Sunday, July 23, 2017

Of Flowers and Weeds! Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

Slug by slug, weed by weed,
     My garden's got me really teed
     All the insects love to feed upon my tomato plants
     Sunburned face, scratched-up knees
     My kitchen's choked with zucchinis
     I'm shopping at the A & P next time I get a chance.

The crabgrass grows, the ragweed thrives,
The broccoli has long since died.
The only things left still alive are some radishes and beans.
My carrot plants are dead and gone,
Hear the rabbits sing a happy song
Until you've weeded all day long
You don't know what boredom means

You get up early, work till late
Watch moles and mice get overweight
They eat their dinners on a plate from the hard work you have done
As ye sow so shall ye reap,
But I smell like a compost heap
I'm gonna get that lousy creep
who said gardening was fun
(Parody of Dave Mallet's "The Garden Song")
((c)1982, Eric Kilburn)

So here we are in a garden again and added to it we got the devil
I love the devil some of my favorite music he is in.
Songs like shut de door keep out the devil
Or why should the devil have all the good music or better yet
The devil went down to Georgia he was looking for a soul to steal…

The devil made me do it
“I hold communications with saints and angels, even with Satan himself”. Elizabeth Barton
“I do not fear Satan half so much as I fear those who fear him.” Saint Teresa of Avila
“I don't see any holy wars being fought in the name of Satan.” Glenn Danzig[1]

“If you do not obey the word of God if you choose not to follow his commandments you are going to hell and shall burn in the eternal fire” 
When I was a child there were two basic sermons one always dreaded.  The Catholic priest asking for money or…the catholic priest doing his best at preach hellfire and brimstone which always resulted in crying children and adult rolling their eyes.  Believe me that was the general reaction either of those sermons.
This parable can be harsh even condemning if looked at from the wrong, umm, direction.  It can become hellfire and brimstone, it can become a lecture about Satan and his origins or how he is the king of lies, the big half man half goat thing with a pointed tale and a pitch fork. Right.  It makes a good story and it makes great art. Needless t0o say that is not what I see or hear in this parable.
I lived in the desert for 7 years.  It hardly ever rained but when it did it would really rain and there were flash floods roads were washed out the air become sticky with humidity and dust.  After a good rain or two we knew what was next the weeds!  The desert bloomed with wild flowers of every kind.  The cactus would bloom and plants that had not been green in ages would change color.
Then the weeds would come.
They came in their cars with their campers with their kids and their cameras.  They brought palettes and paint brushes and you would see them out there at sunrise risking limb and life for the perfect picture or just the right light. In order to get that perfect picture they would pay no attention to where they walked, on what they walked on or whose property they were on.  Many would go off on a trail and follow it till they were lost.  Then we would have to send search parties out.
Noticed I just referred to simple tourists excited by Gods display of nature as weeds. Am I saying god is going to throw all those people into the fiery pit just as God bundles up the weeds in today’s parable and burns them.  Of course not.
Weeds are just a flower you did not plant!
Remember last week’s “parable about the seed that falls on rocky soil and can’t take root and grow because of the hot sun? Desert weeds did not get that memo.  They flourish up through the landscaped gravel, the concrete pavers, the fake AstroTurf, even the sizzling, cracked red clay.  Call them nuisance, call them an eyesore, but they are also a miracle of Nature.”[2] A miracle of God.
You see just as a wildflower is beautiful and welcome in the desert-scape, that very same plant is a nuisance when it is in one’s yard and or sidewalks.  Just as every person is a gift of God one day we are a beautiful Flower and the next we are a weed!
So, what is the difference?  What makes one a kind and beautiful creature of God in one place and an annoying weed in another.  Judgement!  Do you here that in this parable?
Let’s reflect for a moment on another parable. We all recall the story of the mustard seed.  You can move a mountain if your faith is only as big as a small mustard seed.  The image is classic you can find necklaces with just a little mustard seed in some glass baubles with a simple search. But let us recall what a “mustard seed is a weed. Unwanted, unruly, unlovely.”  It doesn’t belong in most landscapes oh and it never grows into a tree!
If we pay attention to this parable I think the important bit is this “when the first green shoots appeared and the grain began to form so did the thistles…the farm hands asked should we weed out the thistles?”  the answer of course given is no let them grow together.
In other words, this is not our job.  Our job is not to sit in judgement and weed out the good from the bad especially considering last week’s sermon.  I mean did you listen to the metaphors I used?  We are all weeds, we are all beautiful miracles of nature it just depends on how we look at each other and quite frankly this parable is saying do not!  Do not sit in judgement of one another but tend to each other just as the farmer instructs his workers.
Andrew prior shares this story and reflection:
“When I was a young teenager the largest paddock on the farm was overrun with thistles. They grew thick as a crop, about 2 foot 6 tall, after a summer rain. You could not walk through them without being shred round the shins and thighs.
I thought we were very lucky this had happened after the harvest.  I was beginning to understand the problem of weeds and, very clearly, we had a problem. I suspect I had pleasant anticipations of burning off the paddock, always good fun, to rid ourselves of the weeds.
Instead, Dad produced an enormous length of railway iron, from somewhere out the back of the shed, and towed it down to the paddock. Then he chained it at both ends, so that it could be pulled behind the tractor like a huge rake.
I was tasked to circle the paddock at quite high speed for a tractor, knocking over the drying thistles. It turned out that this would shatter the seed heads, leaving a rich summer harvest for the sheep.
Subsequent to my efforts, the sheep were turned into the paddock, and spent a couple of weeks doing very well for themselves. I learned a lesson about what constitutes a useless weed, and about listening to the wisdom of my father.
On Facebook, this week a friend posted the following:
In the year 385, a synod of bishops condemned Priscillian of Avila for heresy: he and six of his followers were beheaded. He was the first Christian to be executed by his fellow-Christians for his religious views.

One historian estimates that in the next 2 1/2 centuries, Christian imperial authorities slaughtered 25000 more for their lack of creedal correctness. (Rowland Croucher)
Here the servants of the householder did not wait for the harvest, or the instructions of the householder, but got busy weeding out the paddock, ahead of time. How much good wheat was uprooted in this cleansing of the crop?
One of the interesting things about plants, is that weeds evolve to mimic the crops we value. It helps them survive. In ripping out the weeds it is not only possible to uproot the wheat, so to speak, but also possible to mistake a good plant for a weed.
We might also remember the stories of husbands, or children, who sought to do Mum a favor by weeding the garden, and who instead removed a prized garden plant.
Vengeance is mine, says the Lord. It should stay that way because, in our ignorance, we know not what we do.”[3]
It is interesting he goes on in his analysis of the text
“I don't find judgement a helpful image, but the text clearly imagines judgement.
41The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, 42and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
I can only understand judgement in this way: judgement is a logical necessity. If we are people of free will, truly human, we must be free to reject the love of God and exclude ourselves from the harvest- if that is what we insist on doing.  But the love of God is such that God will wait forever in case I should change my mind.”[4]
I have said this many time and I will say it again here and now there is nothing, nothing that can separate you form the love of God.  Except ourselves.  We can choose to be separated.  We separate ourselves in our anger.  We separate ourselves in our pain.  We separate ourselves in our blindness.  We separate ourselves in our own guilt and shame.
And if we dare sit in judgement of others oh dear lord…
“I tell you as human one of our worse traits is the way we sit in judgement.  Not so much of others but ourselves.  We are our own worst enemy when it comes to forgiveness.
Farm boys love to have a good burning- as more than a few haystack fires can testify! The church, sadly, is not much different.”[5]

Often, we as Christians as the church may sit in judgement of one or another.  Sometimes we get on each other’s nerves. Sometimes we see a behavior and it triggers something in our own psyche.  We, meaning we humans, often see a behavior in another that annoys us because it is a behavior in ourselves we do not like.  Other times we sit in judgement without knowing the whole story.
When we see something arise in ourselves, which often occurs in hindsight, but we must ask why did I react such a way. We also must ask ourselves what do I not know?
I was once in disagreement with another classmate during the prop 8 fight about how the gay community and the African American community work together or didn’t.  The discussion got pretty heated both of us accusing the other of not seeing the truth. But when we took some air relaxed came back together and listened to each other’s experiences we realized we were both right and how could that be…well his perspective was Los Angeles mine was mainly Detroit.  Two very different cities four very different communities.
Had I just dismissed this as an argument or dismissed my brother as wrong neither of us would learn or that moment we were both weeds blinded by pride or arrogance because we each knew “I was right he was wrong” which turned out to be true in the end we were both.
“When we “burn” our sinners, they are a scapegoat for our own fears and failings.” How much better it would be if we were more cautious around each other.  If we feel something being triggered, may we explore what we are seeing reflected in the other we do not like in ourselves and offer love, compassion and understanding. We can start by truly trying to love ourselves and forgive ourselves for whatever we hold against ourselves is separating us from the love of God.
Do not reject what God has planted for God truly did make both weed and Flower alike
 “In Matthew 21 Jesus says
Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read in the scriptures:
“The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
this was the Lord’s doing,
and it is amazing in our eyes”?
One thinks of other rejected stones; Luther, Mandela, Martin Luther King, a no-account bishop like Romero...
Perhaps it would be best if we did more loving, and trusted God to sort what needs sorting at the end.”

[1] Brainy qoutes, Satan Qouites, accessed July 19, 2017,
[2] Scott Hoezz, July 23 2017 (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2016).
[3] Andrew Prior, Feeding on Thistles, 2011, accessed July 20, 2017,
[4] Ibid.
[5] Andrew Prior, Feeding on Thistles, 2011, accessed July 20, 2017,

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The sower and the seed Matthew 13:1-9,18-23

“When we think of the parables Jesus told, the parable of the prodigal son and the good Samaritan come quickly to mind. My hunch is the parable of the sower would be third on our list. Recorded in both Mark and Matthew, this parable is not only one we remember but also one of the few parables to which our Lord gave an interpretation. In case you are already saying to yourself, “Heard that, know that, thank you very much,” I dare you to listen again. You might just hear another twist on this old story.”[1]
So according to one commentary I read the farmer puts his seed in his sack and heads out to the field and starts to sow his seed. “In those days, farmers broadcast seed across a field before plowing. That’s right; seed was first sown, and then gently plowed into the ground. You might find it interesting that this methodology is being reclaimed today by farmers wanting to better care for God’s earth. “No-till” corn is quite the rage in parts of the Midwest. Using refined technology, a farmer can sow and cultivate a corn crop without deep-plowing the field.”[2]
So this farmer broadcast his precious seed, some fell on a well-worn path cut by foot traffic through the fallow field.  Ok I am not a farmer I had to look up fallow means ...It is a plowed then roughly smoothed out field often left to rest for a season or seasons to allow for a recovery period. When the fields were left fallow for a while foot travelers would cut walking paths through the fields, taking the shortest distance between two points. Fencing was rarely if ever used in the first century. So some seed landed on the path. And when it did, the birds quickly enjoyed lunch.
Other seeds, said Jesus, fell on rocky ground. Because there was little soil there, the seedlings sprang up quickly and then withered under the scorching sun. Thorns choked off other seeds, denying them the light of day and the promise of their bounty. Finally, some seed fell on good ground and brought forth a bumper crop yielding thirty, sixty, even a hundredfold. Jesus ended the story admonishing all to listen; listen carefully, deeply, thoughtfully. Listen! Listen Spiritually.
When Jesus says listen this is a soul thing.  This is not meant to be heard and decide you know the meaning and move on.  It means to analyze the story with your soul. Who or what are you in this story.  Can you see yourself as the farmer?  Can you see yourself as the land? What is unexpected in this story is there more than the explanation given?
Some time passes. Probably alone with his disciples, Jesus gave an interpretation to this beloved parable that has endured through the ages. Many believe that our Lord’s explanation of the parable, as representing various kinds of people, is the only interpretation though Jesus explains one meaning there could be more. 
Timothy Owens writes “What if, as I believe, this parable has, can have, and even must have many meanings to it? As with all our Lord’s parables, the key is to listen and let the word take root in our lives.
I have another take on this great story; a twist to the text I invite you to consider. What if the parable could be applied with equal power to every individual life, to everyone who listens? If that is so, all of our lives have worn, rocky, thorny, and yes, good soil in which seed can germinate and grow. What if this parable is about you and me? If so, what is God saying to us? If your life is like mine, you know how daily living creates well-worn paths. We call them ruts. We drive to and from work using the same route day after day. We shop at the same grocery store, fill our tanks at the same convenience store, thankfully attend the same church, and, more times than not, feed our families predictable menus of foods we know they will eat and enjoy. Routines are often required, but sometimes in our relationship with God, routines can become ruts. We can attend church week after week, hear the scriptures read (like this familiar parable), sing familiar hymns, go through the church routine, and in so doing, give the good seed God sows us to the birds of indifference. Trust me. It happens and may be happening even now. Truth be told, God’s seed also falls on the rocky places of our lives. Life, by definition, can leave us cold, sharp, soilless, and rough. Pain, the cruelty of insensitive friends, and the crude comments of strangers can leave us lifeless and unmoved, rocks void of God’s bounty. Thorns pop up in our life’s ground as well. None of us intend to succumb to the cutting brutality of thorns, but there they are, choking out God’s blessings, robbing us of God’s promise.”[3]
But thanks be to God, some seed falls on good ground. When it does, the miracle of germination, cultivation, nourishment, sunshine, rain, and care yield a generous harvest no one thought was possible. It happens in all our lives in ways that leave us speechless. I am thinking today of countless individuals through the years who have started to tell me a story with these words: “You’ll never believe what happened to me today.” Or, “I had no idea God could take what I did and use it to bless another’s life.” Tell your story. Look back and see all the times God sowed good seed on the good ground of your soul, and from that small beginning came a generous harvest that still leaves you amazed. Here is the needed twist in this old, old story. Yes, there will always be people who are worn out, rocky, wasted, and yes, good. But the gospel reminds us there is far more good in all of us in which God’s grace can take root than any of us imagine.”[4]
 All manner of ground exists in the fields that are our lives.  So in some ways we need to clear out our own rocky ness, till our own worn out pathways and then seek out and trim our thorny parts. You know. This is spiritual work.  This is paying Attention to what is happening in our lives and exploring ourselves so weed out was is blocking us from connecting with our faith in healthy ways.
I would add That we need to  pay attention to the sower in this story as well.  Does the sower stop to discern where he is tossing the seed. If the seed is the word of God.  If  Jesus is the sower and this message of his we are now commissioned to be responsible for then we must act as the farmer did in this story.
Do you see where I am going with this?  We are called to walk the path of Christ, we are called to serve our neighbors and the world with abundant grace and extravagant welcome.  This means going out there and participating in projects we know Christ would call us to do.  This means for example, setting up a table at the progressive fair. Letting the world, well Petaluma, know we are still here.  We are Gods people and we have a message to share.
That message needs to be shared and shared just  as indiscriminately as the farmer sowed her seed.  She scattered it afield and waited.  Waited to see what would grow.  In the same way we need to participate in our community and with each event with each opportunity to serve we must not only serve but let people know who we are.  Who we are as a community.  That we are working to bring forth this radical message of an all loving inclusive God.
You see you say it over and over and over again and you offer that welcome that invitation over and over and again and eventually something will grow, someone will say yes.  I want to be a part of that. But you have to be persistent, you must not and cannot be picky about who you might be brave enough to speak to.  Sometimes it may mean you might seem annoying to a person and at another time it may be the most needed invitation someone needs to hear.
We have people who come to the church seeking help.  Sometimes it’s for food, sometimes for gas, sometimes for rent, sometimes it’s for prayer and or just to talk to someone. Most time we will never see them again and other times they maybe a regular visitor seeking assistance.  Sometimes I we may be conned most of the times I suspect not.  It doesn’t matter I treat them all the same. I offer what resources I can, I offer prayer and I always invite them to join us on Sunday.
The results of those encounters I honestly cannot say.  That’s not the point we do not share our gifts, our ministries to see results.  We share our ministries and resources because that is what we are called to do. As you may recall the farmer scattered the seed. It falls where it will but on the occasion that it falls in the right place the yield was a hundred-fold, in another sixty-fold and still another thirty. I hear this part of Jesus parable and I hear …do not worry about the results.
This is about hearing Gods call to care for our brothers and sisters spreading Gods message of all-inclusive love to all we encounter and using words if we must. Through that indiscriminate ministry we are sowing seeds and some, just some may flourish.
So again, I am asking you when you leave this place.  In your spiritual practice and prayer life pray for this congregational and the community around you.  Where are we being called to sow the seeds of Love.  Where do we need to be more active in our community?  Do we need a mission trip?  Do we need to sign up for a habitat project?  Do we need to reach out to our neighbor churches and see if there is something we can do together for we are stronger together than as one little congregation?  Hold these ideas in prayer and remember this is your congregation, your church, let’s make it yours.

[1] David N. Mosser, The Abingdon Preaching Annual 2011 (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2010), 219.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Ibid., 219.
[4] Ibid., 221.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Slow Down Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

"Slow Down" Lyrics
by Chuck Girard | from the album All Those Years
 In the midst of my confusion
In the time of desperate need
When I am thinking not too clearly
A gentle voice does intercede

Slow down, slow down, be still
Be still and wait, on the Spirit of.... the Lord
Slow down and hear His
And know that

In the time of tribulation
When I'm feeling so unsure
When things are pressing in about me
Comes a gentle voice so still, so pure

Slow down, slow down, be still
Be still and wait, on the Spirit of.......the Lord
Slow down and hear His
And know that God
And know that

©1974 Dunamis Music[1]

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.  I’ll show how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—Watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.  Keep company with me and you will learn to live freely and lightly”[2] – The message
Recover your life! What a warm and welcoming invitation. This is an invitation many need to hear and yet few, very few, take the time to heed.  Even on this day, this day of rest we continue to worship at the altar of Busyness.  Not only do we not heed the message to slow down and breathe but I fear if our bodies didn’t tell us to just stop now and then many of us would run our selves right into the ground until we are facing the wrong side of the grass.
Now this call, I wish it were a commandment, but it is a call, an invitation an open door to a space in the spirit where she says; to come sit, breathe, be in my presence. This call isn’t just for the weary worker or the tired traveler.  This is an invitation to all and especially those who have been so burdened by society they are nearly broken.
This invitation is one to each one of us and to those who are not here and have not heard the invitation.  This is for those worn down by a strict religious creed.  This call is for those who have been excluded from their home communities where they are beaten down and told repeatedly that they are going to hell unless they repent and change.  This invitation is for those who are marginalized in their worship spaces to a point that they are exhausted by attending what should be a prayerful service.
This is a call of practice.  This a way of being of Christ, that one must develop.  There is the practice of an honest and sincere welcome.  This is a practice of community. This is a practice that takes work.  It takes work because not everyone wants to be welcoming at the same time.  Right?  There are days when we can do the welcoming into sacred still space and there are days when we really need to be in that still quiet space for ourselves.
We are blessed that in 2000 this congregation went through an intentional process and wrote and adopted an open and affirming covenant.  Now many of us think of that ONA is just for the LGBTQ community but the way it is written we are proclaiming our self a safe welcoming space for all people.
The congregation of the united Church of Christ in Petaluma declares itself to be open and affirming of all God’s people. We commit ourselves to nurturing a faith community where all the people who seek love and grace of God are welcomed and loved, regardless of race, ethnic or national origin,  (in this part of the statement we may consider being an immigrant welcoming and/or a sanctuary church or a Black Lives Matter congregation) we welcome regardless of age ( there is a new curriculum to be an age- friendly congregation),we welcome regardless of gender( there is a call to be careful around our use of pronouns and to be aware that some people do not identify on a gender binary scale), we welcome all no matter their sexual orientation, physical or mental abilities ( is there a group who may want to study what it means to be a wise church which is a program offered by the UCC mental health network), we welcome no matter your economic condition ( perhaps we need to make a stronger connection with cots) we welcome no matter to your marital status ( we need to be aware that sometimes being the single person in a congregation that often focuses on families may be difficult).
We openly welcome and invite all to join in the worship, fellowship, membership, employment and leadership of our congregation, and to participate fully in the life of the church (Perhaps someone has not done so in a long time but always wanted to participate in service, offer companionship to some of our shut-in community or work on our board?  This is your invitation who knew it  has been here all this time).
In affirming the value of ALL God’s people, we;
·      Recognize that we are all created by, loved and accepted as God’s children;
·      Believe God’s children are gifted by God with unique talents and attributes;
·      Believe we are born with God-given dignity, and that all people share the worth that comes from being unique individuals created by God;
·      Respect the dignity and self-worth of all persons.
We believe we are called by Jesus’ teachings to love our neighbors as ourselves. We commit ourselves to reach out (anyone have any ideas on how we may reach out more to our community) we are committed to reach out to all who wish to worship and affirm their faith in God. We commit ourselves to respond to the needs of those who have experienced exclusion, prejudice and discrimination in Christian Churches as well as in society.
Now that I have read all that I am exhausted.  Being Church, Being the United Church of Christ, we are called to hard work sometimes.  That is why we need to take rest, spiritual rest in the Lord.      
Kaji Dousa writes this in Rise up spirituality for resistance
There is a moment in the middle of the night. I gasp; I audibly take in so much air that anyone nearby will hear it.
I know God most closely in my sleep. For me, the overnight hours are the longest stretches of prayer I know. God and I talk in my dreams. Not exclusively—other voices work their way in as well.  But God’s most transformative healing work happens on my way to or in my sleep.  Which is why an interruption can feel so…disruptive to my soul.
What disrupts my God relationship?  The apostle Paul has a few ideas:
All of These work their way into my gasp points of my God-time. As well they should. The spirit of the lord is upon me to proclaim liberty to the captive, and this Jesus-following posture places those of us who do advocacy work at personal risk for any of Paul’s list. And then some.
Here’s the truth: Nothing can separate us from God. But things can interrupt our experience of God. When we are breathing in Goodness- even in a snore- any disruption can make us Gasp for air.
Maybe that gasp is good. Maybe it is helpful to know that, in these moments of interruption, we are in peril if we cannot breathe God in first and foremost.
Your call to follow Jesus may put you at risk. It may make you naked, vulnerable. It may make you the target of trolls with nothing better to do than interrupt your relationship with the Lord.
Amidst all of the Peril: Get your rest. Love your God. Follow Jesus. Know ye that the Lord is good and the Lord is God. And She will always show up, always on time. Even in the still of the night.
And Kaji concludes with this Prayer
I give thanks for your ability to break through it all, o God. Even in my Slumber. Even in my unrest. In Jesus’ name.[3]

Even in her rest she gasps breathing in Gods’ goodness.  This is what is meant and what we need to do we need to lay our burdens down, slow down, rest, reflect, and be present to God with all our busyness, with all our humility and with all our pride.  Everything we have we need to take to the lord, lay it down and rest.
If that means pausing in our day for a minute to say I am here Lord be present with me as I breathe.  If that means you are called to meditation for 20 minutes each day.  If it means that at the end of the week you need to come here and lay all your stuff at the door and come inside for an hour to be present to God then welcome and rest.
Now for some of us this quiet rest is hard.  It is hard for us to be still in the lord we need to move our rest needs to be unrestful, if you will. So, for some we need to take a walking meditation. 
Carefully placing one foot in front of the other and paying attention to the feel of the path under our feet. Breathing deep and taking in our surroundings being keenly aware of our surroundings.  Being aware of the God breathe that is always around us just taking in the rhythm of nature as we walk.  For others that may even be too much, too peace filled. 
For some rest in God may express itself in taking in the heart beat and pace of a city. Watching the spirit of God moving quickly about seeing glimpses of the face of Christ in each passing person.
For others still, there is spiritual reading and reflection.  Lectio Divina a sacred praying of the scripture.  For this you simply find a quiet comfortable place.  Choose a text. Read it slowly caressing each word or phrase in your heart listening for a phrase or word that stands out to you. Take the word or phrase into yourself. Memorize it and slowly repeat it to yourself, allowing it to interact with your inner world of concerns, memories, and ideas.  Just pay attention to where God is leading you in this time of prayer and contemplation.
Some may be more visual in their need to rest with God for t those there is the practice of visio divina this practice invites one to encounter the divine through images. A prayerful consideration of and interaction with a photograph in the magazine, icon, piece of art, or other visual representation allows the viewer to experience the divine in a unique and powerful way.
For others, their time with God may come out through their own artful practices be that in taking time to paint, knit, quilt, bead, take pictures or make music.  Just as we are each one of us the face of Christ in this world so we are each unique in our spiritual rest.  But to have a spiritual practice, a spiritual place that is just for you and God, is essential in empowering us as individuals and as a community to do the work God is calling us to.
So Slow down, be still and rest in the spirit of the lord be still and know God or dance move and find God and make a connection in your unique way.  But always be attentive in your time with God.  Listen for Gods voice in your Life then take up the Yoke, Christs yoke and know whatever it is we are called to do.  We do it not alone, our burdens our not ours alone but shared in and through our relationship with Christ.

[1] Chuck Girard, Chuck Girard (Originally published as North Hollywood, Calif.Dunamis Music, Waco, Tex: seven Thousand recordss, 1975).
[2] Eugene H. Peterson, The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2002).
[3] Vince Amlin, Rise Up! (n.p.: United Church of Christ, 2017), 41.