Join us on Easter morning at 8:30 or 10 in Tempe and 11 in Arcadia!

Dear Fellow Travelers on the Journey, 

Lately, I have been pondering the word “spiritual.” What makes us different — those of us who choose to be “spiritual” in our very beings — those of us who want to draw closer to God in our daily lives, especially when challenges come? Can we hold on to the teachings of Jesus, who felt the presence of God within himself even when he was suffering on the cross? Barbara Holmes says, “The journey is absolutely sacred because we are not just flesh and blood. We are also spirit beings. And what other kind of journey could a spirit being take except for a spiritual journey?” 

This sacred spiritual journey takes so many twists and turns. We are confronted daily by negativity, by people being inhumane to others, by sudden illness, by injustice, by avoidance. However, we must remember that Jesus told us, “If you decide to give yourselves to what truly counts in this life, it will cost you.” God does not leave us desolate! We have each other, especially in times such as these —  those who reach out selflessly when there is a sudden visit to the hospital, those who lend a listening ear just to say “I am here for you” when a friend dies; those who say “I love you” with no expectations. 

One of my ways to help my journey be spiritual is to look for signs of God’s presence. Maybe my need has been greater lately, but God has not disappointed me! A friend gave me a book, The Gray Bird Sings – The Extraordinary Life of Betty Kwan Chinn, by Karen M. Price, and I couldn’t put it down. Even though it is difficult to read in places because of the torture Betty endured during The Cultural Revolution in China, this book will bring you hope. Another time, I was looking out the window, and I saw a hummingbird flying by! God! Another God Sighting was a Monarch Butterfly right outside the church office! Certainly God! God was so very present recently when the choir and Michael sang “This Little Light of Mine.” And, of course, my kitty cat, Maverick, gives me God’s love, unselfishly, constantly, and absolutely! 

May this prayer by John Philip Newell bring you hope: 

“In the life of the world, 
in every nation and among every people, 
let there be fresh stirrings of your Spirit. 
In our own soul and the soul of the world, 
let there be fresh stirrings 
of your mighty creating Spirit.” 

With love and deep affection, 

Pastor Shirley