Classes had ended for the semester the day before. I had stopped at the university briefly on my way to a meeting of the IVCF executive. AS I walked around the Fine Arts building I could tell something big had happened. But, not having listened to or watched the news that day (remember those days when we didn't have a webpage open giving us news items 24/7?) I had no idea what.
It was a shock to Canadian culture. Many of us, especially those of us who had grown up after the FLQ crisis, with no memory of it, honestly believed such a thing couldn't happen here. 15 people dead, 14 wounded, dozens more traumatized by being witnesses or family members.
It was a wake-up call about gender-based violence (sort of, there was still [is still] a major amount of denial about the amount and nature of gender-based violence in our society). It pushed the nation to examine the attitude towards guns. It sparked discussion about men's role in ending violence against women.
WE shouldn't forget MArc Lepine or his actions. WE still need to ask questions about gender-based violence and antipathy (which includes a whole range of stuff once you add in issues of orientation and gender-identity [issues which were not really being touched on 22 years ago]). We still have to address how we help those who have been wounded find healthy ways out of the wilderness (I still say this is the under-discussed part of the Polytechnique shooting story). And we still have to wrestle with what weapons are appropriate in our society and how they are regulated.
At the beginning of a week I was called and asked to come and visit with a family where dad was not expected to last the day. I went and prayed and visited.
THen later that week I went to meet with the widow and the daughters to plan the service. Where they commented how the visit had set the tone for the rest of their afternoon of waiting.
THen the day of the service came. At the committal the 4yrold great-grandson was very curious about what is happening so as family were putting handfuls of sand on the urn I took his hand and led him over to stand and watch and talked about what was happening. At the lunch afterward the child's grandparents and mother made a point of saying how appreciated that was.
It is the little things we do that make ministry so wonderful....
In today's local paper there was space for congregations to list special happenings over the Christmas season. One congregation's list included the following:
Dec 30 7pm Passover Meal with communion
Dec 31 9pm to midnight Passover night.
PArdon me? Passover?
It seems to me that adopting (to use a gentle verb for what I see happening) the name of THE key observance of another religious tradition for your New Year's commemoration (as I assume it really is) is a little bit less that respectful.
I have little problem with Christian congregations choosing to hold a Seder meal during the appropriate season (as long as it is done respectfully). But a PAssover meal that includes communion is at best confusing to me. And why would we mark PAssover at the totally wrong time of year anyway?
In the end it reeks of supercessionism. And I find it troubling.