Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Celebrating Jesus, love, girl power and the moon this Easter

I love Easter for so many reasons, it demonstrates the intense love God has for us and it represents forgiveness and hope like nothing else I have every experienced.

I love the 'Journey to the cross', it is deeply powerful. Starting with Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday followed by six weeks of readings that focus on the vital ministry of Jesus while he walked this earth. Then Palm Sunday, the Last Supper all as we move closer and closer to the profound moment of the resurrection. Each individual celebration having its own meaning but together they culminate to a crescendo-building occurrence, when it is announced "He has risen".

Secondly, I love that women feature significantly in the Bible at Easter. In our culture the women’s stories in the Bible have taken second place to the interests and needs of male biblical writers and male leaders in Christian churches, but at Easter women feature prominently and that makes me really happy.

The Gospels agree that at the most difficult moment in the Christian story, when Jesus hung on the cross exposed and suffering, it was his women followers who remained with him when everybody else had left. Then they helped Joseph of Arimathea take down his body and lay it in the tomb before dusk fell. The Gospels agree that, at the cross, there was a collection of women who had followed Jesus, some who had followed him all the way from Galilee.

It was women who came to the tomb first, the angel spoke to Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome, and said "Do not be alarmed.  You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen".

Then in Mark 16:9 "When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared to Mary Magdalene". God does nothing by accident, so the fact that women played such a vital part in this world and life changing moment in history is very pertinent and profound.

I also love how the date of Easter each year is based on the first full moon after Equinox. Perfect balance between heaven and earth, a beautiful unison between spirituality, nature and mankind and a sign of respect for the astrology elements. It is wonderful, everybody can look up at the sky each night for the week leading up to Easter, seeing the moon get bigger, creating anticipation for Easter Sunday. It is all inclusive and just magnificent.

I love listening to the beautiful and powerful songs of Worship about the Cross, Calvary and forgiveness, I adore having an excuse to eat chocolate and it makes me smile big as I watch our children excitedly hunt for Easter Eggs.

My prayer is that each one of us, no matter where we are, how we celebrate, or who we are with, that we will all experience the transforming love of Jesus Christ this Easter.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

It's the vibe ... no that's it ... it's the vibe

You can relax, sit down, take a breath and seriously don't worry ... be happy.

Take time to smell the roses, slow down and look at rainbows, stop and hear the birds singing. 
Laugh, smile, let the tension be released from your shoulders.

Rest assured all is well.

When Dennis Denuto says in The Castle "it’s the vibe, and…no that’s it…it’s the vibe. I rest my case".  This one statement "it's the vibe" was a profound insight about the meaning of life.

Life ... it's the vibe, I rest my case.

Recently I have attended the funerals of two beautiful women who lived long loving and fruitful lives.  At both funerals the thoughts and memories shared by their relatives focused on what the women loved doing, the funny and quirky, the loving and kind, the exciting and fun, the memorable moments of their life.

The people who attended were a reflection of the kind of relationships they had nurtured and treasured in their lives.

Neither funeral focused on the mundane tasks of life, nobody mentioned the things these ladies couldn't do, nobody talked about the people who didn't love them.

Nobody mentioned the size of their house, or the type of car they drove, nobody mentioned how much money they had in the bank. At both funerals the careers of the women was mentioned but in relation to how their healing and teaching qualities featured in all aspects of their life, not how many hours they spent earning money. The Committees both these women served on were mentioned, but not the hours they spent at meetings or fundraising but rather the valuable contribution they helped make to their community.

Nobody mentioned the lawn mowing, the dishes, the washing, the vacuuming, the bill paying, the crying, the worrying, the days nothing got done, the bad fashion choices or the bad hair days ... nobody.  

It gave me great hope that on that day, when our friends and relatives gather to celebrate our life and share their memories of us, it is all about 'the vibe' of our life.  The guiding principals we use to make choices, the way we treat people, the way we love and what we do for fun and the trips we take and adventures we have.

People remember us when we are happy, doing the things we love, being with the people we love and when we are being our most authentic self, this is memorable.  

It is our hobbies, our creative pursuits, what we do with our free time, how we speak to people, the kind and generous things we randomly do, these things are what are remembered.

So if we want our funeral, and ultimately our life, to be good we need to spend time investing in the things that matter.  Do more of what makes us smile, do more of what makes our heart sing, spend more time with the people we love.  

Use our time on earth to plant seeds of love.

In the Bible, Jesus says "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly", John 10:10. 

So there you have it, live your life abundantly, love deeply, have fun, be silly, dream, imagine, do all you can to enjoy the gift of life, for it is a gift.

It's the vibe that matters, everything else is subaltern, inferior, lesser, petty. I rest my case.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

A life well lived

Today our family mourns the loss of a wise, loving Grandma and Great Grandma, a beautiful lady who loved her family and lived her life well.

Kindness, love, gentleness, patience and peace were her trademark traits and the seeds she has planted live on, not only in the hearts of her decedents living now, but those not born yet, those who will follow us.  Is there anything more beautiful or meaningful than to pass down such worthy attributes to those who are yet to come.

It raises the question of what does it mean to live a life well?

I have been blessed with a depth of amazing role models, so I have witnessed lives lived well.

For me a life lived well means to live in loving peaceful relationship with God, my family, my friends, my community and my world.

For me, the fruits of a life lived well are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Gifts bestowed upon us by God and lived out, little by little, each and every day.

Knowing what it means and looks like to live a life well does not mean it is easy to do.

No siree.

It takes every day bravery and courage to live a life well.

It means not quitting, it requires staying in the arena even when you want to run. It means you need to keep dancing even when the music changes, and it changes regularly without warning.

Little by little, step by step, building strength, gaining wisdom and increasing faithfulness is what creates a life well lived with eternal worth and lasting contributions that benefit future generations.

In my life the people who have lived a life well have all had a profound relationship with Jesus Christ. This faith has meant they have walked through pain, joy, tragedy, triumph, heartbreak, terrible mistakes and wise choices, soul penetrating love and despairing loss and the whole gamut of ups and downs that life on earth gives us.

It means that at times they celebrated and other times they just survived, but they did it and they did it well.

Step by step, little by little they did it.  They lived life well.

I am proud to love, and be loved, by amazing people, who I admire and respect and who I know have prayed for me, and my family, in the dark of night when everybody else is asleep, so thank you, thank you, thank you.

Today our minds rest on Grandma, on all the wonderful times we shared, the cups of teas, the biscuits, the unconditional love bestowed upon each one of us.

We give thanks that her soul will rest in peace, she is reunited with Cec, and she no longer feels pain or sheds tears but rejoices knowing that she will share eternity with Jesus.

To a life well lived, in loving memory of Granny xoxo