A Season for All Things – Pastor Trina

John 12:24  (NLT)  I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.

Change is never easy. I have lived in more places than you can count on your fingers and toes combined. Each one brought stress both good and bad. There are always positives and negatives to every decision we make and many emotions that go with each option. I have noticed that when I let God lead and plant me that there are a lot of good things that happen: Meeting people, supporting them in time of need, building friendships, answering or simply talking about some of those tough questions. Sometimes I feel as though I had done nothing but then someone says something and I realize that a small difference can bring about greater things. I have grown because of other people and places as well. I am a very different person than I was 20 or 30 years ago.

Refusing a change sometimes seems like a good idea. We hope the need for the change will pass – things can and do get better – sometimes.  While other times we know there will come a day when the choice is made for us when we wait too long. Vehicles sometimes decide for us. You have a great car and you want to keep it forever. You do everything to keep it going but sometimes there is no more repair to be done and the choice of another vehicle is thrust upon you while you are unprepared. It’s like throwing out a bunch of kernels and whichever one sprouts first that’s the one you grab (good or bad).

Some things we do not control such as the seasons. We learn to grumble but adapt. There are things to be enjoyed in each season and so we move on. We live into the good of each season. Enjoying it and bidding it adieu as we travel to the next.

Choices like moving to seniors’ homes can feel like a seed falling and dying but God can use you wherever you are. We often see these kinds of changes as bad and lash out as we see our independence ebb away. When it is our choice it goes a little easier than when others are forced to make the choice for us.

Letting go is so difficult especially when we are comfortable with whatever it is. Let the seed of independence or your desire die and see what harvest God might bring forward in the new kernels. Ecclesiastes reminds us that everything has a season and all seasons are filled with opportunities for new and bountiful life. Blessings to others can be given and new life started.

Our community prayer has been “Infuse your hope and love in us, O God, as we face the challenges of this time in our ministry. Make YOUR way clear to us as we set our intentions towards the faithful action of discernment and decision. Amen.” What seeds do we need to allow to die in order for a new harvest to come forward?  Change can be scary, but it does not mean an end because as the kernel dies new life can then spring up. What might a new harvest look like? I’m afraid you say – I’m unsure at the moment. That’s okay, but know “Jesus said, ‘But even the hairs of your head are all counted. Do not be afraid.’” Luke 12:7 (The Daily Text for June 26)

P.S. A change is happening in September. The eighth will be my last Sunday worshiping with you as Ken and I will once again be journeying to Nepal to help our friends plant seeds in the school and be a part of the three churches there.  Please keep us in your prayers as we raise funds and make changes, planting and being planted for God. Our Lamb has conquered, let us follow.

Why Is the Sky Blue – Pastor Trina

Most of us have probably asked this question; or at least we have been asked it via a child.

What’s the answer? 

It’s blue just because it is, because God made it that way.

Why do we always have to give answers?

I think most of us would say it takes too much time to help someone think about the question or help them find answers. Maybe we aren’t sure of the answer and we are afraid to admit it. Maybe…

If God created us to be in relationship with one another couldn’t the exploration of possible answers be a means of spending time together? We live in a world with so many conveniences that save time – still we don’t have time to sit together with questions. When Ken asks me a question and I have no answer I enjoy looking on the internet and finding the answer. Sometimes it means stopping what we are doing to take the time to read the whole answer and maybe a little trivia as well. I like finding answers and as a pastor sometimes I find myself sharing the answers without helping people to sit with and explore the question. I enjoy when we stop during worship to share thoughts, feelings, etc. I feel closer to you. I feel like we are walking and learning together.

May 19 following worship we chose to spend time together and ask some questions. So often we rattle off what we think or what we feel and we don’t stop to listen to each other. This day we stopped. We ate together, we shared some important questions to help us to hear one another and to think intentionally about Edmonton Moravian.

We worked at not giving answers and we worked at listening to each other for the sake of listening. I believe events like this draw us closer. They can also show where our hearts are. What do we feel about this place and this space. What is God saying and are we willing to listen. Is there a direction that God is leading and who is God able to get to listen and share.

Talk, ask questions, listen, share. Together God will reveal answers.

Why is the sky blue?

Peace,

Pastor Trina

Death Transformed – Pastor Trina

I came across this recently (April 26, 2019 reading) in my “Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation” email, which was looking at JesusResurrection. It made me stop and think about my life. I hope it gives you some perspective on your life and happenings as it did mine.

Death Transformed

Christianity—as well as Buddhism, other religions, and natural systems—suggests that the pattern of transformation, the pattern that connects, the life that Reality offers us is not death avoided, but death transformed. In other words, the only trustworthy pattern of spiritual transformation is death and resurrection. Christians learn to submit to trials because Jesus told us that we must “carry the cross” with him…

Death and life are two sides of the same coin; you cannot have one without the other. Each time you surrender, each time you trust the dying, your faith is led to a deeper level and you discover a Larger Self underneath. You decide not to push yourself to the front of the line, and something much better happens in the back of the line. You let go of your narcissistic anger, and you find that you start feeling much happier. You surrender your need to control your partner, and finally the relationship blossoms or ends. Yet each time it is a choice—and each time it is a kind of dying. It seems we only know what life is when we know what death is.

The mystics and great saints were those who had learned to trust and allow this pattern, and often said in effect, “What did I ever lose by dying?” Or try Paul’s famous one-liner: “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). Now even scientific studies, including those of near-death experiences, reveal the same universal pattern. Things change and grow by dying to their present state, but each time it is a risk. We always wonder, “Will it work this time?” So many academic disciplines are coming together, each in their own way, to say that there’s a constant movement of loss and renewal at work in this world at every level. It seems to be the pattern of all growth and evolution. To be alive means to surrender to this inevitable flow. It’s the same pattern in every atom, in every human relationship, and in every galaxy. Indigenous peoples, Hindu gurus, Buddha, Moses, Muhammad, and Jesus all saw it clearly in human history and named it as a kind of “necessary dying.”

If this pattern is true, it has been true all the time and everywhere. Such seeing did not just start two thousand years ago. All of us have to eventually learn to let go of something smaller so something bigger can happen. But that’s not a religion—it’s highly visible truth. It is the Way Reality Works.

Yes, I am saying that the way things work and Christ are one and the same. This is not a religion to be either fervently joined or angrily rejected. It is a train ride already in motion. The tracks are visible everywhere. You can be a willing and happy traveler. Or not.

Happy Easter all may we all continue to be transformed.

New Life in following the Lamb, Pastor Trina

Easter Renewal – Pastor Trina

In the Moravian Baptism liturgy the pastor asks, “Those of you baptized into Christ Jesus, how were you baptized?”  The congregation responds, “Into his death. We were buried with him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glorious power of God Almighty, we too might be raised to live a new life.”

We often wander through Lent wondering if this time is really any different than any other Sunday. The hope for Lent is about making changes. Where have I wandered, where am I ignoring God, where have I refused to follow the Holy Spirit. Sometimes making the unpleasant decision to say, “Not my will but yours [God] be done.”

 Holy week becomes that turning point, we rejoice with Jesus at the passover meal and are given a gift of remembrance. On Friday we nail all those issues, sins, problems, etc. to the cross letting Jesus carry the burden we ought to carry. It’s hard to leave stuff from our life at the foot of the cross but Jesus invites us to and reminds us that he is a God that forgives and loves.

From there we go to the excitement of Sunday when the women go to the tomb and become the first proclaimers of a risen and living Christ. They and the disciples are renewed and energized to carry on the work that Jesus taught them. They (and we) are not left alone. The Holy Spirit lives in us giving us the strength to love and be loved, to sacrifice and maybe even give our life for another.

Be bold this Easter – Shout Hosanna wherever you go! See Christ in others and show that Jesus is alive in you. You never know how your renewal might lead to the renewal of another, which will lead to the renewal of more. We have been raised to new life and God wants that for the world. Celebrate love and watch the world begin to change.

Happy Easter everyone and may you be blessed to be a blessing.

Pastor Trina

Lent 2019

We are entering the season of Lent which is often called a season of repentance. A time when you are supposed to give something up in order to get closer to God. A time of examination and moving from a sinful path to the one God wants us on. For some it might seem like a depressing time or a time of more church. But there is nothing wrong with taking time to examine the road behind as we look at the road ahead.

In February the church held its yearly church council. One of the items was a discussion about the future of Edmonton Moravian Church. Where are we in our life cycle. All churches have one. We begin, we grow, we decline, we…often end up dying, however, it is also at this point that a church can find rebirth and renewal.

The question is “What work does God have for the congregation of Edmonton Moravian church?” As you have been praying what is God whispering in your ear?

In Lent we will read of Jesus’ final walk to Jerusalem. In the gospel of Luke there is a lot of teaching and miracles that happen along the way. Jesus is not walking with head down dreading the end. No, he is making the most of every moment. No opportunity is too big or small for Jesus to ignore. We know how this part of the story will end, but so does Jesus. He moves ahead full of love and caring. Jesus knows that this life must come to an end in order for a new one to begin. Whether it is morning or evening there is work to be done. Work that will affect today and the future.

Maybe this Lent you may choose to give up some time to sit, pray and listen to God about God’s plans for our buildings and our congregation. Talk with one another and listen to hopes, dreams and worries. Share them with the Future Visioning committee. Whatever the decision whether allowing life to take its course or finding some kind of new life, we are in it together for the glory of God.

Sometimes God surprises us and gives us something too big for us but not so big that it can’t be accomplished with God and people’s help.

May Lent bring new life to your spirit and to those around you.

“Where there is no love, put love, and you will find love.”  -St. John of the Cross

Pastor Trina