Rev.  Jan Bihl
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The Peace of Christ be with you.

Perhaps this pandemic has heightened our God-givien need for connection with others…deep and meaningful connection. I was heading for the patio this morning, coffee and journal in hand, pondering some of the challenges, sadness, frustrations…that have come to my attention this week. “…weary of the constant conflict…the continued physical distancig requirements, limited freedom of movement and in-person encounters, unexpected loss and change, increased cases of COVID-19…”

As I walked past my bookshelf, my attention rested on a prayer book...which I picked up, took to my morning prayer spot, and opened to this prayer:

Grant me a holy communion, a companionship with others… I live in times of great trial: an age of change sits at my door. Without a community of others I can so easily lose the way. Open my eyes to Your precious gift of the Church’s Communion of Saints…May I feed this day upon the food of this…holy communion with those friends and fellow pilgrims with whom I share this planet earth, as well as those saints now fully one with You. May this awareness of my companion journey with all the saints deepen my life of prayer and fertilize my faith in You…

(A Pilgrim’s Companion Psalm. Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim. Edward Hays)

That reminded me of a song we have sung in worship…We are companions on the journey, breaking bread and sharing life; an in the love we bear is the hope we share for we believe in the love of our God, we believe in the love of our God. Meaningful connection, community, communion, companions…These are soooo needed today. And sometimes something as simple as a story can nurture these God-given longings…Recently when I was talking with a friend about the beauty of the mountain scenery all around us, I looked out the window at the low cloud and was reminded of this story.

One year when we were living in Calgary, my Mom and Dad flew out and we took them on a road trip to Jasper to visit their grandson and his family. If you knew my Dad, you would know that flying was not his thing, so this was bordering on a miracle. By that time in his life, Dad had macular degeneration and was not able to drive, otherwise I’m sure there wouldn’t have been an airplane involved! Well, we loaded up our little car and were on our way. The scenery was/is stunning on that Banff/Jasper Highway, especially in sunny weather. But that day the sky was overcast – with high cloud cover - and I was disappointed that we didn’t have a clear, bright day to travel. However, as we were driving, Dad started noticing landmarks and asking questions about the landscape…and then I realized that he was able to see better with the overcast sky than in the bright sunshine! So we made the most of it. At one point we stopped at a scenic point to stretch our legs and be still with the beauty for a bit. When we looked around, there was Dad, walking across the highway to get closer the mountain sheep!

This was an experience for which I will always be grateful. What a gift it was to witness those moments…moments that bring joy even today in the re-telling.

Sharing our stories with one another…memories that give strength…that remind us of God’s gifts and presence and the serendipities God provides…this simple thing can go a long way to lift our spirits. How about sharing one of your stories with someone this week?

 

Connecting in Prayer

Prayer- from Keri Wehlander’s (Light of Healing, adapted by Rev. Jan)

Holy One, Light of healing, Presence of courage, Source of wisdom and discernment, in these times of uncertainty, fear, loss and discouragement, may we be rooted in Your love, filled with Your peace, illumined by Your grace. Kindle our hearts into quiet strength and restore our spirits. You are our shelter and strength.

Hold in your love our families and communities, friends near and far, those who face grief and loss…those who struggle with fear…who are lonely…those stretched with the needs of loved ones…and all those facing life’s immense changes and challenges at home, at work, and in our communities.

Jesus, source of Love, breathe on us Your Peace once again…give us ears to hear your message and open hearts to follow Your guidance…Teach us to deepen our faith and trust in the one You called Abba.

In this week’s journey, help us to be aware of life-blessing moments, words which strengthen, and love that heals.

In the light of Jesus. Amen.

Christ’s Light of Grace, Peace, Faith, Hope, and Love to all.

Rev. Jan