This past week someone sent me a query based on the sermon I preached on the Feast of All Saints in which I said that one of the amazing things that Saints do is repurpose the materials of life that seem most unpromising. I do love it, by the way, when you respond to what has been said by asking questions, I welcome all of them and will respond personally or get together and chat about it if you'd like. This query, however, was poignant enough that I think there may have been some opportunity for misunderstanding what I said which would be unfortunate.
The person who queried me asked me to clarify the issue of abusive and/or bullying relationships which I was/am more than happy to do. Here I've expanded a bit on my response to this person: We "repurpose" difficult experiences in life not by excusing the perpetrators of such things but by standing up for the truth, whether the victims be others or ourselves. One of the difficult issues in our faith is that we say "Jesus went willingly to the cross" which makes it seem that if we are suffering we should simply "accept it." Actually, Jesus went willingly to the cross on behalf of humankind so that victims could be exposed, so that scapegoating of women, minorities, and gay people among many others would cease! Christ went willingly to the cross so that not only victims would be exposed but that perpetrators would see the errors of their way and cease all violence, all war, all greed and live, rather, from humble thankfulness and in cohesion with all of Creation.
The person who had asked me the question was relieved for personal reasons and then made the important point that there is a real difference between "suffering for the sake of Christ" and "suffering needlessly" which is something that Jesus actually addresses in the Beatitudes that we read. My point, that the Saints give us hope and inspiration when things happen to us that we would normally (rightly) run away from if we could, was that there is nothing in our lives, even "needless suffering" (even "suffering for Christ" is "needless" in that God doesn't will it but is caused by human choices) can be re-purposed and made into something that furthers God's New Creation as that manifests and works its way out through ordinary people. Romans 8:28 famously says, "We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose."
It is in this spirit that we also remember all who served in the wars since WWI. Many did so, not because they gloried in violence or destruction but because they desired to make the world a more peaceful place. We honour their sacrifice and will not forget it! Keep those questions coming! Our faith is not some abstract "religious thing," but the foundation for living well in God's beautiful yet ambiguous world, a world in which all of us will face difficulties, sin, and death, alongside all the gifts that we enjoy!
Nov 11 -- THERE IS NO "HEALING EUCHARIST" ON FRIDAY BECAUSE OF THE HOLIDAY.Here's what Rev. Lorie says, " There will not be a Friday Healing Eucharist or Circle of Grace gathering this week due to the holiday and with many going to the cenotaph. All are welcome for the next two Fridays of Christian practices and then we will begin a 4-week series “Waiting Together in Advent.” We will spend time each week with the Advent story and its characters to be enriched in this holy season of grace."
Nov 13 -- 9 a.m. Service of the Word, Fr. Allen will join our brunch
Dec 3rd - 4th -- Bishop John's visit, more details to follow. Dec 10th -- Our first family Service, see the poster in the narthex and on the bulletin board in the hall!
It's great to serve alongside all of you,
Fr. Allen Doerksen