Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Sharing, not comparing.

Lectionary Passages for July 7. Isaiah 66:10-14, Ps. 66:1-9, Gal 6: (1-6), 7-16, Luke 10:1-11, 16-20
Donita Wiebe-Neufeld

Tomorrow morning our family leaves for Ontario and Quebec. The "feature" part of our month long trip is to spend 2 weeks in Montreal with Alain Spitzer and his family. Alain was baptized at First Mennonite and is an associate member of our congregation. He is the director of a drop in centre for homeless men. We are going to stay at the Mennonite "House of Friendship" and spend our days seeing what goes on at the centre and helping out where we can.

Reading Galations 6 is an excellent preparation. The ideas of carrying one another's burdens, sharing, not comparing, and doing good to all people are helpful in developing a mindset ready for learning. I expect to do a lot of listening to stories from people in very different situations than my own. I am looking forward too, to hearing our kids use their French skills and I want to listen to what they learn from all of this. So often I am impressed by the observations and ideas that young people make.

I wonder how verse 9 reads for the people, like Alain, who do this ministry and work all the time. "Let us not become weary in doing good..." When we do feel tired, or ineffectual, or plain burnt out, where do we turn? It is an incredible blessing for me and Tim to have sabbatical time to reflect and rest and think about the ministry and work that happens in our church, but really, it's not a "break" from ministry. As Christians ministry is a life orientation. Sabbatical is different than working at the church, but it's not a holiday from ministry. It's a break from the usual and a chance to experience new aspects and insights into God's work in the world. It's a way to keep from getting weary, to find new ideas and energy, a way to keep going and being positive. This Galations passage leaves me feeling positive and encouraged.

The past few weeks I've had time to be there for a friend. I'm thankful for the time to be there, but also for the ability to be mentally/emotionally there too. Verse 2 says; "Carry each others burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." There is so much of this, people supporting each other, in our church community. Most of it is 'off the radar', non-programmed, informal. This is God's work and something we are all called to do for each other. I am so very thankful to be part of a community where I find people who take this ministry to each other seriously. People who don't only help their close friends and family, but are willing to offer help where ever it is needed. It is sometimes, quite literally, a lifeline. There is always a challenge here, however, because there are people who don't seem to get the support they need, they "fall through the cracks." How do we open ourselves up so that people feel we are approachable when they need a shoulder to lean on? How do we open ourselves up to ask for the help we need instead of feeling disappointed or angry when we need support and it doesn't seem to be there?"

My intention is to keep up with the readings and blogging while we are away from home. I'm looking forward to reading the scriptures in a new (for me) environment. I'd love to hear some of your comments about what you see in your readings, whether you are at home this month, or doing some summer travelling too!

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