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Have you ever thought about . . .

What happened to the church in Jerusalem in AD 70 when the city was destroyed by Rome and Jews were banned from the city and the surrounding area?

Well I had never thought much about it till this question kept poking at me – and caused me to choose this to write about for my first church history paper.

I learned a lot of stuff I had never even been curious about. The person of James – as one author says – he may have been more concerned with purity than his older brother.
And I wonder what would have happened if Paul hadn’t fought so hard for freedom from the Torah law for the Gentiles.

History is very interesting as one starts to dig around.

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So is this a place I can connect?

This morning I decided to attend one of the two churches in town. I suspect the are both fairly similar in their theologies but the one I went to is the more “laid back” I guess. The group calls itself “The Gathering” and there were probably 300+ people worshiping this morning. I may have been almost the most senior of the group. It was OK as far as a service went. The music was OK – most of the songs were familiar. The leader did go overboard a bit on her lyrical additions but I guess it wasn’t too much.
I sat by myself. After awhile a young woman and her child joined me and I didn’t feel quite so much by myself. But i did feel as if I would love to have someone notice that I was new, ask me my name, speak to me, welcome me, something. I guess with all the new students maybe there were just too many of us newcomers.
Lessons learned – never ignore a visitor. They may need to feel less alone.
So, I will see if this place is where I fit. I wish I could find someplace welcoming, with just enough liturgy to help me feel the richness of life in the body. Not stuffy but connected to the church universal in a significant way.

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Reflection on Psalm 32

Rejoice in the LORD
Be glad, you pure hearted ones.
This purity is sheer
Gift, not some innate
Character of heart given
To some deserving souls
And not to others
Dammed before they even start.

No, this purity, this gift, pure grace
Undeserved, is free for all.
Even repeat sinners
Like me can take it
With dirty feet ready
For washing, hands open
With nothing to offer back
But thanks.

Rejoice!
Be glad, pure hearted ones!

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Betrayers All

Jesus called his closest friends to share his final meal;
Those twelve beloved friends, a Covenant meal.
The Night of Great Remembrance rebirthed a new and greater one.

The betrayer ate. He was invited too. Loved as deeply.
A traitor among them; treacherous heart turning to stone.
“The one to whom I give the bread…”
Did their hands touch? Did Judas see the love filled eyes?
Body and blood choke his swallow as he cut himself out,
Leaving to do his evil task?

Last night we ate at this same table;
Betrayers all.
Our hands touched the body given;
Lips drank the offered life.
We saw his eyes of love and we remembered.
“Is this New Covenant table not a participation?”

Make us to be your body, Christ.
Pour your life blood ‘to us. Heal us
Of our betrayer hearts.
Raise us to this participation;
Reborn in you to bless the world.

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Palm Sunday

Today I worshipped
Amongst rocks
And shiny glass bits
Washed up on shore.
Green and purple
Glass, edges rounded,
Tossed up by pounding waves.
Child’s treasure. Burnished glass
And pebble stones
Worn smooth at lakes edge.

Today I worshipped.
Palm Sunday;
And the stones
Cried out his praises,
While I hunted treasures
With a little boy.

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2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 5,800 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 10 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Advent – Waiting

Seems about time to see if this blog can find new life. I wonder if things have shifted enough in how I use my time to allow me time to do some reflecting in this space.  Not sure anyone reads this anymore but mostly this is for me anyway.

I checked outside first thing this morning.  Snow again in the night.  Quite a lot.

Winter came early this year.  Now here it is, Advent already.

I seem to have expectations about Advent that are out of sync with the culture around me.  I wish I knew if this was a good or bad thing.  I love Christmas but it seems as if for most people Advent is simply a hurtling into Christmas.  As if now we are in for it in earnest so lets start the decorating and presents buying; lets get the latest decorations and put them up quickly before this season passes. 

There is a part of me that wants to do this too but am I just succumbing to the pressure of my consumerist culture? 

The other part of me screams, “WAIT!”  Advent is a time to wait.  But nobody seems to want to wait.  Including Christians.  They want to leave behind the purple of Advent and rush towards decorations – red and green and gold and all the sparkly things, the glitter and lights. 

It seems to me, and I may be wrong – as I usually seem to be – that we need to wait.  We need to consider the reasons for the waiting.  The whole universe waited for millennia till God sent his own son.  Then his presence was among us – he became one of us – was born, grew up in a human family, taught, was misunderstood, died, conquered evil and rose to offer us life too.  And now we wait for him again.  We need to remember that we are waiting people – waiting for our hope of a new creation, new life and freedom.  And while we wait we have his presence with us.  He did not leave us alone to wait in the dark.

There is so much we can learn if we take the time to wait.  A baby will arrive in good time.  Then we will celebrate!

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Moving Day

I spent the day (well most of it) yesterday helping a friend move.  J is one of the women at Sanctuary Covenant where I am finishing up my pastoral internship.  Like many of the women who worship with us, she is single and has health issues that keep her from working a full time job. When an emergency arose in her life, she panicked and moved out of town to a situation that was way less than ideal.  Of course circumstances change and they did quickly – thanks be to God!  and she is back in the city now able to move into a new suite. 

Yesterday was moving day. I never thought that this would be part of my job description.  I had much loftier ambitions for the women – spending time in Bible studies and prayer together.  Did not think that in many instances I would be the answer God was sending them. 

I was not alone in this endeavour.  I have never seen men with trucks who so fully embodied the command to go the extra mile for someone in need.  They did so without any sense of obligation, did the job with cheerful spirits and gave freely of their time and fuel to drive the 150 or so Kms to get the job done.  A banker,an administrator, a student and a pastor all working together to help.

And I have to say, she needed to get her stuff out of there.  the “friend” that gave her a place to stay (charging rent of course) had the most filthy place – full of pet urine and feces, full of junk and boxes, full of nastiness.  No place for a human to stay!  We will never let her return to such horrid circumstances.

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Over the Past Month

Do you know how procrastination complicates life and makes it rather embarrassing to finally turn in the overdue work?  Coming back to this space feels a bit like that.  Badly neglected.

So, in pictures and a few brief words here is what the past month has held – in part.  Chicago for another class – Pastoral Care and Counselling.  Finishing up my homework this week end.

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Chicago was not all about class – visiting friends kept me IMGP0206 busy in the evenings.

Then a stop in Toronto on the way back.  Saw Niagara for the first time

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and got soaked on the Maid of the Mist.

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Since getting back, since Father Marcel is visiting us from Belgium, there has been non-stop guests at our house – mostly my own kids who have no fear of showing up at mealtime. We also welcomed a young boarder to our home, a young Chinese guy.  There is always room for one more somewhere :)

And last weekend I made soup for 160 or so guests at the Soup on Saturday our church hosted.  Here I am dishing up the last pot.  Made three this size.  Good soup too.

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Since it was the Canada Day weekend one of our assistants really got into the act.  Lloyd was a hit! 

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And on Canada Day itself we drove up to Prince Albert National Park for the day.  We had a good time even though it was pretty cold and windy.  Massa was much braver than the little kids who wanted to go in the water till we got right there.

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Things may get back to normal – whatever that is – soon.  May even begin to write here regularly again.  Miracles happen.

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2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2010. That’s about 31 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 102 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 1733 posts. There were 114 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 46mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was January 6th with 162 views. The most popular post that day was The Staff Party.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were randallfriesen.com, randallfriesen.blogspot.com, sharonkent.blogspot.com, maydt.blogspot.com, and tertl.blogspot.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for linea lanoie, john o’donohue quotes, challenging stories, lingala lessons, and l lanoie.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

The Staff Party December 2009

2

Quote from Eternal Echoes by John O’Donohue May 2009
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3

About October 2007

4

Challenging stories August 2008

5

Talking Theology October 2010
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