I was privileged to be at the church tonight. This was the fifth in our eight part Lenten series on outreach and justice. Tonight Elise Harding Davis was our speaker and the topic was discrimination. As an African- Canadian this woman spoke from a great place of centeredness and justice. We were given much to think about as she related stories of her childhood, her heritage and her work as well as her community service and outreach. It was clear to me listening to her that we all have to seek to find ways to become more aware of black history. I personally intend to visit the Black Historical Museum of which she is so proud. There is so much of Black History that has been denied or at least suppressed. Tonight I learned about Elijah McCoy (1844-1929). He was a Black Canadian inventor of a lubrication system for steam engines. Supposedly, after failed attempts by competitors to make counterfeits of his lubricant, the phrase "real McCoy" was used to refer to his authentic product. How often have you or I used the phrase “real McCoy” without a thought of where it came from?
Outreach is so important. Tonight we learned yet again that justice is in many ways about awareness. Fear is a terrible thing. Fear drives hate. Hate brings discrimination. If we make our decisions about people based on their race, their orientation, their gender, their creed, or any other defining factor we fail in our baptismal covenant. Today we live in a world where there is so much violence and hurt based on how people are different. It is incumbent on all of us who profess the Love of Christ to put an end to fear based decision making.
1 John 4:17-18 in the Message Paraphrase sounds like this:
“God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.”
I really like the idea of taking “up permanent residence in a life of love.” Prejudice, racism, and discrimination are fueled by fear. “There is no room in love for fear.” We as the people of God have no need for a life of fear. Let us banish fear, hate and prejudice. How do we do that? We begin by naming our ow fears and insecurities. We biin by longer participating in inappropriate conversations, kokes and jestures that out down those that the world has labelled different, or that we have relegated to the fringe.
One of the great gifts of being in Montreal for a few days over the weekend was taking in all of the diversity. I measure most things with food. In a few days alone I ate Lebanese, French, Asian, Hebrew, Vegetarian, Italian, Mexican, and God only knows what else ( I love to Eat). All that to say that the City is great because it is so very multicultural.
The gift for us in this life is in the diversity. The joy is in the uniqueness that is in each of us. The Love is found in the many faces of our common existence. Tonight I was so pleased to be with Elise tonight. We have a great opportunity to reach beyond ourselves to love beyond a world that allows too much hate.
Catherinanne is the best. She arranged for me to have trip to Montreal this weekend and it was unbelievable. More to follow at later time, but suffice to say…seeing some of my family here (They flew up for NL), seeing Les Canadiens in Montreal (a childhood dream), have a day or two away with Catherinanne to enjoy all of that and to get rest has been wonderful. I am so glad that Catherinanne insisted that we go. It has been great!
Yesterday marked the day that I asked Catherinanne to marry me. I am glad that we could be in Montreal yesterday to mark that. I was thinking yesterday that it is a little more scenic and romantic than the "7 Dwarfs Restaurant" in London (now Closed due to a Fire). None the less it was all good at the time. There was a guy there with an Accordion and another with a saxophone and they came to the table and played for me. One of the songs was “You are my Sunshine.” It is good to have people in your life who care so much. Love you Catherinanne and Thank you for this great weekend past! You are my sunshine….I guess this is getting real sappy now! But sappy can be real good I think.
Check out the Highlights of Saturday’s Game!
Today the church commemorates Thomas Cranmer – Archbishop of Canterbury and Martyr. This man is known as the author of Common Prayer. Cranmer was the person responsible for the most defining feature of Anglicanism – Common Prayer. It was important to him that all Anglicans would be a people of prayer and a people of the book. He found himself burned at the stake for not returning to Rome during the reign of Mary I. Cranmer was the man who inevitably annulled Henry VII’s marriage and acknowledged his marriage to Anne Boleyn. So today we offer our prayers in thanksgiving for this early father of Anglicanism and we commemorate his life.
Today was Church and Arby’s and the Church and the Outreach presentation. Alison Prieur was our speaker from the Homeless Coalition. She gave a very detailed presentation on the number of issues that face the homeless in our community. We certainly can as a church community do so much to reach out and help the homeless in Essex Windsor. Ironically, when I got home I watch a Mark Kelly Special on the National about Homelessness on Montreal – it was excellent! I only wish it had aired before…we could have used parts of it tonight. It is such a complex issue and it really requires societal change.
I did have the opportunity to pick up 5 women on a street corner. Now it is not what it sounds like. Five ladies on their way to the church tonight had a breakdown and needed to be retrieved. I was able to oblige and to help get these vehicular refugees home at evenings end. Thanks as well to Ed and Bob for also providing rides for the mobility deficient dames. I was kind of excited to say that I could rescue a van load of woman! In the meantime hope that Maureen’s car will recover soon.
I finish tonight with the collect from the original Book of Common Prayer for the Fifth Sunday of Lent, which is coming up this week. These words are penned by Cranmer. They are a little more extreme than our Collects today;
WE beseche thee, almyghtie God, mercifullye to looke upon thy people; that by thy greate goodnesse they may be governed and preserved evermore, both in body and soule; through Jesus Christe our Lorde.
I was searching some news from the last week when I landed on this Headline -
A girl’s beloved dog, a grisly nightmare
“Crystal Brown’s therapy dog disappeared. Later, the teen received his severed head gift-wrapped like a present.”
The article is from the Star Tribune in Minneapolis Minnesota. This story is a sad statement about the state of North American society. This dog was to this little girl a confidant. In the story it indicates that she was a troubled girl and that the dog was for her an important part of her life and her healing. "I told him everything and he never shared any of my secrets," said Crystal, 17, who has had some troubled times in her young life. Chevy was her therapy dog, and she leaned on him for comfort and support. This young woman felt really loved by her pet. She felt as tough she had a friend who looked beyond her many problems. "He was more patient than any person I ever met. That dog waited for years for me to get myself together," said Crystal, who began to cry. "That dog didn’t care what I did, what I didn’t do … what anyone did to me. He didn’t care about any of that. He just wanted to love me the way I loved him."
I was mortified by this story. It is really sick. This person who clearly knows the girl, left a note on the gift wrapped box that said "Congratulations Crystal. This side up. Batteries included." Truthfully, this young woman had found a friend in that Dog and someone who knows her say fit to take that friendship away.
This is an unspeakable act of violence and I am afraid to say a sad commentary on humanity’s ability to reach to violence to make a point.
We cannot be say for sure what leads to that kind of aggression and violence but suffice t say that our society in general has moved to a place where violence is an acceptable part of our daily culture. We all participate in that culture. Personally I sit down each night and ready myself to solve what I call “the ten o’clock murder.” Think about it. Each night of the week at 10 PM someone is murdered on some story on TV. Last night the poor guy was from Miami. Tonight there were several dean in Las Vegas. Tomorrow it will be Boston. Wednesday we are privy to a murder in New York. I have been a devoted fan of the Law and Order franchise for the last 15 years. I know that we all have enough of an imagination to not run off and cut off an ear as the poor slob suffered on Law and Order; Criminal Minds the other night. I think it is not a mistake that the 10 PM shows are all geared at solving a murder. This was not the case even 1o years ago. We all need to think about how we can find ways to curb the trivialization of violence. I’m not being silly here. I do not believe that Law and Order or CSI is responsible for the severed head that that 17 year old girl received. I’m not suggesting that we give u our favorite Murder Mysteries. What I am doing is alerting us to the fat that we now look forward to viewing images each night that were nor acceptable not too long ago. That means our ideas about violence have shifted and it is not for the better.
Manitonquat asserts that “It is clear that the way to heal society of its violence… and lack of love is to replace the pyramid of domination with the circle of equality and respect.” This is a big issue as we have a real problem with how we see authority in this culture. We all need to show a great sense of respect for all people and if we did so we could certainly do a lot to change the face of our communities. We are all too quick to disregard certain persons in our lives or in our culture and we n turn devalue and disrespect them in the process. When we do that we feed the cycle of violence. The philosophy offered above challenges us to lift ourselves to a place of respect for all of God’s Children. In offering that sense of respect we say no to violence and hopefully yes to a the day when the cruelty and violence of the article above will be no more. God would want no less from us.
On Saturday, I wrote about Joseph of Arimathea – it was his day of commemoration or memorial. Today is the feast day of St. Joseph of Nazareth. We revere Joseph as the father of Jesus. Among many other places, and things St. Joseph is the Patron Saint of Real Estate Agents, Cabinet Makers, Canada, The Canadian Armed Forces and the universal church. We know very little about him outside of his devoutness and his care for Mary and for Jesus. Joseph was carpenter and a very common man. He had to choose, had did Mary to accept the extraordinary role of being Dad to Jesus. We do not hear anything of Joseph after the story of his worry and concern for Jesus when he was lost in the Temple. It is assumed by most scholars that he died before Jesus public ministry.
One of the most profound places that I have ever visited is St. Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal. It is one of those places in which you become very aware of the presence of the Sacred, The Divine. Named for St. Joseph, it is a Holy Shrine because of the miraculous work of Brother Andre who worked to build this the greatest of churches dedicated to St. Joseph. Many people were brought to him and he was said to have prayed for and received many healings. His Cell is still intact above his chapel on the Mount and it too is a great place of pilgrimage. There is really so much to do there and so much to see that it is a place that I think I would visit again. In the lower level (a couple of escalators down), the Oratory has a museum. In there is found Nativity Scenes from around the word, over 2500 in all from over 110 countries. I saw Joseph depicted in every culture and race of the world and It was brilliant to see the Holy Family transcend all human boundaries. If you visit Montreal, go to the Mount. Visit St. Joseph’s Oratory. In that museum you will find life size depictions of episodes of the life of Jesus. I read today that www.catholic.org says that “Joseph is the patron of the dying because, assuming he died before Jesus’ public life, he died with Jesus and Mary close to him, the way we all would like to leave this earth.” I mention this because the scene that moved me the most was a representation of Jesus at the feet of his dying Dad – Joseph. It is a very stirring portrayal of a young man mourning what is obviously a very painful loss in his life and on his journey. It was for me, a powerful reminder of how very much God identifies with our own grief and our own suffering. We often forget the humanity of Jesus and this scene at St. Joseph’s Oratory brings a follower to that realization.
I often recall that image and that moment. It has become an important part of my faith perspective. It points out how very powerful images are in faith and practice. I see suffering and I see pain. For me the sight of Jesus on his knees over his Dad weeping in the midst of his human suffering is a great leveler. It is a great consolation to me. If the Divine could choose to take on humanity and all of the pain that may come with it, we should take heart that we do not suffer pain alone.
St. Joseph was no doubt a person of great faith and obedience to take on the challenge and responsibility of being there of Mary and for Jesus – even when it was unconventional. We look to him today for direction in our own lives and we seek to have faith that we do not always need to know the answers. We do not always need to know how things will turn out. We do not always need to have control. I am certain that Joseph did not have all the answers, was often uncertain about how things would turn out, and must have felt very out of control.
Let us look to Joseph for direction and confidently pray the words below -
In Joseph’s Arms
At life’s twilight,
When it is time to say ‘thank you’
When words can no longer express feelings
When cries are sometimes suppressed
Joseph, take me in your arms
Joseph, take me in your arms
Like a father to whom one can say everything
Like a husband to whom one cannot lie
Like a brother with whom one has laughed
Like a friend with whom even silence is blessed
Joseph, take me in your arms
Joseph, take me in your arms
Take me along with you to meet God
May my steps be light
May my heart be forgiven
May my life be illuminated
This little 5 minute Video is a lovely display of the oratory. You just need to shut off the music on the top left of this page and then double click on Play in the middle of the Video Screen.
Today marks one year of blogging. I must say I have enjoyed it very much. Of course I can’t say for sure if it has been of benefit to the web or the world but for me it was and is a benefit as it has encouraged me to on a nearly daily basis to organize my thoughts around something or another. So Happy anniversary to Revy Kevy’s Corner – one triumph is knowing that if you Google Revy Kevy – My Blog is the # 1 hit!
Today was Prodigal Day at the church. That is to say the story of the Prodigal Son was the Gospel. It is one of my favorite text to preach as I think it is so rich. Prodigal is usually defined as wastefully or recklessly extravagant. That is appropriate as the whole story is about extravagance, reckless extravagance. Think about it. We focus on the fact that the young son was prodigal but the anger of the older brother was also recklessly extravagant. His jealously, his resentment and his disgust as expressed to his father were all examples of reckless extravagance. Then there was the father. A parent who loves at great cost. The father who even though that which he worked so hard for was squandered still reached to love. Talk about extravagant and reckless. Even though his heart was broken by his child he choose to love and embrace. He rejoiced at the fact that his son was returned. All of you who are parents will know what this is all about. Sometimes parents are hurt and devastated, dismayed and disappointed – but the are always a parent. The love of a parent is prodigal. It is reckless and it is extravagant. The love of a parent is forgiving and it is overwhelming. Today we heard the story of the prodigal – it is a reminder of our choices in live. We can choose to be extravagant in love, in repentance, in forgiveness or we can choose to be extravagant in vengeance, anger, judgment and resentment. We can choose to be a people who seek to be forgiven and a people who forgive. Most of all we need to be reminded that we are a people who are so loved by God that we will be embraced and forgiven no matter how insecure or afraid we are. We all can all come home to God.
This video below shows some different images of the story of the Prodigal. It is set to a song about the parable. Quite good. Just shut of the music on windows player – top left of the blog and click play to look and listen!
Today is the feast day of St. Patrick. “Of course,” you say, “Everyone know that March 17 is St Patty’s day!” Lesser known is the fact that the Roman Calendar also observes today as the Feast day for Joseph of Arimathea. Now he is the man who the bible suggests begged the body of Jesus and prepared it for burial. He is the Patron of Funeral directors and pallbearers for various reasons. Lesgend has it that he brought the boy Jesus to Cornwall and/or Somerset one or more times. This is the legend that lent itself to William Blake’s Poem Jerusalem. This hymn is known to us Anglicans in the Hymn, “And did Those Feet in Ancient Times.” John’s gospel suggest that Joseph was a secret disciple of Jesus. Indeed we see a man painted in scripture as one who cared immensely for Jesus. I was doing some internet reading about Joseph yesterday. The most interesting reading was from the “Gospel of Nicodemus. In that Gospel it is reported that Joseph was bound and held after the burial of Jesus for his strong support of Jesus. Here is an excerpt where Joseph having escaped captivity after from the elders explains how it happened;
“On the day of the Preparation, about the tenth hour, you shut me in, and I remained there the whole Sabbath in full. And when midnight came, as I was standing and praying, the house where you shut me in was hung up by the four corners, and there was a flashing of light in mine eyes. And I fell to the ground trembling. Then some one lifted me up from the place where I had fallen, and poured over me an abundance of water from the head even to the feet, and put round my nostrils the odour of a wonderful ointment, and rubbed my face with the water itself, as if washing me, and kissed me, and said to me, Joseph, fear not; but open thine eyes, and see who it is that speaks to thee. And looking, I saw Jesus; and being terrified, I thought it was a phantom. And with prayer and the commandments I spoke to him, and he spoke with me. And I said to him: Art thou Rabbi Elias? And he said to me: I am not Elias. And I said: Who art thou, my Lord? And he said to me: I am Jesus, whose body thou didst beg from Pilate, and wrap in clean linen; and thou didst lay a napkin on my face, and didst lay me in thy new tomb, and roll a stone to the door of the tomb. Then I said to him that was speaking to me: Show me, Lord, where I laid thee. And he led me, and showed me the place where I laid him, and the linen which I had put on him, and the napkin which I had wrapped upon his face; and I knew that it was Jesus. And he took hold of me with his hand, and put me in the midst of my house though the gates were shut, and put me in my bed, and said to me: Peace to thee! And he kissed me, and said to me: For forty days go not out of thy house; for, lo, I go to my brethren into Galilee. (Gospel of Nicodemus, translated by Alexander Walker)”
Indeed we know that Joseph had a love for Jesus. Today we might like to take a minute – perhaps after a green beer and a toast to St. Patrick, and reflect on that love and dedication that Joseph of Arimathea had for Jesus, and ask ourselves if we too are in love with the Lord so much that we might risk being imprisoned for doing that which is right. It seems to me that Joseph’s Feast Day may be a little more apropos for Lent then the modern day debacle we call “St. Paddy’s” Day. [One of my pet peeves is seeing that on a sign – the name is Patrick – i.e. Patty not Paddy!]
The Nursing Home Lions (NHL) is a team of volunteers who visit the Nursing home to bring communion once each month. We have three homes to visit.) Today the NHL from St. Mark’s by the Lake Visited Extendicare in Tecumseh. It was a banner day for the NHL. There were eight of us attending the Mass at the home and it was indeed a very good day for the residents and for us visitors. I reflected today that it is fair to say that I see the face and eyes of Jesus each time I visit the home. I see Christ in the brokenness and in the joy. I see Christ in the residents and in the staff. I see Christ at work in the relationships and it does my heart good to see Christ so abundantly present in the lives of the seniors.
Many thanks to Jason Burgoin, and Lisa Morel, Catherinanne George and Carrie Webb for making your visits today. More than meaning a lot to us NHLers it means a tremendous amount to the Residents of the home. In our effort to be present we see the presence of the One who commissions us to go and heal and love and forgive. In our effort to be present, we feel the presence of Love personified in service.
Leo Tolstoy said, “The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity.” We all have the capacity to do just that. Let us all pray and discern what act of service we can offer to humanity, to brothers and sisters that we know and those that we do not know. Let us all reflect on finding those around us who live with hurt, pain, loneliness, rejection, judgment, sorrow, poverty, or any other demoralizing force, and let us seek to serve them – even if it only means being there, being present, listening, watching, caring, praying. Let us serve by finding simple ways to make another’s journey easier, another’s burden lighter.
Thank you Monica, Rose Marie, Gloria, Marian and our newcomers named above as well as all you NHLers who have come to the Home for church in the past. Thank you for serving humanity. You are doing the work of fulfilling the sole meaning of life!
It has been a full day. Today is Wednesday and that means Arby’s for lunch after our Wednesday Morning Eucharist. It also means Lenten Justice Series. Today was a BIG day for the Arby’s Group. You see March Break may mean encumbered attendance for other thing in town or even a Sunday Morning but for the Arby’s Group it meant 20 people at church thanks to the attendance of the Shields Children. In fact, Connor even did the First Reading – and did an excellent job with it! We had a raucous trip to Arby’s from the church with Rock and Roll rearing its head in the Relay van. At Arby’s we all had a great time as always. Arby’s means good food, good fun and great friendship as we break bread together each week.
I was curious about the history of Arby’s tonight, so I took a look at their web page. I was thrilled to see the commonalities with the church. There is a section about Arby’s Values. Among them is this one:
We believe in the unlimited potential that lies within all people and we are committed to providing opportunities for people to achieve their dreams.
Now I was excited to read that among the others great values listed on the Arby’s Page. To read them all you can click here. It is an appropriate value given that it is Wednesday and we tonight spent time reflecting on Outreach and Justice. Indeed, I would suggest that much of what we are learning as a people of God is that we need to make it possible for all people to realize what God is calling them to be. Arby’s values also include the Golden Rule. For the Christians that means loving neighbor as self. It means reaching out to help others. It means hoping to make the best of life conditions of all people. We believe emphatically that we are God’s beloved. We believe that God is calling us all to love, to mutual respect, to a place of welcoming all people into the City of God. I am glad that Arby’s too sees the need to make everyone’s lot better!
Tonight we were pleased to welcome Chris Atkinson from the PWRDF (Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund) He shared the details of the History of the organization, which is the outreach branch of the church. He explained the connection and distinction with the Huron Hunger Fund and the PWRDF. But most importantly he brought before us the need for us as a church to respond to the needs in this world. The most compelling information was really about the water injustice in this world. Interesting indeed to hear that Canada continues to refuse to sign on to a UN Declaration that Water is a basic human right. Interesting that the bottled water we buy in stores we pay 5000 times as much for that we do what comes out of our taps. In the meantime most bottled water comes from taps across North America. It is shocking that we have turned such a basic human right as water into a commodity. In any event we all had good fodder for thought and for prayer tonight and we thank Chris for making the journey from London to speak to us tonight.
It was a great day and I pray in Thanksgiving to God for the opportunities that this day has provided me to be with people who love the church and who love justice! I needed a good dose of compassion and community today – I got it!
If you shut off the music (up top to the left) you can play this funny Arby’s Advertisement)
While visiting Australia a couple of years ago Catherinanne and attended Mass at St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Brisbane. It was a beautiful church and has long remained with me. The most impressive part of the place was the use of symbols. At Eucharist they had a huge chalice. It was so impressive that no matter how far away from the later you were sitting you could see the abundance of God’s love poured out. Likewise with the host, it was gain a great image of the Body of Christ. But of all of the image there the one that has been before my eyes regularly since seeing it was the crucifix that hung over the altar. The bronze crucifix is the work of John Elliott. This image is impressive if for no other reason the quality of the art is fabulous.
There is more to this image than mere good art. In this image there is a sense of movement. If it is possible for a still image to display movement, this work does just that. In the image we can see the pain and agony of the passion and crucifixion of Jesus. In the same image we can see the triumph of Christ over the cross and death. The Artist has fashioned Jesus in such a way that He is nailed to the cross on one side of the beam and busting free on the other. This image reflects well the movement of Lent and Easter.
As a people we journey through Lent we all focus on finding ways to repent, to convert, to change, to dies unto our old ways of being. We want to take on the cross of Christ. We pray that we might seek ways to live the fullness of the Passion – that is to say that we all hope to find a way to take on our share of pain of Jesus. We seek to find ways find suffering in the world and find ways to be present to it. We confess our own participation in crucifixion. We are able to do all of this becaus eof the movement of that crucifix at St. Stephen’s Cathedral. That is to say, we can be very honest about how we can better our relationship with God and our relationships with others because we know when we look Jesus on that cross we see that he is in the process of breaking free from the cross, breaking free from bondage, breaking free from death, breaking free from the grave and moving to light, to hope, to freedom and to everlasting life and goodness. Lent is possible because of Easter. If we display faith in the Easter Story we can have an even more powerful Lent as we can move into the dryness and parchedness of the Lenten Wilderness.
Yes – we are getting closer to Good Friday – to the right side of the Cross. But we journey there boldly knowing that the cross will not win – darkness will not win.