Dear Friends in Faith,
I am in my 27th year of ministry as a United Methodist pastor. It’s hard to believe! I am soul tired from the wear and tear of ministry over the years. I have requested a 3-month renewal leave and SPR and Parish Council have graciously granted it to me. I am so very grateful! I have 10 or so more years of ministry before I retire, and this gift will restore my soul and empower me to continue strong. I appreciate the support and encouragement I have received in this process.
I listened to a talk by Father Greg Boyle today. He talked of the importance and challenge of practicing our faith. It is one thing to believe in Jesus. It is another to live in the way of Jesus. We have great intentions, but many days, by noon, we fall short of our intentions. Living in the way of Jesus is hard. Father Boyle talks about not making daily decisions to be faithful, but moment by moment choices. And so, he creates mantras, or breath prayers, that remind him throughout the day of his intention. For example, one is, “Listen, listen, listen. Love, love, love.” He repeats “listen” as he breathes in, and “love” as he breathes out. Here are some other suggestions: “cherish the person in front of me,” “Your grace is enough,” “Come, Lord Jesus,” “Be still and know,” “Be strong and courageous,” “Do not be afraid,” “I am a beloved child of God.” The possibilities are endless. Such breath prayers can be a source of encouragement, strength, and determination. Try one for a day and see what difference it makes.
Dear Friends in Park County and beyond,
There is a lot of guilt in our Christian tradition. Surely if we are having too much fun then we must be doing something wrong! But, do you think that comes from God? I was challenged this week to think about that. God created this amazing, beautiful planet for us to live on and enjoy. God gave us tastebuds to enjoy the taste of the food we eat. God gave us the ability to laugh and smile and be filled with joy. God created us in a way that our hearts become full when we have fun playing with other people. In these intense days, I think it is important to seek out pleasure and let go of the guilt that comes with it. Go ahead and eat that bowl of ice cream and enjoy it! I’ve been enjoying long hot showers. It’s like the stress dissipates with the water and goes down the drain. And it just plain old feels good.
Park County United Methodist Ministries
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