Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A bit of Poetry

I have been enjoying a Facebook game lately, where one is challenged to post a poem by a writer of someone else's choice - and whoever 'likes' that post is also challenged to provide a poem by an author of the poster's choice.

Does that make sense? Probably not, anyway, the possibilities are endless and I have discovered some stuff by Mary Oliver and Brian Andreas (including a great Pinterest board)  that I might not have discovered otherwise.  Also on doing a search on Canadian Poets I found this below by Robert Priest - I publish with it's copyright attribution, but I don't have any ownership of it's copyright - I hope that in sharing I am not doing anything the poet would not want me to.  It's a challenging poem, and I found it here on the University of Toronto website along with lots of other great stuff.

Christ Is the Kind of Guy

Robert Priest From:   The Man Who Broke Out of the Letter X. Toronto: Coach House Press, 1984.

Christ is the kind of guy
you just can't help hurting
No matter how much you love him
when you walk you stumble into him
you push him accidentally from a window
If you back the car out
you will find him squashed behind the wheels
broken on the door--all over the grate
Christ has the kind of skin
that bruises when you hold him
the kind of face that
kisses cut
He is always breaking open
when we go to embrace him
Christ the haemophiliac
even the gentlest people can't help
wounding Jesus Christ
They are always running for a band-aid
and then pulling open his old wounds
on a nail
If there is a cross in your house
you will find yourself bumping up against him
moving him closer and closer to it
his arms continually more and more
widespread as he talks
Christ is the kind of guy
who can't help falling asleep like that
his arms spread wide as though over the whole world
You have a dream with a hammer
You are making a house
In the morning you awake
and find him up there on the crossbeams
one hand nailed to the door frame
"Look Jesus" you say
"I don't want to be saved like this!"
But then you hurt him
taking him down
you pry at the nails savagely
but it's no use
Christ is the kind of saviour
you can only get off a cross
with a blow torch
"Father forgive them" he says
as you begin to burn his hands

Robert Priest's works copyright © to the author.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

As promised

Here's the player for today's sermon in case you prefer to listen rather than read!

Today's sermon

Today I preached a sermon that I found moving both to prepare and to share.  I am struck at this point in my journey of faith by the great privilege of the ministry to which I am called, but the graciousness of my Christian community and by the sense of moving together in our sharing of story.  We are growing as a Christian fellowship.

So this sermon is very personal, and relatively dense - I will post it as a podcast but for now here is the text version. This follows on directly from last week's sermon and a few people wanted the text, probably to dissect! As always, taster on this page, link takes you to New Kid Deep Stuff blog (much underused these days)...

Epiphany 2 (2014) Year A RCL Principal

Come and See

First up, a little thought which I did say to the sermon Circle I wasn’t going to share, but it leads me into what I want to say this Morning too well to keep to myself.  It’s not the pig with three legs joke, but it is about animals…

A man takes his dog to the vet and after an examination the Vet takes him aside and says, I am very sorry but your dog doesn’t have long to go, now, and all we can do is make him comfortable.

The man refuses to believe it and demands a second opinion. So the vet agrees and whistles – from the back room comes a tabby cat which sniffs around the dog lying prone, pokes it and then looks up at the vet, shakes its head and dolefully says ‘meeow’. [more]

Step into the river....

St John's Church is in the process of considering the story of faith, how we engage with a faith that is historic and moving forward.  Our last Iona service was a powerful celebration of our part in the story and our moving together in the flow of faith - like Jesus and John the Baptist who we remembered today we are invited to 'step into the river'

Monday, January 13, 2014

So much happening

I feel the need to write, but can honestly say I don't quite know what to say.  This last six months has been a whirl of activity and colour, life, questions, worship, prayer, discover, reinforcement and faith, hope and love.  I feel very warmly welcomed and quickly at home here as part of the congregation of St John the Divine, as part of this Diocese of British Columbia and in this city of Victoria.

Sketch by Martin Machacek.
The Church is active, vibrant, welcoming and alive.  The people who I am fortunate enough to count as colleagues are dedicated and fun to work with, those who give so much time in voluntary service to the Church are committed and faithful.  There are many activities which take place in the course of each week and the church offers a variety of worship, groups, events, ministries and social action. 

Of course it's not perfect, nor is the Rector who serves it.  But we, together, are seeking to celebrate those aspects of the life of the Church which are life-giving, and to consider what we can do to make our ministry and our community a place which will continue to serve and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ for many years to come.

St John's is a growing Church - not just in the new faces that seem to appear every week, but in a desire to learn together, to worship together and to keep serving one another and the world around.  We are building community, we are seeking to be a place of love, inclusion, welcome and faith.

It feels as though, a few months in, we are at a point where I feel I have a grasp of much of what is going on, and a fair amount of what has gone on in this church.  People have worked hard to make sure I am aware of the identity of St John's and to express to me what they appreciate about what has been and what is.  We are considering who we are, and where we are going and that is not always comfortable, though it can be very rewarding!

I have made some changes, which I talked about on the church blog.  They are to my mind small changes (the reintroduction of a confession and creed to our main services) but they say something about being a part of a bigger scene; the Anglican tradition, and a part of the historical church. At some point I need to write something here or on the staff blog about why exactly I think that confession isn't about an obsession with being bad people, but about acknowledging the brokenness of the world, and our complicity in systems which are often destructive, that will be another conversation, though.  One that goes along with my ongoing thoughts about 'sin' which I blogged about a few weeks back

Having made those changes, and done some adjusting of our monthly Iona service, though I feel I need to keep restating something I have been saying for much of my ministry: I am not trying to create change for the sake of change.  If there are things about the life of the Church which are good and positive, whether they be traditional or innovative, established or recent, I wouldn't want to sweep them away just because I think things should be different.  Often I don't.  But where there are things which distract us from who we are, where we do things 'just because that's what we've done before' I want to ask 'why?' and whether those things need changing, leaving behind, working on, affirming or adjusting.

Change is disturbing, and distressing for many people. For others it is enlivening and exciting.  I hope that as we address any need to change, and any need to stay the same, we will continue to listen to one another, to who we are, to who we could be,  And that the God who remains steadfast through all of this will help us to find our faith in one another and in Godself,

Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Sermon

Just to prove I haven't disappeared altogether.  Here's last week's thought...