Playing and Praying

 

DSC_0301

Phil’s (our) sabbatical drew to a close with long days in Maui, where we valued a time of stopping our work to contemplate His.

We returned to the thoughts of Eugene Peterson who writes well on the Sabbath.

“…it’s the evening when God begins, without our help, his creative day and the morning is when God calls us to enjoy and share and develop the work he initiated – to participate. So we sleep to get out of the way for a while and join in the rhythm of salvation. We wake into a world we didn’t make, into a salvation we didn’t earn” He also adds, “the Deuteronomy reason for Sabbath-keeping is that our ancestors in Egypt went four hundred years without a vacation (Deut 5:15). Never a day off. The consequence: they were no longer considered persons but slaves”

…a familiar story?

As I think of the next 7 years of ministry, the goal is to both pray and play well – to enjoy the art of living and lighten up, even scripture is advising me ‘not to take myself seriously, but take God seriously (Micah 6:8 MSG)

IMG_1950

 

DSC_0233

DSC_0272

Eugene wraps his thoughts with Psalm 92, of gratitude, prayer and the metaphors of music, animals and nature to learn from. Praying and playing share this quality: they develop and mature with age, they don’t go into decline…they are life-enhancing.

We were looking through our gazillions of pics this morning – of Zebras in the Serengeti, Grizzly bears along the highway to Banff, a Rattlesnake poised on my daily walk around the orchards. And from last week as the dawn chorus took on a tropical twist and the ocean was still, the clan took their snorkels down to the salty water and while playing the reef…

DCIM101GOPRO

Playing and Praying

From Psalm 92. //What a beautiful thing, God, to give thanks,  to sing an anthem to you, the High God! To announce your love each daybreak, sing your faithful presence all through the night, Accompanied by dulcimer and harp, the full-bodied music of strings. You made me so happy, God. I saw your work and I shouted for joy. How magnificent your work, God! How profound your thoughts!….My ears are filled with the sounds of promise: Good people will prosper like palm trees, Grow tall like Lebanon cedars; transplanted to God’s courtyard, They’ll grow tall in the presence of God, lithe and green, virile still in old age. Such witnesses to upright God!//

DSC_0287

I will announce your faithfulness and love.

Evening and Morning.  

Sanctifying my days. Applying His ways.

The sacred rhythms of praying and playing.

Emptying from the clamor of me. Making Him room.

Being. Doing. Repeat.

And in the sabbath sounds I hear a whisper,

‘don’t forget I AM Good News. I AM joy. I AM life.’

The good news is a person: Jesus, who walked on this earth to offer an alternative to a humanity devoid of real hope, who died on a cross in order to redeem humanity, who came “to bring good news to the poor … to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free. Let’s not forget that truth.

With a sabbath softened heart. We continue…

Love, Michelle xo

 

**There have been a number of reading inspirations in the last few weeks. I have been nervous to finish Pete Greig’s book – Dirty Glory – thoughts on that in 6 months or so…**

 

Sabbatical thoughts: Part One.

Hello!

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

We are on sabbatical! A gift of time given to Phil this Summer, after 7 years at Willow Park. A time to refresh, rest and study for the next season of ministry. If you follow our Monday funday life you’ll know that Phil and I sabbath well and this has transferred into an extended period.

In addition, Phil is studying to provide the church with new resources around the subjects of general anxiety and helping families with loved ones with cancer and dementia. Phil began his time with a 5 day hike along the famous West Coast Trail with our good friend Lyndon who flew in from the UK. A challenging 75 km hike between Port Renfrew and Bamfield on the West Coast of Vancouver Island.

June also saw a great visit from Mom, Dion and Charl.

IMG_1111

 

Em and Jess’ graduation!

…and end of school and awards nights for Josiah and Bella. Into July we see Em return from Watson Lake in the Yukon where the team ran a great youth camp with our Watson family. Ark started this past week with our Josiah heading off for the first time. He loved every minute. You can watch their first week recap here.

I am busy with Pursuit School. We have students applying and I’m currently finalizing curriculum for the school and organising speakers. Go like our Facebook page and cheer us on! It’s not too late to apply, or you might know someone who would like to attend an awesome school of evangelism and mission based out of Willow Park Church in Kelowna.  

As an INFJ and a journaler I often pour out creative expression privately. Over the last months I have resorted to private expression, rather than posting, a few reasons but I do know that we all do our best creative best work when we’re doing it in front of somebody else. So bare with me as I write the mundane, the ordinary and practice taking my voice from private to public, from page to post once more.

July Journal entry

….I woke this morning early. English tea in my oversized starbucks cup (half tsp sugar) followed by coffee in a small cup (no sugar) It’s 8am and I decide to exercise before the forecasted 30+ hits. No make up, scraped hair and podcasts lined up I hit the orchards for my daily 6km loop. I walk uphill, run down around the orchards. I am rejoicing with morning creation, joining into God’s work that I’m called to enjoy and share and develop. Sunbeams dart through the forest trees. I stop. A few minutes later two fawns slow my steps. Sunny (our rusty whoodle) is frozen with excitement. The deer saunter towards us and Sunny can’t contain herself any longer, letting out a strange hunting squeal, they leap away, through the woods. Free.

We live in God; we move in God; we exist in God. Acts 17:28

The Jewish name for God – Yahweh – was not spoken, but breathed. Its correct pronunciation is an attempt to imitate the sound of inhalation and exhalation. We do that every moment: our first and last word as we enter and leave the world…. The one thing we do every moment of our lives is therefore to speak the name of God. This makes it our first and our last word as we enter and leave the world (Richard Rohr)

I run on, breathing. I love that in spite of ourselves and our pain, by breathing we are speaking the name of God, taking time with eternity. We see the breath of God in everything – through scripture – throughout nature.

Inhaling I ask the Spirit to take control

Exhaling confession

Inhale forgiveness

Exhale gratitude.

Inhale grace

I see in a blink, a spectrum of light dance through water spraying over the orchards.

I’m reminded of the promise of His presence,

I pray, Emmanuel, be with…

Dear friends who have lost everything to fire,  

Raging forest fires,

A precious newborn who needs miracle,

Good friends traveling for life changing treatment,

Our pastor’s, their families and our church family,

And for you in impossible situations I pray you know your loving Father, who breathed His life into your being, who promises His presence.

Love, Michelle xo

more sabbatical thoughts soon 🙂