The name for this blog comes from the Hebrew word merchab. Merchab is a masculine noun that appears most often in the Psalms of the Hebrew Scriptures. It means a broad or roomy place, an expansive place, a wide place. Read more...

August 24, 2008

A Happy Birthday

I suppose it only happens once every seven years, so perhaps it deserves a little more fuss than usual. My birthday this year fell on a Sunday. So, I was of course in church with the community in worship for our usual three services. After the second service, some of the children came up from Sunday School and presented me with a paper chain lei with each link in the chain lettered with some quality in which they felt encouraged to grow by being part of our church community. They mentioned joy, truth, peace, grace, love, hope, belief, devotion, patience, mercy,light.

Then we went downstairs for coffee and cake before the third service.

The service had begun with one of our amazing puppeteers having a conversation with her puppet Bruno about winning a medal in the Olympics. The central message of he conversation was that it is what goes on inside our hearts that matters more than what we achieve or accomplish in the world. It felt to me this morning in church that perhaps we really believe that there is something more important about who we are than what we do.

We are a tremendously ordinary group of people. We gather Sunday by Sunday to acknowledge the ivnvisible presence of God at work in our lives. We support one another, care for one another and at times are able to demonstrate profound love and truth in our relationships. It is true we occassionally squabble and there is no doubt from time to time we let one another down, fail to measure up to expectations. But, even with all our shortcomings, there are times when the love, the warmth and the tenderness among us are so real that only the presence and action of God's Spirit could make it happen.

This morning was one of those days. I am so grateful to this community for the spaciousness they allow for God's Spirit to be at work. Our Gospel reading this morning was from Jesus' encounter with Peter in which Peter confesses that Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus then says to Peter, "Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven." This community calls me back and again and again to the awareness that there is more going on in the world around us than often meets the eye.

A Happy Birthday celebration is one of those times when, for a moment, the veil of life is pulled back and we get to see more deeply. We get to see that the heart of the universe is a heart of love, that the centre of life is the reconciling power of Christ at work among us. We are loved; in response we are empowered to love one another and all people.

It is good to be in a place that holds up the light of God's goodness to warm my heart with the reality of God's love.

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