27 Mar

Rumblings from the Rectory

This morning we begin the final journey into Jerusalem. We are approaching the most important part of the entire Christian year. While all the hoopla seems to be around the Christmas event, people tend to forget that the real reason for Christmas is to prepare us for Easter. Palm Sunday is the lead up to Easter, the time when Jesus faces the truth about his mission. This morning we welcome him into the city, waving palm branches, throwing down our cloaks so that his way is not sullied by the dirt of the world. Children are cheering, the streets are crowded for the parade. It’s too bad there is no brass band or pipes and drums, or even some floats and clowns. Instead there is only a man on a donkey, followed by a motley band of disciples. The man knows he is riding to his death, and yet he manages to smile and wave at the cheering crowd. It’s a day of celebration, and yet we know it is also a day of mourning, the end of the journey.
As we enter into Holy Week, as we walk through these last few days of Christ’s earthly life, I encourage each of us to take a good look at our own lives, and see where we fit into this journey. Are we part of the cheering crowd, welcoming Jesus into our lives and into our city? Are we easily swayed by the rest of the crowd as they turn into a mob screaming for his death? Are we like the disciples, ready to scatter when times get rough? Are we like Peter, promising to be true and yet denying Christ when it becomes inconvenient to be a disciple?Or are we like Judas, not understanding Jesus’ true mission, and so ready to betray him when he becomes an inconvenience?
This final story, the Passion of Christ, is a parable that we hear each year, a message for how we should live our lives. I encourage all of our congregation to join together for the final walk with Christ towards the cross. On Thursday we participate in Christ’s final meal with his disciples. On Friday we once again re-enact the horror of the Crucifixion, and on Saturday tell the stories and sing the songs as we await his glorious resurrection. And of course, we look forward to seeing you all as we celebrate that special event on Easter Sunday morning.

09 Jan


I’m back. There were no rumblings for the past two weeks because my poor old body succumbed to a wicked virus that tried to suck the life out of me. It failed and I survived. Next week, beginning on Jan 18, is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. This is the one week of the year when we cross denominational boundaries and celebrate the one thing we have in common, our love of and obedience to Jesus Christ. In Dryden, we are celebrating with a service on Sunday evening, Jan 18, at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church at 7:00 pm. With the recent events that have been happening around the globe, the ISIL crisis in Syria and Iraq, the attacks on Canadian soldiers here in Canada, and most recently the shootings in Paris at the Charlie Hebdo office, it is more important than ever that Christians both locally and around the world unite in prayer and action to uphold the message of peace and reconciliation that Jesus Christ brought to earth. Sadly, the history of the christian faith has not always been a peaceful one, and in some misguided forms of Christianity intolerance and violence still persist. Now is the time to join with our brothers and sisters in other denominations to pray for a better future, to pray for unity in our faith. We have a gentleman in our community who is visiting Dryden from Beirut, the capital of Lebanon. He has been worshipping with us here at St. Luke’s. We were talking after the Thursday Eucharist, and I asked him about Beirut. Before 1975 it was one of the most beautiful cities in the Middle East, but since then it has become one of the most dangerous, especially for Christians. Churches have been bombed. Christians have been murdered. Communities have been destroyed. Raymond puts a face on the violence that has erupted against the Christian Faith. Please come and join us next Sunday evening as members of Dryden’s Christian faith community gather at St. Jo’s to celebrate our unity and our strength.

10 Oct


Itadakimasu  (Eee tah dah key maaahs)
No, I haven’t lost the rest of my mind and started typing gibberish.  Colleen and I have friends in Virginia that we enjoy visiting whenever possible, and their son was in Japan, and brought home this short prayer.   In brief, it means “Thanks for the feast”,  and in Japan it is prayed together before every meal, with the palms of the hands held together and the head slightly bowed.  While it may be construed as a religious prayer by those who are Christian, it is in fact giving thanks for all aspects of the meal.  It is a way of saying thanks to the cook for preparing the meal.  It is a means of saying thank you to the hosts if you are guests in someone else’s house.  It is thanks for all aspects of the meal; the gardener who grew the potatoes, the turkey for giving up its life so that we could have a meal, the dish washer for ensuring that we have clean dishes from which to eat.  And, as a Christian, to God for all the benefits that we have received at God’s hand.  (a little bit of Anthropomorphism here, assuming that God has hands)
Living in Canada, we have a great deal to be thankful for, and I pray that we all continue to realize that fact and not take it for granted.  As other areas of the world continue to struggle with war and disease, the evil of ISISand the ebola plague, we really are fortunate.
On this thanksgiving weekend, I pray that each member of our congregation will take a look around our community, and reach out to those who are less fortunate than we are.  I pray that you will remember others who have needs in your prayers, and with your generosity.  Sadly, not all Canadians have the same advantages and opportunities, and it is our responsibility as Christians to reach out to those in need as we give thanks for all that we have been given.
May each of you have a blessed Thanksgiving this weekend.
megwich kchi manitou (Ojibway for Thank you, Great God)

24 Jun

rumblings from the rectory

Well, did you phone someone from your past this week?  I don’t just write these rumblings for the good of my health, you know.  I truly hope that when you read them you take them to heart. (except of course the whimsical flights of fantasy that I occasionally stick in just to see if anyone is actually reading the rumblings.)    Speaking of old friends and people that you may have lost touch with over the years, some of them are right here in Dryden, not even a phone call away.  In the time that I have been here, a short almost three years, I have celebrated funeral services for twenty-five members of our community, most of whom were Anglicans who were active members of our congregation.  I don’t need to list them, as many of you can remember who they are.  Most of them left family behind in the community, some of whom are still grieving their loss.  Grief can take many forms, and there is no timeline or deadline (no pun intended) for the grieving process.  Every one deals with death in different ways.  People who have never gone through it or who don’t understand the process sometimes have the attitude “Get over it”, or “suck it up, these things happen.”  Many of those who are grieving would love to “get over it”, but in the meantime the process continues.  YOU CAN HELP.  You don’t need to be minister or a counsellor to help others through their losses.  A phone call, better yet a visit, or even something as impersonal as an email can make a difference to someone who has lost a family member or a friend.  Don’t know what to say?  Afraid of opening wounds or floodgates?   One of Jesus’ most common sayings is “don’t be afraid”.   You don’t need to talk, you need to listen.  We call ourselves a “Christian Community”, and one of the roles of a Christian Community is to look after our members.  Jesus calls us to “care for the widows and the orphans”.  PICK UP THE PHONE.  CALL SOMEONE TODAY.  LET SOMEONE KNOW THAT YOU CARE.  Yes, I am yelling.  Being a member of this congregation means much more than just showing up in church on Sunday mornings.  It means taking responsibility for the well-being of our members, no matter who they are. Take this opportunity to show your Christian love for your friends and neighbours.