High River United Church of High River, Alberta
        

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A Message to Connect - April 27

April 27, 2020                      

 

Grace & Peace to you,

 

PeggysOwls

A sign of spring. The baby owls on farm near High River.

 

Susan’s reflections:

“Ask and you shall receive. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door shall be opened.” This morning, David and I read the scripture together from Matthew 7:7-14, and I said, “Who picked this scripture for reflection?” But, of course, I did. What was I thinking!!!!

 

Ask and you shall receive. Just imagine how many people around the world today, and every day since this whole pandemic started unfolding, have been asking God, however they name and know God, to bring an end to COVID-19. We’ve been asking, God, so when are we going to start receiving? That’s what we all want to know.

 

However, “ask and you shall receive,” is not a magical formula. It is not requesting three wishes from the genie in the bottle and having those wishes fulfilled immediately. And we all know the lesson of asking a genie for three wishes – that sometimes, even the most heart-felt and sincere wishes can bring unexpected and devastating results when fulfilled.

 

These teachings of Jesus are not naïve invitations to expect that whatever we ask from God is going to happen. Even Jesus knew that wasn’t true. In the garden of Gethsemane, he prays that the “cup” will be removed, that the path to his crucifixion would be halted, but then understands that this is not to be.  

 

Prayer is not about manipulating God or demanding from God. Prayer is entering into a relationship with God, and as in any relationship, we are shaped by the interaction. Just prior to these verses about asking, seeking and knocking, there are many sayings about how we are expected to live as followers of the Way of Jesus: don’t judge others, don’t worry about tomorrow, don’t store up riches, be salt and light in the world, give generously, pray in quiet, love your enemies, don’t seek retaliation for a wrong done…. and the list goes on.

 

When we commit to following the Way of Jesus, we seek to shape our lives by these practices which are all about love and compassion. These practices bring us into a closer relationship with God. But what a list – I seek to live these things, but I know when it doesn’t work. And so, Jesus says, “Ask and you shall receive. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door shall be opened.” Jesus is offering encouragement and hope to his followers. He is saying that when you enter into this relationship with God, you will be supported and loved along the way. You’re not in this alone.

 

One way I think about these verses is that they are about setting an intention. David and I use this approach in decision making . We ponder and we consider. We do our research. Then we set our intention – this is what we think we would like to do. In effect, we ask!

 

Then we watch and pay attention. What information do we receive that further supports our intention? What conversations with others add support or lead to questioning the decision? Along the way, we either begin to see our intention come together in a way that makes what we intended happen, or we see that that particular path is not open to us. For us, that is what asking, seeking and knocking is about. For us, that is how we pay attention to God’s wisdom for our lives.

 

Something else I’ve learned in prayer is that when I keep praying for something, gradually my prayer will be shifted into what it needs to be. Or I get an answer, but just not the answer I expected, in the way I expected. That’s the relationship of prayer. Prayer in an interaction. It is not placing an order with God and expecting it will be delivered.

 

So please, ask, seek and knock on God’s door during this pandemic. Keep praying, and pay attention to how your prayers shift. The love with which we pray for our health care workers, for front line staff in stores, and for our governments will make a difference. When we all ask, seek and knock, in the intention of love, we will find our way through this pandemic. Thanks be to God!

 

With love and blessings,

Rev. Susan & Rev. David

“Just to be is a blessing; just to live is holy.” A. Heschel

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Donating at a Distance

Your offerings are as important as ever so that we can be help, home & hope for each other. We are doing what we can to reduce expenses, draw on government programs, and be wise in the use of resources. Yet we still need your generous offerings so that we can be here for you now and in the days to come.  We understand that people have been impacted in a variety of ways, including financially.   We also want to be ready and available to support you spiritually & emotionally as a community of faith. That’s why we are providing this information.

 

1. Click on the Give Online button at the top of our website, to be directed to Canada Helps for online giving. 

 

2. To give by E-Transfer or PAR (Pre-Authorized Remittance from your bank account), please phone Melanie at the church office get details about how to sign up.  (403-652-3168) 

  

3. Mail your offering to High River United Church, Box 5520, High River, AB T1V 1M6 

 

Much thanks to each of you, 

Marlene Podwysocki, HRUC Council Chair

Ron Dyck, HRUC Treasurer

 

 


 

 


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123 MacLeod Trail S.W. High River, Alberta.

(403) 652-3168

office@highriverunitedchurch.org

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