National Aboriginal Day

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On Tuesday mornings, I am usually at the Coffee House at one of my churches and rarely get up early enough to say the Office before I leave. In lieu of that missing post I thought I would say a few words about National Aboriginal Day.

I confess…….I am utterly and completely the beneficiary of First Nations subjugation. Just like this song from Dave Matthews states…..I drink the water even though it is filled greed, jealousy, and blood.

I didn’t even know it was Aboriginal Day today (June 21st) until someone pointed it out via their FB posting. Sadly, I think that my ignorance of this commemoration and of the experiences of First Nations people generally is the norm. 😦

I freely admit that as a white, middle-class Canadian, I have no experience of life on the reserves. I have no idea what kind of injustices and inequalities that exist outside of my urban setting.

But even here in the city, time and time again….I find First Nations people are on the lower-side of the income scale. This isn’t because they want to be…..but because they’re forced to be….whether through stereotypes passed on about Aboriginal persons…..or through a lack of transferable job skills because our government doesn’t take the time or resources to help those on the bottom rung.

The abuse and humiliation you have suffered is something which I cannot even begin to imagine :(.

I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I’m going to become an activist for Aboriginal rights, or equal opportunity. To say so would be self-righteous and make me look like a pompus ass.

Rather I will say this. Today I pray for the Aboriginal community. I give thanks for everything they bring to this country.

I give thanks for their presence to us….constantly holding up a mirror to injustice. Today I join with my non-Aboriginal brothers to say I am sorry…..and to pray for true healing, peace and reconciliation. +

Evening Prayer: Eve of Pentecost

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Old Testament: Exodus 19:3-8a, 16-20
New Testament: 1 Peter 2:4-10

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. (1 Pet 2:9)

Sometimes I think Christians take their claim of holiness and priesthood a little too seriously….or rather not, seriously enough. In the zeal to evangelize, and to bring Christ to the masses, Western culture (Canadians included)…has found it tough to avoid an “us vs. them” mentality.

We are the ones who have the Gospel, right???? We are the smart ones…we know the Truth. We are the one’s saddled with responsibility and The White Man’s Burden laying heavy across our shoulders.

In taking such an approach, we have justified the destruction of First Nations people, sanctioned exclusivity on part of the Church, and condemned people to hellfire and damnation :P.

All because we didn’t pay attention to Peter’s next verse:

Once you were not a people,
but now you are God’s people;
once you had not received mercy,
but now you have received mercy. (1 Pet 2:10)

Read that verse, and the whole context changes. Now we cannot perceive ourselves as great….or as superior..but as a people who have been lifted up from the dust. Not as masters who can decide the fate of others, but of slaves given freedom and new life.

We are called not to judge each other……but to build one another up. Not to lament our brokenness, but celebrate in the collective joy we find in Christ Jesus…Not to look down on others, but encourage one another living in the Spirit.

I pray that on this birthday of the Church, we can not only celebrate the Spirit in our midst…but give Her the space to transform our hearts, our minds, and the way we each live in this world. 😀 +

Morning Prayer: May 12th

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Psalm Psalm 37:1-18
Old Testament: Daniel 5:13-30
New Testament: 1 John 5:13-20

Florence Nightingale, whose witness the ACC remembers today

We know that those who are born of God do not sin, but the one who was born of God protects them, and the evil one does not touch them. We know that we are God’s children, and that the whole world lies under the power of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

I don’t know about you…..but it seems to me that this HAS to be one of the most dangerous passages in Scripture. Is it really true that Christians do not sin? Can’t that be used as an excuse for any and all kinds of behaviour???

In order to get the full context of what is being said in this passage…..we need to back up a little to chapter 3:

Little children, let no one deceive you. Everyone who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. Everyone who commits sin is a child of the devil; for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The Son of God was revealed for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. Those who have been born of God do not sin, because God’s seed abides in them; they cannot sin, because they have been born of God (3:8-9)

Much like the “faith without works” passage from James…..the outward actions and moral behaviour of a Christian serve as an outward sign of the sanctification that has already happened internally. A reflection of true repentance and of a genuine desire to love God with our whole being.

This is not to say that we will be completely free of missing the mark. For a letter which tries to uphold a call to a pure Christian life…1st John is well aware that we sometimes will fail and fall. He urges the congregation to discern between mortal sin and venial sin….to show compassion, understanding…..and to forgive one another as Christ has forgiven them.

None of us are perfect. We there are plenty of times when we hurt the world, and the people around us. We need to remember that we must forgive the debts of others as we will be forgiven ours…..and to place our hope in the promise that:

If anyone sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 2:1-2)


Evening Prayer: Mon. of Advent 1

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Psalm(s): 4, 7
Gospel: Luke 20:1-8
Reading From the Saints: Excerpt from a pastoral letter written by St. Charles Borromeo

I really can’t say it any better than Charles Borromeo tonight:

Beloved, now is the acceptable time spoken of by the Spirit, the day of salvation, peace and reconciliation: the great season of Advent. This is the time eagerly awaited by the patriarchs and prophets, the time that holy Simeon rejoiced at last to see.

This is the season that the Church has always celebrated with special solemnity. We too should always observe it with faith and love, offering praise and thanksgiving to the Father for the mercy and love he has shown us in this mystery

When I read that first paragraph, I immediately thought of that passage from 2 Corinthians that I read in chapel in my 2nd year @ Huron:

in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us….See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! (2 Cor 5:19; 6:1)

A relationship with Christ is always in the present tense. It is in the here and now. While there is a sense of waiting during Advent, there is also a recognition that God is present with us and always has been. Waiting does not mean idleness…but rather acknowledges the very heart of Christian eschatology: The kingdom of God is here amongst us, but it is not yet complete.

So how do we wait without being idle? How do we be attentive without becoming overly busy??? Maybe you have some ideas (if so I would love to hear them :D)…..and maybe that’s one of the lessons that Advent strives to teach us.+

Morning Prayer: Mon. of Advent 1


Psalm(s): 1, 2, 3
Old Testament: Isaiah 1:10-20
New Testament: 1 Thessolonians 1:1-10

The theme of Divine Election is an integral part of the Old Testament. Israel was the chosen nation. Called to be holy as the LORD is holy. When the Jewish people failed to live up to this vocation, people like Isaiah would show up on the scene. The words are harsh because a relationship has been battered and bruised:

Your new moons and your appointed festivals
my soul hates;
they have become a burden to me,
I am weary of bearing them.
When you stretch out your hands,

I will hide my eyes from you;
even though you make many prayers,
I will not listen;
your hands are full of blood.

God is weary of bearing the sacrifices because they are insincere. Instead of caring for the widow and the resident alien, Israel has forgotten them. They have forgotten the Law and the wise words of the psalmist:

[The righteous] are like trees planted by streams of water,
bearing fruit in due season, with leaves that do not wither; *
everything they do shall prosper.
It is not so with the wicked; *
they are like chaff which the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked shall not stand upright when judgment comes, *
nor the sinner in the council of the righteous.
For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, *
but the way of the wicked is doomed.

God wants us to be in right relationship with him. Indeed that was the whole point of sending His Son into the world. Not so that the world would be condemned but rather that the world would be saved through Him.

Regardless of how often we step away from God, we are always given the promise of hope and new life. Even in the midst of chiding his fellow countrymen, Isaiah utters these beautiful words:

Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be like snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool

There is always hope for a new beginning and a new relationship. A chance to start over with a clean slate. And that my friends is Good News indeed +

And so it Begins…….

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Psalm(s):146 , 147
Old Testament: Isaiah 1:1-9
New Testament: 2 Peter 3: 1-10

Break out your Advent calendars (with yummy chocolate inside) and bring on the clementines! Advent is here 😀

These 4 weeks prior to Christmas also mark the beginning of the Church year, and the readings start off with a bang 🙂

The Psalms today are ones of praise, and the Psalmist gives us some insight into what kind of God this could be:

[God] executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free/the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous.

The Lord watches over the strangers; he upholds the orphan and the widow, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

Likewise Psalm 147 describes God as being the Creator of the universe who:

He gives snow like wool;
he scatters frost like ashes.
He hurls down hail like crumbs—
who can stand before his cold?
He sends out his word, and melts them;
he makes his wind blow, and the waters flow

Clearly…one of the major points here is that God is in control. However, the other readings for today seem to stress something different.

For the record, Isaiah chapter 1 qualifies in my book as the greatest Biblical rant ever!…This prophet holds nothing back…..and (as we will see over the next few mornings) he is not afraid to speak his mind. 😀

The prophet Isaiah rips into the people of Israel and Judah; calling them willful and stubbourn. So much so that they actually seek out continual beatings. They are physically and spiritually ill from head to toe, with no apparent remedy.

The author of 2 Peter is in a similar boat. After years of waiting for the return of Jesus, people are starting to deride the Christian community. To both the prophet and the epistle writer…God seems distinctly not in control of the situation 😛

And yet…..there is a glimmer of hope……as we are reminded:

with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day.

It is not that God is slow to act, or that he does not care. Our perception of time is not the same as God’s. Speaking from my own experience, I can tell you that I am definitely not a patient person…and that sometimes even one day can seem like a thousand years. That’s usually what happens to me on Mondays. That first day of the week always goes by SO slowly 😦

Throughout the season of Advent, we are asked to be patient. To stop what we are doing and wait. It seems silly to us to actually stop and do this in a world that is constantly on the move.

But if we don’t stop and wait and hope….how will we hear anything else other than the empty din of consumerism telling us we just need one more Christmas present???

Like Ancient Israel waited for its saviour, and the early Church awaited the return of their Lord, Reedemer, and friend…. let us begin our waiting for God……hoping and praying that he indeed will take control for the next for weeks….knowing of the great things he has done for us +

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