The mission of Squamish United Church is "To be an inclusive community serving God's world." As a church together we seek to love God and neighbour with all our heart, soul and mind. We hope this blog enriches you on your journey of life.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Too Busy not to Pray

I am not really sure when I began this practice but I imagine it was after I heard the quote "Work, work, from morning until late at night. In fact, I have so much to do that I shall have to spend the first three hours in prayer." ~ Martin Luther I know I had heard this quote many times in my life but there was a change point a few years back when I realized how right Luther was.

Now, I don't spend three hours in prayer every morning but I do spend time in prayer every morning. Some might wonder if my practice of prayer 'really counts' but it is the most consistent spiritual practice in my life, and it works for me because for me it is 'doable.'

Here it is: Every morning I set my alarm for somewhere between 20mins - a half hour earlier than I actually need to get up. (I have always favoured the 'snooze' button but now I put it to really good use). I wake up to my alarm I automatically hit snooze and I begin to pray. I don't get out of bed and on my knees I stay in bed and I pray that before I even begin my day God will be with me. Each day my prayer is different. It might be a prayer for patience, or a prayer for peace, or a prayer against allowing business to move me into stress, it might be a prayer for a person I am meeting with that day or an event I am about to lead or participate in. Whatever it is I start me day in prayer.

So I encourage you to at least try it for the rest of lent:

Begin each day with a prayer of mindfulness--that you will be attentive to the ways God is present in the world--in your life--throughout the day.

And then I encourage you again near the end of the day, ask yourself, “Where did I see God today?” It’s really that simple. If you have trouble answering the question, it might help to start by thinking of the people you encountered. How was the light of Christ present in them—or what opportunities did they present for you to be the hands of God? Where did you encounter the natural world today? How is the glory of God revealed in both the beauty and the vulnerability of the creation? Where did you see imagination, creativity, new birth? Where did you see suffering

“There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of a continual conversation with God.” Brother Lawrence

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cloudy Days on the journey

Today as I walked home from lunch I morned another grey day. I am ready to shed the winter jacket and really move into spring. I found my heart sinking a little as I zipped my jacket up tighter and put my hands in my pockets and then I walked in silence and the song birds drew me in. It was almost as if they were saying "don't fear - we're here - we believe that the sky will turn from grey to blue - we believe the sun will shine - won't you join us in our song as we sing for the light?"
Thank you God for the reminder of beauty on a cloudy, grey day. Thank you for the awareness that you are present even when we begin to turn ourselves towards gloom.
today I invite to a Prayer on the move. When in the car be intentional about turning the radio off and not talking on the cell phone. When you are alone in the car, use that quiet time to be in prayer.
Many blessings on this beautiful cloudy spring day.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sore Journey

Monday is my day off so yesterday I took the opportunity (even though the sun wasn't shining like I wanted ) to hike the chief. The friend I hiked with was concerned for me, and thought we shouldn't go all the way because I have been out of commission from any sport or exercise since December due to a torn shoulder. But I was determined to make it all the way! As we journeyed we saw bursts of sunshine through the trees all the way along. We arrived at the top, gazed about in awe as one does and by the time we got the camera read the clouds had come in. I felt a bit like Moses on the top of Mt. Nebo looking over the promise land and then not being able to enter. Only I was trying to gaze upon the promise land but I couldn't see it.
(Oh there is a whole other analogy in that).
The journey was harder than usual because I'm not my well exercised self. But I made it through the rain and clouds and although I am a little sore today I am truly thankful.
My Soul journey this week begins with gratitude for the beauty of where I live, the freedom of my country, friends who care for me on the journey, and the ability to journey at all. I was reminded once again - I am healthy and loved. Not everyone can say that with such confidence. Todays journey of the soul is one of the gratitudes and thanksgivings that have sprung out of the imperfections of life.
Blessings on your journey.

Monday, March 28, 2011

In Her Shoes

Week 3 - If the shoe fits. This week we will be reminded that we all have different journey’s in life. Sometimes we are not accepting of those who do not walk the same life we do. This week take time to who it is that you have trouble loving or welcoming, like the disciples with the Samaritan woman. Where do you attempt to draw the line of God’s love and grace?

Spiritual Practice - This week offer a gift of grace to someone (or a group of people) that you have trouble showing grace and love to.

Friday, March 25, 2011


Perfection, Perfection

by Kilian McDonnell

("I will walk the way of perfection." Psalm 101:2)

I have had it with perfection.

I have packed my bags,

I am out of here.


As certain as rain

will make you wet,

perfection will do you


It droppeth not as dew

upon the summer grass

to give liberty and green


Perfection straineth out

the quality of mercy,

withers rapture at its


Before the battle is half begun,

cold probity thinks

it can't be won, concedes the


I've handed in my notice,

given back my keys,

signed my severance check, I


Hints I could have taken:

Even the perfect chiseled form of

Michelangelo's radiant David


the Venus de Milo

has no arms,

the Liberty Bell is


"Perfection, Perfection" by Kilian McDonnell, from Swift, Lord, You Are Not. © Saint John's University Press, 2003.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

sun kissed

I invite you today not to something new in practice but a continuation of practice.
The sun is shinning and so I encourage you to continue on your sole journey to nourish your soul. I just returned from a brief walk on my lunch break. The warm sun and the cool breeze made my face tingle with life. The touch of the creator painted my cheeks a rosy red. Back in my office I can hear the birds chirp, see the snow glisten on the mountain peaks above, and peer upon the crocuses that remind us that we are called to life even when the ground it hard, and rocky soil is covered in winters debris.
Have you gone for a walk or spent time in prayer seeking out God in your life?
Take the time even if brief to check in with your soul on it's journey.
Blessings on the travels of your soul.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


by Jo Sorley

It takes courage
to be crocus-minded.
God, I’d rather wait until June,
Like wise roses,
When the hazards of winter are safely behind,
and I’m expected,
and everything’s ready for roses.
But crocuses?
Highly irregular.
Knifing through hard-frozen ground and snow,
and sticking their necks out,
because they believe in spring
and have something personal
and emphatic to say about it.
God, I am by nature rose-minded.
Even when I have studied the situation here
and know there are wrongs that need righting,
affirmations that need stating,
and know also that my speaking out may offend . . .
for it rocks the boat . . .
Well, I’d rather wait until June.
Maybe later things will work themselves out,
and we won’t have to make an issue of it.
God, forgive,
Wrongs don’t work themselves out.
Injustices and inequities and hurts don’t just dissolve.
Somebody has to stick her neck out,
Somebody who cares enough
to think through
and work through hard ground,
because she believes
and has something personal
and emphatic to say about it.
Me God?
Could it be that there are things that need to be said,
and you want me to say them?
I pray for courage.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Where are you God?

This week as you find ways to discover the work of the Spirit in our lives you may first need to see God at work. When I was a student in seminary I had a supervisor who asked me every time she saw me "Where is God at work in your life?" At first this was hard and I felt like I was faking my answers. Some days I wanted to say "I don't see God anywhere." But after months of this I soon learned I had better have an answer for the next time I saw her. What started out as an assignment soon became a blessing. I found myself each day asking "Where is God at work in this?" "Do I see God?" "What does The Holy have in store for me today?" Today I invite you to join me in this God search. Throughout your day ask yourself "Where do I see God?" At the end of the day ask yourself “Where did I see God today?” I encourage you to write it down and throughout the season of lent make a list of where you have seen God.
This week I have seen God:
In the glorious, much needed sunshine
In family who have supported me in some hard life decisions
In friends who have joined me in my joy and hugged me in my tears
In a celebration for a beautiful, faithful woman who shared her 80th birthday with us
In a family walking down the street holding hands
In the gift of some beautiful flowers sitting on my desk that I have no idea where they came from.

And it's only Tuesday......

God is alive and well.
Blessings on your Journey

Monday, March 21, 2011

Walking the Journey

Week 2 - Walking the Journey.This is the second week in Lent, we begin a series of encounters of Jesus with - Nicodemus, the woman at the well, the man born blind, and Lazarus. Or to put it another way, these are "encounters" with our need for rebirth, our thirst, our blindness and our deadness.

This week we ask the question How do we walk from here? As we focus on the movement of the Spirit - “which blows where it may” we ask “where is God’s spirit taking you?” And focusing on the story of Nicodemus we ask “What is God birthing in you?” Take time to notice where the wind of God is moving you.

Spiritual Practice - Take a walk alone or with a friend - meditate, pray or talk together about where God is in your life. “How do you see God active in your life?”

Friday, March 18, 2011

Make a Joyful Noise

Lent is often known as a solemn season.
Every lent I try to let go of something that bring me down, brings death rather than life.
I also try to replace that with a life-giving practice.
Today I invite you to "Make a joyful noise to the Lord."
Spend some time singing, or playing music to praise God. You may want to sing a song you have memorized or put on a CD to sing along with or simply enjoy.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

An Irish Blessing

May God give you...
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
...For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.

Sole Journey

The sun is shining (at least for the moment)
Today take a prayer walk through your community.
Be aware of things you don't often see
Who goes unnoticed or ignored?
Who and what do you avoid?
What do you take for granted?
What do you appreciate?
Where do you see God in your world today?

Feel free to share below (it's easy to post a comment by anonymous)

Blessings on this St. Patricks Day

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Soul Mending

As we continue through this journey of Lent I invite you to take some time to be aware of what distracts you. In the last few days we have been praying with 'consolations' and 'desolations.' Those desolations are the things that draw us away from God.
I invite you today to take another step in this. Is there something that you use to distract you? Is it go on the computer, turn on the T.V., listen to music, eat, clean? These things in themselves are not bad but at times we fail to stop and take notice. Take time today to change those distractions to times of prayer. Even if it is just for 5 minutes - turn off the T.V. or the computer, slow down - don't run out the door or whatever it is that 'keeps you busy.'
Spend some time mending your Soul.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Soul Journey

The Beginning of the Soul Journey

Week 1 - The first step.
Jesus begins his journey by temptation in the desert. In this first week of lent we are reminded that you can’t move forward unless you are willing to be a little off balance.
You must be willing to take a chance.
As you plan for this journey we invite you to ask
  • what are you going to take with you?
  • What are you going to leave behind- because it weighs you down. Even Jesus faced trials along the way but he never forgot who he was and what brought him fullness of life.
Spiritual Practice - This week practice the Ignatian practice of Examen. The idea is to look for the movements of God throughout your day and life.

Ignatious expected that God would speak through our deepest feelings and yearnings, what he called “consolation” and “desolation.” For us, consolations is whatever helps us connect with ourselves, others, God and creation. Desolation is whatever disconnects us.
Think through and then pray into:

Consolation - What draws me close to God? What am I grateful for? What gives me life?

Desolation - What pulls me away from God? For what am I least grateful? What drains life from me?

I invite you to do this practice on your own. If you are able to I also encourage you to do this practice with your partner and/or family or a friend.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Dying to Live

Fast From - Feast On

Some guidance for Lent that has been making the rounds in Victoria Presbytery:
Fast From-Feast On
Fast from judging others; Feast on the Christ dwelling in them.
Fast from emphasis on differences; Feast on the unity of life.
Fast from apparent darkness; Feast on the reality of light.
Fast from thoughts of illness; Feast on the healing power of God.
Fast from words that pollute; Feast on phrases that purify.
Fast from discontent; Feast on gratitude.
Fast from anger; Feast on patience.
Fast from pessimism; Feast on optimism.
Fast from worry; Feast on divine order.
Fast from complaining; Feast on appreciation.
Fast from negatives; Feast on affirmatives.
Fast from unrelenting pressures; Feast on unceasing prayer.
Fast from hostility; Feast on non-resistance.
Fast from bitterness; Feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern; Feast on compassion for others.
Fast from personal anxiety; Feast on eternal truth.
Fast from discouragements; Feast on hope.
Fast from facts that depress; Feast on verities that uplift.
Fast from lethargy; Feast on enthusiasm.
Fast from thoughts that weaken; Feast on promises that inspire.
Fast from shadows of sorrow; Feast on the sunlight of serenity.
Fast from idle gossip; Feast on purposeful silence.
Fast from problems that overwhelm; Feast on prayer that [strengthens].

—William Arthur Ward (American author, teacher and pastor, 1921-1994.)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Soul Journey

On Ash Wednesday (April 9th) we began the forty- day season (excluding the Sundays) Lent. Most of us associate Lent with the practice of “giving something up” like unhealthy foods or a bad habit. While these might be steps that connect us closer to God, they often become “shoulds” (like loosing weight) instead of ways we can grow in our faith.

In Lent we redirects our sights away from ourselves. We are not called to feel guilt about our flaws but rather we are called to focus on The Holy.

This season reminds us that the one who creates us and calls us to bring our broken selves to God for healing and wholeness. And at the end of the season Easter is when we celebrate our wholeness in Jesus the Christ. The 40 day journey to the cross and resurrection is one we use to intentionally create the space for that healing process to begin.

Instead of giving up chocolate or ice cream (which for most of is more of a desperate attempt to lose weight, than a spiritual practice) I invite you to join us on A Soul Journey (off the beaten path). Each week the congregation will be invited into a spiritual practice of the week. I will also offer a daily practice here on the blog. These practices are meant to draw us closer in relationship with God, both as individuals and as communities.

I pray these practices will not become a “laundry list” of to-do items. The goal is not to “check” them off as the days in Lent pass by hoping we might then become more religious. They are an invitation to broaden, deepen and open our awareness to God’s presence in our everyday lives.

Perhaps you will choose one practice to engage in each day over the season of Lent. Or you might find it helpful to change the practice each day. Regardless of what appeals to you most, join God in this time of growth and renewal of who God creates us to be.

Day One: Ask for help. Lent begins when we recognize that we can’t do everything ourselves and we depend on God’s grace for our lives. Experience God’s grace by asking for and receiving help for something we can’t do on our own. (I found this suggestion on the sight ‘Sacred Screaming’ and I agreed it was the perfect place to start.)

Blessings on the journey,