High River United Church of High River, Alberta
        

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A Message to Connect - April 30

Grace & Peace to you, 

IMG 4928 2 First crocus in Susan & David's flower bed!

 A few announcements:

1. We have sent greetings of care and concern from the High River United congregation to the Filipino community here in High River, which has been hard hit with COVID-19, through the pastor of the Jesus Rock of Ages Filipino church here in town. We have offered help in delivering groceries, etc.. Pastor Jhon was grateful and will let us know if he can use some help.

 

2. We also reached out to the United Church in Fort McMurray. While their church escaped the 2016 fire, it may be flooded, but they have not been able to go in yet to check. The co-chairs of their church council also offered concern to us with the huge outbreak of COVID here in High River. They offered these words: “I imagine that High River, like Fort McMurray, has an advantage that one can leave one’s home and get out into nature while keeping a safe distance. Let’s enjoy what we can and pray for the best from the rest of our problems.”

 

3. Do you have a pole saw for pruning? One of our spruce trees behind the church has weevil in its top branches (about 10 feet off the ground). We would appreciate either someone who could volunteer to do the pruning, or who could lend us the pole saw? Thanks.

 

David’s Reflections on Psalm 126  “A Harvest of Joy”

I had forgotten how much this psalm means to me until I discovered it again, as if for the first time, this week. 

 

In a way, I feel like this psalm is out of place—that it doesn’t line up with our current experience.  The seed isn’t even in the ground, and yet the psalmist speaks of the people coming home with shouts of joy carrying their sheaves.  Or, we’re not nearly through the pandemic, and yet the psalm speaks of sowing tears and reaping joy.  No doubt the psalmist’s prayer, if not plea, “Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like the watercourses in the Negeb”, holds a certain toothiness for us when we consider our life right now.  Seeds/sheaves, tears/joy, restored watercourses in the desert… what beautiful and evocative images that serve to deliver us to hope and well-being.  For us, we’re not quite there, and yet… the unknown territory stretching between now and then is tempered with not just a promise, but an imperative—an assurance that like water to a parched land, joy shall come, people will laugh as they once did,  and there will be rejoicing like there was before.

 

“We will get through this, together.”  Many people in all forms of elected, appointed and designated leadership are speaking this phrase.  Even the advertising world is picking it up.  And, while feeling a little bit too omnipresent and a little worn, these words echo the deep wisdom of today’s psalm.  The subtext of Psalm 126 is, “We will get through this, together.”  Those who are sowing in tears, right now, will reap with shouts of joy.  In a recent interview with two young Dutch concert pianists, one of them spoke of the euphoria that will erupt when we can touch each other and embrace each other again—when audiences can gather in public space and celebrate the athleticism, the preparedness and wonder of the performing arts.  Euphoria.  We will get through this, together.  Our sowing in tears will germinate, grow and become a rich harvest of joy. It will. And there will be certain euphoria—a word that derives from the Greek euphoros, which means… healthy!

 

As I sit with this psalm and lay it alongside our current daily reality, even if at first it seems incongruous, I realize that it points to a wise and deep truth.  We are approaching the season of sowing and planting whether in fields, flower beds or gardens.  We sow our seeds… wheat, canola, carrots, peas… tears.  We cover them with the soil.  We water.  We tend. We weed.  We wait. We hope.  And somehow what we sow is transformed into life and yes, according to Psalm 126… joy.  As one who grew up in rural Canada and now plants a garden, there is something profound and comforting in preparing the ground for planting and then sowing the seed.  I think we all know that at the very ground of our being is the soil… it is life giving, gives us our life, and yes, we even return to it at the end of our days.  But do consider this, the simple ritual of sowing our tears is perfect for right now.  We are nearing the season for planting!  And then, we trust in the beauty and wisdom of the soil to turn those seeded tears into new life and joy.  This is ancient wisdom voiced by the poetry of Psalm 126.

 

As a people of faith, let us be about the mystery and wonder of sowing and planting.  We will get through this, together.  We will harvest joy from tears and be healthy and euphoric.  Yes, we will.

 

With love and blessings,

Rev. Susan & Rev. David

High River United Church – a community of help, home & hope

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


 

 


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

(403) 652-3168

office@highriverunitedchurch.org

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