4/11/20

holy saturday as the fulcrum between cross and resurrection

On this Holy Saturday we remember that this hidden day is the fulcrum between Good Friday and Easter Sunday - Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

Here is Keith Howard's post for Holy Saturday 2020 - Holy Saturday Life in a Time of Disruptive Uncertainty

3/3/20

sin the virus cured by grace

Once again this year University Hill Congregation is hosting forty seven texts on its Lenten pilgrimage to Easter. You can find the daily reflections here. I was assigned Romans 5:12-19. This is my witness:

Here’s the problem. The original earthling - “adam” (literally “made of earth”) - was infected with the virus of sin. This virus then spread to all. It works like a gravitational force that draws humankind away from God with tragic consequences. Shakespeare’s tragedies - like many contemporary novels and movies - portray the ways in which all human actors are captive to this destructive force.

3/2/20

knocking on the door of grief

It was 1980. At the ripe age of twenty-six I had been settled on a seven-point pastoral charge in southern Manitoba. Forty years later I am accustomed to being “the Reverend”. Then it was all new. Looking back what I remember most vividly are the deaths and the funerals. I had presided at a couple of funerals on a summer field. But this was of a different magnitude. Now I was on call to respond to grief in all of its manifestations.

The first phone call from Hugh at the funeral parlour came soon after I arrived in town. Two men had been killed in an accident on the highway. The driver had a heart attack and his passenger could not pull him off the steering wheel before they swerved in front of a semi-trailer. I was to preside at both funerals. I don’t remember what I said. I do recall the bundle of nerves as I gathered up the courage to knock on the door of each grieving family. Then and there I learned to pray on the doorstep of grief for the presence of the Holy Spirit in such a wounded place.

11/12/19

the time we wrestled with forgiveness

These days I am privileged to be a mentor for a group of seven lay worship leaders who are students in the Lay Worship Leaders Training program of the United Church. We meet online - two are in Ontario, three in Manitoba and two are in British Columbia. It is a remarkable group. This semester is focussed on prayer and music in worship. Tonight we discussed confession and forgiveness. It was a rich conversation.

I was reminded of the time at University Hill Congregation when we wrestled with the call to forgive that lies at the heart of the New Testament. It was seven years ago. At the time I posted an outline of those conversations. Here are links to those posts ...

Forgiven, Forgiving (1)

Forgiven, Forgiving (2)

Forgiven, Forgiving (3)

Forgiven, Forgiving - a sample of biblical texts

Forgiven, Forgiving (4)

Forgiven, Forgiving (5)

Forgiven, Forgiving (6)

9/2/19

a prayer of approach and confession based on psalm 8

Prayers of Approach and Confession

O LORD, our God
How majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouths of babes and infants
you have founded a bulwark because of your foes,
to silence the enemy and the avenger.

When we look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars that you have established,
what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
mortals that you care for them?
O LORD, our God how majestic is your name in all the earth!         (Psalm 8)

prayers after singing "come, o fount of every blessing"

Prayers of Approach & Confession

You … fount of every blessing.
You … everflowing stream of mercy.
You … mountain of unfailing love.
You … worthy of all our praise.

You and then us …
Us … pausing in our sojourn, grateful to be with You
Us … trusting You at every turn to guide us safely home
Us … tuning our hearts to sing and to live Your grace
Us … a people who rely upon You.

4/16/19

pomalidomide (year five)

With Holy Week falling in mid-April this year it brings back memories of my initial diagnosis with myeloma and amyloidosis. I went for a bone marrow biopsy on Maundy Thursday, April 15. That was the final test that led to the surprising news that changed my life. At the time I was in shock and wondered what the future might hold. Eight years have now passed. After a series of treatments with varying degrees of success (autologous stem cell transplant, lenalidomide and bortezomib) I am now in my fifth year on a combination of pomalidomide, dexamethasone and cyclophosphamide. This continues to be very effective in reducing my free light chains and keeping the myeloma and amyloidosis in remission. We have made a couple of changes this year that have been beneficial ...