High River United Church of High River, Alberta
        

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Knowing God Through Others

How do you know God? What does it mean to know God? That is the question we are exploring together through this winter season. We invite you to ponder and consider how it is that you experience God’s presence. A sense of knowing or experiencing God comes with a deep sense of peace and of being enfolded in love. It is often a fleeting, transcendent moment of feeling that we are part of something greater than ourselves. Some of us might name the experience as Love! While an experience of God may nudge or challenge us to a new way of thinking or being, God’s presence always comes with love and with reassurance. An experience of God’s presence will never leave us feeling afraid and alone.

 Know God 1

Knowing God through Community and through Others

is our theme this week. We invite you to think of a person, or a group, who have been the presence of God for you. We hope that there are many people, throughout your life, through whom you know the love of God. Perhaps it was a teacher who took time to understand what you were trying to figure out. Perhaps it was a nurse or doctor who offered compassionate care just at the moment you needed it. Perhaps it was an aunt or uncle or grandparent who took extra time to listen and offer the right word of wisdom or reassurance. Perhaps it is a congregation you have been (or are) part of which surrounds you with the warmth of God’s love. Or a store clerk who went out of their way to find an item you needed. Or a stranger who was there for you just when you needed someone. A minister, a parent, a sibling, a friend or …. well, there can be so many people who show us God’s compassionate, unconditional love, opening the way so that we feel enveloped in the divine presence.

 

However, sometimes the people we would expect to show us unconditional love and compassionate care don’t do it. Sometimes it is those closest to us who disappoint us. They may be unable to offer us the love and care we need. For reasons known or unknown, they may not respond with the compassion and acceptance for which we yearn. We may keep turning to them, hoping and expecting loving support, but never receiving love.

 

On the other hand, sometimes it is the least expected person in the least expected place who offers us the presence of God. We had an amazing experience of this in 1993. In July of that year, David’s 5 year old nephew, Craig, was killed in a farming accident. We went to Ontario for the funeral and offered support to David’s sister and the family. Just a few weeks later, with heavy hearts, we left on our planned trip to Botswana and Zimbabwe to visit our friend Naomi Kowo. One day, Naomi took us to the Zimbabwe Theological School in Harare, to meet with the principal of the school. As we visited in his office, he had no clue of the grief we carried with us. Yet, somewhere in the conversation, he stated, “Sometimes, when someone is very ill or badly injured, the only healing possible comes in death, when God can welcome them into his arms and heal body, mind and spirit.”   These were words we needed to hear and we both burst into tears. Our friend, Naomi, was able to explain the reason for our tears, and Naomi and the theological school principal held us, prayed with us and gave space for our grief. While we had debated cancelling our trip after Craig’s death, it was on the other side of the world that we found the presence of God that we needed.

 

We invite you this week to take time to draw to mind the people who have been and who are God’s presence for you. We invite you to offer a pray of thanks for each one.

 

In knowing how we best experience God, we can embrace a practice that deepens our relationship with the divine, allowing God’s love to enfold, encourage and inspire us day by day, so that we may be a blessing in this world, working with compassion for the common good.

 

Rev. Susan & Rev. David

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

www.highriverunitedchurch.org 

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


 

 


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SUNDAY MORNINGS @ 10AM

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

(403) 652-3168

hruc@telus.net

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