Rev.  Jan Bihl
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     The Country Fair, held every July in Carman, Manitoba, was a summer highlight for us kids coming from the farm.  We looked forward to it with great anticipation: the grandstand show, all the food stands of course, the horse shows…but best of all, the midway rides; the Scramble, the Tilt-a-Whirl (dating myself here!), and the rollercoaster! We actually paid money, willingly, to be jostled and plummeted and tossed and scared out of our wits!

     Well, this past week has felt to me like a rollercoaster ride, but of a very different kind—an emotional rollercoaster in these turbulent times. Saturday, I was deeply moved by Prince Philip‘s funeral service. The fact that he planned his own funeral felt like a gift. We got to know something of Prince Philip’s faith and values and what was important to him. I felt blessed. Monday, Dr. Bonnie Henry and Premier Hogan announced more travel restrictions for the next 5 to 6 weeks until the May long weekend. At the same time they announced the lowering of the eligibility age for the AstraZeneca vaccine. The news hour is pretty much Covid-saturate. Frustration, anger, and fear are rising in response to variants and those who continue to live outside the restriction boundaries. Tuesday morning I was out for my morning walk a large area was cordoned off due to the investigation of a fatal shooting the evening before – at 6:30 pm. Close on the heels of this was the verdict of guilty for Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd and the response of tears, relief, gratitude, rallying cries, hope. Thursday was Earth Day…a day to raise awareness of our beautiful and fragile environment and motivate change, a day for me/us to remember that the Earth, Sea, and Sky are what sustains us. Beautiful and sobering.

     In turbulent times like these, the Spirit draws us closer to the Center, to Love and Grace and Peace. Closer to Jesus, who said “I am the Good Shepherd…my sheep know my voice.”  Jesus, our Good Shepherd will lead and guide us to where we will find spiritual food and nurture to restore our souls. There are many voices demanding our  attention, taking us on an unwelcome rollercoaster ride if we listen to them, but our Good Shepherd guides with the still small voice, with promptings and checks in our spirit. When the path is difficult, Jesus walks with us, guiding us through difficult passages. In the midst of fear and uncertainty, our Good Shepherd prepares a table of abundant love and connection…washes our wounds… gives us a new start each day…

     So…as we move into these next weeks, know that you are well-accompanied by the Living Spirit of Jesus, the Good and Genuine Shepherd, and by one another in this faith community.  Trust this in very practical ways and let the Peace of Christ, which transcends our understanding, guard your hearts and minds.

Peace for each day.  
Rev. Jan