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.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Show and Tell

I have been reading the scripture of Thomas asking to see the wounds of Christ after the resurrection. Every time I read this scripture I feel Thomas has gotten an unfair label. "Doubting Thomas" to me was realistic. He wanted proof - he wanted to know the resurrection was for real before he shared the good news. I don't judge him for that. He had journeyed with Jesus - he knew Jesus had rocked the boat of the authorities and they therefore were going to ensure he was good and dead so that his power was no longer an influence. I then thought about the emotion that would have gone through me if I saw not only the risen Christ but I also saw the scars and the wounds of the crucifixion. What pain it would cause to see the scars of deep hate and fear on the body of a friend who did nothing but love. And then I wondered what are our scars of love? And then I found this poem.

Show and Tell

If we showed you our hands,
would you find them nicked
from building houses for the homeless,
or calloused from using the TV remote control too much?

If we showed you our feet,
would you find them toughened by walking the corridors
of a hospice with the terminally ill,
or wrinkled by too many hours in the hot tub?

If we showed you our hearts,
would you find them broken over the struggles of the lost,
the little, the last, the least;
or would they be clogged with the plague
of our consumerised lives?

God of the empty grace,
show us how to be your witnesses.

Thom M. Shuman

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

They went out and followed him,

Those who had sat with him at the table.

He led them to a garden

Where he prayed while they slept.

He was kissed,

And because he was kissed he was arrested,

And when he was arrested, his friends fled,

Some to go into hiding,

One to stand beside a bonfire,

And say I never knew him,

I never knew him…

Until the cock crowed.

He was brought before the religious authorities

And accused of the sin of blasphemy

And of threatening insurrection.

Having no power to deal with him,

They handed him over to the state governor,

Who listened to the accusations

And then asked the accused

What have you to say?

To which the response was silence.

He had said it all.

He was not found to be guilty of any criminal charges

But because he was an embarrassment,

It was decided that the people should determine his fate.

They shouted

Crucify him!

Crucify him!

Crucify him!

He was cursed and spat on,

Whipped and humiliated.

And on his shoulders a cross was placed,

Which he accepted with grace.

Under the weight of it

He stumbled and fell

Stumbled and fell

All the way to Calvary.

On top of a garbage dump,

He was nailed to a cross of wood

And left to die,

While soldiers gambled,

Critics joked,

Religious leaders smiled with satisfaction

And his mother watched and waited

TheStar The day the Earth shook and the ocean erupted

TheStar The day the Earth shook and the ocean erupted

Listening at the Cross - Jan Richardson

I invite you to enjoy this reflection as you enter this Holy Weekend

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sit Here While I Pray

Sit here while I pray.
The sorrow in my heart is so great,
it almost crushes me.
Stay here and keep watch with me.
Father, I have shown your glory on earth;
I have finished the work you gave me.
I have given my disciples your message
and the world ... it hated them.
Yet I don't pray
that they may be taken out of the world.
I pray that they may be kept from evil.

Sleeping Peter?
Can you not even keep awake for an hour?

Father, I pray not only for my friends,
but for all who believe their words.
I pray that they may be one,
just as you and I are one.
Father, the world does not know you.
but I know you and they know you.
So that the world may believe
that you sent me,
may they be one...may they be one.

Peter, keep watch and pray.
Don't be drawn by temptation.
The spirit is willing, but, oh, the flesh...
the flesh is weak.

Father, if it is possible...
if it is at all possible...
please take the cup of suffering from me...
take away this cup of suffering from me....
but let it not be what I want.
Let it be what you want.

Are you still sleeping?
Are you still taking your ease?
The hour has come for the Son of Man
to be handed over to sinful people.
Get up, let us go!
Look, here comes the one who is to betray me...

(Stages of the Way - Iona Community Wild Goose Worship Group)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I will give what I have

(It was on the Wednesday of Holy Week that the story of the woman who anointed Jesus occurred).

From a high, secret shelf, I take what I hid myself -
perfume, precious and rare, never meant to spill or spare.
This I'll carefully break, this I'll empty for his sake:
I will give what I have to my Lord.

Though the action is crude, it will show my gratitude
for the truth that I've learned from the one who's heaven-sent;
for this life once a mess which his beauty can express,
I will give what I have to my Lord.

With his critics around, common gossip will abound.
They'll note all that they see to discredit him and me.
Let them smirk, let them jeer, say what people want to hear;
I will give what I have to my Lord.

It's because he'll receive, that I believe
God has time for the poor. He has shown us heaven's door.
Be it perfume and care, be it anger or despair,
I will give what I have to my Lord.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Jesus, Prince of Peace

Jesus, Prince of Peace
humble and riding on a donkey.

Jesus, disturber of the peace,
you upset bad religion
when it gets in the way of God.

Jesus, upsetter of the self-righteous,
you turn questions on their head,
offering no instant answers,
but showing the way.

Jesus, lover of the lost,
you say "forgive' when we want to shout "condemn!"

Jesus, host at the table,
you share your best even in the face of our worst.

Jesus, Saviour of the world
...yes, even the world which wants you until it meets you.

(Stages on The Way - Iona Community Wild Goose Worship Group - Holy Week 1)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Dry Bones

New Life into Old Dry Bones

On Sunday, our minister at SUC, with the help of Sasha on djembe, offered us a very artful rendition of Dry Bones from Ezekiel.

Talk about bringing new life to old scripture! It is very useful to hear scripture in creative ways that bring the message home. For instance: God is very clearly telling Ezekiel to “prophecy to them bones!” In other words, once again scripture is saying “It’s up to YOU, o Human One—you know whether or not those old bones can come to life!” WE cannot leave it up to God—the ball is in OUR court!

It led me to ask of myself, “What is the most important thing that is accomplished through Squamish United Church?” Does anybody have an answer?

Thank you, Karen and Sasha. This was not only entertaining, but thought provoking, and, judging by the buzz of the congregation, will be remembered for years to come!

Keep on prophesying to these ole bones!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Springtime Prayer

As we head into Easter this year I know more than a few of us are longing for more vibrant signs of spring. I am looking out the window of my office at a cherry tree that has only a few buds popping out. Even this treeIt seems to be looking longingly at the sky for any sign of the warmth that would cause it to bust forth with spring time joy! So this morning I offer a prayer from Joyce Rupp.
A Springtime Prayer

Ever-renewing and energizing Creator,
come, stir in my dormant spiritual limbs.

Wake up my tired prayer.
Revive my weary efforts of care.
Sing hope into my discouragement.

Wash my dusty, drab attitude
with the cleansing rains of your vision.

Go deep to my roots and penetrate my faith
with the vibrancy of your grace.

Shake loose the old leftover oak leaves
of my tenacious ego-centerdness.

Coax joy to sprout from my difficulties.
Warm the buds of my relationships
so they bloom with healthy love.

Clear out my wintered debris
with the wild breeze of your liberating presence.

Nudge me, woo me, entice me, draw me to you.

I give you my trust and my gratitude
as you grace my slowly thawing spirit.

Light-filled Being, my Joy and my Hope,
let the greening in me begin!
- Joyce Rupp

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Contribution to Statistics

This is one of the many poems Peter Short shared with us last week. It really made me think about who I am and what I do so I thought I would share it with you on this day of our Soul Journey.

A contribution to Statistics

Out of a hundred people

those who always know better


doubting every step

nearly all the rest,

glad to lend a hand

if it doesn’t take too long

as high as forty-nine,

always good

because they can’t be otherwise

four, well maybe five,

able to admire without envy


suffering illusions

induced by fleeting youth

sixty, give or take a few,

not to be taken lightly

forty and four,

living in constant fear

of someone or something


capable of happiness

twenty-something tops,

harmless singly, savage in crowds

half at least,


when forced by circumstances

better not to know

even ballpark figures,

wise after the fact

just a couple more

than wise before it

taking only things from life


(I wish I were wrong),

hunched in pain,

no flashlight in the dark


sooner or later,


and understanding


worthy of compassion



a hundred out of a hundred.

thus far this figure still remains unchanged.

Squamish United Church Presents

Squamish United Church Presents

Monday, April 11, 2011

New Life

Yesterday we were reminded that even when we think everything around us it dead when you stop and take notice there is life all around you. We heard the story of Ezekiel prophesying to a Valley of Dry bones that came to life with the Spirit of God.

Spiritual Practice - Ask yourself is there something that you feel is dead in your life? Beyond repair? Write a letter to God and offer your prayer for new life.

And/Or Pick a specific issue of concern that you have. Do a project or reading and information gathering with a prayer focused on this subject.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Rebellion Dogs

I was assisting a colleague in setting up her blog post for another sight and as I read her post I asked if I could use it. Enjoy!

There’s a line in the AA Big Book that I love, that speaks of the difficulty of staying on a spiritual path: Rebellion dogs our every step.

I recently spent time as a rebellion dog.

Don’t ask me why—I could give you reasons galore; but the fact of the matter is one day last week I stopped meditating, stopped praying, stopped eating my vegetables. These are the outward signs, if you like, of inward resistance.

And then one day I stopped stopping and got back at it, started doing all the things that actually make me happy and cause me to feel like part of the human race.

Yesterday I ran into a woman who was dithering about going to a meditation workshop. She told me, I am undisciplined and can’t maintain a practice.

My answer to that was, So what? That’s what it is to be a human. We stop, we start; we rebel, we return. I believe that my deepest work is to RESIST judging myself about this. Engaging in judgment, feeling like a pile of poo about myself, is the best way I know to prevent my return to practice. To close out the love of God.

So if you, like me, are feeding the rebellion dogs these days, why not come on back to yourself with gentleness, tenderness, and forgiveness? After all, that’s the Christian message, isn’t it?


Monday, April 4, 2011

Let your spirit soar

Advice from an eagle
Let Your spirit soar…
See the big picture…
Cherish freedom…
Honour the earth and sky…
Keep your goals insight…
Bald is beautiful…
Fly high!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

In The Quiet Curve Of Evening

In the quiet curve of evening,
in the sinking of the days,
in the silky void of darkness, you are there.
In the lapses of my breathing,
in the space between my ways,
in the crater carved by sadness, you are there.
You are there, you are there, you are there.

In the rests between the phrases,
in the cracks between the stars,
in the gaps between the meaning, you are there.
In the melting down of endings,
in the cooling of the sun,
in the solstice of the winter, you are there.
You are there, you are there, you are there.

In the mystery of my hungers,
in the silence of my rooms,
in the cloud of my unknowing, you are there.
In the empty cave of grieving,
in the desert of my dreams,
in the tunnel of my sorrow, you are there.
You are there, you are there, you are there.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Stan Rogers - The Mary Ellen Carter

Today we shared songs that had "saved our lives."
Faith is often found in the depths even when we think we have lost it.
This was a song that was shared.

For we couldn't leave her there, you see, to crumble into scale. She'd saved our lives so many times, living through the gale And the laughing, drunken rats who left her to a sorry grave They won't be laughing in another day. . . And you, to whom adversity has dealt the final blow With smiling bastards lying to you everywhere you go Turn to, and put out all your strength of arm and heart and brain And like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again.  Rise again, rise again - though your heart it be broken And life about to end No matter what you've lost, be it a home, a love, a friend. Like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Ways of Walking

"The longest journey begins with a single step."
- Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching

"If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking. Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk."
- Raymond Inmon

"After a day's walk everything has twice its usual value."
- George Macauley Trevelyan

"Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you."
- John Ruskin

"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks."
- John Muir

"May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds."
- Edgar Abbey