Tuesday, March 29, 2011

March 29, 2011

A song of joy accompanies this wee note. I trust I find you in good spirits – or if not, that this letter lifts your subdued spirits.

This week in worship we celebrated Spiritual Transformation through Instrumental Music and Song. Psalm 100 begins: Make a joyful noise, all the earth! Christopher Fast played his saxophone, Linda Jacklin her recorder, Willi Fast guitar and djembe, John was at piano and organ, the choir had an anthem – and we sang our hearts out.

When your heart sings with joy, what is the song? When times are rough, is there a piece of music that comes to your mind? Do you have a favourite hymn? We try to sing everybodies’ favourites over time – the variety speaks to the wide-ranging spiritual community we are.

In various kinds of music, we hear the voice of God in diverse ways, too. Thanks to those who love drumming, we hear the heartbeat of creation. From those who love the old hymns, we hear the solid foundation of our heritage. Learning from those who love hymns in foreign languages, we hear grace that is beyond our comprehension, yet real.

This is life in a spiritual community: sharing favourites, learning new things, embracing a world of possibility, and trusting that the love of God holds it all together. Trust, spoken and sung, brings a reality of not just possibility but healing and renewal. Easter is coming!

May you hear words of blessing and melodies of peace today.

The Rev. Dr. Catherine Faith MacLean

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

March 22, 2011

Peace to your mind, contentment to your heart, and serenity to your spirit. I think you will enjoy the beauty of these Sunday bulletins. I hope it touches you warmly that members of your church are offering their art to lift our spirits.

On the back of the March 13 order of service you will see a Bishop’s Chair. In the Middle Ages both bishops and judges traveled into communities where there was no place to sit, so they carried a chair that could easily be disassembled and packed into a case.

When the church I grew up in was rebuilt, wood from the pulpit was given to a member of the congregation, Don Bird. From the wood, Mr. Bird made two Bishop’s Chairs. One sits in Rosslyn Abbey, of recent Davinci Code fame. The other sits in my study. In the photograph you can see the pegs to take it apart.

The Bishop’s Chair reminds me that even when we lose something that we cherish, it is possible that someone with caring and trusted hands can craft something we can cherish in turn.

Life is like that. Well, faith is like that. Sometimes the trust and care of a friend in faith can reshape the bitterness of loss into the beauty of hope.

That’s a poignant truth. I leave you with it for the moment.

May you see beauty in this day. 


The Rev. Dr. Catherine Faith MacLean

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March 2, 2011

I trust this letter finds you in good spirits. How is winter treating you?

This week I had the privilege of attending a consultation in Kentucky. I am part of a selection panel with the Louisville Institute. We called grantees together after awarding them funds for study and sabbaticals.

As part of our time together we reflected on Sabbath. Practicing Sabbath lets us rest in the pleasure of the world and our lives as God intends. Interestingly, Sabbath is one of the Ten Commandments: we are not merely invited, or welcomed, or even called to Sabbath: we are commanded. Rather than being hedonistic, pleasure is something expected of us!

Isn’t that refreshing?

And Sabbath is meant to refresh. I wonder what Sabbath practice might refresh you. What could you look forward to regularly? Waiting for the first two stars to appear in the evening, and then lighting candles with words of gratitude? Savouring a meal prepared in advance, with an elegant table all set? Unencumbered time to be with a loved one? Quiet prayer, uninterrupted by the demands of daily responsibilities?

It gives me pause simply to make that short list. I draw a breath, and hope that you may set aside time and prepare a place to let Sabbath come to you. Even the simple pleasure of acknowledging this life can be a prayer. I offer to God a prayer for you:
            that a breath drawn
            a pleasure felt
            and your spirit refreshed
            may be your realities.  Amen.

The Rev. Dr. Catherine Faith MacLean