Thursday, November 30, 2006

Invocation for the Inaugural Meeting of Atikokan Township Council

Next Monday a new council will be sworn in. I have been asked to give the invocation. Here is what I have come up with thus far.

Spirit of Life, who calls us to live and work together in community,
we gather here this evening to recognize those people whom this community has chosen to be leaders, guides, and vision-keepers.

We pray that in their work together they would be ready to serve all the people of Atikokan, resisting the urge to listen solely to one group or another.

Grant them the courage to make decisions based less on what is easy or popular and more on a firm belief and vision of what is best for the community in the present and in the future.

Help them remember that they can have different points of view and still listen to each other with respect, that all are working for the good of the town.

And then, when the decision has been made, may they be able to share the decision, to work towards its implementation, to let go of the debate, and move on to the next issue.

May the 7 people we recognize tonight have the vision, the strength, and the will to help lead Atikokan into a new future.

May we who have chosen them be willing to work with them to grow this town into a place where life in abundance for all is made real. Amen.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

THis MAkes My Brain Hurt!

I realized yesterday that in the next three weeks I need to get all the bulletins up to and including January 7 done (the office is closed Dec 21-Jan 9) for copying. I need to finish the Christmas Eve Drama that is about 1/3 written* (actually need to get that done PDQ so that the other two readers can look at it and we can hopefully practice). I need to get prepped for the White Gift service/Congregational Pageant. I have a couple Bible Studies in there too. Oh and anything else that might come up...

How is it the end of November already? Where did all that lead time go????????

Luckily I just finished the Dec 31 bulletin. And Dec 17 (white gift) bulletin is 99% done. ANd hymns are chosen for everything else. But still, my brain hurts.

*THe premise for this drama is that of 3 residents of Bethlehem (the owner of the stable, a midwife, and a wealthy/leading townsperson) discussing this strange birth that has happened the night before. Still have to work out the message part of it and then put that into dialogue.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Truth, Heresy, and Peace

Yesterday's sermon was on truth. ANd it came up last week in Bible Study where the topic was Jesus' Prayer Makes Us One. What is truth? IS there an absolute truth? WHat is the danger of believing that anyone of us has The Truth? HOw do we know when a truth borders on The Truth?

As a part of these discussions I mentioned that often, pragmatically speaking, the truth is defined by whoever wins the argument (or has the biggest bank account, or the biggest club/army). A prime example is heresies.

As it happens John over at Locusts and Honey has a post about heresy where one of my comments apparently marks me as a heretic for disagreeing with 4 of the 5 fundamentals (For the record I have issues with the inerrancy of Scripture, the Virgin Birth, SUbstitutionary/BLood atonement theory, and Bodily Resurrection of Jesus).

So what is heresy? What makes orthodoxy? WHat is Truth and what is false? These sorts of questions are also popping up with some regularity in the Discussion lounge at WonderCafe.

One of the dangers of thinking we have The Truth is that it leads us to do terrible things--the examples of that are Legion. BUt we are called to be people of the truth. How do we find our way?

Maybe part of the way of Truth and Peace is when we recognize, as suggested at Bible Study, that we each have a piece of the Truth, and we need to let each other share it.

THoughts anyone?

In my e-mail (possibly spam?) today was a note from Christian Bloggers saying they had found this blog and inviting me to sign up.

ANyone else heard of them? I did some searching on the website but am still not sure what they are up to. Is it worth signing up?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

SO it isn't Friday!

A little late but here it is:

So this is a "Black Friday" Five (aka Buy Nothing Day) in honor of the busiest shopping day of the year:

1. Would you ever/have you ever stood in line for something--tickets, good deals on electronics, Tickle Me Elmo? Nope. Can't think of anything I wanted that badly. Besides I find those people terribly amusing, albeit in a sad sort of way. If I were ever to do the line thing it would be for tickets to something though.
2. Do you enjoy shopping as a recreational activity? Shopping is NOT a recreational activity.
3. Your favorite place to browse without necessarily buying anything. Bookstores, no contest. ALthough in a year or so car lots will be common (the van lease expires MArch 2008)
4. Gift cards: handy gifts for the loved one who has everything, or cold impersonal symbol of all that is wrong in our culture? I think they are very handy and practical gifts for the one who has everything or the one who has nothing. BUt they would be inappropriate where more intimacy is desired as they are, shall we say, less than personal.
5. Discuss the spiritual and theological issues inherent in people coming to blows over a Playstation 3. Get a life people. It is only a game.

BONUS: It seems we got caught in the wash of Black Friday. Friday afternoon (approx 4:30) we went to get groceries (a task we do whenever we are in the CIty on the Lake--to get stuff we can't get, or can't get in quantity, here in town) and we notice that the tills are very slow moving. Our purchases are scanned and I go to pay with credit card. 20 minutes later we are still waiting, along with every other till in the store. THe Interac system is frozen up. FInally, after 40 minutes or so, they do a hand-written credit card slip and I get a cab--Patty and the girls have long left to feed the baby and finish making supper. WOuldn't wanted to have been store management that night or on Saturday.

Um, EWW

THought this was a fairly normal missing person case at first:
The body of a Florida woman who was missing for nearly two weeks has been found — wedged upside-down behind a bookshelf in her room in her family's home.

THen I came to this part:
"I'm sleeping in the same house as her for 11 days, looking for her," her mother, Connie Weber, told the St. Petersburg Times.
"And she's right in the bedroom."
ANd the piece de resistance:
They said they had noticed a strange smell in Weber's bedroom but attributed it to other causes.
"A strange smell" I don't doubt it was. EWWWWW, glad I wasn't eating when I read this one.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

To Our US-an Neighbours

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

May we all, those who are celebrating the day and those who are not, take time each and every day to remember who gifted and blessed we are.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Please Tell me it Ain't so!

Saw this in the news:
Students at Edmonton's Northern Alberta Institute of Technology will attend a campus sporting a familiar name soon — the college's south Edmonton location will be called the Ralph Klein Campus.

TO name anything in the human service fields after Klein is, um, how shall I put this, repugnant. THe man started his term as premier by decimating funding to education at all levels. And it can be argued that the system has never recovered--and this in a province that, in comparison to most of the country, was never badly off economically.

Oh well, at least it isn't a hospital. THat would be truly apalling.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

THat was great.

Tonight was the night I had this meeting. I really wasn't sure what to expect (although I was certain no tar or feathers would be involved).

IT was really fun. Good discussion about United CHurch Practice and belief. And very educational too. THe study book being used was American so when it talked about United Church it was taking about the United Church of Christ. SO I learned a bunch about our UCC neighbours to the south while pointing out how the UCCan is similar yet different.

A Bear of Little Brain

First seen at Terrapin Station







Which Pooh character are you?




Indulgence is not a bad word as far as you're concerned, your confidence in being yourself is what matters more than all that.The most loyal of friends and always good fun to be around, everyone needs someone like you in their life.
Take this quiz!


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Monday, November 20, 2006

THe Christmas Eve Drama is not WRiting Easily

SO I am doing silly quizzes

You are 95% Canuck!

You rock, you are an almighty Canadian through and through. You have proven your worthiness and have won the elite prize of living in a country as awesome as Canada. Yes I know other countries think they are better, but we let them have that cuz we know better than they do, eh?

How Canadian Are You?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

THey Didn't Have a Canadian Category

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The West
Boston
The Northeast
The Inland North
Philadelphia
The South
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Lurking and Delurking

Regarding the idea of the previous post. I wonder how much the idea of a de-lurking week is just a way for us bloggers to assuage our self-esteem with the knowledge that there is actually someone reading these things.

Lurkers are a part of the cyber-world. it is that simple. In fact they are likely the larger part of the cyberworld at times. ONe of the benefits of cyber-community is that we can be a wallflower and not be seen. If I could have been an observer and not be observed/singled out I think I would have enjoyed my adolescence much much more.

But one of the things that makes cyber-community more pseudo-community is the chance to be a wall-flower and not be seen. The wallflower at the dance may remain firmly planted but is still seen, there to possibly be drawn out -- if someone takes the chance to try it. Maybe a de-lurking week is that chance to do that drawing out. MAybe it is the cyber equivalent of a "snowball" dance. And that can be a good thing. ANd unlike the snowball where people often get dragged on to the floor, there is still the choice here. WE can declare "NO Lurking" all we want and people will still lurk if they so desire.

OR then again, maybe it is an ego boost after all...

DeLurking Week ( A RGBP project)

The Explanation
There are so very many things in our lives that we can be thankful for. I personally, am thankful for such a wonderful group people represented by the RevGals and BlogPals and our community here online. At Bits and Odd Pieces of Mindy's Kingdom recently, some of us were noticing that there has been a drop in commenting recently. So, in honor of Mindy, Princess of Everything, we are having a Thanksgiving Delurking week! (Please notice the cow; that's for Mindy).Place this image on your blog and announce Delurking Week, starting today and going until November 26th. When you visit a blog, you can either just say "Thank you for blogging" or place a blogstone (o) (The invention of PPB of The Ice Floe) or whatever verbage the Spirit moves you to leave.Let the Delurking begin!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

For the Love of Pete! They are GAMES!

For the last two days I have been seeing stories like this one:
Game over for fighting in PS3 lineup

I thought it was stupid enough that people were lining up for the things. But fighting over them? Selling them on e-bay for thousands of dollars?

Everyone say it with me They are only games, life will continue without them.

More Fun than a Sermon!





Take this quiz at QuizGalaxy.com

HAt tip to Sue

Friday, November 17, 2006

Yeah, THis Fits

Your results:
You are Geordi LaForge
Geordi LaForge

60%
Uhura

50%
Beverly Crusher

50%
Deanna Troi

50%
An Expendable Character (Redshirt)

50%
Data

47%
James T. Kirk (Captain)

45%
Chekov

45%
Jean-Luc Picard

45%
Leonard McCoy (Bones)

40%
Worf

40%
Spock

39%
Mr. Sulu

35%
Will Riker

35%
Mr. Scott

30%

You work well with others and often
fix problems quickly. Your romantic
relationships are often bungled.



Click here to take the Star Trek Personality Quiz

Hat tip to Sue

This COuld Be Different

The Lutheran Church in town is having a Bible Study group looking at other faiths. Next week they want to look at the United Church and what it believes (I know, technically we are another denomination, not another faith but...) and so I have been asked to attend and answer questions that may arise/correct misconceptions that might arise.

BUt here is the rub. I am not sure that it is entirely possible for one person to fully present the UCCan. We are so broadly based that it is hard to pin down on most topics (as the discussion on WonderCafe is showing). ANyway, we shall see.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

CHeck this out...

I love parodies. I love satire. ANd so I liked these 3 ads. PArodies of both teh Mac/PC ads and of "what does it mean to be Christian" discussions.

Of course if parody and satire are not your bag, you may be less impressed.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Are WE Becoming More Narcissistic?

I missed this story when it first came out:
Amish man refuses ID photo, U.S. won't let him in

BUt I heard it discussed in more detail on Tuesday morning's edition of The Current (scroll down to Part 3).

One of the arguements made is that pictures lead us to think to highly of ourselves, to become more individualistica and less community-minded. And the show went on to suggest that the increasing availability of toys like camera phones and easy photo sharing increases that problem--the teens who admitted using camera phones to check their own hair/make-up in the absence of mirror sort of proved that point.

In the same way, it can be argued that the upswing (massive upswing) in blogs is a sign of us being narcissists--after all we think that people actually want to read that stuff we write, to hear about our families, to see pictures of our kids (and yes I know they are cute kids). THe danger of course is that we can become to centered on the individual and forget our community anture (all humans are communal beings).

IM(NS)HO, individualism is one of the greatest heresies, and greatest threats, facing Western culture today. SO I ask, are we becoming more narcissistic or simply more insular? ANd what is the antidote?

Finally some Common Sense!

Found on cbc.ca:
No point using skinny models in ads, psychologist finds

It seems that resaerch has shown that average (or realistic) sized models are just as effective sales tools as the sticks we are told are the norm.

About time someone spoke some wisdom into an industry responsible for making so many people doubt themselves and feel bad.

"It's definitely a step in the right direction, but I still think we've got a long way to go before we will see greater diversity in body shapes in the media."

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Of Elections and Reporting

LAst night was a first. I intentionally got myself on television.

Yesterday was election day in Ontario, municipal elections that is. THe local cable channel was broadcasting results but one of the commentators had to bow out. So I volunteered to help out.

We started just after the polls closed and came on every 15 minutes or so with updates (and time-filling commentary of course). Actually it was quite enjoyable.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Seaonal FAvourites

Sue asks:

1. What are your favourite Advent/Christmas hymns? "Tomorrow Christ is Coming" (about 2/3 of the way down the page) and "People Look East" for Advent; "Twas in the Moon of Wintertime" (The Huron Carol) and "Before the Marvel of this Night" for Christmas -- among many many others.
2. Which are your least favourite? "The First Noel" It ends up being so wailing-y during the chorus--and it goes on FOREVER!
3. Which secular seasonal songs make you want to run screaming into traffic? "The Twelve Days of Christmas" - not a fan of those repetitive verse songs at all .
4. Do you play Christmas music around the house and in the car? What are your favourite holiday CDs? Yes, more in car and office than at home (the kids want the TV on most of the time). A favourite is one that the local cable tech made for me several years ago. I had asked for help finding "6 White Boomers" for a pageant and got a full 80 minutes of mixed Christmas music (some sacred, some secular) burned on a CD -- might as well fill the whole thing right? And a couple of old favourite on cassette (originally on vinyl actually): Sunshine and Snowflakes which is a children's choir, and a MEdical Mission Sisters Christmas album (can't remember teh title offhand).

Next?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Liturgy Pieces for November 19

One of my goals for this winter is to write more liturgy pieces and rely less on "canned" stuff (not because of quality--the canned stuff is good--but as a discipline and challenge). At least one piece a week is my goal. Here are two I wrote for next Sunday using and adapting lyrics from Steven Sondheim's Our Time (a song in Merrily We Roll Along). The sermon title for next Sunday is "The Coming of Troubles", based on the eschatological stuff in Mark 13. Feel free to use in your contexts if you so desire

OPENING PRAYER
Something is stirring, shifting ground. It’s just begun.
God, we sense the beginning of something new.
Edges are blurring all around. And yesterday is done.
The world we know is fading, but what will take its place?
Feel the flow, hear what's happening: what is happening?
In the midst of turmoil we hear a voice of hope sharing words of promise.
It’s Your time, breathe it in. Worlds will change and all will win.
As a new world is born and new life arises we will celebrate both old and new. Amen.

COMMISSIONING AND BENEDICTION
Feel how it quivers, on the brink. Everything.
As we go out from our worship we go to be agents of change in a changing world.
Gives you the shivers, makes you think, there's so much stuff to sing!
We face the change by singing the old song of faith in a new key.
It’s our time, breathe it in. Worlds will change and all will win.
And we go secure in the knowledge that God who was, and is, and yet will be, goes with us always.
So be it! Amen.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

On Remembering and Youth

Yesterday morning I accompanied the Legion delegation to the local schools. As I am the PAdre, they invite me each year and this year I thought it was time.

What impressed me the most were the students. All of them, even teh 4 year olds in JK, were wonderfully quiet and respectful throughout. THe various classes in the two public schools had prepared readings or songs for the assembly. AT the high school there was a power point presentation done by one of the teachers about Canada's military history. The Legion president suggested, accurately I think, that the Canadian experience in Afghanistan makes it easier to make why this day is important real for today's youth.

I have little memory of doing a lot for remembrance day in most grades. I applaud the schools for what they have done here. IT was worth giving up half my day off to do.

A Remebrance Day Prayer

God of peace and love, on this 11th day of the 11th month we once again gather to remember. We remember that in Jesus of Nazareth you have called us to be people of peace saying, “Blessed are the peacemakers” and reminding us that we are to love our neighbour and our enemy as we love ourselves.
But we also acknowledge that there are times when we as a global community fail to live out those words, times when young men and women hear the call to don the uniforms of their country and serve under their flag.
Today we give thanks for all who have chosen to serve their country. We give thanks for their bravery, their commitment, and their love.
But we know that when armies meet on the field there are always some who don’t come home.
And so we pause in the memory of those who went and did not return to mothers and wives and children left behind.

We remember battles at Ypres, and Passchendale, and Vimy Ridge in the war we were told would end all wars, battles where the blood of enemies mingled in the mud and water of France and Belgium.
And we remember those who fell in the war that came a scarce generation later. And again young men died in places like Hong Kong, and Ortona, and Dieppe, and Juno Beach, and in the Netherlands.
We remember all who fell and were buried far from home, or who sank to a watery grave in the cold Atlantic.

Then as the years past the roles changed and we sent our best to help keep the peace in places like Cyprus, and the Golan Heights, and Cambodia. And still some died and were buried.
And now, in these last few months we find that our young have returned to the battlefield, only to have 42 of them return in a coffin carried solemnly to a waiting aircraft.

God, whose hope for the world is peace, on this day we not only remember the fallen of Canada who lie buried under a military tombstone. We remember also the fallen of Germany, and Japan, and France, and Australia. Or Italians, and native Afghanis, and English. This day we honour all who die as a result of humanity’s common failing to live in the peace you have hoped for all these millennia.

God, we pray too for those who returned from battle forever changed by what they had seen. For those who bore, and still bear, wounds of body and soul. In particular we remember those from within this Legion community who have died since the last time we gathered in this way: (read names from bulletin).

And now, God of love, as we have remembered and honoured, we prepare to go back into our everyday lives. May the remembering we have done here today reawaken and strengthen our commitment to work for peace, true peace. Help us to remember that peace will never truly come from a gun barrel but from the depths of our hearts. Help us remember our calling to be peacemakers at home and abroad, in the big things and in the small. And may we never forget the cost that has already been paid.

God of peace that surpasses all understanding, we pray our remembrances and our hopes in the name of Christ, the Prince of Peace, who taught his friends to pray by saying together:
Our Father, who art in heaven…Amen.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Red and Blue and Purple--OH MY!

Those of us who are in the United States have just been through quite a topsy-turvy election. During the campaign we heard a fair amount about red states and blue states, when in fact most of us live in some shade of purple. And so... a lighter look at those confounding colors:
1. Favorite red food DOes ketchup count as a food? If not lets go with tomato soup, a comfort food.
2. Tell us about the bluest body of water you've ever seen in person. THe Caribbean come to mind. BUt then there are the glacial lakes in the rockies that are a truly striking blue-green due to the suspended rock flour.
3. It's movie rental time: Blue Planet, The Color Purple, or Crimson Tide? Um, none of the above.
4. What has you seeing red these days? Oh so many options, depending on the day. THe high level of hatred that is still out there would be a generic cover-all though.
5. What or who picks you up when you're feeling blue? Chocolate, cuddles from the girls, a walk with the dog, chocolate, cuddles from the girls.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Oh Yeah, This Will Be Popular

TORONTO — Ontario residents trimmed their hydro use this year but people should be forced to pay more to run their appliances to spur further energy savings, the province’s chief conservation officer said Wednesday.

ANd he is right. Later in the article he points out how high gas prices got people starting to rethink vehicle choices. The bottom line is that cost drives what we choose to do all too often.

BUt in a time when this part of the province inststs that high power costs are killing the economy a, totally justified, call for higher prices will not read well.

And can we ever pay the true cost of producing power? What cost gets assessed to changed waterflows, or smokestack emissions, or nuclear waste management? HOw do you measure those costs?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Introducing...the Squirrel!!!

Here is the squirrel video mentioned in yesterday's post.

THe First part is definitely accurate:

gord --
[noun]:

A person of questionable sanity who starts their own cult

'How" will you be defined in the dictionary?' at QuizGalaxy.com

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Look for the Squirrel!

As a part of the United Church of Canada Emerging Spirit campaign they have launched (today) WonderCafe

Go take a look. It includes a discussion lounge, a look at the magazine ads that will be put out (a great one for Christmas involving Jesus and a "Santa throne") and the E-Z Answer squirrel. I won't explain the last one--watch the video and find out.

ADD: Here is a story on the campaign from one of our leading national newspapers. THere are comment on the story too.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

A Friday FIve Follow UP

In keeping with the Friday Five (see below), this was in today's Paper:
Parents in the Thunder Bay area now have a new way to protect their young children from tooth disease.The Thunder Bay District Health Unit is offering free varnish treatments at its Balmoral Street head office and a dozen day-care centres.

The interesting part is that I have seen this program (flouride varnish) advertised by the local health unit for years. ANd the girls had their teeth done at Playgroup last year. Is it possible that TBDHU is playing catch-up?

If you link to the health unit site, some interesting reading is the R2C report.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Mindless FUn

Hat tip to Iris
QuizGalaxy!
'What" will your obituary say?' at QuizGalaxy.com


Although I have to admit I hit the button several times before settling with this one.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Friday Five -- Toothtelling



Songbird writes: We are in the throes of what will (hopefully) be the final set of braces in this family, and so my mind is on the tooth, the whole tooth and nothing but the tooth.

1) The Tooth Fairy WHat is with these habit we have of lying to kids? But then again I enjoyed finding a dime, or even a whole quarter under the pillow. What do teeth go for these days anyway?

2) Flossing THat stuff I always get lectured about at my annual cleaning. BUt since I NEVER brushed my teeth as a child I figure missing out on flossing now still is an upgrade.

3) Toothpaste Brands Only have ever used one. More out of habit and familiarity thatn anything else I suppose. As soon as they send me a cheque for advertising I will let you know what brand it is.

4) Orthodontia for Adults Depends why. I don't see that everyone needs to have "perfect teeth" but if the misalignment is enough to cause difficulty in everyday life then go ahead. I will live with my overbite.

5) Whitening products AN exercise in vanity.

BONUS: AS mentioned above my oral hygiene habits as a child and young teen were, to put it charitably, lacking. THat I don't have enamel shells full of dental amalgam instead of teeth is a testament to the importance of flouridated water (IMHO) and annual visits to the hygienist for a cleaning (and lecture in my case).

Thursday, November 02, 2006

THere are Days...

WHen this would feel so good...

Pastor's PEn...

(Seems to have been my morning for writing--both the post below and this one needed to be done this week. This one is for the newsletter--and is actually my 2nd attempt at an advent message. THe first can be found here)

Advent candles burning bright
Gods love shown in flickering light
Love and Joy and Peace and Hope
It’s with God’s help that we can cope
Advent candles glowing fair
Driving out fear and despair
[1]
One of my favourite Advent hymns is Tomorrow Christ is Coming (#27 in Voices United). Set in a minor key, the words are not happy. But they are hopeful. And that is what Advent and Christmas are all about—not always happy but always hopeful.

In the Northern half of the world Christmas, a festival of light, comes at a time when the nights are the longest and the air is the coldest. Metaphorically winter is often seen as a time of death and want. Where spring brings new growth, summer brings fruits, and fall brings the harvest, winter brings frozen soil and frosted windows and bitter winds. As a metaphor it works well to talk about despair as a winter emotion.

And then, in the middle of everything, us silly people of faith start to sing about Joy to the World and tell stories about a baby born who would grow up to be a Saviour. It just doesn’t seem to fit. Until we remember that we are not only people of faith but also people of hope.

AS people of hope we know that the world is sometime, or even often, a place of danger. WE know that there are lots of reasons for us to believe that “…the world is full of darkness, again there is no room; the symbols of existence are stable cross and tomb.”[2] It would be easy to fall into a belief that all is lost. But because we are people of hope we can fight the despair.

This year, as part of our Christmas preparations I encourage all of us to look into the future. Look forward and see the possibilities that exist for your family, for the town of Atikokan, for Riverview United Church. Even when we continually hear voices telling us what can go wrong, remember that we are people of hope. Hope will help get us through the downtimes in the economy (and through the struggles of the economic booms). Hope will help us remember why we are here. Hope may not erase the dark realities of life but it does give us a spark of light even in the deepest shadow.

The nights are getting longer. The wind is getting colder. But soon we will start lighting coloured candles in our Advent wreath. Soon we will tell again the story of an amazing birth. “God will fulfill love’s purpose and this shall be the sign: we shall find Christ among us as woman, child, or man!”[3]

When the nights grow long and cold
Gods promise calls us to be bold
A promised child, with us to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
See the candles glowing there
Shining Gods love everywhere
.[4]

[1]Untitled poem ©November 2006 Rev. Gord Waldie, Atikokan ON
[2] Tomorrow Christ is Coming vs. 1 ©1966 Fred Kaan Used with permission under License #C6531 LicenSing—Copyright Cleared Music for Churches
[3] ibid verse 4
[4] Untitled poem ©November 2006 Rev. Gord Waldie, Atikokan ON

Being Peacemakers...

(A Newspaper Submission)

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)

11:00 am November 11, 1918. After four long and bloody years of war the guns fall silent. And every year since then we pause at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month to Remember. And in the remembering we utter the prayer “Never Again!”

Never again! Given the state of the world what do those words mean? Never again! How do we make them true? We make them true by becoming peacemakers for ourselves. We make them true by actively working for peace, true peace, in whatever part of the world we can touch.

True peace is what we need. True peace, that peace that goes far beyond the absence of open conflict, is the only way to ensure that we can say “Never again!” with confidence. True peace is what Jesus was calling us to make when he said: 'I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me. … Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ (Matthew 25:35-40).

To be peacemakers is a real challenge. It is far easier to believe that we can make peace by installing governments we think are “better” in troubled areas of the world. But, at best, that provides a brief respite in fighting. True peace goes to the heart of the matter. True peace pushes us to ask, seriously ask, “Why are people so mad at us?” or “Why do people sleep on park benches and eat at soup kitchens?” or “What do you mean there are children in Ontario schools who suffer from malnutrition and hunger?”

Being peacemakers means we have to work for a new world. True peace comes when we learn to ensure that all have their needs met. True peace comes not from the barrel of a gun but from the cockles of the heart (whatever a cockle is).

This year, as we pause for a Pittance of Time and remember those who fought for King and country, may we also take seriously the prayers for peace. This year, may we recommit ourselves to make the words “Never Again!” more than just words.

God being our helper, it is possible.