Tuesday, May 24, 2011

May 25, 2011

The front entrance to the church is a riot of colour this week. Prayer flags are hanging between two trees. Each string of flags is a different colour:  red, green, purple, yellow, orange and blue. On Sundays during Lent people wrote prayers on coloured fabric and we suspended them on twine in the sanctuary; on Easter we put them all outside. They remind us that prayer goes on beyond our moment of speaking. 

Huge packages of insulation are stacked beside the church steps. The packages are blue. You may be aware that the roof is being replaced right now. The Youth Group coordinated our efforts to insulate the roof and people are making special financial contributions to it.

The insulation makes our church a safe space – a sanctuary – using energy carefully. When you think of it, it’s a metaphor, isn’t it? Your church is a place where people can seek safety for your prayers, your spiritual growth, your souls.

It’s also a reminder that we are stewards of creation: God calls us to look after this earth, our sisters and brothers, and the spaces where we live, grow – and worship.

Here in your church we remember you in prayer. And we know that your prayers, too, move beyond each place and time and bless this wonderful and weary world. 

Blessings to you from your church, your spiritual home,

The Rev. Dr. Catherine Faith MacLean

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

May 19, 2011

Sunday the congregation said farewell to Reverend Dirk Jessen and wished him well. Dirk had indicated early last fall that he would be moving beyond St. Paul’s this spring, and Sunday was our opportunity to acknowledge his ministry among us and to bless him on his way. He also spoke of the seven years with our congregation and blessed the church.

From the beginning people here have appreciated Dirk’s way of seeing the world, his intense interest in individuals and their personal stories, and his sharp wit. Early in his time here we were discussing the merits if bittersweet chocolate in worship, and he was quick: “Do you mean dirk chocolate?”

Here are two images from Sunday for you to treasure:
A poignant moment: In worship Jim Stewart stood at the front of the church, a place where Dirk has baptized, celebrated communion, and welcomed newcomers. In that spot Jim presented a candle he had made to Dirk. 

A tender moment: A picnic in Belgravia Park followed worship, complete with a barbeque, speeches, gifts and many, many desserts. The children made kites, something they have enjoyed with Dirk over the years. As we prepared to leave, five year old Jack stood still on a knoll, flying his kite.

Here is the Gaelic Blessing  the choir sang:
Deep peace of the running wave to you,
Deep peace of the flowing air to you,
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you,
Deep peace of Christ, the light of the world to you

Your church blesses Dirk, and you, with deep peace.

The Rev. Dr. Catherine Faith MacLean

Monday, May 2, 2011

May 2, 2011

Do you periodically wonder how you ended up here?

If someone had told me at age eleven that I would be happily living in Edmonton, I would have been very surprised. Alberta seemed far away to a girl in the Saint John River Valley.

Our lives set us in directions we hadn’t dreamed of. Often that’s a pleasure; sometimes it comes out of grief or loneliness or pain or hurt. The turn in the road onto an alternative journey may come through suffering.

Do you wonder about the suffering in your life? In the lives of your friends, of the world?

Here’s a great truth: Jesus lived a real life. He knew suffering: betrayal, denial, pain, even death. He became one of us and knows what it’s like. God knows what our lives are like.

And what a turn in the road! Resurrection, hope, trust, companionship, fullness of life: he’s been there. Jesus’ alternative journey gives us reason to be joyful rather than bitter, hopeful rather than despairing, compassionate rather than cynical, generous rather than stingy, seeking rather than hiding.

In your church we live into this joy, hope, compassion and generosity. We seek to discover and proclaim Jesus’ leadership on the alternative journey. Whether it’s along the Saskatchewan River or the Saint John, we know God is with us on the road.

How did you end up here?

The Rev. Dr. Catherine Faith MacLean