Canon Kevin's Corner

Thoughts from a Canadian Vicar

Remember That You are Dust


kevin-ashLent has begun. Today is Ash Wednesday. On this day we are reminded of our mortality. We mark one another with the sign of the cross and say the words;
“Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.”

Our Community of St Aidan’s will today at 1030 am and 730 pm provide opportunity to assemble for worship. To assemble together and to name together that we are embarking on a journey. Forty -six days from now we will celebrate Easter. We declare that the next 40 days (the Sundays are days of Feasting) will provide us time for fasting, penitence, alms-giving, prayer and study of scripture. This is a very reflective time in the church’s year.

I hope you have opportunity to receive the sign of the cross on your forehead today.  To me one of the powerful parts of the symbol is a hearkening back to our baptism. When we are baptised we also have a priest sign us with the sign of the cross. Instead of ashes, the priest uses oil of chrism, and imposes the sign of the cross on the forehead saying; “I sign you with the sign of the cross and mark you as Christ’s own for ever.” While these words are decidedly different than “remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return,” they are intimately connected. You see the notion that we are God’s own… forever.. is all the more powerful when we understand that God is with us from our dusty beginnings till our dusty end. We are mortal. God is God. And yet the possibility is there that in our humanity, in our mortality, we might reflect a glimpse of what the Divine may look like. In our baptism we make some commitments. We lay claim to our frailty by declaring that we do at times fall into sin. We lay claim to the wish for a world where reconciliation is real. We reach toward a world where peace, unity and justice are transfigured from words spoken in dusty church sanctuaries to genuine gestures of love and sacrifice. At the time of our baptism we long for the time when dignity for all people is not something we wish for but something we do… as in do justice, love kindness, walk humbly with God.

Ash Wednesday reminds us that we are mortal, that time is a commodity and it is not unlimited. Each year when I hear those words, “remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return,” I hearken back to my baptism. I am left to be honest in my appraisal in how I am doing with the possibilities laid before me. Lent allows me time to enter into a time of self reflection and dialogue with others and with God in the honest desire to come closer as a human being, as a piece of dust, to being animated toward love, justice, hope, healing, and forgiveness.

I am dust…. marked as Christ’s own forever. I am hopeful that Lent will allow me to be honest with myself, with others, and with the Divine.

[As as aside, if you cannot be at church because of work etc, I will be out in the neighbourhood between 9-10 am and 2-4 pm with Ashes to Go].



A Chance Encounter with Robin Thomson 

It will not come as a shock to any reader who knows me well that I make an effort to get to know people when I am in a new environment. That is also true when I am being served at any restaurant or pub. I always ask my servers their names and always hope to learn more about who they are. It’s just a part of my DNA. Over the years that has meant that I have come to know some incredibly interesting and wonderful people – God’s beloved, all of them. Today I want to tell you about Robin. 

In 2010 Catherinanne and I made a pilgrimage to Iona. It was an incredible experience where we were brought into the lives of many people. When we completed the week on Iona we travelled back to Glasgow for an evening. One of the group we traveled with was the coolest Presbyterian on the face of the planet – Mike. We took the train to back Glasgow  together and voted two to one, to go the the Drum and Monkee for dinner. Catherinanne was happy to oblige and off we went. Our server was a tall, fair young man with an wicked sense of humour. As is my custom, I asked – “what is you name, man?” Quickly, back came an extended hand, a warm smile a tender, young voice, “I’m Robin!”  I could not have predicted in that moment where that encounter would lead.

Over the course of several pints of beer that he served to me and Mike, he was intrigued by the conversation that Catherinanne and Mike and I were having as we debriefed about our time exploring ourselves, our faith, and our doubts on Iona. Robin chimed in…. “are you guys religious? Because if you are you are the coolest religious people I’ve ever met!” I assured Robin that there are far cooler religious people than us…. but that he would be hard pressed to find them! It was certainly be hard for him to find a religious person cooler than Mike

Each visit back to our table Robin got engaged in the conversation. He told us he was not a believer – at all. At the same time, he was facinsated by the fact that we believed in God and that we were thrilled to discuss what his beliefs were, and were not, and that we were not only open to it but that we were interested to hear what he had to say. Our conversation was too important and to meaningful to be left to a server to patron relationship. Robin was finishing his shift, so we invited him to join us. He did. We talked, we drank, we sang, and we shared in one another’s stories. We got to know more about this young man. He got to know more about us. It was clear that Rob cared deeply about others, believed in fairness, loved his kin and wanted humanity to be better. Robin had questions. And they were not trivial. Robin’s kindness, gentle spirit and easy demeanour allowed the four of us to have a real beautiful time of communion that night at the Drum and Monkee. He learned that those of us engaged in spiritual discovery were not all religious freaks and we learned that those who were not believers we among the most spiritually alert. 

We did what people do nowadays, exchanged Facebook accounts and promised to keep in touch. For a time we did that. Once in a while sending along a message, or commenting on what one another was doing. Then, sadly, we did not reach out to each other much for some time. Last week, the coolest Presbyterian ever, Mike, saw a photo of me with a meter of beer posted on my Facebook wall. He tagged Robin and noted that it was ‘not quite like Guinness in Scotland.’ No reply came from Robin.  That got me curious. Thinking of him brought back his warm smile, so I went to visit Robin’s wall.            

I wasn’t prepared for what I found. His Facebook wall was now “Remembering Robin Thomson.” I was stunned to learn that Robin was gone from us. I reached out to some folks that had added remembrance comments to his page. Eventually I heard from his sister Claire. She wrote to me and explained that he had died tragically in 2014.

“He was randomly punched one night and unfortunately he broke his neck when he landed. We (our mother and father and myself) got spend 3 days by his side before we knew we had lost him. The whole thing was horrific…we still have a huge daily struggle with it all. On a positive note, my mother and I have done a lot of fundraising over the years and managed to raise approx £160,000 for the ICU that looked after him and a brain injury charity in Glasgow, which brings us warmth. I am very sorry you didn’t know, I had no idea how many people Rob knew.”

My heart sank. I was so very sad to hear about Robin’s death and how very tragic it was. I am so very sorry about Robin. So heart broken to know that his parents and his sister were stripped of life with this insightful and engaged young man. He died way too young. He died in such violence. He was, in my estimation. Such a kind and peaceful would and I was vexed to think that someone who was gentle could die in such violence. 

I only know Robin from one chance encounter. I have told the story of my night with a Robin Thomson many, many times. I have even preached about it. Robin would not use this language that follows, but in my opinion, he would be ok with me using it….. 

Robin was a child of God who made my life a little better. I am a better human being because of the evening we spent together. I entered the Drum and Monkee a stranger to Robin Thomson. I left it that night having my ideas challenged and my heart chang d because I had come to know this young man. I left there with a new friend. My heart is sad that this young man is gone.  I entered a pub and met a beautiful child of God, who took time to get to know me. 

I pray that Rob’s sister and parents know the peace of God. I pray they take comfort of knowing that Robin’s life made a difference in the lives of countless people…. strangers to them but fellow travellers on this journey of life and love that we are all on. 


My Buddy Oden


A few months after moving to London our neighours – the Spellers – told us they had a dog. I was very surprised. In the five or six months we had been living next door we had never heard so much as a whimper, let along a barking dog. All I could do was take their word for it. About a week later I was out BBQing some prime rib, when I heard the sound of his nails against the wood of the beck next door. “Here boy,” I called, while peering through the little holes between the fence palings. I heard the intake of air as he propelled himself to stand and look over the fence. His head, the size of a small watermelon was now smiling above me! “Wow,” I said out loud. “You are not a dog, you are a horse!”

A cross with Mastiff and Great Dane, big boy Oden was happy to say hello. When we shared the first of the prime rib together we bonded as friends. Since that day Oden never misses the chance to say hello whenever he and I were back yarding. I once BBQed turkey burgers and put on an extra for Oden. I gave it to him on the spatula over the fence. It was a 6 oz burger – he took it like an Orthodox grandmother graciously and reverently receiving communion on the tongue. The only difference being he devoured my supplication in a instant. Eventually I got myself some good dog treats to keep by the door so that I could say hello on a daily basis. Prime Rib was reserved for special occasions. 

It was so mild today that I thought perhaps Oden might be in his back yard. So I grabbed a dog biscuit this morning and slide the patio door open… had a look.. he was not there. This afternoon the Spellers let me know that Oden had to be put down on Thursday. He had cancer and it was time. He’s not my dog – but my heart broke. I loved that dog. I can only imagine how hard it was for the Spellers. I have been blessed with terrific neighbours. They have incredible children. And they provided me a loyal friend in a big dog named Oden. I will miss him terribly. He was a gentle giant.

Lord Almighty God,
Oden brought sunshine to us 
and was a vital part of our lives.
Having to put him down has created a void
in our hearts that cannot be filled.
We do not question the will of God,
but ask Him to be merciful in our loss. Amen.

God Bless you Shawn and Maria. You are in my prayers.

The Difference a Year Makes


Afullsizerender-2 year ago today, a team of folks from St Aidan’s Refugee Resettlement Team (SARRT) made a trip Ea
st on Hwy 401 to meet the Mokayed family. Ahmad, Alaa, Abdulkader, and Sara had arrived in Canada the night before and would be moving to London to make a new life. The SARRT had already found an apartment and furnished it with the many gifts from the people of St Aidan’s community. Now the real work would begin. We would do what we could to make this family feel at home in Canada.  Living our baptismal covenant we would welcome this family in a spirit of seeking and serving Jesus in all persons, loving neighbour as self, striving to make peace and unity real for them, and above all working to respect the dignity of this family of God’s beloved children who had been through so much.

I will never forget Sara’s beautiful smile that day! It was incredible. She and Abdulkader were no doubt nervous as they met us, as were their mom and dad. But we soon became fast friends. 

In the past twelve months so many things have happened. We are no longer strangers; we are friends, we are family. Alaa now has two part time jobs. Ahmad works full time. The children are like all other Canadian children – kept busy with gymnastics, basketball, keeping up with school work, and play dates with friends. This family is firmly on it’s feet. Most of all, they are happy, they are healthy, and they are safe.fullsizerender-1

Last Sunday we held a “Graduation Party” for the Mokayed and Yazbek families. It was
incredible to think of all that we have been through in one year. Pat Townshend has done and incredible job as chair of SARRT and was aided along with way with and incredible team of people. You have all done incredible baptismal work. But don’t take my word for it. Hear it from newcomer’s perspective. During last week’s festivities, twelve year old Abdulkader took to the microphone and shared his thoughts. As he carefully unfolded his prepared speech, we all sat in anticipation. Once he cleared his throat he shared these words…

Hello everybody
There is a story you knew it by my mom and dad but today I like to tell you the same story, but with my words. 

There was a happy family, consists of  4 persons. They were in peace and pleasure when the war came to ruin all of this family’s hope. This family agreed to be together whatever happens.  They suffered and afforded together hunger, cold and all the bad conditions. 

After that, they decided to escape out of their country and they left their memories, grandma and grandpa, friends and everything they love. In this family there was a boy and a girl who were looking silent although they understood everything around them and their heart was full with sadness and darkness.

 After about 4 years God has sent some people to help that family and along of one year they succeed in making this family happy again. So today I would like to thank all of you for everything you did to my, and my sister life better and thank you for the emotions you showed to please our hearts.

I have tears on my keyboard Abdulkader – we love you, and Sara and Mom and Dad. Our life is better for having you all join us in this country. God Bless you all.

Lord God,
no one is a stranger to you
and no one is ever far from your loving care.
In your kindness, watch over refugees and victims of war,
those separated from their loved ones,
young people who are lost,
and those who have left home or who have run away from
Bring them back safely to the place where they long to be
and help us always to show your kindness
to strangers and to all in need
Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen


Are you Vexed?

31tezpv9kl-_bo1204203200_I picked up a book this week – Just Wondering, Jesus: 100 Questions People Want to Ask written by Tom Ehrich. An Episcopalian priest and writer, Erich collects questions from his weekly column readers. There are questions they might ask Jesus ‘from the roadside’ as Blind Bartimaues did.  Ehrich then offers his own reflections. They are sort of meditations that flow naturally from the query.  He is not shy about his opinion and writes with clarity in a no nonsense approach that is refreshing. No BS here, just honest opinions and frank theological dialogue from his lived experience as one of the baptised who happens to be a priest.  It’s a good read.

This evening I was brought to a full stop on these words;

In my opinion, we must stop clinging to precedent and seamless hero stories. The life of Jesus was a messy journey, not a carefully constructed epic poem. He lived the way we live: one day at a time, one mistake at a time, one fresh discovery at a time. His hallmark wasn’t consistency, but submission.

It is tragic that Christians have had so little stomach for discovery and change. We have tended to stifle the entrepreneurial spirit. We look backward when we should look forward. We fight over old words when we should listen for fresh words. We emulate the ancient when we should engage with today’s reality.

To prevent change, we ignore certain needs, because seeing them would require reinvention. We marginalize certain people, because accepting them would require self-doubt. We make our fellowships shallow and safe, because depth would engender conflict and accelerate change.

Most vexing is that we have worn ourselves out on changes like liturgical renewal and reallocation of power, which were significant but not as deep as we needed to go. Now the world desperately needs us to go deeper, but we are too fragmented and exhausted to undertake the hard work of examining purposes and practices, which would be required before we could make a difference.

Vexed is a word we made good use of in Newfoundland. More than once I’ve been asked by a brother, sister, parent or friend, “Are you vexed,” or “Did I vex ya?” Not a word used a lot  nowadays, but perhaps it’s time for a revival when it comes to our walk together as people of the way! We ought to be vexed. I read Ehrich in the above post a man who’s vexed. And why wouldn’t he be and why should we be vexed too?

We have sanitised the story of Jesus of Nazareth. We have painted Jesus meek and mild, serene and perfect. We have done so in our worship, our prayers, our hymnary, our theology and indeed in paintings themselves. But we know from the gospel stories themselves that the life of this Jewish cynic was not the life of Beaver Cleaver.

Perhaps if we could get vexed it might help. Sometimes a little contrariness is needed. I’m vexed that we have gentrified Jesus. I am vexed that we talk so so little about mistakes, missteps, anger, judgement, grief and fear when teaching, praying, and proclaiming about the life of Jesus whom we are called to emulate. It’s not that it’s not there. Consider his response to the Assyrian Woman, his response to the death of Lazarus, his plea to have the cup of suffering removed, his cleansing of the temple and on the story goes. Ehrich has said it plainly and better than I can, “He lived the way we live: one day at a time, one mistake at a time, one fresh discovery at a time. His hallmark wasn’t consistency, but submission.”

As a people of God, we need to find the stomach for discovery, for change, for uncertainty, for messiness and for deconstruction of the narratives that have informed our collective conscience. This requires us to be patient. It will mean being uncomfortable at times. It will mean feeling as though we are, at times, failing. It will mean fearing, at times, that we are lacking in what is needed. It will mean waiting, at times, for direction or redirection. It will mean suffering, at times, as we confess our own messiness. It will mean needing to, at times be merciful, as we learn about the pain and messiness of our companions on the journey. That work of deconstruction will itself be vexing at times. But I am convinced that the way forward for a church that has marginalised, excluded and ignored, is to seek to deconstruct that which has conned us into a comfortable shallowness for safety’s sake. This may be a painful but productive place. This is not a place for those with stomachs so weak that they cling to their certainty and pronouncements about orthodoxy as a drowning sailor clings to the remains of her capsized ship. For those who are obsessed with absolutes, the vexing work of deconstruction is too much. I remain hopeful that those who have engaged faith, might just be able to enter into the mess.  In the rubble and mess that will no doubt surround us in that work we might, perhaps, see grace that can transform that which has been into a vision of what might be.

In her Revelations of Divine Love, St Julian of Norwich wrote:

“Grace transforms our failings full of dread into abundant, endless comfort … our failings full of shame into a noble, glorious rising … our dying full of sorrow into holy, blissful life. …. Just as our contrariness here on earth brings us pain, shame and sorrow, so grace brings us surpassing comfort, glory, and bliss in heaven … And that shall be a property of blessed love, that we shall know in God, which we might never have known without first experiencing woe.”

I’m vexed, and even a little contrary…. Given what I read about Jesus of Nazareth and those he surrounded himself with … I might be in good company!


When I Survey that Wonderous Cross

Our Church building is now it’s it’s 50th year. There are so many stories to be shared when it comes to our worship space and how it come to be. I hope to share some of those stories, from time to time, on this blog, throughout 2017.

Ever survey the large cross over the Altar at St Aidan’s Church? Its a large cross for sure and is well appointed for the space. Like most everything in the church, including, it’s people, the cross has a story. It did not appear there on its own like a mushroom in the night.

A couple of months ago Fil Cappa, one of our original members, asked me if I knew the story of the cross. I did not. I was quite impressed with what he told me and asked him to write the story. He has since emailed it to me. Fil writes:

Prior to the completion and dedication of the new church on October 29, 1967, opportunity was given for our parishioners and others to present service and decorative items which were not included in the construction cost. Among these was the cross which hangs on the sanctuary wall above the altar. This was given by Betty and Peter Anderson in memory of their son Arnold, an active 13-year-old who went by the nickname of “Booey.” He died a short time prior to the completion of the building from an incurable form of leukemia. As well as being active members of the Parish, they were patients in my dental practice, so I have always had fond memories of the Anderson family and think of Booey every time I look at that cross.

The Anderson family was active in the Parish – Peter being President of the Men’s Club, Betty as I recall was President of the Women’s Group and their teen-aged daughters assisted in the Sunday School. Peter died suddenly at a relatively young age and Betty has been widowed for many years. She continued at St. Aidan’s for some time, until moving out of the district. Since retiring from practice some 23 years ago I had lost contact with Betty. Last November, while performing with the Mocha Shrine Concert Band at Strathmere Lodge, a long-term care facility in Strathroy, I made contact with Betty again. She is a resident there and was in attendance along with one of her daughters who was visiting her that afternoon. They recognized me and after the concert her daughter came and spoke to me. I was able to have a short visit with her and tell her that when sitting in church I thought of Booey whenever I looked up at that cross.

At times, we quite rightly, remind ourselves that the bricks and mortar of the church are just that… bricks… mortar. The building we worship in is wood and stone.  Our sanctuary is not ‘the church.’ The people are the church. What we see in Fil’s story is not a contradiction of that notion, but an affirmation of it. You see the Anderson family was


clearly important in the life of the people of St Aidan’s. Booey never worshiped in the current building. He would have been present in the Rectory Basement where the church began eight years earlier. He would have worshiped at the school across the street when our community moved there. Sadly, he did not live long enough to see the current worship space completed. And yet, our longtime follow of Jesus, Fil, brings Booey’s memory to life each and every time he looks at that cross. Indeed, not only Booey, but his father and mother, their contributions to the life of the community, and the community itself are all honoured in that memory. I think that is a beautiful gift. Hearing Fil, recall that story was a gift to me. For me to, in my mind’s eye, imagine young Boeey, his parents and a young Fil and Dianne Cappa, all doing their part to live the fullness of community those fifty years ago, was a special way to be reminded that I am connected and joined to a story that was rich in meaning and replete with love.

Give rest, O Christ, to your servant Booey, with all of your saints….
May he rest in peace and rise in glory!



God, The-Chance-for-Something-Absolutely-New

“Our role in life is to bring the light of our own souls to the dim places around us.”
― Joan D. Chittister

Living life in such a way as to bring light and love to places that are dark and dingy is without a doubt a call that God has issued to us. It is rooted in our baptism.  We strive to seek and serve Christ in ALL persons… seeking Christ in all persons is seeking LIGHT. When we promise to respect the dignity of every human being, we are, without a doubt, striving to bring Light to dim places. When we commit to taking seriously our need to renew and restore the face of the earth, we are bringing Light to the dim destruction that we have hoisted on this planet. When we say that we will strive for unity, we are seeking to bring Light to the darkness of division, and to hatred. We are committing to removing walls that keep the Light out. Our Baptism calls us to be LIGHT to others and to seek LIGHT in others.

So why does it seem so hard some days? Why is it so difficult to bring Light to a dim place? Why is it that the darkness at times seems impenetrable? As we approach Epiphany, we can acknowledge that this very season is a declaration that Light triumphs over darkness. On Christmas day we heard read from John’s Gospel;

Everything was created through him; nothing—not one thing!— came into being without him. What came into existence was Life, and the Life was Light to live by. The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn’t put it out.

“Our role in life is to bring the light of our own souls to the dim places around us.” Very true! I am convinced that this is hard to accomplish if our own light has been extinguished. Many of you will know of what I speak. If we have been maligned, abused, ignored, forgotten, or taken for granted at all in our lives, we often do not feel like we have much light to shine into any dim corners. Our batteries run low, if you will, and we find ourselves feeling more like a dim corner seeking for someone to bring light, than we do the people of God who are called to bring light.  Yet we profess that the Light that is God cannot and will not be extinguished by the dark forces of this world. It is in our darkness that we must listen closely to hear the whisper of the God who is Opportunity, who is Possibility, who is Creating, who is Hope. And we have to be discerning. Discerning, because often the voices that we hear first are those drenched with doubt  and damp with despair. These are misanthropic voices that seek to hobble hope and to hinder Incarnation. It is not easy some days. I know that all too well. And yet…. The One who is Incarnation, the One who us With-us, the One who is Birther, the One who is Life-Giver, The One who is Healer, the One who is Life-Light, blazes out of darkness, calling our name – Beloved. God is here and God who is Hope reminds us that She is constantly experiencing labour pains, giving  birth to something new, in us, for us, around us.

In his book On Religion, John Caputo writes:

“The name of God is the name of the chance for something absolutely new, for a new birth, for the expectation, the hope, the hope against hope (Rom. 4:18) in a transforming future. Without it we are left without hope and are absorbed by rational management techniques.”

I sometimes feel like the church relies far too much upon rational management techniques, and far too little on God, The-Chance-for-Something-Absolutely-New. If we are able to access this God of new chances, even at our dimmest moments we might remember that as God’s beloved, we indeed can bring some Light, some Hope, some Love, and some Possibility to the people around us…. and if we are NOT careful – to the church. I hope we can all hear the voice of that God.

God, The-Chance-for-Something-Absolutely-New,
Remind us that you are not in need of perfection
Remind us that we are beloved.
Remind us that there are endless chaotic possibilities for something new.
Remind us that there is always hope, no matter how damp, dank, and dark this moment may be.
Remind us that your Love, your Light, your Presence cannot be rationally managed.
Speak up, so that we may hear your untamed call to live as light.
Don’t be afraid to shout – we sometimes cannot hear you over the din of despairing voices.
Blaze and burn within us and around us
that we may come to know the Reign of your Love and Peace.  Amen.


Emptiness Transformed

“There is nothing that can replace the absence of someone dear to us, and one should not even attempt to do so. One must simply hold out and endure it. At first that sounds very hard, but at the same time it is also a great comfort. For to the extent the emptiness truly remains unfilled one remains connected to the other person through it. It is wrong to say that God fills the emptiness. God in no way fills it but much more leaves it precisely unfilled and thus helps us preserve — even in pain — the authentic relationship. Further more, the more beautiful and full the remembrances, the more difficult the separation. But gratitude transforms the torment of memory into silent joy. One bears what was lovely in the past not as a thorn but as a precious gift deep within, a hidden treasure of which one can always be certain.”

― Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I refer to this quite often. Today because it affirms that missing my father who died seven years ago today, does not make me weak, and the pain that I feel due to his absence in my live is made sacred with the patience of God. I can in gratitude be very joyful for the many remembrances of my father. The Divine is present in the emptiness and in the pain. God allows that torment to be transformed into a hidden treasure.  I am very certain of the gift that Robert J George was in my life. I am very certain because the emptiness or the gap that exists because of his absence, allows me to plumb the depths of the authentic relationship we had as father and son. In remembering all that was good in Dad’s life, gifted with a reminder that God loved in him. In remembering all that was struggle in Dad’s life, I gifted with the assurance that God sustained and strengthened him and will sustain and strengthen me in my own trials.

I look at this picture of a day with Dad….. there is an emptiness unfilled…. it is gift! That gift is really transformed into a silent and peaceful joy!



Scaring Away Woes

Saint Cecilia is the patron saint of musicians and Church music because as she was dying she sang to God. Today is her Feast day. She is a Martyr of the church who was said to have died a pretty terrible death. According to scribes at Wikipedia

 “the officials attempted to kill her by boiling her alive. However, the attempt failed, and she was to be beheaded. The executioner attempted to decapitate her three times unsuccessfully, at which time he fled. Cecilia survived another three days before succumbing. In the last three days of her life, she opened her eyes, gazed at her family and friends who crowded around her cell, closed them, and never opened them again. The people by her cell knew immediately that she was to become a saint in heaven.”

Why she would be singing is a mystery – it is a testimony to why she is a saint.

As a part of my daily prayers today I prayed in thanksgiving for Cecilia and all others who gift us with music, both secular and sacred. When we sing something special happens. Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra said “He who sings scares away his woes.” This year I have discovered this to be true. In September I joined the Valleyview Male Chorus. Under the direction of Henry Boldt and Kim Nikkel, this group of nearly 50 men has given me a place to scare away my woes. Gathering once a week with these folks, working hard each week to get the pieces right, I have experienced incredible joy and peace. I have never been in a choir and I had no idea what I was missing. I am quite the novice in this group, but they all are so supportive. We performed last week in Nairn. It was a real high to finally step forward as a group and showcase what we have been working on. It is a vulnerable, and yet, a peaceful experience. I am looking forward to our next performance – we will be at Valleyview Mennonite Church on Dec 11 for a Carol Service in the Evening.

Founder of The Talking Heads David Byrne wrote in his book How Music Works

 “In the early days, I might have gotten on stage and begun to sing as a desperate attempt to communicate, but now I found that singing was both a physical and emotional joy. It was sensuous, a pure pleasure, which didn’t take away from the emotions being expressed—even if they were melancholic. Music can do that; you can enjoy singing about something sad.”

I have come to understand this… and it is helpful in scaring away my woes!

Gracious God, whose servant Cecilia served you in song: Grant us to join her hymn of praise to you in the face of all adversity, and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


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