|Winter sunset, taken while driving on Queen Elizabeth Highway 2 toward Edmonton.|
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Tuesday, January 9, 2018
Saturday, December 23, 2017
Last night we had the privilege of attending G.F. Handel’s Messiah, with members of the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra and the Rosa Barocca – Chorus & Baroque Orchestra. The Peter and Jeanne Lougheed Performing Arts Centre concert hall was filled to capacity—and for good reason, almost three hours of ‘heaven on earth’ music, celebrating the Incarnation, life, death and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah.
I have seen Handel’s Messiah several times, and heard it on record, cassette and CD a host of times—yet I never get bored or tired of it. There’s always something beautiful about it that so movingly proclaims ‘the holy’ and fills one for an all-too-brief time with the joy, love and peace of God in the midst of a troubled and all-too-often evil world that would rob us of every God-given gift.
This time round, Isaiah’s prophecy in chapter nine, verse six, keeps playing in my head: “For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of peace.” (NRSV) He is the one who is coming to set all things, all peoples, right with the world.
Here is Sir Colin Davis and the London Symphony Orchestra with the Tenebrae Choir. I love some of the expressions on Colin’s face, he seems captivated by the joy of this marvelous music.
Wishing all of you, my readers, a very blessed Christmas and Happy New Year!
Thursday, December 14, 2017
Here is my article published in the December 14, 2017 Camrose Canadian Clergy Comment column.
Advent and the “R” word
We are now in the season of Advent, the season traditionally observed as a time of preparation for celebrating the coming of Jesus the Messiah.
One way of preparing is by focusing on the “R” word—repentance. Last Sunday, Christians who follow the Revised Common Lectionary, heard the Gospel of Mark, chapter one, verses one to eight—John the baptizer’s preaching of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. John comes across as a rather eccentric wilderness prophet, dressing like I did back in my hippie days of the 1960s and early 70s, and following a rather strange diet of locusts and wild honey. However, he takes his call seriously as a second Elijah, preparing folks for the Messiah’s coming, like a broken record, wearing out the “R” word.
What is repentance anyway, and why is it so necessary? The Bible describes repentance in several ways, including: to regret one’s mistakes and harmful thoughts, words and actions, to change one’s mind and behaviour, to turn around, to return. Repentance is necessary since whether we want to admit it or not, we are all sinners—we think and say and do things that are harmful to others, ourselves, God’s creation, and all of this can and often does cause us to drift further away from God.
The following story is one example of what it means to repent. Some years ago, CBC’s “Fifth Estate” program aired a documentary on “the Squamish Five.” You may remember that they were a group who bombed the Litton plant, which was involved in the production of nuclear weapons. They also bombed other political targets.
Eventually the police caught them and they were then convicted and sent to prison.
In the interview with Juliet Caroline Belmas, she admitted that the group’s actions were wrong. She also discouraged others from following their example. Juliet Caroline Belmas’s change of heart was a public expression of repentance—realizing her sins and genuinely wishing to clean up her act. Those who sincerely repent are like Juliet; showing remorse for the sins committed, and sorry enough to quit the destructive behaviours; and helping to prevent others from making the same mistakes.
This Advent, as we prepare to celebrate Jesus our Messiah’s coming at Christmas do you and I need to reorient, return, change our thinking and behaviours?
May the grace of God help us so to do as we share the love and joy that Jesus gives us with the world this Christmas!
Monday, November 20, 2017
Friday, November 3, 2017
Thursday, October 26, 2017
Covenant-Making God: We praise and thank you for your superabundant grace, which names and claims us, and calls us into faithful living. We thank you for the reforms and reformers of your church in the past and today. May we continue to reform that which needs reforming, that your will may be done to set free all who are enslaved; through Jesus the Messiah; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit; one God, now and forever.
Saturday, October 7, 2017
Blessed are you, God of heaven and earth: We praise and thank you for your abundant provision of all that we need; all that we have is a gift from you. Give us generous hearts, that we may give joyfully to those who are in greatest need. Most of all, may we always thank you for the indescribable gift, yourself, Jesus; who lives and reigns with the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.