Faith Candles

I like these words from the Rev. Dr. E. Stanley Ott. He lives near Washington DC, so that’s the kind of traffic he is speaking of.

Rush hour was unusually slow today which tells me the fall schedule for everyone is picking up. So we see the paradox of traffic moving slower because our lives are speeding up! This led me to reflect on the interesting concept of “centering down” that we have from the Quakers.
To center down is to deliberately slow down, to practice the invitation of Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God!”
To center down is to set aside a few moments in your life in order to deliberately still your spirit and to reconnect with the presence of God.
It is a time to read Scripture.
A time to listen.
A time to pray about the things on your heart.
A time to journal.
Shape your life by priorities this fall. Beginning with your Lord, when will you center down each day? Early in the morning? Mid-morning or afternoon? Evening?
Then extend the idea of centering down beyond your relationship with God to your relationships with the significant people in your life and others with whom you sense you are to give more of yourself. When will you be with them daily, weekly, monthly?
In our manic and overly busy day, this will happen only if you decide to make it so.

For those of us living in Northwest Lower Michigan, it’s the summer that is upon us. It is harder to make turns onto Highway 31, a sure sign of more traffic indicating that the season has started. This is a good time to think about shaping your summer by priorities like the ones of which Dr. Ott speaks.

A few years ago at the church I previously served, we did what is called “The 60/60 Experiment” where we intentionally were seeking God in our lives by remembering and talking to God every 60 minutes with the aid of a watch or cell phone. During that time, I was at a critical moment wondering how something in my life was going to go and my watch went off right at that instant. Of course, I thought, how could I consider the situation without God who was right there for the asking and the acknowledgement.

Perhaps you are among those who use a daily devotional guide or receive an email with a scriptural focus. One other simple way to go about a “centering down” time is to read one chapter in the Old Testament, one in the New Testament and a psalm each day. By doing that you can read through the whole Bible.

There are as many ways to connect with God as there are people in our church. The important thing is not the method, but the action of doing it. If you are not engaged in some form of daily intentional connection to God, I invite you to do so. God will change your life and, at the least, your perspective. Jesus said, “If you abide in me, I will abide in you.”

In the Grace of Our Abiding God,
Rev. Anne Hébert

P.S. Here’s the recipe for the dip I made for the “Celebration of STAMP” party. Some of you have requested it and one of you said it was like eating “crack.” I guess that means it was good!

Swiss Cheese Bacon Smoked Almond Dip


Prep Time: 10 mins Total Time: 25 mins Servings: 6

10 slices bacon
8 ounces cream cheese, Softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons dijon-style mustard
1 1/2 cups Swiss cheese, Shredded
4 green onions, Chopped
1/2 cup smoked almonds, Chopped

Fry the bacon. Let drain and crumble.

Mix all ingredients. Bake in 350 degree preheated oven for about 15 minutes; until golden and bubbly. Top with some crushed almonds.

For a twist, put the cold dip in pre-packaged phyllo cups and bake for about 15 minutes. It’s great accompanied with apples, crackers or pita chips.