The Face-Off

The photo says it all !

These two churches on our main street are having a face-off !

They are both Christian Churches, but they have doctrinal differences, and thus , they have the need to worship on either side of the street.

I have attended both churches, while church visiting.

The white church is built to hold 1,200 worshippers. I counted 30 parishioners while I was there.

The gray church recently had part of their membership leave and form a new church, as they had some disagreements , which no one fully understood.

The members that left now share a church building with another church.This works out because one group worships on Sundays, while the other group thinks Saturdays are the best days to worship.

With so many divisions, is it any wonder if non- believers are confused about what Christianity actually teaches ?

Christ does not requires uniformity , but he requires agreement about the essentials of the faith, which are : Love God, and love your neighbour as yourself.

May we, in coming days, be blessed with greater unity. The world is watching us.

Better Left Alone ?

The lobster fishermen have arrived in front of our house now.

Every morning they check the lobster traps that they have set in the shallow water. There are bobbing red markers showing where they have been placed.

Lobsters are nocturnal scavengers ; they feed on debris at the bottom of the sea. They can grow up to several feet in length, but most are caught long before they reach that size.

Although I respect everyone’s need to make a living, and everyone’s taste in food, I choose not to eat lobsters.

God gave people specific dietary laws in the Old Testament, (Leviticus 11), and I follow those. God placed restrictions on ‘fish without fins and scales’ such as lobsters.

Internet sources report that members of the British Royal Family are banned from consuming crustaceans while traveling, because of the high rate of foodborne illness.

The pandemic that came out of Wuhan has given us all more of a chance to reflect on what food choices are healthy for humans .

Maybe we will stop thinking of ocean scavengers as luxury food items.

Some Christians, of course, will disagree with me, saying that God’s dietary laws are only applicable to Jewish people. (Acts I0:10)

Nevertheless, Jesus followed the food guidelines set out in the Old Testament, and so I follow them too.

I just wish that lobsters would be left alone, to do the scavenger work that God designed them to do.

Chocolate Desires

There was terror in the woman’s eyes !

Accidently, I had pushed my shopping cart too close to her, and she reacted in fear, thinking that I, a mild-mannered rural housewife, could be someone who infects her with a deadly virus.

She was wearing a pink face mask, and mine was blue.

We were shocked by what we saw when we travelled for two hours to a Wal-Mart store yesterday.

There were directional signs everywhere. Newfoundlanders, normally so laid-back and friendly, scurried about minding their own business, concentrating on getting their purchases quickly. Everyone’s body language and furtive eye movements told the tale of people under severe stress.

Because these changes were new to me, I accidently walked in the wrong direction and scared the unsuspecting shopper !

My husband wanted to shop for some grass seed to repair our tiny area of super nice grass. He also needed a new lawn sprinkler. (water use is free here in rural NL)

My goal was to stock up on Swiss chocolate, and I bought eight bars.

Yes, I know that hoarding is not nice, but we all have different ways of dealing with stress, and I needed to replenish my supply of my favourite comfort food. We do have chocolate in our tiny town, but it is not Swiss. These bars will last me a long time.

Fear never comes from God. Perfect love, scripture tells us, casts out fear.

Yes, of course we all need to be prudent and take proper precautions at this time, but the cultural changes I am witnessing here on our fair island are disturbing.

We need to keep casting our worry on the One who cares for his beloved.

Let us keep trusting, and not be afraid.

Firefighters in the Yard

Would you agree that the pandemic has triggered much strange behaviour ?

Mental health suffers during lockdowns; humans thrive and survive on social contact.

We heard the fire truck whiz past our house yesterday !

Some young people decided that they had had enough of isolating and social distancing.

They came to the beach behind our house, collected a pile of driftwood, and started a fire. A neighbour apparently saw the billowing smoke and called the volunteer fire department.

Firefighters extinguished the flames, and talked to the group of young folks about their risky behavior. Beach fires are prohibited in our community since a previous such fire that got out of control burned down a section of sea fencing two years ago.

With shed parties banned, schools closed, and tourists being told by the police that they cannot come here, our younger residents are becoming more restless and frustrated.

Often young people are less experienced than adults in identifying, tolerating and modifying their emotions. Moreover, adolescents are often reluctant to discuss unpleasant feelings with the adults in their lives. They need our prayers and our compassion.

May God give us the grace to understand that people react differently to stress, and may he increase our empathy and our tolerance for others.

Something in Common

Melania Trump and I have something in common.

We both enjoy smoothies for breakfast. (Facebook source)

I blend a variety of fruits, berries, low-fat yogurt and juice for a light and nutritious start to the day.

As I handle the food, I think of, and pray for the workers who have been involved in growing, harvesting, and transporting this produce.

Due to the pandemic, and travel restrictions, the world is facing a shortage of fruit harvesters this year.

In the UK, some suggestions have been made that recently unemployed workers should harvest fruit.

This is unrealistic, since fruit harvesters require great physical fitness, superior stamina and endurance, and exceptional knowledge of when the time is right to pick fruit. Food harvesting is far from being an ‘unskilled’ job.

Attempts to use robots to harvest fruit have not been successful, since they often roughly damage the food.

Some food will be left to spoil in the fields this year, as there are too few harvesters available. Food shortages are likely in some places, and the World Food Program (WFP) released statistics that 260 million people globally could face extreme hunger.

The past few months have been reminders for all of us to be truly grateful for the food God provides, and for the many workers involved in the process of bringing foods to our tables.

Detained ?

Have you ever been eyed with suspicion ?

It happened to me today !

I was innocently walking around town taking photographs, when I noticed local residents glaring at me, and frowning.

They thought I was a tourist !

Tourism has been banned here in NL for the time being, but visitors have been arriving anyway, ignoring these instructions.

Thus, our government held an emergency meeting yesterday, and passed a law giving the police new powers.

They can now : ‘stop vehicles, enter any premises, and detain people and take them to the border if they insist on visiting’. The message is clear: ‘stay away’.

The ‘virus’ has changed the world, so that even friendly Newfoundlanders are threatening to have the police send visitors home !

Three possible spiritual scenenerios are likely to result from the pandemic. People who have a strong religious faith will find their faith strengthened. They know that God is always in control.

Other people may decide to place their faith in God. Let us pray especially for this group. God is a jealous God (Exodus 20:5) and expects that we will make honouring him the first priority of our lives. God loves us, and seeks a relationship with each of us.

A third group of people will likely continue to ignore God, and place their faith in scientists to find a cure for the virus. This group may experience increased disillusionment and frustration as the desperate search continues. Secular humanism, in the end, without God’s guidance, always ends in disaster.

Pictured is the Newfoundland Salt Company, which sells sea salt made from evaporated ocean water. They will not be doing business this year.

N.I.C.E.

Are you a talkative person ?

I am a quiet person. I prefer to listen, observe, and contemplate.

But I’m not an introvert. Rather, I’m an ambivert, somewhere between an introvert and an extrovert, as most of us are.

I love to talk, if I am interested in the subject matter, but I dislike idle chatter.

Jesus makes some comments on this, saying that on the day of judgment we will need to make an account of every idle word we say. (Matthew 12:36). Those are no idle words !

And so, I try to keep my speech within the following N.I.C.E. categories :

N- necessary

I- informative, without being gossipy

C – caring, comforting, consoling, Christ-centred, or comical

E- encouraging

Do I always succeed in keeping my words within these categories ? No. Every day some words slip out that should never be spoken.

But I examine my conscience each evening, and repent of the words that I know I shouldn’t have said.

May our Lord grant us the grace to speak words that are pleasing to him, and to others.

Pictured is a typical home in our historic neighbourhood.

Most homes have a reddish painted outbuilding. This is where fishermen repaired their nets during the winters.

The Trouble With Envy

Do you sometimes feel envious ?

I felt envy this morning when I was looking at photos of beautiful flowers growing in the gardens of fellow bloggers.

I saw dozens of amazing blossoms, and then I felt dejected because my garden has only a few tiny crocuses blooming. It is still too cold for outside flowers here.

Envy is a serious sin; God commands us not to envy or covet what someone else has, because he knows that this sin makes us miserable. The Tenth Commandment instructs us not to covet, or envy. (Exodus 20:17)

As well, this sin is offensive to God because it tells him that what he has given us is not good enough. We expect something more.

God chooses to bless us all differently. He appreciates an attitude of gratitude.

Just as I was contemplating the sin of envy, my husband returned from getting groceries in a neighbouring village.

He brought me fifteen white roses !

I am so thankful to the person who transported these roses, in the middle of a pandemic, to a rural Newfoundland grocery store !

Let us ask for the grace not to be envious of others, but instead let us rejoice in the many blessings, large and small, that God gives us every day.

DO NOT Confront Them

An urgent warning was issued to all residents of our fair community by our Mayor, yesterday, via Facebook.

He gave stern instructions that, if we were to see certain people, we should NOT CONFRONT them, but rather we should report them immediately to our local police detachment.

Who are these dangerous people ?

They are tourists !

How the world has changed. In past summers, we have welcomed thousands of visitors. They are attracted to the natural beauty here, the friendly people, and the slow pace of life. This year, all tourism is closed.

Many homes, including ours, are historic, and have been carefully restored.

Life here is reminiscent of 1920, but with modern technology.

I will miss the enthusiasm and the joy that our visitors bring each year.

We cannot, of course, understand why God has allowed this pandemic to develop.

Only in hindsight will we learn how the world changed during this trial.

Please, Don’t Squeeze

Have you noticed recent changes at the supermarket?

I felt my cheeks flush with embarrassment, underneath my blue mask, at our grocery store today.

In the produce section, just above the avocado bin, was a large new sign that said: ‘PLEASE DON’T SQUEEZE THE PRODUCE.’

I felt guilty, knowing that I had, in the past, squeezed avocados, checking for ripeness levels.

This is considered to be poor supermarket etiquette, especially now, when everyone fears contamination.

In addition, produce squeezing can damage food, so that no one else will buy it. Store owners don’t appreciate this.

I sheepishly chose five avocados, and finished my shopping, knowing that I would squeeze no more produce.

When we publicly identify as Christ-followers, unbelievers will be watching us. They notice what we say, how we behave towards others, and they notice our manners, including how we treat produce at the store.

May God give us the grace to treat others with kindness and compassion, so that our consistent good example will guide others to the Lord.