Monthly Archives: April 2014

Easter Ponderings

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“Easter Collage” 2014 DS

In the middle of Easter week and all of its sunshine colours, bunnies, flowers, egg hunts and spring rain, I remember that we as believers suffer like him and also have abundant life because of Jesus’ resurrection.  He is alive and will come again to renew heaven and earth.  We have a good future and each person is invited to share it.

New International Version Isaiah 53:5                                                                                
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

Romans 4:25
He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

1 Corinthians 15:3
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,

Hebrews 5:8
Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered

Hebrews 9:28
so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

1 Peter 2:24
“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”

1 Peter 2:25
For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

Deuteronomy 11:2
Remember today that your children were not the ones who saw and experienced the discipline of the LORD your God: his majesty, his mighty hand, his outstretched arm;

Psalm 30:2
LORD my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me.

 

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Apologies

 

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“April Collage Workshop” 2014 DS

Apologies seem to be in short supply in our culture.  We have no fault divorce, no fault insurance and – actually a general sense of non-accountability abounds everywhere.  In an accident it would not be wise (or so the ‘wise’ say) to admit fault.  Even if one were caught red-handed stealing or killing, someone it would be advised by legal counsel to keep quiet.

Therefore, I must say, it was refreshing this evening at the workshop to receive an apology for a comment of last week.  The apology was gracious, specific and heart felt.  It was a pleasure to receive it.

I am no lawyer but it seems to me that if a genuine apology – a timely statement of regret; of responsibility taken for the misdeed or mistake – were given, the healing would begin right away.  I suppose some in our culture have put this idea into practice with the restorative justice movement.  It is a good trend in these days of every system needing reform.  I guess the slogan “let it begin with me” would be appropriate here. 

Actually I live a blessed life.  I offered several apologies myself last week and received one unexpectedly.  Can one be rich in apologies? There was something else that I could have apologized for but decided in that complex situation it would make it worse so I refrained. Perhaps more than an apology is required for healing.

I realize that at this particular workshop the women have bonded over difficult times.  There is no one-upmanship so one cannot really ‘lose face’ or lose one’s place in the pecking order by apologizing.  The regret can be received the way it was given – in honesty and caring.

If only we could package this experience in this microcosm of people in that place tonight, the world would be changed.  I can personally think of several people I would like to receive heartfelt apologies from.  There might be a couple that I need to give too.

This idea is what the church is meant to embody.  Is this practice freely given what the cross is all about?  Is the payment then so that we can apologize and accept those of others graciously without all of the posturing and cover up?  I think I have grasped some of the transforming power of the cross tonight.  If everything I have ever done has been forgiven, how can I not pass it on?

Heroes

 

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Last evening the “Women in Waiting” workshop series began with a friendly but rough start. People were stressed from difficult lives of juggling children, jobs, court cases and memories. A couple arrived late and some were no shows – or so we thought.

The contemplation part got off to a belated start with a rushed quiet time. We listened to some soft Taize music and breathed or not breathed, as was our need. I gave them the heads up that the instrumental piece was 5 minutes long. It was a good way to re-orient us from our busy lives and the long commute to get there. Amidst sisterly annoyance, hugs and ‘no you’re not late’, joie de vivre begins.

Much of the contemplation time was taken up by telling the stories of women. We imagined ourselves into the life story of Mary the mother of Jesus. She was a devout Jew. Her life was difficult too. We recognized her courage in telling the angel that she would willingly bear God’s Son. She found comfort in her visit with Elizabeth who was pregnant miraculously in her old age (as prophesied). We talked of her feelings atop that donkey at almost 9 months pregnant and finding no place to give birth right away. We see her mystified when Jesus at 12 years old teaches in the synagogue. Her grief was discussed when she was present at the cross and the strangeness and joy she must have experienced at the resurrection. We recalled that Jesus had asked John to look after her.

The conversation progressed to a recognizing of more modern heroes: Malala, Queen Elizabeth II, Gabby Giffords. The name of Anne Frank was raised and a World War II personal family story was told. I thought of Corrie Ten Boom, Teresa of Calcutta, and Teresa of Avila, Julianna of Norwich, Kim Campbell, Adrienne Clark, Alison Redford… All were women with feet of clay – some celebrated, some not so much. Our desire as women of seemingly ordinary lives is to live well, to flourish, and to be heroes if only of our own stories.

The evening continued with more people arriving and being let in on stories and instructions. The ideas of saints and collagists and the era of Dadaism filled the excited air. Our times too are filled with uncertainty and turmoil. Some have life decisions in the hands of judges, of doctors and of counselors – and some of God (if not all).

We collaged women and shadows, text and flowers, colour, paper, images all a seamless mash-up of art mixed with life. Once there, no one wanted to leave. As I drove home tired and happy they chatted in the halls and dark driveway of the church. A Dieu dear ones – until next week.