Our kids are packing their school bags. The people of St. John have returned to their pews. The summer is slipping away, and life is speeding up again. It is time to get down to business. But what kind of business? And whose? Will our focus be human things? Or divine things?
This summer, I read a short essay by Toni Morrison, the prestigious African-American writer. Continue reading
It’s a pretty great year to be a Canadian. Our country, despite now being officially 150 years old, looks like one of the most modern nations in the world – a place known as being somewhere that difference is accepted, where rights are protected. Don’t take my word for it – you have only to look at the way all that admiration for Canada has seeped into popular culture. When Hollywood is looking for a safe harbour – we are now it. Continue reading
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And so, after all these long weeks of Lent, of quiet contemplation, we come to this, the darkest of places. We were beckoned by the bombast of John the Baptist to the shores of the River Jordan where Jesus was baptized. We learned of the conversation between Jesus and the woman at the well, saw him extend his love and care to her when others would not. We witnessed with wonder when he raised Lazarus from his sleep of resignation. We spent time with Jesus in the mountain, where he was named by the spirit of God. And we walked with him, with trepidation for what would happen, through the gates of Jerusalem, from cheering crowd to angry mob, to arrest and condemnation. And we come here, now, if we are brave enough, to stand with him in the shadow of the cross. As we look upon his nailed hands, and his broken body, and the crown of thorns, in this moment, what do we see? Not God’s love or humanity’s charity. Not peace. Not grace. We see a man alone, as if forgotten. We hear a man wondering out loud whether God has abandoned him. We see death, in someone who should live. We see suffering. Continue reading
What is the definition of selflessness? This act of giving, or sacrificing for another. If selfishness – the act of seeing inward – is our animal instinct at work, then selflessness – this looking outward even at cost to ourselves –is what makes us human. It is something that weighs on us, perhaps this evening, as we know what is coming – the grace-filled selflessness, this terrible, mysterious sacrifice by Jesus. Continue reading
This week, I learned about “uppgivenhetssyndrom.” Perhaps you have heard of it? It is specific, it appears, to Sweden, and translates to “resignation syndrome.” According to a story in the New Yorker this week, it is afflicting the refugee chi
ldren there, who, upon
learning that their family will be deported from Sweden, go up to their beds and fall asleep, like Snow White. One 13-year boy Georgi, who eventually woke from one of these long sleeps, described it as lying in a coffin under water; if he moved or broke the glass, the water would come rushing in. Continue reading
Pierre-Paul Thomas was born blind – indeed he was a lot like the blind man in our gospel story this morning.
He grew up in a family of nine brothers and sisters in a small town about 100 kilometres north of Montreal, in the 1940s. Mr. Thomas learned to see with his fingers. He repaired bikes, and worked in a bakery, kneading dough. But he lived in a grey world of shadows, walking with a white cane.
And then, a miracle. Continue reading