We do have one of the less popular virtues on offer, though: patience. The theologian H. Richard Niebuhr once described it as the “grace of doing nothing,” which is intentionally misleading. Patience, the graced obedience in the midst of uncontrollable circumstances, is itself an activity. Perhaps even a subversive kind of moral warfare. It is “full of hope and is based on faith. It is not the inactivity of the noncombatant, for it knows that there are no noncombatants, that everyone is involved.” And yet, it does call us to wait and shoulder the burden of uncertainty when all we want to do is fix things. But perhaps in times like these, in the midst of a war of unknown length, the better part of wisdom is knowing how to wait.
From “Principles for a Just Pandemic” by David Henreckson in Breaking Ground. https://www.cardus.ca/comment/article/principles-for-a-just-pandemic/ Accessed 6 Sept 2020.
Mahmoud Darwish was the best known of Palestinian poets. I don't know how good the translation is, but it is both poetry and prayer-like, despite. From the August 2020 Bethlehem Bible College online newsletter.
As you prepare your breakfast, think of others
do not forget the pigeon’s food
As you conduct your wars, think of others
do not forget those who seek peace
As you pay your water bill, think of others
those who are nursed by clouds
As you return home, to your home, think of others
do not forget the people of the camps
As you sleep and count the stars, think of others
those who have nowhere to sleep
As you liberate yourself in metaphor, think of others
those who have lost the right to speak.
As you think of others far away, think of yourself
say: “If only I were a candle in the dark.”
The Irene Thomas Hospice in Delta, BC, a Christian institution, offers palliative care. But harassment by government and the courts because it refuses to offer MAiD, seeks to eliminate choice for those who do not want assisted death.
An article in the online journal Convivium, ”Hospice Stands Firm in Face of All-Out Attack” (1) by Peter Stockland, summarises clearly the dilemma -- government is forcing the hospice to permit assisted death. The president of the society that oversees its governance, Angelina Ireland, courageously refuses to back down. From the article:
She [Ms. Ireland] has been the victim of what she calls “social terrorism” that has included direct pressure to have her excluded from other organizations to which she belongs and left her wary about threats to her livelihood. The local suburban mayor has used her as a verbal piñata for vilification.
“… I’ve had people saying on social media ‘if you ever see her in (public), go after her; make sure you confront her.’ Taking a stand has made me a public enemy.”
Ireland treats the mistreatment as a test of faith. She reminds herself constantly that she doesn’t report to social media trolls or to the local mayor. She ultimately answers to only God. (2)
Consider the “lawless man” described in 2Thess. 2:3: For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction… The Message is more in-your-face: Before that day comes, a couple of things have to happen. First, the Apostasy. Second, the debut of the Anarchist, a real dog of Satan…
I wonder if this “man” is a system, twisting and distorting truth to, in this case, ‘eliminate suffering’. In The Law and Love, Pastor Dave notes “the lawless know the law but break it openly”. Spiritual battles swirl around and within. Rebellion inhabits human history. Destruction lurks in our crumbling social structures. So -- we call on “Charter rights”. A sampling:
The Charter protects every Canadian's right to be treated equally under the law. The Charter guarantees broad equality rights and other fundamental rights such as the freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and freedom of religion.
Section 7 … requires that governments respect the basic principles of justice whenever they intrude on […] rights.
Section 33: .referred to as the ‘notwithstanding clause’. It gives Parliament and … legislatures limited power to pass laws that may limit certain… fundamental freedoms, legal and equality rights. They can only do this if they clearly state that a particular law is exempt from the Charter.(3)
BC lawmakers, ignoring the Charter (“…faith-based institutions are exempt from providing MAiD...”) (3) force a practice, however legal, on an institution’s mandate based in Christ’s law of love. A friend quotes and I paraphrase: “Lawlessness is where a system of law transcends moral order.”
We’re well-acquainted with lawlessness and its minions: fear, retaliation, helpless anger, rage. But the Spirit’s gifts, discernment and courage, are ours as Christ’s followers. How will we use them in these lawless times?
(1) https://www.convivium.ca/articles/hospice-stands-firm-against-all-out-assault/ Accessed 30 July 2020.
Charlotte Holland has created a cookbook commemorating the 25th anniversary this year of the St Aidan’s Christian School. June Spencer and I (Kathie Smith) assisted her.
The recipes were contributed by and reflections were offered from people who worked or volunteered at the School.
We have not only great recipes, but newspaper clippings, old posters, brochures, pictures and more.
These stories are part of the history of a school that began with 3 kindergarten children in River Heights. Today the School has 2 campuses serving downtown Winnipeg communities with a total of 150 students.
The cookbook has 64 pages of interesting reflections and great recipes that is being sold for only $10 with all proceeds going to the School.
Please notify me if you would like a copy or copies.
Originally, we planned to advertise in the church bulletin and sell the cookbooks in the Narthex, but COVID-19 has nixed that idea and there is no specific timing established when the church will be open. Therefore, please contact me, Kathie Smith, directly by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me (204-488-0765) with your order, your address and phone number and I will arrange to deliver your order to you.
Catherine Marshall wrote, “Prayers, like eggs, don’t hatch as soon as we lay them.”
The Lord be with you. And with your spirit.
How often have we heard and spoken this call-and-response in church services, perhaps at the end of our small group prayers, when praying with the Book of Common Prayer or the Book of Alternative Services?
[An aside: Can you stand a little English grammar? (Is that a groan? Eye-rolling? Bear with me, please!)]
The subjunctive – big word, this. Its function has faded as we reinvent (or ignore) grammar, but we use it without even being aware. It implies, this big subjunctive thing locked in the little word BE, our deepest longings and desires and imaginations. Weirdly, it can also express doubt. How did this sliver of doubt sneak into -- a prayer? Check out the Psalms; look at a few characters in the Gospels!
Depending on our mood (and the subjunctive is a “mood”!) we express doubt, desire, need. In our context, a mutuality lives in this blessing. The one who invokes is in the same place as the ones who reply.
It also implies something desired, demanded, necessary. Isn’t that what the Lord is about? He’s necessary when we are frightened, lonely, weak and yes, doubting; He’s desired as we come to know Him more deeply through prayer, the Word, the witness of others, from those further along in the faith than we. He allows us to ‘demand’, to keep knocking in our need. He fulfils the hidden, unexpressed longings of our hearts. He is beyond our imaginations; don’t we know “His power… can do more than we ask or imagine” (Eph 3:20)?
Maybe the subjunctive offers a majesty, a serious awareness, an immensity -- more than our simple everyday grammar allows.
We respond to the blessing from the gamut of emotions He gave us. He hears and assures us that, yes, He is truly and absolutely with us, in Spirit (His), in spirit (ours). His being -- with us! -- is utterly hugely true.
In responding, we in turn bless the one who blessed us: May our wonderful God always be with you, as deeply and truly as you’ve called Him to be in ours.
From sea to sea to sea, may God bless our land and all the peoples living in the land.
My prayer for you and for all Canadians and the first peoples of this land is that we turn to the one true God who is a Trinity--Almighty Father-creator, Jesus Christ – Redeemer, Holy Spirit- counselor and teacher. I call on the people of Canada to “seek God with all our hearts”. I long for Canada to not only love the new immigrants, the indigenous people and the black/brown people but to uphold true truth, and to practice true justice.
To be kind to one another, to be filled with grace as we deal with one another.
I believe that many of the protests are calling, not for anarchy, but for us to practice true love and true justice. Even though the words of the protest may not be our choice of words, the call is for truth and justice. One of our—that is, Canada’s—challenges is to translate truth and justice into policy or law.
Truth and justice. For those who do not subscribe to the Judeo-Christian world view and the revelation of God as Father-Creator, Son-Redeemer, and Holy Spirit-Counselor, let me say clearly that I believe the law of God is summed up in the words of Jesus: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and all your mind… And love your neighbour as yourself. This is the beginning of knowing what truth and what justice are.
May it be so, Lord Jesus.
The Washington Post asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. Some winners are:
-Sarchasm (n): The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.
-Inoculatte (v): To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.
- Karmageddon (n): It's like, when everybody is sending off all these Really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.
- Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a grub in the fruit you're eating.
Would any of you in St Aidan’s Blogland like to have a go at this? Send new definitions to the office!
Here are some really bad examples:
Garglantuan (adj) a huge trill in the throat that tenors do before the Big Sing.
Litterall (adj) true garbage you might find everywhere
There are so many uncertainties, Lord.
So many things to worry about.
People don't seem to get much better
in the way they run things,
but I believe that one day
-- although I don't want to waste my time
trying to work out when --
I shall see your power and glory,
when all things are made new.