Wednesday, 15 September 2021

Is Christ Part Of Your New Normal?


It’s been a while since a blog entry and in these intervening months both
a lot of things have changed as well as many things have stayed the same.

The pandemic is still with us and covid19 cases are on the rise again especially amongst those who have chosen not to be vaccinated. Vaccination clinics remain open across towns and cities all over Canada- some busier than others. Schools have reopened for children and youth with special scheduling of classes and limited mixing of children. Universities and colleges are offering some inclass sessions but it depends upon the program and the numbers of young people involved in a particular program.

With the pandemic  many deaths have occurred leaving many people grieving. I too grieve and mourn the death of my mom not because of covid19 but because of cancer and how quickly she declined. Like many families we could not have a traditional memorial gathering but were limited to outdoors and a smaller number of people to be with us.  But unlike others who died in hospital without family members beside them, my family was with my mom as she died at home.

A federal election was called with only 36 days to campaign and sway eligible voters. Many Canadians believed it was and is the wrong to have an election but it is upon us now. So get out and vote as you are able! With this election looming, our governments are at a standstill in deciding next steps for opening the economy and the country to trade and to respond to the many needs of the people who are hurting, homeless and facing troubling times.

What else has changed? The way we work has changed in many industries. Working from home is great as it saves driving vehicles, commute time and even what clothes one wears. But what is lost is a sense of comradery, connecting with co-workers and even the ability to talk to others about outside interests. Lost is the water cooler discussions over common experiences except the current tasks.  There are many companies considering reducing their office space and offering remote work to the next generation on a permanent basis. A reason for this is that new hires do not have opportunities to find apartments or affordable housing. Affordable housing is a major issue in these times. Houses which used to sell for $200,000 are now sold for double or triple the cost with mortgage payments well into thousands each month. This is a concern and how and when it will end is uncertain.

But there is hope in the hearts of those who believe in God. Sure, many people have asked where has God been since the pandemic began? How and why are we enduring such a fate? Is God up to something to bring about change in the world? Or just what is it that calls us to be hopeful?

Jesus came into the world to bring hope. Are we searching for hope or the means by which we may receive eternal hope? Jesus offers us this hope even in this world of change and challenge; of routine and uncertainty. For having hope in Jesus means living today while looking to tomorrow with loving others. Hope is alive in those who love God. Hope is something we each need for without it our life loses its meaning.  Jesus said, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly". We are each seeking an abundant life in the midst of challenge and change. We need to hold on to hope in Christ.

PRAYER: God of grace and love, thank you for the hope that comes in Christ. Enable us to have hope and to put our faith in Jesus who brings this hope alive in all who believe. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.   

Saturday, 30 January 2021

In Everything there is a time..



January 29, 2021 

In Everything there is a time..

In Ecclesiastes 3 we read “For everything there is a

season and a time for every matter under heaven:” This general statement is then followed by a list of opposites-“ time to be born and to die; to plant and pluck up what is planted; a time to kill and a time to heal...” The list continues for 6 more verses all indicating opposite actions or reactions to life’s every day occurrences.

But what I am reflecting on in these moments is simply this—who discerns when this time occurs? Covid19 and now its variants are still plaguing the people around the world. There are many people becoming ill and even though there is much care administered many have died. It has been reported that the number of people who have died from covid19 in the US right now is more than who perished during World War II. What is it that we seem to be doing wrong? Or are we just merely marking time?

In each day’s publication of the local newspaper there are many obituaries. Although this week we learned of the deaths of accomplished actresses Cicely Tyson and Cloris Leachman, it is the pages of local people whose stories are told which are intriguing. These are people who lived in community and for many of them 2021 brought much hope. Yet they became ill and after a short period of time, died leaving families to mourn. But it is how we are mourning that causes us to be concerned now for will we really be able to gather and honour these beloved people in the months to come? Will families really want to do this as they have already moved on with their lives? Or does one really fully mourn without extended family and friends?

As I meet with families who are grieving the death of their loved ones, they are missing the social interaction, the hugs, kind words of extended family members and friends. It is just simply sad. So what can we do under these circumstances? We can offer our sympathies through cards, calls, letters and through connecting with those who mourn. For there will also come a time when we will dance and be filled with joy as we see and share again as we remember those who are now in God’s heavenly kingdom.

We need to also consider that we as people need each other through this pandemic. We need to befriend others and show that we care. “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help. Again if two lie together, they keep warm;

but how can one keep warm alone? And though one might prevail against another two will withstand one. A three- fold cord is not quickly broken.”  This three-fold cord represents our love for others and for God in our midst. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-11). We are not alone. God is with us.

God understands that this pandemic has been stressful for all of us. There is nothing we would like to do more than to drive and see other people and places. But the risk is high for community contact and so we need to think and connect with others in different ways. We also need to care for ourselves- to eat well, keep active and talk with others about the activities each is doing- whether working from home, doing puzzles, cooking, or playing music. These are the things we must lift up in order to maintain some level of happiness and hope. We must also pray for this is what we are all capable of doing many times in the day. We can pray that the time will come for healing, love, and peace. So let us remember that all things have a time under heaven. We need to be patient and to pray for there is time for this in God’s creation,too.

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!