Oh Good Grief!

Scripture: Mark 10:17-31

Photo by http://www.sxc.hu/profile/Renaudeh

What could you not live without?

Is there something in your life where you would be completely lost if you didn’t have it?

Let’s make this interactive. Let’s share those things we could not live without. I’m not talking about the basics: food, water, or a house. I’m talking about those “extras” we all have in our lives.

I’ll be honest… I need an electronic device, either my phone or my iPad. Take those away from me and I would be lost. I do rely on them, too much, to stay connected with my friends. I spend too much time on them.

So what are those things you cannot live without?

We all have something, even if you can’t think of it right now, we all have our own “guilty pleasures.” Not that’s there anything wrong with have a guilty pleasure, we all need the opportunity to escape once in a while. read more…

Why Worry?

Scripture: Matthew 6:19-34

Like a lot of people, I think we’ve been paying attention to what’s been happening along the eastern seaboard of the United States as Hurricane Florence spent the last few days pummeling the Carolinas.

We see, once again, the power of nature as it acts in ways which are not considered “normal.” And once again, we see how it’s power cannot be managed or controlled human efforts. Hundreds of thousands of people without power, and for some it may be weeks before they get it back. Cars floating down streets. Homes destroyed. Lives changed forever, and sadly even lives lost.

It’s amazing when you think about it. We like to think we’re in such great control of our world, and then there’s some wind and rain, and everything changes.

In this massive storm, people have lost everything they have. They’ve lost their homes, their possessions; they’ve lost family heirlooms, old photos, treasures we all have buried away in our house. Everything they’ve amassed in their lifetime, lost.

It’s rather heartbreaking to see it happen. We know it can happen. We see it all the time. Fires. Earthquakes. Floods. Hurricanes. Tornadoes. Accidents and storms happen all the time in life. And when it happens to you, it can create a whole lot of stress and worry.

The good news, of course, is that there are people who are already on the ground helping. They are helping with clean up. They are helping rescue people. They are offering food and shelter. They are comforting those who are suffering with great losses. Wonderful, generous people all helping out, doing whatever they can. read more…

Working Faith

Scripture Reading: James 2:1-17

Quite possibly the most favourite family activity we did this summer while on vacation was attend the Canadian Special Olympics Games in Antigonish. We were invited to be there so we could cheer on my cousin from the Yukon who was competing in bocce.

In fact, we were treated as Yukoners all week long. The reason why is because we were given purple t-shirts emblazoned with Yukon pride, along with flags and noisemakers. If you saw a group of purple t-shirts, you could be sure to hear “RISE UP! YUKON!” bellowed from someone in the group. Especially if they were gathered at an event cheering on the team.

But that wasn’t the reason we had such a great week, although it certainly contributed to the fun. We had a great week because of the atmosphere. We took in as many sports as we could. We certainly watched my cousin. We also watched her boyfriend compete in soccer. And they did really well, ending up with a silver medal.

We also watched basketball, track and field, and also some rhythmic gymnastics. At every event people had fun. As fans, while we cheered loudest for the Yukon team, we also were happy to cheer on the other provinces as well. And other fans were the same. The loudest cheers for your own province, but still there were enthusiastic cheers for all athletes, no matter their skill level. read more…

From the Inside Out

Scripture Readings: James 1:17-27; Mark 7:1-8,14-15,21-23

Photo by http://www.sxc.hu/profile/magstefan

One of the unforgettable moments of General Council this summer came near the end of the week, actually it came in the last hours of the meeting.

Like most meetings of the church, we were starting to get bogged down with business in the mad rush to get as much work done as possible with the few remaining hours we have left to meet. There came a moment when some “re-wording” was required so there was an invitation to hear from one of our observers. As though we might just try and “fit him in” since we had a few minutes.

His name was Rev. Paul Walfall and he was our “intercultural” observer. I had the privilege of being in the same small group as Paul all week long, and quickly realized he is a wise man. Paul is also an immigrant to Canada from Jamaica and serves in a church outside of Edmonton.

As Paul spoke to the church, his words began to impact the room. Paul spoke about racism in the church, and he spoke as one who has experienced it himself, and heard the stories of many others. As he finished, the moderator thanked him for his powerful message and we moved back into dealing with the loads of business we still had to cover in the final hour or two we had left to meet. read more…

Play Safe

Scripture Readings: Ephesians 6:10-20; John 6:56-69

Pretty much every summer the kids and I have a traditional outing. Each year we go to OnTreePark, which is a zipline and obstacle ropes course just outside Windsor and not too far from our family cottage. And, as usual, we did it again this summer. There was one day where we had nothing else planned and it wasn’t too stinking hot for a few hours of exercise in the woods.

When you get to the park, the first thing you need to do is register and sign the waiver that you won’t sue them because you fell out of a tree doing something stupid. After you’ve done that and paid your fees, you then move onto getting your safety equipment.

The safety equipment OnTree requires you to wear is a helmet, gloves and the harness. The harness is the part that keeps you from falling out of the trees.

There are a number of straps that go around various parts of your body which are part of the harness. There’s a belt around your waist. There’s loops that go around your legs as well as shoulder straps. Attached to the harness are also the hooks and gear you’ll use to navigate the courses.

As you step into this contraption, a staff member then places the loops and straps in their appropriate positions and tightens them all up for you. read more…