WORDS AND ACTIONS

Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.  Psalm 19:14.

Words are powerful.  They can create or destroy.  They can build up or tear down. What we often don’t realize is how powerful our words are when we aren’t paying attention. 

For example, a group of people that I know and work with decided to have a four-hour working session beginning at 5:30 pm on Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend.  While my husband and I had planned to spend the weekend “camping” in our fifth-wheel, we offered to host the working session at our house and indicated that we would cook hamburgers for the group.  Everyone else was invited to bring a dish to share.  Eight people out of the group indicated that they could attend, so we bought hamburger for a crowd and came home early from our weekend to get ready. 

At 5:30, my husband began cooking the hamburgers.  One person called to indicate that she would be late because her brother was in the hospital; two others finally came at 6:45; and the one who called arrived at about 7 pm.  So out of the eight people we were expecting, three came.  Only one of the others called. 

I was disappointed—disappointed at the lack of communication, disappointed that my husband had worked so hard when so few people came, and frankly, disappointed that we, too, hadn’t just forgotten the whole thing. 

The reality is that we often are unaware of the actual impact when what we say doesn’t match what we do.  Yet we sometimes throw our words around as though what we say does not or ‘should not’ matter.  I invite you to pay attention to your words:  If you say you will do something, do it; make sure that your words are helpful, not hurtful or unkind; use your words to create a new way of looking at something or to build someone up.  You may be surprised at the result!

Barbara Moore

Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

Have you ever thought about going on a spiritual journey? Not everyone has the means to make a pilgrimage to the Way of St. James or the Camino in northern Spain, but what we do have right here at Glendale United Methodist Church is an amazing labyrinth. At times, when it seems like there is too much going on, when troubles seem to be pressing in, when life seems to be out of control, standing at the opening of the labyrinth, taking a deep breath, and taking that first step, can feel like a great release. Walking that single path and letting the worries of the world fall away is liberating. You may say a breath prayer as you follow the grassy lane or softly sing a hymn. You may pray for others or world conflicts or yourself.

The labyrinth is a remarkable spiritual tool. It is a source of solace in troubled times. Walking a labyrinth can help resolve inner discomfort and still your mind enough to get a bit of clarity in what is going on in your life. As a spiritual tool, both the calming and quieting effect of the labyrinth, as a pathway on a journey or a spiritual trek, can help to ponder life’s challenges.

You are invited to take a spiritual journey right here at Glendale. You don’t need to be dealing with major concerns or heavy hearts to experience the peace that a labyrinth can bring.

Paula Gaboury

“Question Asking”

James 1: 5-6 “If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you.  But ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.”

 

I have been taking classes regularly to help me develop my intuitive skills, which helps me grow as a human being and as a healing practitioner.  My teacher has been showing us the power of asking questions; questions that invite God into our lives to assist us and stretch us; questions that open the way to connecting kindly with other souls; questions that lead us into new territory, new behaviors, fresh perspectives…  We are invited to “wonder” about our lived experiences, which opens us to more fully sensing our lived experiences, leading us to more fully connect with all the dimensions surrounding us.  She is teaching us “how to” implement this discipline.

My prayers now include many more questions… Demanding things from God implies that we already know what we need…  My questions have become much more open-ended, welcoming God’s instruction and helping me to bravely invite challenges. 

Asking questions has been a lifelong pursuit for me.  When I was a teen I discovered the poet, Rainer Maria Rilke, and loved these words of his, “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue… And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” 

 

I am grateful for our Glendale community and for our willingness to step into the new territory of asking, “How can we more effectively serve our local community?”  Last Monday was the first food distribution of Ruby’s Pantry.  Yes, we may have served only 69 people when we could have served hundreds.  But we are only responsible for the effort; God is responsible for the results, and this ministry WILL be blessed.  It will grow exponentially-of that I am confident!

 

I invite you to meditate, connecting with the Living Energy surrounding you, quieting your mind by opening your senses, and simply paying attention to the subtle messages that come….  Our bodies are divinely-created, and God has provided them to us as a powerful means of experiencing and transmitting His Love….  May your day be blessed!

~Ann Scarborough                                                                 

Psalm 107:28-30  “Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out from their distress; and he made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.  Then they were glad because they had quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven.”

As a child I was taught how to pray on a rosary, saying Hail Mary on small beads and Our Father on larger beads, progressing until the end of the rosary was reached.  This didn’t really connect with me at the time, my childish mind would often wander or I’d rush as fast as I could to finish the task so I could ride my bike.

As a young adult, I would wish that I had paid more attention to how to pray.  I remember one time when asked to lead grace before dinner, I froze and then bumbled something about “thank you for this food, it looks good, thanks”.  Later as I ate, I felt ashamed and wished I had mentioned the others at the table.  Or mentioned those who didn’t have food, that they would find a meal.  Or ask for peace in the world.  Anything but the less than eloquent thing that I had just said.

I then worked on discovering the right way to pray.  I tried praying late at night before bed.  Sometimes that worked, but other times I’d fall asleep as soon as I hit the pillow.  I also tried praying first thing in the morning.  That didn’t last long – I’m not a morning person so the motivation waned.  And I always struggled with finding the right words to say.

At some point, I stopped obsessing about learning the right prayer formula, and then things got easier.  Sometimes it made sense to pray in the middle of the day when I’d learn of prayer concerns.  Or if I had trouble sleeping and needed to lift up an anxiety, then that would be the time to do it.  Or if I was taking a hike and came upon an absolutely beautiful scene, then I would say thank you.  It was random and seemed inexperienced, but I was starting to feel a connection.

Earlier this summer, my husband, children and I traveled to New Orleans by car.  As we were driving past Lafayette over wetlands in heavy traffic on a bridge, we encountered a severe storm.  Thankfully my husband knew to drive slowly behind a semi following the lights, but I was terrified.  I never liked severe storms… I discovered in that moment that I like them even less when I’m in a car, over a bridge, with my husband and children there.  I silently prayed.  I didn’t remember Psalm 107:28-30, which would have been a completely appropriate prayer under the circumstances.  Instead I started repeating Our Fathers (a prayer I say regularly) and Hail Mary’s (a prayer I haven’t said often since childhood).

In my terror, I know I forgot some of the lines at times, or started mixing up the prayers, and I’m certain I didn’t say them in the proper order for the rosary that I wasn’t even holding… but my fear dissipated and I felt some sense of calm even as the storm raged on.  At some point, the weather calmed and an exit appeared.  We were safe, and so were the others on the road.

I now realize that prayer is not about perfection or eloquence.  It’s about faith and a personal connection with God. 

Matthew 21:22 “Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive”

Lisa Duffy

Our Lord’s Prayer

I grew up in a family where my evening routine at bedtime was to say our prayers before going to sleep.  I do not know when this tradition started, or whether it was my mother’s or father’s side of the family that this activity came from.  When our daughters were young, Ann and I continued this each night as we prayed out loud The Lord’s Prayer. Our oldest daughter Maria and her husband Mike have taught their daughter’s, Talia and Gabriella in this tradition, and now when we visit Salt Lake City to be with our family we get to enjoy this special prayer time too!

The Lord’s Prayer is etched in my mind and my heart and it has been a very special experience for me to have Pastor Becky Jo do a series of sermons on this prayer.  The last two Sunday’s, Ann has needed help in the nursery, as we have had 2 infants and 1-2 toddlers.; so we have both missed hearing the messages of hope and faith that Becky Jo has shared with our community during this series.  I know that her teachings are exploring more than just the words, but the deeper meanings and interpretation of the prayer and how it can even be more meaningful in each of our lives. So even though, we are missing part of this “education” and experience, with our church community; it gives me peace and comfort to know that Christian’s all over the world are praying this prayer and that the little children that our nursery volunteers are caring for have been placed in our care, just the way our God has placed each of us at Glendale to care for one another and reach out to community members.  Amen.

Robert Scarborough

Matthew 25:40

“…Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”

Glendale’s mission team’s trip to Detroit was a reminder to all involved that God’s family has members who are hurting. July 19-26 was an experience that touched our hearts as we attempted to share God’s love with citizens of Detroit whose city is experiencing really hard times. It was difficult to see city blocks where well-kept homes sat next to abandoned and decaying houses. Our hearts went out to Detroit as we worked for them and with them to help things turn around.

The week of mission provided each of the participants with a reminder of Christ’s lesson that as we love one another we love Christ. This is a lesson that we can practice here at home as well as in other places. How is it that you see yourself sharing God’s love with the lonely, the lost and the least? 

Ron Nicholas

I guess there is a place in the Voices of Glendale for this: Goodbye Lynn, we loved you and we will surely miss you.

I follow my wife Shelley in the sequence of these writings and I find myself leaning on words she just wrote on Friday.  “We live in an unpredictable world, ever mindful of the bad things that may or could happen to us or those around us.  The flock needs the shepherd to ward off those bad things.  Because of the Good Shepherd, we can find the world less frightening and a more livable place to be.”

We can start there, remembering that we had a short space of time to learn who Lynnwas, and to marvel in who she had become.  Our Good Shepherd helped Lynnfind a world that was less frightening and a lot more livable than the one she’d tried to leave behind.

In his book “Overcoming Life’s Disappointments” Rabbi Harold Kushner writes “The worth of a person’s soul is not measured by the size of his or her bank account or the volume of applause a person evokes, but by one’s humanity, by one’s compassion, even by the courage to keep on dreaming amid the broken pieces of our earlier dreams.”

He could not have known it but he was speaking to us about Lynn, I’m positive of it.

God calls us to be in forever-life with God and with the great cloud of witnesses that precede us in many ways.  Sometimes it is in our later years, peacefully and in fulfillment of our lives.  Sometimes it is tragically early in life and in sudden or painful ways.  Sometimes it is when we join God in control of the time and the means.

In any event, God is ready to embrace us into everlasting life no matter how or when we get to Him.  I’ve got to believe this is how God works in our lives; I think I’d have a very hard time believing anything else.

There is a line in Judy Collins’ song “The Rose” that says “It’s the heart afraid of breaking that never learns to dance.”  The answer back is “Dance as if no one was watching; love as if you’d never been hurt.”

Lynnhad been hurt, a lot.  But Lynn will live on in our hearts because she always danced as if no one was watching.  Save a dance for me Lynn.

Mike Shultz

The Good Shepherd

 

Growing up in my home church one of my favorite paintings was of Jesus holding a lamb. “The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (read John 10 v. 11 & 14-16.)  As a child on the farm we did not have sheep but had a neighbor that did raise sheep. I remember feeding the lambs from a bottle and how soft they were, but what I really remember is their willingness and eagerness to follow.   

We live in an unpredictable world, ever mindful of the bad things that may or could happen to us or those around us.  The flock needs the shepherd to ward off those bad things.  Because of the good shepherd we can find the world less frightening and a more livable place to be.

How great is God’s love for us.  Jesus was the good shepherd sent to lead us into a life of faith and relationship with god, to teach us unconditional love and care for us.  So let us remember that you and I are also asked by our Savior to feed and care for the lambs and flocks of the field.

Shelley Shultz