“The greatest honour we can give Almighty God is to live gladly because of the knowledge of his love.” – Julian of Norwich
Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. Harriet Tubman
“My grandfather once told me that there were two kinds of people: those who do the work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was much less competition. ” Indira Ghandi (1917-1984)
The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be – Marcel Pagnol.
The Bible is not a book that answers all questions. It is a book that keeps inspiring new questions, new insights, new conversation and a change of heart in us. (L. William Countryman)
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Dream. Discover. Explore. (Mark Twain).
“The world changes – circumstances change, we change – but God’s Word never changes” (Warren W. Wiersbe)
We are tempted to think that our little “sips” of online connection add up to a big gulp of real conversation. But they don’t. E-mail, Twitter, Facebook, all of these have their places – in politics, commerce, romance and friendship. But no matter how valuable, they do not substitute for conversation. (Sherry Turkle, New York Times)
When it comes to life, the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude. (G. K. Chesterton)
The world offers promises full of emptiness – Easter offers emptiness full of promise. Embrace the promise. Believe where you have not seen. And know this: the God who gave life to Jesus will also give life to you. God asks your belief. God expects your trust. That’s where it starts. The proof will appear in your life. (Carolyn Arends)
- Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won’t stay there. (Clarence Hall)
- Easter is the demonstration of God that life is essentially spiritual and timeless. (Charles Crowe)
“I remember being told two things about the cross in our lives; both have been very helpful. First: the real cross is the one you have not chosen, the one that doesn’t fit neatly on your shoulder. That is a very authentic cross and so very difficult to accept. The other: a Mother Superior said to one of her community who was grumbling about the cross she had to carry: ‘Don’t drag your cross, carry it.’ There is a lot of wisdom in that. (Cardinal Basil Hume)
Children Learn What They Live
by Dorothy Law Nolte
If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to be shy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with tolerance, they learn to be patient.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with praise, they learn to appreciate.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with acceptance and friendship, they learn to find love in the world.
Strange how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. You can send coarse jokes through email and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing! (Canon Andrew Cheesman)
This week’s Thought for the Week is by the Revd Dr Warren Huffa, one of today’s leading biblical and theological scholars in Australia. In a short paper called Worship without Expectations, Dr Huffa gives all church-going people something to seriously reflect upon and think through. It was published in May 2010. Dr Huffa is an Anglican parish priest and lecturer in the Diocese of Adelaide.
Worship without expectations is a good thing. It hollows out space in our hearts free from our own self-centredness ready for the living God. It is easy to see expectations regarding God and spirituality at work in contemporary Australia (or anywhere in the West).
Although church-hopping until the hopper finds the church they like has made churches more honest as they cannot assume people’s allegiance, overall it is unhelpful in the spiritual journey. Supermarket spirituality encourages people to think they know how God wishes to be gracious to them and so they search until they find it. This assumption might be hidden behind the search for uplifting music or a gospel minister, but it still assumes the person concerned knows what God wants for them.
Contrary to this, I don’t think we really know what God wants for us, and how much goodness God wishes to shower upon us, and the sheer weight of goodness we miss because we have tunnel vision: we only receive the goodness that our expectations allow. Breaking our addiction to ourselves by not coming to worship with expectations of what God should do and how God should achieve it can be painful. People confuse this spiritual correction going on within us as boredom, or poor preaching, or bad liturgy, etc.
Another example of this is when people stay at a church because they are receiving what they want. If you think about it, it is just the other side of the coin of people leaving because they don’t get what they want.
Coming to church without expectations of how and what God should do broadens our experience of God, and our hopefulness. Sitting in church when you don’t particularly feel God’s presence is good practice for those times when God seems particularly absent.
Feeling like God is absent at church will also give us a new sense of how shocking the crucifixion of Jesus must have been for the first disciples, not to mention a new sympathy for Jesus hanging on the cross is desolation. We are in good company!
And if you are sitting in church and you wonder where God is in all of this, well focus on the Eucharist: it proclaims the death and resurrection of the Lord until he comes. Talk about presence in absence! And the next time we find ourselves nailed to the cross, there will be some formed practice to fall back on.
Revd Dr Warren Huffa
Thought for the Week by Canon Matthias Der, Dean-designate of St John’s Cathedral, Hong Kong
Count your blessings, not your troubles. Whenever we encounter a challenge, we always have a choice. We can choose to be a person full of thankfulness or full of complaints. Thankfulness will lead us to have faith, optimism, contentment and hope in God. Complaints will cultivate more worries, fear and concerns. Which path would you choose?
Lord, I place myself in your presence. After the strain and turmoil of the day
I rest quietly here, as a little boat which has been tossed by the waves,
buffeted by the wind, but now rests secure in a sheltered harbour.
Here all my projects lose their power over me.
My fragmented self is reassembled and I am made whole again.
In your presence, I experience my true worth,
which consists not in doing but in being.
I surrender myself into your hands. I am at peace.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most…We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. (Marianne Williamson, American author and lecturer).
Jesus brought the wine of God’s love into the world.
Everywhere he went the old was made new.
For the couple at Cana he changed water into wine.
For the widow of Nain he changed tears into joy.
For Zacchaeus he changed selfishness into love.
For the thief at Calvary he changed despair into hope.
And on Easter morning he changed death into life.
Lord, be present with us today and throughout our lives,
and when through human weakness
the wine of your love is found wanting,
touch our hearts and strengthen our wills,
so that we may taste the wine of unselfish love.
You can tell the size of your God by looking at the size of your worry list; the longer your list the smaller your God (Anon).