties that usually hold me? Have my relationships floated out beyond my reach? No matter how introverted we may feel in our heart of hearts, part of our life here in this beautiful creation seems to be making and fostering connections. Where are you? Right here, in a specific space.
I invite you to find a spot outdoors that speaks to you – a tree, a flower bed, a bend in a river, and really see what is there. Perhaps it’s new life, perhaps it’s a mossy boulder, perhaps it’s a tiny ecosystem full of activity. Let yourself love this particular place and see if you can build a habit to return to it as days and seasons pass. Just like the elements of your special spot, you also have a place, a relationship with what is, an invitation to full engagement with life.
community of christ
355 Elmira Road North, Unit 129
Guelph, ON N1K 1S5 Canada
Canada West Mission: 877-411-2632
Canada East Mission: 888-411-7537