Tag Archives: beauty

The bliss of being

Have you ever felt a moment where everything feels connected, everything feels right?  When I was 19, I worked as a counsellor at Camp Moose Lake, in the Turtle Mountains in Manitoba.  A beautiful place with low woody hills (only in Manitoba would you call them mountains) surrounding a clear lake.  One Saturday afternoon the campers had all left, and we had 24 hours before the next set arrived.  Freedom!  A few of us went to the lake.  It was a hot summer day, and I was floating in the water, surrounded by green hills, and good friends, with a sky so blue, feeling the deliciously cool lake.  And suddenly it all just clicked somehow.  I was filled to the brim with beauty, with joy, with connection; I felt the bliss of being.  I just smiled and smiled…there were no words there to say thank you to God, deep down I felt I was sensing God.  And the moment ebbed away, and it was just a nice day on the lake again.

How would you describe a moment like that?  Many people call these sorts of moments spiritual experiences.  But spiritual experiences can take many forms.  How do they fit into our everyday life with God?  That’s what I’ll be talking about in my sermon this Sunday.  I hope to see you there!

This week’s prayer:  Lord, thank you for moments of connection, we all want more of them!  Teach us the meaning of these moments, and how to savour them.

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Join the chorus

A few weeks ago a bunch of shoppers at the Seaway Mall were having their lunch when a woman on her cellphone started singing the “Hallelujah Chorus”.  More and more shoppers stood up and started singing…  You can see the whole event on youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXh7JR9oKVE Chorus Niagara members planned this unannounced event.

There is something compelling about the video—I’ve watched it a bunch of times.   Maybe it’s the transition from the little keyboard playing “Jingle Bells” to the opening bars of Handel’s score.  Maybe it’s the lovely voices ringing out in front of the fast food outlets.  Maybe it’s the wide eyes and open mouths on the children’s faces.  Maybe it’s the confidence and joy in the voice of the singers, young and old.  Maybe it’s the way an ordinary every day can be transformed by beauty in an instant, beauty that flares up, then fades away, as everyone turns back to their French fries and newspapers.  But something has happened, you’ve turned back, but you’ve experienced something, and you are changed.  I think God breaks into our lives in ways like this. Join the 13, 195, 871 people who have seen this video.

This week’s prayer:  Help us join the chorus of the faithful this Christmas, singing praise to you with our whole hearts.

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Happy in your own skin?

Are you happy in your own skin? Do you love your body? If you are like most people, there are parts of your body that you like, parts you tolerate and parts you would change if you could. How we feel about our bodies is shaped by culture, and our culture has a lot to say about what our bodies should look like.

This past week every time I turn on the TV or open a newspaper there is an article about Michael Jackson. Reporters speculate on the number of plastic surgeries he had on his face as he pursued his perfect body image, and they show picture after picture to document the changes over the years.

What strikes me in reading this, is not how weird Michael Jackson was, but how much his life reflects our society. When I was a teenager, make-up, hair colour and dieting products were advertised, and that is still the case. But look in the newspaper now, and you always see ads for plastic surgery. Tummy tucks, chin lifts, botox treatments, these are all household words now. Surgery is just one more option to achieve that perfect look. Our culture encourages us (especially women) to make huge sacrifices to look a certain way…whether it’s getting that super expensive skin cream or a better, more attractive nose.

I think as followers of Jesus in this culture, we have to continually remind ourselves that our loyalty is to a different culture. We want our body image to be shaped by our faith in a God who created us beautiful. God came up with the idea of creatures who change from beautiful smooth-skinned babies, to beautiful wrinkled old people. God created us with big noses and little noses, straight noses and crooked noses.

In our July worship services, I’ll be preaching about our bodies. What scripture texts do you think I’ll be using? In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for ads…what are they saying about how you look? See if you can find an ad that says, “Your body is beautiful the way it is—don’t change anything.”

This week’s prayer:  Thank you God for bodies! Thank you for my body! Help me take off the glasses that the world gives me—glasses that make me see people as ugly or beautiful. I want to see with the eyes of Jesus, I want to see beauty in every face I meet this week.

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