Oakland church

Moved by the Winds, Guided by Heavenly Lights

This Sunday we have a another wonderful service of moving music and drama as we explore the journey of our lives. 

In a sense, we are moved like sailors on the ocean of life by the real but invisible presence of the winds and guided by the heavenly lights of the sun, moon and stars,  as we travel to new and distant shores.

We are on the journey together as individuals, together as families, and together as a faith community.

I encourage you all to come together for our retreat this Sunday after worship! Lunch and childcare is provided.

In thinking about the journey, I am reminded of  how often Jesus repeated to his followers, “Fear not, I am with you always”. I am also reminded of this  beautiful reflection on the importance of cultivating peace on the sometimes perilous journey. It is by Buddhist monk, Thich Naht Hanh, written during the Vietnam war:

The Three Gems

Many of us worry about the situation of the world. We don’t know when the bombs will explode. We feel that we are on the edge of time. As individuals, we feel helpless, despairing. The situation is so dangerous, injustice is so widespread, the danger is close. In this kind of a situation, if we panic, things will only become worse. We need to remain calm, to see clearly. Meditation is to be aware, and to try to help.

I like to use the example of a small boat crossing the Gulf of Siam. In Vietnam, there are many people, called boat people, who leave the country in small boats. Often the boats are caught in rough seas or storms, the people may panic, and boats may sink. But if even one person aboard can remain calm, lucid, knowing what to do and what not to do, he or she can help the boat survive. His or her expression – face, voice – communicates clarity and calmness, and people have trust in that person. They will listen to what he or she says. One such person can save the lives of many.

Our world is something like a small boat. Compared with the cosmos, our planet is a very small boat. We are about to panic because our situation is no better than the situation of the small boat in the sea. You know that we have more than 50,000 nuclear weapons. Humankind has become a very dangerous species. We need people who can sit still and be able to smile, who can walk peacefully. We need people like that in order to save us. Mahayana Buddhism says that you are that person, that each of you is that person. (p. 11-12)

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