Today’s Thought – June 27, 2020 by Rev. Ken DeLisle

I have a routine for mornings, to help me wake up and get started.

Among those morning actions is my To Do list. My priorities for the day and coming weeks get listed to remind me of what’s coming up and what is due.

Most of it is meetings and appointments and occasionally something for the house or dates out with friends.

What is NOT on that list is prayers, good deeds, and time with the Holy One that I call God. Granted I have 2 daily reflections I read and writing this short reflection (which will end in a few days). But then, it feels like and looks like, I have done my time with God and I can forget about it until tomorrow.

But can we forget about God or God’s message as we move on through the day? Of course not. And I hope we don’t. God guides us in choices and actions throughout the list of today’s priorities.

My faith colours what committees I join and what work I do for them and for the world. My faith colours my interactions with others, including those who don’t keep a safe distance. My faith colours what I do when I have free time and what I choose to read at the moment – newspaper, emails, fiction or faith novels.

My priority, and yours, whether listed or not, is to be in loving relationship with God and with each other.

That’s what the video is about – being in loving relationship with each other and with those who are not seen as equal or worth our attention. We need to listen to the stories and tears of our siblings and offer compassion in any form we can. 

Today, prioritize love and listening to others.

Today’s Thought – June 26, 2020 by Rev. Ken DeLisle

“Careful the things you say,

Children will listen.” from Into the Woods by Stephen Sondheim

The Norval reflection asks how we get along with each other. It’s much like love your neighbour as yourself. I wrote about that earlier.

Today, those words from Into the Woods popped into my head. I said, previously, we don’t love ourselves so we do love our neighbours as we love ourselves. And that is not good.

I said we compare ourselves to others and when we say, “I am better than…”, we start to discriminate and the rest is our history.

But it also occurred to me today that when parents say, “Why can’t you be more like…”, also starts that us and them feeling. “They” are better than you. You can still be loved by your parents, but we have now started a division, a frustration that can grow into hate and we are back to discrimination.

Love one another. And it isn’t easy.

But what a joy when people of all cultures and skin colours and religious beliefs can get together and laugh at the same comic; sing the same song; enjoy the same fair and can banquet together with the world’s foods.

That is what God/Spirit/Creator/Holy One/Allah/, etc., wants of us. It is our call.

So, be careful what you say. It can change the world.

Today’s Thought – June 25, 2020 by Rev. Ken DeLisle

Let go and let God. Famous words that are easy to say and that contain great truth.

So why is it, sometimes, so hard to do?

Last week, I was relaxing watching some TV. I had a meeting in the morning and nothing scheduled until a meeting at 5:00. So I thought.

At 3:00 I got a call asking about a meeting that day at 4:30 for a committee I chair! What! I panicked and started to hyperventilate as I tried to think about what to do! I got the Zoom meeting set up, did an agenda and contacted the other group to say I’d be joining them late. I was tense, stressed and not pleasant to be around. And yet, all was done within 30 minutes! Why the panic?

If I had stopped, breathed, slowed my heartbeat and planned, it would all have gotten done without the hysterics. I didn’t let go and let God lead me.

Yes, there are things to worry and pray about – missing loved ones, bills months overdue or fevers that won’t break.

But so much of our stress is needless. What to serve for dinner guests; what to wear to that special occasion; running out of yeast; or missing an episode of your favourite show are not deal breakers.

Let go.

Let God in and live.

We might be grass, but grass can be beautiful, purposeful and a great place for rolling in or sitting on for picnics.

Be what God called you to be. And when you think you can’t, breathe and let go and let God.

And look at the cotton candy clouds.

Today’s Thought – June 24, 2020 by Rev. Ken DeLisle

Today, I am stuck. The reflection from Norval is about the loyalty of dogs and I just shared thoughts on that subject a few days ago.

I am not inspired this morning to do anything with that theme again. Sorry.

But I do have a video I was wanting to share with you before I finish my work June 30.

So, here goes and I hope this works. If you open the attached, you will find a copy of the Intercultural Ministries of the United Church.

In that is a response from the United Church of Canada’s black clergy.

It is powerful and a reminder we have work to do in our own yard as well.

Blessings.

Today’s Thought – June 23, 2020 by Rev. Ken DeLisle

Grace – isn’t it amazing!?

And just what is grace? When I was minister at Winnipeg Church of the Deaf, I had an interpreter with me for 2 years to help me with the language. I clearly remember one Sunday when my reflection was on grace. She asked me that question — what did I mean by grace? I was a little taken aback and asked her why. There were several signs for grace depending what I meant.

There was forgiveness, compassion, love, gratitude (grace at meals) or support. Each had a different sign so I had to think about which one I wanted to use.

What is grace to you? Do you need a specific kind of grace today? What makes grace amazing to you?

God offers it all. There’s a buffet of grace, ready for all of us to help ourselves. Not sure which one — take a sample of something new or try a little of each. There is plenty to receive and more to give.

Here’s a more difficult question, I think. When did you last offer grace to someone else?

Was it in the form of forgiveness, compassion, love, gratitude or support? 

Why not try it today!? Give grace, in whatever form, to those you meet today. And God can refill you immediately so that you can give it away again. And again. And again.    

Today’s Thought – June 22, 2020 by Rev. Ken DeLisle

Summertime and all is well.

I hope that is true for all of you. If it is not, I wish you sunshine and wellness soon.

Today’s reflection is about the change in season and the hope summer brings. It’s also about beautiful things God has created.

This is the time of year when many us enter into that world of beauty. Spring is new life, summer is that new life at its best, fall is watching that new life preparing for rest and winter is beauty asleep. It waits for kiss of spring.

Today, I am surrounded by beautiful things that have nothing to do with summer. It has to do with yesterday.

I have 3 Father’s Day cards from former foster children and small gifts of love. I have memories of a BBQ with my favourite foods and laughter at the table. And we all stayed up late to watch a movie I wanted to see.

Beautiful things to hold on to.

And, strangely, my sister chose yesterday to send a photo of my parents’ gravestones. Mother’s was completed and in place. And that picture reminded me of so much love from them. And that was a beautiful thing to remember as well.

Find your beautiful thing. It can be in your yard, your home, or your heart. God had a hand in it.

Treasure it as Mary treasured those things in her heart.

Be blessed with beauty.

Today’s Thought – June 21, 2020 by Rev. Ken DeLisle

Happy Father’s Day! Yes, today really is Father’s Day. For my thoughts on that, read last week’s entry (June 14) when I thought that was Father’s Day.

And yes, today is the start of summer.

It is also the Sunday we remember our First Nations sisters and brothers.

I am sending you a poem I usually use if I am leading worship today. It is a song of pain and hope. I found it in a United Church booklet called A Healing Journey for Us All, published in 2006.

Have a blessed and happy day.

Reconciliation (poem by Rebecca Tabobodung, member of the Wasauksing First Nation)

We are waking up to our history
           from a forced slumber
We are breathing it into our lungs
            so it will be part of us again
It will make us angry at first
            because we will see how much you stole from us
            and for how long you watched us suffer
            we will see how you see us
            and how when we copied your ways
            we killed our own.

We will cry and cry and cry
            because we can never be the same again
            But we will go home to cry
            and we will see ourselves in this huge mess
            and we will gently whisper the circle back
            and it will be old and it will be new

Then we will breathe our history back to you
            you will feel how strong and alive it is
            and you will feel yourself become a part of it
And it will shock you at first
            because it is too big to see all at once
            and you won’t want to believe it
            you will see how you see us
            and all the disaster in your ways
            how much we lost

And you will cry and cry and cry
            because we can never be the same again
But we will cry with you
            and we will see ourselves in this huge mess
            and we will gently whisper the circle back|
            and it will be old and it will be new.

Today’s Thought – June 20, 2020 by Rev. Ken DeLisle

“I love you.” Three little words that can change a life.

Two songs are running in my head – Three Little Words (by Ruby Harry and Kalmar Bert) and It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie (by Billy Mayhew).

I love you, is a powerful heart shaking statement. We love to hear those words from others – parents, guardians, grandparents, the Holy One and, obviously from the one special person that touches our souls in ways no other one can.

The first song is the plea

“To hear those three little words
That’s all I’d live for the rest of my days
And what I feel in my heart
They tell sincerely
No other words can tell it half so clear-early”

But the reflection and the second song also remind us to be cautious. Words are wonderful to hear, but are they sincere?

We are called, as followers of Christ, to love our neighbours and our enemies. Do we? We can say it, oh so easily, but can we live it?

That is the challenge. That is our call. Deeds are the proof of our words. How have you shown love to others? How are you showing love to others in this COVID-19 world? It’s a different world, but still a wonderful world if we love our way through it.

Right now people are showing love for the other with prayers, demonstrations, protests and webinars on Black Lives Matter. Keep loving when the press no longer covers the issue.

People of colour, First Nations and the LGBTQIA+ community (after the Canadian Museum of Human Rights admits that for 2 years they allowed schools who wished to avoid the LGBTQIA+ display to do so) are wondering if our words of love are true or shallow.

The second song is a caution and a warning. Saying what you don’t mean can lead to broken hearts, or worse. Read the lyrics below and imagine them coming from people of colour, from First Nations, from the LGBTQIA+ community, from Asian folks or people of different faiths whom we say we care for.

“Millions of hearts have been broken
Just because these words were spoken
I love you, yes I do, I love you
If you break my heart I’ll die
So be sure it’s true
When you say I love you
It’s a sin to tell a lie.”

Today, try not to lie. Today, try to say I love you to someone close to you, and someone more distant. And if you fail, try again. God loves you and forgives you.

I love you.

Today’s Thought – June 19, 2020 by Rev. Ken DeLisle

Rain! Refreshing, renewing, regenerating, rain pouring from the heavens to a waiting and dry land.

Sounds so romantic.

I do love a gentle rain and the smell of the earth after the first spring rainfall. There is a promise of hope and new life. Like the video today – new life after a dreadful and deadly deed that sent everything spiralling downward. Then hope found a way in and life began to grow again.

But I also love to watch, not be caught in, a real strong storm with lightning and thunder so loud it shakes the house. That, to me, is God cleaning the world and letting us start again. It’s a sign of God’s power to help us overcome. It’s another sign of hope and new life.

The gentle rain calms me, the powerful rain strengthens me.

Maybe that’s why I hated getting wet in a regular storm – it disappointed me. It didn’t calm or empower me. It was weak and cold and not being all that rain can be. 

It’s not all I want it to be. But who am I to judge. It is being itself and I am learning to embrace that as well. I am learning to enjoy being wet when caught in the downfall (easier when it’s a warm rain and not a chilling one).

What is rain to you? What are your signs of hope? Where does nature embrace you and comfort you or empower you?

Where do you need to learn to embrace and accept the uncomfortable to move on to new life and new hope?

May your day and life be blessed today and always.

Today’s Thought – June 18, 2020 by Rev. Ken DeLisle

Music! Love it.

I wrote about music a few times already, but I have 2 stories to share.

The fun one is my Dad. He loved country music and sang along with the radio. Over the years he started a habit of humming, or more like orally doing “do, do-do, do, dum, da do”. There wasn’t always rhythm or melody, but it was music to him. 

We used to tease him, but he didn’t care. Our foster children who met him picked up on the teasing and we’d all laugh. It bonded us as family. And I wish I could hear Dad do it again.

The other story, I know I shared with some of you. There was a time I was tired of Amazing Grace. Every funeral had it and then folks also wanted it in services. I started to dislike it.

But one Sunday in Prince Albert, I designed a special presentation.

It began with a whistler doing the first verse; then the whistler and myself signing; then instruments; followed by a soloist; a duet; in different languages at the same time; a quartet; the choir and then, finally, the congregation. I can’t remember if they did one or 2 verses and then back to only the whistler.

It brought tears to my eyes. A familiar song got new life for me and gave me life. Others were also moved and a treasure was polished up and presented in a new way, giving new life.

What is your musical treasure? What song needs a “do over” for you?

Prairie Spirit is asking you for your favourite hymn.

Let them know.

Meanwhile, I think I’ll just “do, do-do, do, dum, da do”.