Southpoint News October 19, 2017
The Many Faces of Grace: Presence
There is something very powerful about presence.
Do you know anyone who simply, by their very presence, grounds a room? Adam, my son, is like this. There is a centeredness, a steadiness, about him, like an old cedar tree. His presence is grounding.
Presence is powerful.
When I was a child, I had a babysitter that I particularly liked. One day, when I felt afraid and couldn’t asleep, she said, “Jesus is here. Put your hand out, and ask Jesus to hold your hand.” For some reason, it helped. From then on, when I couldn’t sleep, I’d stick out my hand, and I’d ask Jesus to hold it for me. Over time, that little action taught me that even though I couldn’t see the presence of God with my eyes or feel God with my hand, I could reach out to God with my heart. Presence.
When I was at university, I loved to walk through the dark windy nights of a Chicago spring. I can remember so clearly the wild lashing of branches and feeling it again: Presence.
When I was 20, I went to the Philippines and lived in a squatter community. I remember the skittle of cockroaches, the scurry of rats, and, since I have zero sense of direction, the feeling of being lost. Often. I remember walking through the city, feeling vulnerable, yet sensing also that I was being companioned, that I was NOT alone. Presence.
I remember years later, going back to pastor in the Philippines, and having my prayers run dry. I couldn’t journal prayers. I couldn’t say prayers. All my words were like concrete blocks, tumbling to the floor. I went to a spiritual director, Father Thomas Green, who said, “I think God is leading you into the prayer of silence”. He gave me the task of sitting in silence for chunks of time. At first, I hated it. Silence felt like an empty room, airless and sterile. I experienced only absence. I hated feeling that absence. After about six month of sitting, off and on again, in silence, I stopped searching my inner horizon to see if God would show up to say something. Slowly I began to notice what had been there all along… a strangely familiar feeling: Presence.
I don’t do it all the time, and I don’t do it sometimes when I need it the most, but I have practised this presence enough to know, in my gut, that we are not alone. There IS one closer than our hands and feet, closer than our breath.
Please offer prayers for continued healing and renewal for: Christine, Kate, Anne & Chris, Shirley and Ron Baxter, and all our friends with their hands in Christ’s firm grip.
Short Notice… !
Special Middle East Evening Saturday Oct. 21st at 6:30 pm
The Arabic Evangelical Church is hosting a fundraiser dinner to help support its ministry to refugees. Tickets are $20 each and the buffet will be held at Horizon Church (15100 66A Avenue, Surrey).
80’s Night: Video Games and Nostalgic Television Saturday Oct. 28th at 7:00 pm. Hosted by Jason Goode – Play some classic 80s Nintendo Games (Super Mario Bros, Excitebike, Double Dragon, …) and watch the first two episodes of Stranger Things (season 2). Party like it’s 1988!
Lectio Divina with Pastor Anne and the LectionaryTuesdays at 9:00 am @ Third Space
+13 Youth Small Group 6:00-8:00 pm, Fri. 27th
Lectio workshop at Kingfisher Farm 7:30 pm, Tues. 24th Child/family friendly
Younger Youth Small Group 11:45 pm, Sun. 17th
Mental Health Workshop at Regent College 9:30 am, Sat. 4th: Discussing the creation of communities safe for folk with mental health issues. Contact Pastor Anne if you think you may like to attend with her. “We will engage with stories of individuals who have championed mental health ministries in their churches, giving special focus to the remarkable journey of Cedar Park Church in Ladner.”
Christmas Skating Party Save the date!! Fri. 22nd