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Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day

This year instead of sitting at home, and watching the Remembrance Day ceremonies happening in Ottawa on CBC TV, we went to the Delta Heritage Airpark in Delta, BC to participate in the services there.

It was overcast and gloomy which transformed into pouring rain as the program went on. Nature adding its sentiment to the day. A squadron of Harvards, with 600 hp radial engines, flew overhead in formation, rumbling through the clouds like a hundred Harley Davidsons were riding through the skies. I felt it in my very soul. It was a brief glimpse into a moment in time—like living near an airfield where day after day they took off and at some time later, hopefully, returned.

More often than not, they didn’t. Airmen were on the extinction list during the wars. The history of flight was still in its early stages during the Great War, the War to end all wars, which has been followed by too many more.   

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aviation_in_World_War_I

At the airfield, people told stories of their family member’s participation in the events. Of their deaths, their injuries, their loss. Poems were read. “In Flanders Fields,” by Lt. Col. John McCrae. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_Flanders_Fields We had to memorize it when I was in school. I’ve never forgotten it. Some things you never do.

My grandfather, Thomas Murray, was in the British Army, during WWI. He, too, was a Lieutenant Colonel. I heard many stories about him. But WWI finally took its toll on his life in the 1940s and he died as a result of the mustard gas poisoning when in the trenches and I never got to meet him.

Remembrance Day is the most spiritual day of the year in Canada. It’s the day when we put aside our differences and contemplate the past, present and future while honouring those who have gone before us. It is not about religion, it is about heart and soul and loss.

We live in a world where loss is a daily occurrence. And its frequency is accelerating. The red poppy is the traditional badge of remembrance, but the white poppy, for those killed who were non-combatants, including the innocent victims of bombing and what is in our time often referred to as “collateral damage,” a term I think takes the reality of the situation and puts it on the back shelf, is also being worn.

In reality, all those lost in War are “collateral damage.” The honourable situation would be to have the leaders of the nations who want to aggress simply duke it out in a field and leave the rest of us out of it. In many of the First Nations, the women were consulted before war was started. There’d be no war if they did that now. No women want to see their families die for political causes. None who I know, anyway.

The purple poppy is also catching on now as people start to honour the loss of so many animals during war. The horses, domestic animals, pets, birds, fish etc. Between bombs and bullets, the decimation of wildlife is incredible during war. And yet, hardly anyone ever thinks about that. From the tiniest worms and insects to large mammals, and those creatures of the air and sea, war kills them all, ruthlessly and without discrimination. In the millions.

If we are ever to stop war, we have to start seeing each other as important and worthy of life. We will have to eliminate evil from our world. I’m not sure that can ever be done, frankly. I think it’s almost impossible.

In the meantime, it goes on, the killing and destruction. There are so many genocides ongoing daily at so many levels, it’s truly heartbreaking. From the genocide of the Earth and its lakes, rivers and oceans, to the genocides of its inhabitants, fish, birds, cows, pigs, sheep and horses. If we can’t stop those things, how can we ever stop the killing of each other. One comes out of the other.

As custodians of the Earth, we are doing a pretty lousy job of taking care of it and its residents. Time to regroup, rethink, reorganize, before there’s nothing left.

I’d like to start wearing the white, purple and red poppies everyday, in honour of those who are being slaughtered daily in the name of civilization. Or perhaps a new poppy, a blend of all three, a pink poppy for peace and remembrance of those lives lost everyday our world refuses to grow up and start loving instead of hating. Maybe it would catch on. A pink poppy for peace and love.

In the meantime, you can change your own world. One little step at a time. Be the peace you wish to see around you. Take note of everything you do and eat. Eat peace not pain. Eat peace not violence. Treat the Earth with love, not violence. Think zero garbage. No plastic. Zero emissions.

Love the air. Love the water. And then love your neighbour as yourself. When you can do that, there will be peace, now, and always. 

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What Does God Look Like in This Troubled World

What Does God Look Like in This Troubled World?

If you look outside your door, these days, you will see a version of the world which seems to resemble insanity. Any feelings of peace or calm seem to have slipped out the back door and we are stuck with what looks like a video game of horrors. What happened to the world? Where did the peace and love of our childhoods go?

Well, the answer is, it never was peaceful or loving outside, it was something you felt within your childhood realm that sprang from that which your parents created for you.

Now, if you were like me and the inside of the home wasn’t calm and as loving as you would have liked it, don’t snap shut your notebook just yet. This article is about what God looks like so you can find Him/Her, not about me somehow magically describing everyone’s childhood.

My childhood was frightening, but…there was also a huge difference between the feeling of being part of a household which was protected and being out there in the big bad world.

I was born in the early fifties and woke up in the sixties. Well, I woke up as much as any teenager or young adult ever does. I knew the difference between the world outside our door and the one inside. Outside could be a little scary. Not as much as today, mind you, but it certainly had its demons. Inside had its own set of demons but it also had something else, it had God. My mother talked about God and the spiritual world, as did my dad. I went to Sunday School and church and listened when the great aunts came and talked about Jesus. They were Christian Scientists and wow, did they ever talk about the Word of God and Jesus. I learned to embroider listening to Bible verses and stories about Jesus and the Power of His Healing.

 

So, when I grew up, I found that every time something scary happened, it was Jesus who I called on right off the bat. I sought out all kinds of other religions and tried them all. Studied some for years and years, but I found that when I pictured God in my mind, He always looked like what my parents had taught me, like Jesus or some variation on a very close theme.

I asked the Holy Spirit once, years ago, about what God looked like. And He said that everyone wants to see their own face looking back at them from above. That’s what will give them comfort and ease their pain. So I relaxed and for me, stopped trying to see God as another colour or shape or size or race, and just went with what I was used to Him (for me male) looking like.

There’s a lesson here for clergy. When you go off preaching to another race or culture, it’s important to remember what Ben (that’s what the Holy Spirit told me to call Him) said. “Everyone wants to see their own face looking back at them from above.” So you don’t tell a race of Africans that God is a white guy with blue eyes, even though that might be how He looks to you when He has actually come to you in dreams or visions. No. That’s not who they will see. They will see the version of God who their parents have taught them to see and who appears to them. Plus, God will look just like them.

There’s a story in the Bhagavad-gita, one of the most holy books of India which is sometimes referred to as the Hindu Bible. Arjuna, the warrior faced with a heckuva predicament, asks his pal, Krishna (aka God who is hanging out as his charioteer) what He (God) really looks like. At first Krishna says, “No, I don’t think you really want to see Me like that.” But Arjuna persists until Krishna aka God shows him. Arjuna almost passes out in fear because what he sees is this huge form with a million faces, all different colours and shapes and sizes. He’s scared to death and doesn’t know what to do. But He realizes God doesn’t just have one face. He has the face of everyone and everything in Creation. Because He has created all that there is. And so everything resembles Him.

When the Bible says we are made in His image, male and female, it’s talking about all of us, not just one race, all of us. (Animals too. But let’s talk about them at another time.) Not just one colour. All colours. And He presents Himself to every race and colour in a form they will understand according to what they grew up with, not what you grew up with.

So God looks like you! He’s both God and Goddess. He’s all colours and all cultures. He’s there for everyone. He is your face looking back at you from above. Because you are His perfect creation, and He loves you, not just your white, blue-eyed neighbour, who’s a guy.

God also gives off a feeling of peace. If you are seeking God and think maybe you’ve found Him/Her, stop and take note of how you feel when you are associating with ( aka praying to, talking to, having a vision of or dreaming about) who you think is God. If that Entity gives off fear and anger or says, “Hey, go kill your neighbour!” well you’ve got the wrong guy. You aren’t talking to God. God is Love and peace and God has the most amazing healing vibrations you will ever feel in your life when you are in His/Her energy; it’s like rocking in a hammock of Love and Peace. It’s unbelievable. So don’t get confused by Pretenders, only God will make you think you are in Heaven right then.

So, what does God Look like in a troubled world? Visually? Like you do. Spiritually? Like safety, and security and peace and kindness and comfort and love. All the positives of life.

I grew up with a touch of insanity in my home but when God was referred to, things immediately settled down. Now, I know people who grew up with God being taught as a tyrant. Guess what? That wasn’t God being described. That was insanity and demons. There’s a lot of that around these days. There has been since the dawn of time. There will always be. Such is the nature of the material world. Things will change when you get to Heaven.

So when you seek God, sit down and visualize whomever makes you feel loved and comforted and then talk to that Entity. Trust me, God will show up. Listen to Their words. Be the Peace and Love you want in your life. Be God’s Compassion. And you will find God so fast, your head will spin.

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Jesus in the Dawn

 

Jesus in the Dawn

As the sun rose on the horizon this morning, a beautiful red glow filled the sky. It lingered for quite awhile until the gold of the sunlight claimed it’s place.
I contemplated it’s meaning, this red then gold, in relation to our Lord who was sacrificed for our survival.
The red of Jesus’ blood lingering in the morning’s dawn to remind us of our chosen path and the God who came to save our very souls. And the gold of glorious salvation, given to we who believe and take comfort in knowing the glory that He has gifted us.
Our eternal saving grace, come to us with the rising sun, as a memory of the greatest gift ever given.
Jesus in the morning. Jesus in the dawn.
Thank you Lord.

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Book Review: Father Damien and His Era by Margaret Bunson

Book Review: Father Damien and His Era by Margaret Bunson

Molokai and Father Damien have always intrigued me ever since I watched the movie “The Hawaiians” with Charlton Heston, Geraldine Chaplin, John Phillip Law and Mako. I was horrified at the scene of lepers being thrown off ships into the sea by the island of Molokai, and the nightmare of their lives.

When I married my Hawaiian-born husband, he mentioned he had lived on Molokai with his parents for a little while when he was very young. His parents were essentially missionaries of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. It once again piqued my interest in the place and times.

I happened to find this book in our church library and so borrowed it. I had already seen the movie on youtube. https://youtu.be/0ZEKSHBJtdc I was thoroughly captivated by the film. It’s pretty amazing.

So, I read the book. There were others on the subject, but this one had a lot of the history in it, as well. It was really informative. It gave perspective to the time and outlined the relationships between the various countries with interests in Hawaii. Those were turbulent years.
It gives us insight into some of the troubles Father Damien went through with the hierarchy of the church. The church was not always supportive of what he was doing in Molokai. Originally his own brother, also a priest, was supposed to be the one to go to the island, but because of illness, he could not, and so Damian volunteered to go in his place.

What followed was obviously his destiny. He was incredibly kind to the lepers and with no regard for his own health, proceeded to tend to all of their needs, from building them homes, to washing their bodies and bandaging their wounds. He travelled the island, visiting everyone he could to help them live as comfortably as possible , considering their circumstances. He helped the residents establish gardens and learn to be as self-sufficient as could be under the circumstances. Up until his arrival, they lived in virtual squalor, with little food and hardly any medicines or health care of any kind. He asked for help many many times but it was only in his last years that he received any really effective aid.

This is a tremendous book which gives us insight into the politics, history, and the health and religious prejudices of the time. I would certainly recommend it to anyone who was interested in any of those things. It is very well written and a compelling read.

He was truly a Saint, that is for sure. I was moved to tears when reading of his struggles. I will remember him with great love in my heart and honour his feast day of May 10. In Hawaii, it is celebrated on the day of his death, April 15. I heartily recommend reading the book and watching the movie, which although it is not totally true to the story, does address many of the events of his life and those of the lepers of Molokai. It should be noted that the movie was filmed on Molokai itself.
Five Stars all the way! *****

https://www.amazon.com/Father-Damien-Man-His-Era/dp/0879739169/ref=sr_1_38?ie=UTF8&qid=1496022602&sr=8-38&keywords=Father+Damien

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Lenten Contemplations: Day Seven

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Metamorphosis

As the winds of change constantly blow across our land, we find ourselves hunkering down and hanging on to our familiar lives with almost desperation. Most of us want our lives to stay the same and make us feel grounded and solid and safe. But life is always changing. Life never stays exactly the same. It is a moving, evolving mystery.

When we cling to our life and do not allow ourselves to move forward with the evolution of the world and culture, we do ourselves an injustice. Growth only happens when change holds the lantern. Sometimes the change we see appears to be drastic and almost unbearable. Other times, we find ourselves welcoming it with open arms.

It is important that we become used to the idea of change and evolution as part of our daily life. If we stop and refuse to move forward, we may never achieve the goals and desires our Father wishes for us. We may succeed in missing half of our intended life and never succeed in utilizing all the gifts we have been given.

This Lent, practise giving up being stuck. Go through your life. Look at everything you have and everything you do. Examine these from all sides and viewpoints and try to release the things and behaviours which hold you in stillness. Give up the stop signs in front of your life. Replace them with contemplation signs and then open the Road and give yourself a green light. Move forward into a life and world of new possibilities. Be the butterfly, not the cocoon.

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Lenten Contemplations: Day Six

Monday, March 6, 2017

The Servant of the Servant

Two words in the human language which can either make or break you are sympathy and empathy. Sympathy means to offer caring and feelings of compassion for another who is going through something difficult. Empathy means to actually understand what that person is feeling and to be able to put yourself in their shoes and feel with them, not just for them.

It is a great gift to be able to empathize with another being, both human and non-human. As our lives unfold on the earth, we are called upon daily to make decisions which affect others. If we can empathize with the receivers of our decisions, we can make the best choices possible. But things sometimes get in the way.

Lent is about sacrifice and giving up, just as Jesus gave up his physical life for us so that we could receive the gift of eternal salvation, and life in a heavenly realm filled with peace and love. In order for us to achieve that goal, we must climb over our own ego, our own desire for recognition and reward, in order to save our neighbour and those around us.

Ego is a dangerous thing. Many religions preach that the way to heaven is to be the ‘servant of the servant’. In other words, to care for the person who is caring for those in need. Or to care for those who are offering salvation to others.

Just for today, stop and take a look at your life. What are you doing for those who are walking the path of Jesus? Who around you is following a spiritual life who needs support and assistance? Are you doing something to help them? Or are you following that path yourself? If so, and someone is being kind and supportive of you, when was the last time you expressed your gratitude to them?

Release your ego to the wind. Release your desire for recognition. Put your ego aside and offer assistance to those who care for others. Give of yourself. Be the servant of the servant.

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Lenten Contemplations Day Five

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Giving Up Sorrow

Life in all of its mystery sometimes overflows with more emotion than one can bear. If the television on your wall is alive and speaking to you everyday, you will eventually become overwhelmed with sorrow.

Sorrow can be such an exhausting emotion. Everyday something occurs to make us sad. It can be directly affecting us or simply indirectly causing us pain. We live in a world of constant bombardment. It’s like gunfire coming at us daily from our wall. There comes a point when it becomes completely overwhelming and needs to stop or we will be unable to function.

Jesus came to this earth to take away our sins and offer us something very powerful—eternal life in a heavenly home. There we will be able to see our friends and loved ones and reach beyond tomorrow. If we spend our days in sorrow here, whether for personal loss or despair of the world, we will be unable to achieve our spiritual goals here.

How can you nurture another if you are always filled with sorrow? How can you give love and happiness to another, if you are filled with despair and pain. To progress on your spiritual journey sorrow must be transformed into joy no matter what the cause. For joy fills the hungry heart and soothes the tortured soul. Joy will transform you into your healthy self.

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