"Holy Discontent"

 Midweek Musings ...
July 29, 2020

Wow, it's hard to believe we're at the end of July. Where has the past four months gone? Oh yes, Covid 19!! And it has gone quickly. Yet, there's so much that stays the same day to day. We are blessed in so many ways. But it's not easy for any of us to keep our spirits soaring given what we are experiencing. There's undoubtedly what the experts would call a feeling of grief because so much feels lost to us with restrictions in place for everyone's health and well being. We need to always be caring for ourselves physically, spiritually and emotionally. Even though some days are undoubtedly better than others, these are not easy days. So be good to yourself; take time for yourself; care for yourself ... and in all of it allow God to care for you too!!
This week ...
  • Keeping Connected email ... Tues & Thurs
  • Online Zoom Compline ... Tues at 7:30 pm
  • Mark's Midweek Musings ... Wed
  • Conference Call Bible Study ... Thurs at 11 am
  • Online Hymn Sing ... Thurs
  • On line worship for Sunday ... in partnership with Trinity United Church 
I have been asked to share
some scripture passages
that people can read over the week
and reflect in their own personal times
of prayer and bible reading.

These are the appointed lectionary readings
from the psalm and the gospel
for celebrations of the Eucharist
  • Tuesday ... Psalm 79: 9-13; Matt 13: 36-43
  • Wednesday ... Psalm 59: 1-4; Matt 13: 44-46
  • Thursday ... Psalm 146: 1-5; Matt 13: 47-53
  • Friday ... Psalm 69: 1-9, 14-15; Matt 13: 54-58
  • Saturday ... Psalm 69: 16-17, 31-35; Matt 14: 1-12
  • Sunday .. .Psalm 17: 1-7, 16; Matt 14: 13-21
  • Monday ... Psalm 119: 89-96; Matt 14: 13-21
This week in our parish cycle of prayer
we remember and pray for ...

Eileen Foote, Bob Ford, Judy Fountain,
Derek & Joy Freemantle, Ann Gage,
John & Dorothy Haines, Scott Hickling,
Helen Hodges, Maureen Hood and Jay and Jean Hooper.

Throughout July and August

Zoom Coffee & Conversation
will August 5 & 26

Here is what to expect ... 
  • Wed July 29 ... Musings ... NO ZOOM COFFEE & CONVERSATION
  • Thurs July 30 ... Thursday Connections & Online Hymn Sing

I will be taking some vacation time during August.

Here's what to expect ...

Sun Aug 2 ... Online Worship in partnership with Trinity United Church
Tues Aug 4 ... 7:30 pm; Zoom Compline
Wed Aug 5 ... 11 am; Zoom Coffee & Conversation
Wed Aug 6 ... 11 am; Conference Call Bible Study
Sun Aug 9 ... Online Worship
Week of Aug 10 to 16 ... Mark on a partial week vacation with video taping for Aug 16 online worship
Sun Aug 16 ... Online worship from St. Paul's
Sun Aug 16 to 23 ... Mark on full week's vacation
Sun Aug 23 ... no online worship from St. Paul's ... a link will be sent out directing you to St. Jame's Cathedral for worship
From Aug 10 to 23 ... there will be no connections, zoom Compline, musings, Zoom Coffee & Conversation, conference call bible study or online hymn sing
Tues Aug 25 ... 7:30 pm; Zoom Compline
Wed Aug 26 ... 11 am; Zoom Coffee & Chat
Thurs Aug 27 ... 11 am; Conference Call Bible Study 

Sun Aug 30 ... Online worship from St. Paul's
We have our "Canada Helps" account
up and running 
and ready to receive donations.

For those who would find this 
a helpful way to continue
supporting St. Paul's.
here is the link ...

Thank you in advance
for your support of our ministry at St. Paul's

Thank you to the wardens
and especially to Dorothy
for working on this.
If you or someone you know
is in need of pastoral support
during this time

please leave a message
at the church office or email me.

Trust me when I say
it is no bother!!

This is what I'm here to do!!
"Holy Discontent!"
I read a devotional today that arrived in my email because the title caught my attention ... "Holy Discontent". I think that in these days of Covid 19, we live with a holy discontent when we experience all the ways our lives and world are impacted. It is natural and completely human for us to feel a sense of discontent when our routines have been changed and our experience of what is now normal. 

I was talking with Roger Varley earlier today when I was downtown. He made a point that really resonated with me and will perhaps with you too. He recently realized that part of what makes these days even more difficult is that there is no anticipated end date. He's right ... we don't have any idea when this will be " done" and even what life will look like. And that is disconcerting for sure. 

As Roger said to me, we can deal with realities when there is an end in sight ... "I can cope for a month ... three months ... six months ... even a year ... if there is an indication that on this date we won't have to wear a mask or distance ourselves from those closest to us or go about our day to day routines with this pandemic at the very center of our lives and all we talk about."

I agree with Roger!! I think that's one of the things about these days that is wearing people down on so many different levels. It's kind of like the psalmist who regularly seemed to be asking God "how long, O Lord, how long??" And the people of Israel certainly asked God "how long" multiple times in their wilderness journey. 

I wonder, and I ask this of myself as much as of anyone else, how can our discontent become integrated in our spirituality, our faith and faithfulness, our relationships with God, our lives of prayer? Discontentment is a fact of life in our human condition. But how do we take that which compromises our contentment and reframe it into something that is holy and sacred, blessed by God for the journey we're on today and into the unknown days to come?

What can we do proactively to spiritually engage our discontentment?
  • keep praying ... continue in the conversation with God that is honest about how we're feeling and the stresses and anxieties we might be feeling; name to God the discontent in our hearts and souls; and be sure to provide moments of quiet to listen for God to respond and to recognize when God is responding to our very named needs
  • keep trusting ... even though we may feel tested and challenged during these days and times, continue to trust that God is at work in us and in His creation; God has promised never to leave us abandoned no matter what; God is at work in the minds of scientists seaching diligently for a cure to this pandemic; God can and God will bring healing into our experience of brokenness
  • keep rejoicing ... even though there is much that has the potential to pull us down, continue to look for what brings joy in a given moment; where is there a glimpse of light in the darkness; when do we experience life in a time of so much compromise; what are the myriad of blessings we experience because of where we live and the health care we can access
  • keep worshiping ... even though we are physically distanced due to Covid 19, we are connected always as the body of Christ; continue to nurture those connections with others who are siblings in Christ; join in our formal worship through the weekly online services; sing along with the online hymn sing each week; consider joining in the zoom compline ... set a time aside yourself to worship God and celebrate the faith God has blessed us with
I'm not saying that it's always easy to keep up our spiritual rhythms, especially in the times we find ourselves in. I know I have my moments like I'm sure you do too. However, I remind myself and all of us that if we can keep praying, trusting, rejoicing and worshiping especially when things are challenging as they are now, we will gain and retain a perspective that is indeed holy even as we may feel discontentment. All we may feel at such a time as this doesn't have to draw us away from God, our spirituality and our faith. In fact it is the perfect moment to seek God's grace, mercy, love, patience and faithfulness to continue this journey no matter how long it takes.
A prayer for such a time as this ...

Lord, thank you for the amazing way 
in which you work your purposes out
in our lives and in history.
In the difficult times, when we cry out, ‘How long, O Lord?’,
help us to keep going, following Jesus,
praying, trusting, rejoicing, worshiping 
and putting my hope in you. Amen.
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St. Paul's Anglican Church, Uxbridge · 59 Toronto Street · Uxbridge, On L9P1H1 · Canada

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