Meditation From Lent 1

Ok… I’ve posted dramas, sketches, and stories that I’ve used in worship… but I’ve never posted a “sermon/homily/thing”. Not in the almost four years I’ve been blogging (and, yeah, I do have to get 2002/03/04 reposted. *sigh*)

So… today, I’ll give it a shot. This is a transcript of what was shared during yesterday’s worship service.

The scripture passages upon which this mess was based: Genesis 9.8-17 and Mark 1.9-15.

I’d like to ask you if you can take two of your fingers and find one of your pulse points. (Sometimes I find it a bit difficult to find my pulse. I know I’m not dead… I’m just not always good at finding it!)

Take a moment, and feel the rhythm that your heart creates. With every beat that you feel, there is blood running through your body.

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Monday Meme

Do you wear a cross?

Do you wear a cross? Yes. Pretty much all of my waking time.

Is there a particular time or place that you consider wearing a cross? See last.

Where do you were it? I wear a cross on a thong (that’s a leather piece of string, people! *lol*), usually outside of my clothing.

What does the cross look like? While I have a number of crosses, the one I wear most of the time is a stylized human figure in cruciform. If I look at it quickly, i see a cross. If I take time, it’s a female figure with arms open in invitation or benediction.

Who gave the cross to you or did you choose it? Two members of my internship congregation gave it to me. Their story – “We were walking through a store, looking at the jewlery… we saw the cross and both of us yelled, ‘RICHARD!’ So we just had to get it for you!”

Is this your favorite cross, if so, why? I have two favourites – the one I mentioned and a St. Bridgid’s cross given to me by another good friend. What I love about the cross I’ve described is that people see in it want they want to see… and it becomes a powerful tool for exploring a variety of images in faith.

What does wearing a cross mean to you? I wear a cross… hmmm… I wear this cross because  it reminds me of the wonderful twists and turns of being a child of God and disciple of Christ.

I mean… resurrection? Wow!

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worship and reflection through the music of the Taize community – a joint effort of St. James Anglican and St. Marys United Churches.

I’m glad to be heading to evening worship… but, phew, I’m swacked!

Update: We had 24 people gather from four different churches. I’m blown away! Our expectations were hugely exceeded… and it sounded like people were very happy with the worship time. A number of those gathered let us know that they were going to be calling friends who might be interested and offer to drive them there next week.


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Prayer Request

Folks… no matter what your stance is on the presence of troops in Afghanistan… please pray for the women and men of the Canadian and the rest of the coalition forces… and all the people of Afghanistan.

Please pray for Lieut. Trevor Greene.

Please pray for the troops injured in the suicide attack on March 3rd.

Please pray for the family of Cpl. Paul Davis, and the family of Master-Cpl. Timothy Wilson killed in an accident on patrol outside of Kandahar.

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old.

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,

we will remember them.”

We will remember them.

Please pray for Pte. Nathan Justice, Pte. Mark Taylor, Pte. Thomas Wong, Sgt. Darren Haggerty and Pte. Miguel Chavez, wounded in that same accident.

Please pray for their families and their comrades.

Please pray that a just peace will fill the hearts and lives of all of the men, women and children in and of Afghanistan.

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“Mor books! Daddy reed me morrrrr!”

It’s kind of funny. Ok – actually, it’s hilarious.

I’ve said “No” to members of the congregation, when necessary.

I’ve said “No” to directors of big ol’ corporations, when necessary.

But I find it just this side of impossible to say “No” to a small child who wants me to read “jus’ one – no tree – more”…

and when it’s my almost three-year-old daughter…

“Well, little-bit… just one more.”

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A Tap. A Whap. A Palpable Hit!

From Benedict’s Dharma:

Self-absorption is also a defense against the cares and troubles of others around us. Years ago, at an early-morning breakfast of pancakes in my dining room, a visiting Sri Lankan monk carried on a conversation with my four-year-old son, who had just awakened form a nightmare. I will never forget how the monk held his fork very still and leaned toward my son, listening attentively to every detail of the dream, his eyes taking in the tousled and troubled boy. Finally my son noticed how present the monk was, and he became silent as well. Then, looking directly back into the monk’s eyes, the nightmare forgotten, he smiled and chirped, “I like you!” He still speaks warmly of the monk.

My own level of self-absorption is rather high at the moment. I’m definitely finding it difficult to be focused on the other. Reminders like this are vital to my own growth in life and ministry.

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To See Through A Different Glass 4

What can I hear about designating leadership?

From Benedict’s Dharma:

Since the abbot or abbess is so central to the spirit of the monastery – his or her presence, even when not in residence, pervades the place – the selection of an abbot or abbess is of tremendous importance. None of the usual criteria for leadership quite apply. It is not a matter of popularity or of experience, nor can it be, in any usual sense, a matter of th epossession of job skills or even personal qualities. The selection may depend on the monastery’s spiritual and historical situation as much as or more than on the person. In a way, all of this, and none of it, is relevant. There seems to be something else at work.

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To See Through A Different Glass 3

from Benedict’s Dharma:

Norman Fischer told us, “While we were talking, I was thinking about those who sit loose to rituals, and I realized that the trouble with ritual is that we can become fixated on it, and if we do, intolerance and narrow-mindedness soon follow in its wake. But when we see that this sort of practice is not essential for some people, then we can say that ritual is important but aboslutely not necessary. And this makes it possible to appreciate ritual in its true light.”

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Does This Describe Your Faith Community?

‘Cause it surely describes mine!

From Benedict’s Dharma:

A person is shot with a poisoned arrow. Someone comes to help and is about to pull out the arrow. But the person who was shot insists, before the arrow is pulled out: “I have to know who shot the arrow, what country and clan he is from, whether he is a nobel, a brahmin, a merchant, or a worker, what the arrow is made of, what kind of bowstring was used, whether it was a longbow or a crossbow,” and so forth. The Buddha comments that surely the person will die from the poison before all those questions can be answered.

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To See Through A Different Glass 2

from Benedict’s Dharma: Buddhists reflect on the Rule of Saint Benedict:

There are different lists of what constitutes wrong speech, but it is usually condensed into four major categories: lying or false speech, angry or abusive speech, backbiting, gossip and the like, and useless, frivolous talk. This is a major concern both for monks and for laypersons. What we say expresses different mind states, but it does more: It also reconditions those mind states. Biologist Rupert Sheldrake speaks of “morphic resonance” – that is, when something happens in nature for the first time, it becomes easier for the same thing to happen again. In just this way, each of our acitons of body, speech, and mind reconditions those very patterns until they become strong habits. So we must take care.

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To Start the Day With Communal Worship

and a celebration of the Eucharist, is a powerful and wonderful thing.

During Lent, St. James Anglican Church and St. Marys United Church are joining together in many of our Lenten disciplines.

Yesterday, a dozen of us gathered for a mid-week, early morning celebration of communion. We will be gathering at St. James, each Wednesday during Lent.

There was a profound moment for me, when I realized that my first nourishment for the day was through the bread and cup at Christ’s table. The richness of partaking in that moment bouyed me through the rest of my day.

It was extremely different from my solitary disciplines – the lectio, keeping the hours, sitting zazen – because the community was present. Right there. Beside me in a tangible way. Saying the words together. Sitting close to share in the little warmth in the sanctuary.

It was very… real.

Dalice (the priest from St. James) and I have shared leadership responsibilities for a Jr. Youth group (ages 10-13) for the past two years. Yesterday, we invited the group to participate in a form of lectio divina as a lenten discipline. It was a bit of a surprise how ready and willing they were to take on the task. We explored the word “discipline” and the word “practice”. I’m not sure I ever expected to compare entering a spiritual discipline with practicing taking shots on goal… but, hey… all of the hockey players in the group whet – “OH! Yeah! I get it! to make the shot something natural, you have to do it over and over, even when you’re tired or bored, or think you’ve got it down pat! Cool. We can do that!”

Should be an interesting lent.

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