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.

Children of Light

Do small things entertain you ?

I find much pleasure in contemplating the details of God’s amazing creation. Thus, I am rarely bored.

One of the things that fascinates me the most is light.

Today I have been enjoying the light coming through my window, and reflecting on my water glass. The light has created some beautiful shadows.

Drinking water from a lovely glass motivates me to stay well-hydrated.

In Ephesians 5:8, we are encouraged to walk as children of light.

May our Lord give us the grace to continue to shine as lights in the darkness.

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Scott, Sarah, and Patience

Would you consider yourself to be a patient person ?

These are days that require all of us to become increasingly patient.

Scott, a Herring Gull, has been a daily Spring and Summer visitor at our seaside home since 2017.

This year he has brought his mate, Sarah with him.

They arrive each morning, and patiently wait for breakfast.

This morning, they have been showing extra patience, as it is snowing here, and the sea is barely visible !

Waiting, for all of us, is a type of suffering.

Romans 5:3-4: …suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us…

Let us ask God to help us to develop more patience.

Polar Bear Watch

The icebergs are here now !

Every year, multitudes of these gigantic ice chunks break off from glaciers in Greenland, and float by our village. We live in what is known as : ‘Iceberg Alley’.

This means that it is also the time when flat sheets of ice, called ice floes, break off from the Arctic ice. Some of these contain Polar Bears, which become trapped on them.

Several years ago, an ice floe carrying a hungry Polar Bear landed in our village. He was attracted to our local fried chicken diner by the wonderful smell.

He scared the customers before being subdued by animal rescue officers and returned to his native habitat.

Even in unpredictable times, God maintains the rhythm of nature.

Once the icebergs melt, the ocean will be filled with tiny fish called Capelin.

Then, chasing the Capelin, the majestic whales will come.

The Blueberry Challenge

Are you finding new ways to amuse yourself these days ?

Here, we have been challenging each other to see who is most observant. Yesterday, I asked my husband what colour a blueberry was on the inside. He said that it was blue. When I told him that was incorrect, he guessed that it was red.

So I showed him a blueberry that I had peeled ; he was surprised to learn that blueberries are pale green on the inside.

Blueberries grow abundantly in rural Newfoundland, and are ripe in late summer. During the off-season, blueberries are imported from South America.

May God give us true gratitude for the huge variety of food that he provides for our nourishment.

Banned Indefinitely

How are you doing ?

We already live in isolation, but we are following social distancing guidelines too.

Rural Newfoundlers were dismayed when our Minister of Health announced that shed parties had been banned indefinitely. I have heard that such parties can get quite lively, although I have never been invited to one.

Rural Newfoundlanders like to party in their sheds, which are sometimes quite large.

During this lockdown, people have had much more time to reflect about spiritual matters, and the fragility of life.

I wonder if our churches and places of worship will be busier after this pandemic ends. Only God knows.

Pictured is our empty fishing harbour.

A Prayer For Hands

Do you think that the current pandemic has made us think differently about hands ?

We all have been made aware of the germs, viruses, and bacteria that can exist on human hands. Hopefully, handshaking will now become a thing of the past, as people see no further need to exchange germs.

I suspect that we may see different attitudes towards women’s long fingernails as well. Research studies provide much evidence that bacteria and germs can hide under the ends of long fingernails. This is especially true of gel, acrylic, or paste on nails.

I never did understand the purpose of long nails. With nails like that, how could I play my guitar, massage my husband’s back, or bake bread ?

When I was young, women still wore gloves. In the summer these were white. I still wear gloves, and recently ordered these gloves to wear to church this Sunday.

However, there will be no church service, and so these gloves will be a special reminder of the Year that we could not gather for our joyous Holy Celebration. Let us ask God for the grace of patience, until we can safely meet in public groups again.

Happy Easter .

The Unexpected

Does human behaviour sometimes disappoint you ?

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jerusalem, I had the expectation that everyone would be in awe, and silent.

This is where our Lord prayed, in anguish, to his Father, and where he was betrayed and arrested after celebrating the Last Supper with his disciples. I anticipated that since this is a solemn, sacred place, it would be quiet. I imagined that people would be earnestly praying , thanking Jesus for his sacrifice for humanity. I had expected that perhaps people, overcome with emotion, might be crying.

This was not the case ! The garden was noisy with the chatter of the visiting pilgrims.

Two women in our group had chosen this time to look at pictures of each others’ grandchildren. Some men were discussing baseball statistics, while another man was explaining how well his investment portfolio was doing.

I sensed, though, that despite the noise our group was making, and our seeming disrespect, Jesus was glad that we had come to visit.

He completely understands our frailties and shortcomings; he knows that our spirits are willing, but our flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:41)

He loves us unconditionally, and during this Easter season, he is closer to us than ever.

Desires

Are you constantly in awe of how intimately God relates to each of us ? As a loving father, he longs to give us the desires of our hearts. In many ways, those longings will be unique for each of us.

Last night I was eagerly hoping to see the pink super moon.

Alas, it was cloudy here, and the moon could not be seen.

However, early this morning, while the sun was already shining, the full moon was visible ! God had granted the desire of my heart to see it. It is the first full moon of the Spring, and signals the time of Easter.

Psalm 37:4 – Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Patience

Do you find that these days are good for spiritual reflection ?

I took a brief walk down to our harbour today, and found it empty. There is not the usual Spring activity of the fishing fleet preparing to go out, as the pandemic has reduced the world’s demand for Snowcrab.

I stood there for a while, and contemplated why Jesus chose several fishermen to be his first followers. These workers have characteristics and strengths that Christ recognized, and have characters that can inspire us.

Fishers are aware of their complete dependence on God. Even with fish-finding technology, it is God who brings them fish.

Fishermen are also incredibly patient, and know how to persevere. They also know how to deal with disappointment without becoming discouraged.

Fishers know the importance of working together. Lives depend on the crew carefully following the directions of the captain.

Fishermen are brave. Boats are bigger now than the small wooden boats used years ago in the fishery, but being on the high seas , where storms can arise suddenly , is risky work.

I returned from my walk with a better understanding of why Jesus had chosen Peter and Andrew, and James and John to leave their nets and become ‘fishers of men’ (Matthew 4 :19)