Saturday, June 18, 2011

Matthew 25:35-36

"...when I was a stranger you invited me in..." Well we didn't quite invite so does it still apply? This morning Mal and I woke up to a young man sleeping in our guest room. He had left his shoes at the front door and curled up and went to sleep, apparently. Mal and I don't know - we didn't hear a thing.

Mal and I discussed when this may have happened wondering if he had just come in after Mal had unlocked the front door this morning. Then Mal remembered the shoes were in front of the door when he opened it. At that time, Mal had blamed me for the shoes in front of the door. Mal and I had walked around the house and Mal had actually entered the room with the sleeping young man a couple of times before we even realized we had a house guest.

Before we knew his story, while discussing what to do, we quickly decided that he must have really only wanted/needed a bed because that was what he took. He had even been polite enough to leave his shoes at the door. So we left him, sleeping and I began to call him Jesus.

We thought that maybe, the boarder in the flat next door might have sent him over. Nope. Mal tried to wake him and he said he was cold so we put another blanket on the bed and let him sleep. Eventually, Mal had to leave the house (I had left for a meeting) so Mal woke him and he was confused at first then embarrassed.

"Weren't there people and a party here last night?" he asked. "No" Mal replied. He said, Maybe, I drank too much. I just remember being so cold." No wonder it was 35F/2C last night and he had no coat. He told Mal his name, where he worked and apologized many times.

He apparently wandered out of his party and thinking he was wandering back in entered our 'locked' house. Okay, the door locks but the house has moved and sometimes it doesn't really latch and a push on the door opens it in spite of the lock but that only happens once in a while....I thought.

I will actually be more diligent in ensuring the door is locked at night but also know I will feel a bit guilty and wonder if there is someone out there that needs an unlocked door. I pray they ring the bell....

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Resolution

How are you doing at your New Year's resolutions? I have lost a small bit of weight but overall, I have not done too well and have maintained the fitness level I had at New Year.

Now it is Lent, the 40 days plus Sundays before Easter. It is the season that in tradition people sacrificed something in penitence remembering that Jesus sacrificed His life. Following this tradition can be a holy and sacred experience for people who go into it for those reasons. I have for many years, given up different things each year for Lent. Each year, I realize how dependent I am on things rather than God. Last year I gave up coffee and struggled because I learned that coffee is a crutch I use in stressful times, I suppose like some people use cigarettes or alcohol. Most days, I did not miss the coffee but when stuff happened, the craving was - well I usually gave in.

Lenten sacrifices can be like New Years resolutions, we forget the purpose behind the resolution. We forget the lessons that life taught us so we do not keep the resolution. This weekend, I remembered why I made the New Years resolution to be more fit. There was a tug-of-war competition at the family reunion. I do want to be fit enough to do these things - so back on track for fitness.

I am still dependent on coffee, even this morning waiting for a tough phone call I had another cup. I, however, turned to God first and thanked God for allowing me to have the crutch and hoped that God knew I need God more than the coffee.

I am glad that Lent (and New Year for that matter) come around regularly so that I can each year renew afresh my memory and commitment of what I believe.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Deep sigh

Well being cut off by flood water was not the end of the story. I found myself in Goodna, a flood devastated community between Ipswich and Brisbane. I spent ten days there and found myself humbled by the enormity of our God.

The enormity of the flood was too big for my imagination and during the ten days, God proved many times that he is indeed bigger.

Cyclone Yasi steam rolled a good part of N. Queensland and I expect that many there will be humbled by God's grace.

No, I did not see supernatural stuff, just people responding, because God had whispered in their ear to respond. People who rang up and said, "I have a (fill in the blank) is that something that will help?" exactly at the time that (fill in the blank) was needed. This happened over and over again. I was overwhelmed at the generosity of so many.

Like in Roma last year or The Gap a couple of years ago, I know that the work will take months to complete the work ahead; homes to be rebuilt or torn down. Lives will take years to normalize.

Right now all that I have to offer is a deep sigh.

Friday, January 14, 2011

2011 look back at 2010

This time last year, rain had started to fall in the Maranoa Region of Queensland staving off what was expected to be one of the worst drought related mass killing of starving livestock. In one week's time this country turn from a dust bowl that I thought would not grow anything into lush and beautiful country. The area here still looks lovely. There was an abundance of spring flowers. Every thing is green. 2010 will be known as the second wettest year on record for this region, averaging 2/3 an inch of rain per week (that is 17 mil/week).

This week was dry. Yay. But only here. The rest of Queensland only miles from us is under water. Our road has been cut off for some time. It is expected that our McDonalds will close tomorrow from lack of supplies. Milk is being flown in. When we do get food again they will be expensive because all the prime agricultural land in Queensland is flooded. At our local grocery store the only fresh fruit or veg is lemons.

Today, I am making lemonade.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Where does time go?

I am not sure where time goes. I have heard many people say that recently near the end of the year. Where did the year go they ask? I reply, "if you find where it went let me know I need it back." Since my last post in Sept. I have spent a week at Australian Catholic University in Brisbane for a Masters unit (intensive) on reconciliation. Good choice. I have been to Western Australia for a Rural Ministry Conference. Again Good choice. There have been numerous other meetings, my regular full-time work, reading and writing to complete the subject I took, and then a few funerals. Funerals in a regional centre means quite a bit of travel. The result, badabing, no time or more correctly time has passed without me doing the wonderful projects that I wanted to get to. I assume that those cool projects were not too important, of course, if I didn't start no one knows they if they were or not.

The result seems to be that I am not motivated. I don't want to start as I am not sure if there is time to do a good job. There is a bit of why bother. There is a bit of feeling overwhelmed. There is a bit of being tired and after a rush period needing a slow time. Plod is the word of the day. Advent is around the corner and I will encourage people to wait with anticipation. Guess, I am leading the way.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

ouch!

My question is does worker's compensation cover injuries inflicted by magpies?

This morning, Mal was at a men's breakfast and I was doing some reading and preparation to meet a family this afternoon to plan a funeral. After my reading was complete, I wanted to shift modes and do some reflection on the sermon text, Luke 16, Jesus seems to say choose God or money in a reality that in the West Christian have both (topic for some other blog entry).

I decided that it was a quiet cool morning and that I should go for a walk to be with God in his creation and set out to pass the railway dam thinking the destination should be McDonald's for a coffee (knowing Mal would be by that way shortly and would love to drive me home).

I knew there were magpies in the school yard near the McDonald's but was not overly concerned. I now know the great emotional and physical distress a small melodious creation of God can cause.....

After being swooped, I ran as hard as I could past the school yard with my jacket over my head. I looked back to see the magpie a half a block behind still on the corner. I had stepped out a block and a half and being only metres from McDonalds slowed to a walk and lowered my jacket. In a moment, I received a whack on the head that I knew had drawn blood. Greatly startled, I took cover while uttering a curse and wished evil on part of God's creation; yes, the very creation that I had just left my house to be close to. Close enough to draw blood had not been the idea and I insist is simply too close.

Very quickly, I realized that I am in a small town and people know that I am the Uniting Church minister so embarrassed I looked around to see who may have witnessed me audibly cursing one of God's creatures. I stopped; asked God to bless the bird and walk slowly with my hand on my head to my destination.

I ordered my sandwich and Mal arrived before the coffee came. He was sympathetic and promised to "kiss it better". I have now had a shower and am nursing the lump on head wondering if and how this was meant to enlighten my sermon....

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Dulacca, Queensland

Roma is a 6 hour drive from Brisbane. We were driving home to Roma from Brisbane on Friday. As it turned out we were a bit over an hour from home at noon. We were both tired and a bit hungry so we decided not to push through to get home but to stop at the next small town and have some lunch and a break.

We have driven through this town several times by now and have always notices how popular the pub seemed to be so we thought that it would be a good choice for lunch. When we got there the pub looked closed. Well, this is a small town so that can appear to be so but may not be the case so Mal walked over and pulled on the door and it was in fact open. He went in and asked if they served lunch. The young woman there said, "The cook is down at the servo (read gas station in America) and I don't know when he will be back." Mal questioned and learned that the cook owns the servo. I giggled so hard that shortly after noon we get sent to the servo when the normal stop is the pub.

So down to the servo, we see there is a new Chinese restaurant. We go in and are met by a Chinese man. We ordered the lunch special and had piping hot fresh Chinese food that was better than most. We had a five star meal in a two star town.

So if you are ever in Dulacca. Stop at the servo. Cheers.