Saturday, 23 January 2021

Biden and the New Era

 

 REVCATHY’s BLOG Post   January 22, 2021  Biden and the New Era

A new era has begun in the US with President Biden


and Vice-President Harris taking their oaths of office. There was much pomp and tradition on inauguration day with military bands, flags, and colours. There were also moments of silence to remember those who have died from covid19. As the American national anthem was sung and as performers offered their talents in song there were moments of worship asking God to look over this country.  But it was President Biden who drew upon Augustine, “a saint of my church” which is a reference that he is Roman Catholic Christian. It is Augustine’s words which Biden stated,” a people are a multitude defined by the common objects of their love.”

To what objects of love did Biden refer? Whatever is important and priority for the people of the US is what is in need of healing for the sake of love.

President Biden went on to quote Psalm 30:5, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” It not only accurately describes the desire of so many Americans and people from around the world, that if we lament the losses in this time there will be a day when we can rejoice.  This time of disease and stay at home orders, of political unrest and racism will come to an end when we discuss the problems, learn from each other, when there is understanding and a new hope dawning.  But right now what is needed is a time to lament to grieve what has been lost and prepare for a brighter future.  

Amanda Gorman the young poet laureate expressed many ideas in her expression of hope for the US. “If we merge mercy with might and might with right, then love becomes our legacy and change our children’s birthright.’ We need both. Mercy without might is weak; might without mercy is abusive. According to Micah 6:8, we need both plus humility to what is good in the eyes of the Lord,” she said.

In watching the inauguration I was not expecting to receive a message of hope so eloquently stated. But what I did witness was a renewal of faith of those in leadership. For when they shared in the Pledge of Allegiance, many renewed their hope that the US would truly be ‘one nation under God.’

As a Canadian living in a border city, we are often influenced by what occurs in the US through trade exports and manufacturing. We have seen images of the many protests to covid19, the insurrection of January 6 and the political turmoil endured by many.  In watching and listening to the inauguration, President Biden has taken on many challenges including the need and desire to unite the country and its people.  We too have these challenges facing Canadians as we hope the number of covid19 cases will decline and that vaccines will roll out soon again.

The question we need to ask ourselves, are we lamenting what has been lost and do we have the hope that one day we will have joy? I wonder as I seek people having difficulty coping and needing others to speak with, but do we offer our prayers for hope?

Maybe it is time to lament and look for the joy that will come. May God give us comfort and strength to do this. In Jesus name we pray.

Friday, 15 January 2021

It Is NOT The End Of The World....Trump Was Impeached.... The Polar Vortex.... Covid-19

 

REVCATHY’s BLOG Post   January 15, 2021

Mid January and all is not well in the world- pandemic
continues to be the most discussed topic, Trump was impeached again, and the polar vortex is heading our way. But what can we do about any of these matters? Now that we are in further lockdown with stay at home orders after 8 pm we need to take time to evaluate our abilities in these times. The snow will come if the winds push it to your area. President Joe Biden will become the next president on January 20 and the spread of covid19 will stop if we do what health unit leaders tell us. Stay home wear a mask outside and wash our hands.

So where is the Good News in this? It is found in that we are not the ones who have to oversee everything. Many of things we tend to worry about or which raise our anxiety levels are matters which we as individuals have no level of input to bring about change or resolution. So why do we worry? Because it is in our nature to do so for we are human and care for others and we want to be sure that others are all right.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:25 “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink or about your body what you will wear Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?”

People worry about outcomes and resolutions after surgeries, after conflicts and discussions and often with this is a time of waiting. One can only imagine how Jesus worried when he learned of his life’s purpose—to die and rise again for the sake of the sins of others. He even asked God to ‘take this cup from him’. But then he fulfilled his purpose and we have received forgiveness of sins through him.

As we reflect on this wintry day, what are you worried about and are there possible resolutions to the problems? Maybe it is the need for food or shelter or paying bills. There are people who are willing to listen and assist you in your needs—just ask.

Maybe you are worried because you are feeling down because of the lockdown and continued pandemic along with the uncertainty of where we are heading and when we will all receive vaccines. Again we cannot fix the large problems, but we can do something. We can pray; we can offer to God the concerns of our hearts and minds and we can pray that God will take care of all of these things and more!

And then Jesus states.  ”But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will bring worries of its own.  Today’s trouble is enough for today” (v34)

Each day is a new day to praise God and a new day when we learn of other people and situations for which we can ask God to help. Each day brings its own set of worries, but we are people of faith and we need to trust God to show us the way to seeing Jesus’ way as the way to love.

Yes, it is mid January and the clouds are covering the sun. But the sun will shine again and we are and will be renewed in faith and hope because God continues to show his love for us. Are we willing to meet Jesus and see Him as our Saviour? This is Good News indeed- Jesus died for our sakes. Are we willing to offer him our lives in return for the gift and hope of eternal life? Remember to pray and tell God what you are worrying about. He will see you through all of this and more!

Saturday, 9 January 2021

A New Year, A New Outlook for 2021

 REVCATHY’s BLOG Post  January 8, 2021

January 6 is recognized as Feast of the Epiphany


or the day we remember the Wise Men offering gifts to Jesus. It is a day of celebrating by Orthodox Christians as they celebrate Jesus’ birth and normally have large gatherings for worship and food.

This year was a day when words cited by news writers included, coup, insurrection, and of course now we hear of the call for impeachment of the POTUS (President of the United States). The rationale for this was to impede what is considered traditional electoral vote casting by senators to approve the election results from November.

But, what else are we reflecting upon this first week of the New Year where we find calendar boxes empty and waiting for plans to be made in the year to come?  We are thinking and praying for the many people across the province testing positive for covid19. We are also lifting up in prayer those who have died in the last week from this virus. And we are praying for those whose loved ones have died and are grieving.  The front line workers and hospital leaders, the health unit staff and all affected by these deaths and positive cases need to be reminded that we are grateful for their service in helping others. But this is not a strategy to combat the virus. We need to do what health unit medical directors have asked us to do—stay home.

There is a need for hope to help to sustain us. These are January days of winter when the temperatures drop and we would normally be enjoying outdoor activities in the snow. But so far in the Windsor Essex area, what have we witnessed—grey sky and no snow. And the only thing we can do is go for a walk and staying socially distant from others.

But there are matters to attend to in our lives. Life does continue and we are not people who sit for hours on end. We like to be entertained, to learn and to share our creative moments with others. Yet are we doing this to the extent we could?

Many people are back to a work schedule, children and youth are now doing online learning and the tasks of each day do not stop. There is always food preparation and laundry to do. Do we have the energy to do it? That is, do we have the desire to do these basic tasks?

When we think of the journey the Wise Men took in order to worship Jesus, the one that was born the King of the Jews, they made a commitment to the task. They were astrologers and astronomers; people who studied the stars and they saw a bright star and followed its light to where Jesus was. They were wise because they were learned men who had studied the scriptures of different cultures and backgrounds and knew of the prophecy of the Hebrew people. There would be a child born in Bethlehem who would become the Prince of Peace.  King Herod did not want competition for the royal throne and wanted these men to show him where he was after they worshiped him. But the Wise Men did not. They went home a different way.

As we experience these early days of 2021 what is it that you are hoping for? What is it that calls you to connect with others? How are you experiencing Christ/God/Spirit? And what is it that you are doing that engages your inner being with other people?  This is the different way we are called to respond to experiencing Christ’s light. What way are you going? And what are you doing?

Friday, 1 January 2021

CONNECT - SPIRIT - ENGAGE

 REVCATHY’s BLOG Post  January 1, 2021

You might wonder why is Rev Cathy writing on


New Year’s Day 2021 about the good things of 2020 when most of us would rather forget the year which changed the world.

Yes, I did watch the ball drop in New York’s Times Square, the pre-recorded fireworks over different Ontario cities and the Live portion of “Ontario with Love” broadcast from Windsor.  All of these people were striving to usher in the New Year with the hope of lifting us up with music and hearing stories of front-line workers. But what does it all mean if, we don’t reflect on where we’ve been to know where we are headed?

So many people have commented in these last days that they would be glad to see 2020 fade into history but we must realize that 2020 has changed the world and there have been some good things to emerge during these 12 months.  

Glenwood United Church celebrated its 65th anniversary in 2020. The theme I chose was “Vision 2020” reflecting on the way in which optometrists measure visual acuity.

20/20 vision is a term used to express normal visual acuity (the clarity or sharpness of vision) measured at a distance of 20 feet. If you have 20/20 vision, you can see clearly at 20 feet what should normally be seen at that distance. If you have 20/100 vision, it means that you must be as close as 20 feet to see what a person with normal vision can see at 100 feet.

Having 20/20 vision does not necessarily mean you have perfect vision. 20/20 vision only indicates the sharpness or clarity of vision at a distance. Other important vision skills, including peripheral awareness or side vision, eye coordination, depth perception, focusing ability and color vision, contribute to your overall visual ability.

“VISION 2020” was to spark congregation members to think about the future church and what it might mean to engage others beyond coffee hour. The idea was to think about doing church in a different and new way.  Well by March 22, 2020 we were definitely doing church differently!

From the regular in person worship service where people were engaging and sharing with others through music, reflection and talking to not being allowed in the building- church changed quickly!

Immediately we planned to do something online live in order that congregational members could connect with me the pastor and not be afraid of what as truly uncertain outside and all around them. Preparing something was key- but what to do? Using resources in my home including my family we quickly shared music and prayers and messages of hope to lead us to the cross of Christ. But was this enough?

My response was no! I needed to engage with people as this is from where I receive energy and of course hear and listen to those who are in need of care. Ministry changed from setting up appointments to picking up the phone, and then of course learning and relearning the use of technology and applying it to our use!

So 2020 is now in the past and where are we headed? We begin 2021 with a new vision—a new hope with the mission of REACHING OUT TO OTHERS to engage in love.  Though our SPIRIT, FAITH and OUTREACH focus worked the past few years we now need to engage others in a different way...

CONNECT -  SPIRIT - ENGAGE   We need to CONNECT to OTHER PEOPLE by different means available to us. We need to experience and share GOD’S SPIRIT as we have known the Spirit to walk with us.  We need to ENGAGE people with and through love as we make further connections and strive to have others live in Christ’s light!