Random Thoughts…

…a blog by Jan Rhein about noticing joy

Grateful For Teachers (January 20, 2019)

Do you remember learning things in school that you wondered if you would ever need to know again in your life?  Well, today something learned in Sunday school long, long ago came back to help me!

Today I am grateful for the excellent and patient education received as a child from many Sunday school teachers and Vacation Bible school teachers in my youth.  This morning at church there was a class discussion of the gospel according to Thomas.  This gospel didn’t make it to the Bible and is not familiar.  It is quite astounding, actually. In preparation for the class, we received a copy of the gospel last Sunday.  At the start of the class we took a pop quiz just like when we were back in school.  This started the class out with great trepidation, as we wondered exactly what we had volunteered for.

The very first question was, “What are the names of the 12 disciples? Everyone was wondering how they were going to answer this question.  The teacher even announced that Father Matthew couldn’t participate (because he would know the answer). We were told that the average person would be able to remember four.

Well, no worries!  When very young, I was taught many songs and Bible stories by many dedicated Sunday school teachers.  Their knowledge and patience taught us the basics and sometimes a bit more. Perhaps you remember some teachers from your youth. One thing I remember is a very memorable song which begins, “There were 12 disciples, Jesus called to help them,” and then proceeds to name them all, from Simon Peter to Bartholomew!  It is sung to a tune which resembles “Bringing in the Sheaves”. Do you know that disciple’s song?  It has stayed in my head forever.  Today it helped me remember all 12 disciples.

Thank you to all those dearly departed souls who taught the Bible with such devotion!

Blessings (August 22, 2018)

We listened to a beautiful tribute sung by a grateful daughter and son to their mother at the funeral for their father.  Many funny and happy tales were told by the father’s friends and family. This was an ecumenical event with people of different faIths attending.  It was very moving as many children and adults came forward to receive communion or a blessing. 

On Sunday we received a baby girl in baptism and promised to support her as she grows in faith and maturity and signed her as Christ’s own forever. Such a blessing!

We witnessed parishioners supporting a person meeting a challenge this week.  One could see and feel the love and support surrounding them.

Our wonderful choir director Maggie, who is now moving to California, was honored at a delicious luncheon after the later service.  Hugs and tears flowed in equal measure.  We thanked her for her gift of music to us during her time with us and wished her many happy blessings.

Good things are occurring every day at St. Michael’s!  Can you see it?  Do you feel it?  Believe it!

Crossroads (May 16, 2018)

This morning I had the privilege with several other parishioners to attend the Crossroads Founder’s breakfast at Crossroads.  This experience made me think of our parish life and activities.

We at St Michael’s are at a crossroads in our parish life. We are standing at the brink of something new and wonderful!  Around us we see many new and exciting happenings.  

The profile committee is hard at work describing our parish life and goals.

We are encouraging and praying for its members as they discern what St. Michael’s wants and needs for our future.

Rev. Maryjane is guiding our spiritual life and positively promoting and encouraging our common goals.

The Vestry is taking care of our daily needs and working on our behalf to keep our physical plant in good shape as we transition to our future clergy.

Recently there was a Spring Clean-Up day where 20+ folks worked to beautify our building and grounds.  A dozen people helped clean out the conference room to make it more useable.

And all around us people are serving on the altar guild, singing in the choir, working in the Thrift Shop, serving as lector, LEM’s, acolytes, study leaders, and many committees for all of us.

Look around you! Do you see all the positive action as we work together to accomplish things? Do you feel the encouragement as we worship together and talk about our transition to a new era?  We are heading into a crossroads at St. Michael’s, and the Holy Spirit is leading us on our way.

Assumptions (March 9, 2018)

How many times do we all assume things because of our life experiences? Are we giving others a choice and not assuming we know what they mean or wish? This is, perhaps, a challenge for some of us. Personally, I assume a lot of things without even realizing it. Most of those things probably are true. Others, however, may be totally erroneous.

It seems to be very easy for me to assume things. This can get a person in a lot of trouble. Recently a friend invited me for dessert after dinner. I assumed this meant for both Ray and I. She was thinking ladies only. Another friend invited me to go to an event, and I assumed it was for Ray also. Well, this may have been another assumption on my part. After being together for so long, he is always first in my thoughts. So, I am assuming things not in evidence.

How many other times is this happening? Am I assuming someone likes or dislikes something so I don’t ask? Are those little assumptions causing alarm or harm to others? It is time to step up and ask more questions. As a member of our communication committee, I really want to know.

Your Calling (January 22, 2018)

Have you been called? There is a quiet but insistent voice within you that is calling you to a purpose. This voice may be ignored by you during the busyness of your day. You may be pushing it to a small corner of consciousness as the day progresses. Sometimes it comes loudly intruding on your mind when you least expect it.

Such a calling happened to me this week. While riding in a car down a quiet street with a friend I spotted a small young dog scrambling along a roadway, seemingly heading for an important destination. He was all alone without a collar or companion and scurrying along. After telling my friend, we stopped ahead of him to intercept him and see if we could help. He looked at me as if asking who I was and what did I want. My friend left our car and proceed to entice him to come to her. He was very thin and also so scared of people that he ran away before she could convince him to come closer. Sadly, he was able to escape without us helping him.

This was a wake up call to me, reminding me that not only small dogs are hungry, but also many of God’s children go hungry too. It was a visual sight too persuasive to ignore. Oh, I know this, but it is too easy to forget about it when running from one activity to another. It recommitted me to feed the hungry in ways that I am able.

How have you been called? Have you been ignoring your inner voice or actively pursuing your call? You are being called for a purpose only you know. How will you answer your call?

A Tale of Two Kittens… (November 5, 2017)

Once upon a time there were two friendly kittens named Cleo and Leo. They lived happily with their mom and siblings in their human’s residence and enjoyed a carefree existence playing, mock fighting and eating. We don’t know what happened to disrupt their paradise. One day all was familiar and well. The next day their world was turned upside down.

One warm Wednesday morning their human placed Cleo and Leo in an oblong box, added some cat food and a small bowl, and placed the box in the back of a car. Included in the box was a letter explaining about their potty habits and their eating habits. Their human obviously loved them a lot and needed to find a loving home for them somewhere else. Why else would someone willingly give away such adorable kittens? It was a very scary ride for Cleo and Leo. They had no idea where they were going and why their mom wasn’t going with them. It was probably a short ride but had great consequence for them.

Luckily for Cleo and Leo they were transported to St Michael’s Little Thrift Shop entrance door. There they were left for the first person to find them and bring them into the shop. While the workers were discussing this marvelous event one of the regular customers came into the shop and saw the kittens. A look of intense love spread over the customer’s face as she greeted them. She was ready to adopt one, as her own beloved kitty had recently died. Her friend told her that Cleo and Leo should stay together, and she decided to adopt both kittens! Her friend convinced her to leave with the kittens to get them home to care for them immediately. And Cleo and Leo lived happily ever after!

This is just another happy story at the Little Thrift Shop. Come in and find your own story.

Love abides at St Michael’s! (July 27, 2017)

Look around you at St Michael’s. You will see parishioners engaged in working together to create a loving space for all of us. You can feel it in the service on Sunday morning as we pass the peace. It is present at the coffee hours where we exchange news of our lives. It follows us around in our community when we see each other unexpectedly.

It is present in the Thrift Shop as the ladies of the parish work to receive, price, ticket, sell and record donations and consignment goods. These ladies support and love each other as they try to show our shoppers, and others, Jesus’s love and acceptance. This is the goal of this great outreach in our church family. Yes, making money for the many charities is important, but showing Jesus’s love to everyone we encounter is a bigger goal.

If you serve on the vestry, belong to a committee, serve on the altar, read during services, study books or the Bible together, do you feel this love among us? It is definitely there affecting our conversations and decisions. We are stronger and wiser and better together because of this love.

As we begin yet another chapter in our search for our new rector let us remember all we have accomplished together and the love we share.

Have you met Catherine? (July 12, 2017)

Catherine is a regular shopper at the Little Thrift Shop.

During a procedure in which she was anesthetized, the doctor suspected that she had sleep apnea. She had testing at a sleep clinic where it was discovered that she stopped breathing 111 times an hour!

Obviously something needed to happen to bring her back to good health. She started using a cpap machine at night. She began to exercise daily by riding a trike, walking, and swimming. She took her dog Dillon with her while she was riding her tricycle around the neighborhood. She has gotten to know everyone in the neighborhood on a first name basis and made many new friends swimming each morning.

As she lost weight she shopped at the Little Thrift Shop to outfit herself with stylish new clothes. Her size dropped from size 24 to 10. This required many excursions to the shop. Among her favorites are Merrill shoes, slacks, shorts and tops. She gets her shopping fix and calls it “resale therapy” because of the good quality and price and very pleasant staff who are always ready to assist.

We look forward to seeing Catherine for many more years as she continues her exercising and healthy lifestyle.

Joy (July 5, 2017)

Joy is a feeling or state of great delight or happiness, a source or cause of pleasure or delight, the expression or display of glad feelings. When do you experience joy? When a friend greets you with a smile? When you see your child playing happily? When you accomplish a difficult task? When you hear about the happiness of a friend?

Sometimes you can experience joy just by looking at the sky, the earth and the fresh air around you. Often joyful feelings happen when we see the joy in other people. Are there people at St Michael’s who are joyful? Are you drawn like a moth to a flame to these people?

Certainly, there are many at St Michael’s who give us great feelings of joy. They are giving themselves to others with a smile and welcoming manner. Some are very quiet. Some are rather loud. All of them Infuse us with their joy if we let them.

These are the people that we want to spend time with. These are the people we want to be more like. These are the people who exemplify love.

How can we be more joyful? How can we show the love of Jesus Christ in our lives? Tell the joyful souls in your life how they inspire you. Smile and offer to help someone near you. Slow down and notice the joyful things in your world.