Today is the Annunciation of the Lord to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is the day we remember the angels visit to Mary and her humble acceptance of God’s call to be the mother of Jesus. (Meaning it is 9 months until we celebrate, Jesus’ birthday.)

In Lebanon this day, since 2010, has been a declared an Islamic and Christian celebration and a time when people of these two different faith traditions celebrate together that which binds them in faith and humanity. Below is the prayer written for this day, amid the pandemic, for Christians and Muslims to pray together for the work of God in our lives and in our world.

God, our Lord, Lord of all creation and of humanity in its entirety You who have chosen Mary and elected her among all women Sending her the angel Gabriel to announce to her the good news That we celebrate together Christians and Muslims Our Lord, the Merciful, the Compassionate, the One who loves all of humankind You who have given us the blessing of life, save us from the danger of this pandemic O Lord, make of the Virgin Mary a model for us in our lives May her example motivate us to hold on to our unity in the face of hardships and challenges And to have confidence in Your Providence instead of giving in to fear or pride So that we may, like her, show solidarity and serve others in all gratuity Our Lord, You are the All Hearing, the One who supports Assist the paramedics, the nurses, and the doctors Heal the sick and Console the grieving Give those who are in need their sustenance and their needs We implore Your assistance to remain dedicated to You and faithful to each other Amen

Transition and Wilderness

Transition and Wilderness

This Lent has certainly become a global wilderness like most of us have never experienced before. I time of isolation, withdrawal, confinement; in the midst of a pandemic. Frightening thoughts for most of as well.

I have been trying to think of this time in the context of our Lenten journey, our solitude in the wilderness drawing us closer to the life of God through reflection and a refinement of habits and attitudes in the world.

How might all we’re going through right now socially be part of a wilderness journey drawing us closer to how we can live as God’s disciples?

Along with reflection on our social norms and policies, my hope for myself, and any who are reading this, is that one benefit of this wilderness might be to deepen our personal prayer life as part of the habits and routines in our households.

Here are the Morning Prayer Readings for today:

I hope in them you find encouragement as well as a place to struggle with the Spirit in prayer. A challenge of Spirit to lead us to the other side of this wilderness.

The Corinthians addresses the particular questions of the community at that time. Both practical and spiritual in nature. Questions around the Eucharist as well which is appropriate for our present time, when we are not breaking bread together and doing so for the advantage and health of one another. We should know though, now in this moment, as each of us receives our daily bread, the grace we need to meet the gift and challenge of this day,

“there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.”

1 Cor 10:17

What a blessing to receive that bread, that life of Christ that unites all people in Christ, not only in sacrament and prayer on a Sunday but in grace by the Spirit in prayer on a Monday. In the midst of isolation, we remain one body as each of us take hope in Christ, the one bread, who gives to us his life.

For the Life of the Earth

For the Life of the Earth

Weeks ago, as part of our Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday celebrations we planted seeds in some earth to remind us that we are dust, formed of the Earth.

We share the life that God has given us with all that God has made, formed from the Earth and part of all of its relationships from the droplets of rain to all of the stars in the cosmos. Here we are, a bit of dust which by grace holds a part of the life of Creator.

My seed has started to sprout!! Our Easter celebration of new life is on its way!!

On this, the first full day of Spring, I am reminded of the new and resurrected life that God breathes into us through Christ and the Spirit. The new hope and new opportunities for life and love that are blossoming around us, even in the midst of change and crisis.

I should note that only one of my kids 3 seeds have sprouted. One more is not far behind but the other doesn’t seem to have taken root. Perhaps a reminder of the parable of the sower, not every seed grew to bare fruit and multiply. We need to seek out and tend to each opportunity presented in faith. They won’t all take root, they won’t all succeed, so we need each one of them.

St. Joseph Day!

St. Joseph Day!

Today (March 19) was St. Joseph Day, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary and earthly father of Jesus.

I found it an interesting day to reflect on during this time of social distancing, something I think Joseph may have known much about. He was never the centre of attention, preferring a quieter role, and even fled with his family to Egypt for safety.

As we spend much more time at home, and potentially with our families I pray we would know the gift of faith we see in Jospeh; who chose family of Spirit. May we know the grace of God’s presence and protection amongst our households.

Happy are they who dwell in your house!
They will always be praising you.

Psalm 84.3

Also St. Joseph is the patron of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton and their Ecumenical Officer Julian Hammond, presented the Anglican Diocese with an icon which can be seen in the Synod Office as a sign of St. Joseph’s care for the whole household of the church.

The Third Word

The Third Word

“Jesus said to his mother: “Woman, this is your son.”
Then he said to the disciple: “This is your mother.”

John 19:26-27

When I read this saying I am struck most by the incredible courage and strength of Mary. I can’t imagine how hard it must have been to watch her son in such agony. I am sure she felt Jesus’ every grunt, groan and gasp for breath. Luke 2:35 has Simeon, at the presentation of Jesus in the Temple, say to Mary ‘and a sword will pierce your own soul too’. Standing there at the foot of the Cross I am sure that Mary felt that sword.

Yet despite the pain Jesus was in he made sure that Mary was cared for. It is a very personal show of his love for his Mother that he did this. But why John? Was it because he was the only disciple to stay and watch the Crucifixion? Or was his very special relationship with Jesus?

It is generally agreed that St. Joseph had died before Jesus’ public ministry. He is not mentioned as being alive during that time in any of the Gospels. So it fell to the oldest son to provide for his mother. There is some confusion as to whether Mary and Joseph had other children. Mark 6:3 mentions siblings James, Joses, Judas and Simon and sisters but there has always been a dispute as to whether they are Mary’s children or cousins. Roman Catholics maintain Jesus was Mary’s only Son (to maintain her role as a virgin?). I have no problem thinking she had a full family with Joseph after Jesus was born.

I believe that Jesus asked John to look after his mother because he was young and because he held a special place in Jesus’ heart. John is always depicted as being a beardless young teenager. he certainly lived much longer than many of the other disciples. We have some evidence that both Mary and John died in Ephesus. Certainly when I visited Ephesus we were shown the Church of St John where he is said to be buried and the house where Mary was supposed to have lived. If this is true, then John took his charge from Jesus very seriously.

The question that comes to my mind is “Would I have the strength to stand at the Foot of the Cross and watch Jesus die?” I hope I would but I am not sure that I could stand the pain. And yet Jesus suffered incredible pain for me and for you. As you contemplate this question maybe the song we often sing at church will help us sort out our feelings.

Rev. Joyce Mellor

I Come To The Cross

I come to the cross seeking mercy and grace,
I come to the cross where You died in my place.

Out of my weakness and into Your strength,
Humbly, I come to the cross.

I come to the cross seeking mercy and grace,
I come to the cross where You died in my place.
Out of my weakness and into Your strength,
Jesus, I come to the cross.

Your arms are open, You call me by name,
You welcome the child that was lost.
You paid the price for my guilt and my shame,

Jesus, I come,
Jesus I come,
Jesus, I come to the cross…

Source: Musixmatch

Next week we will be reflecting on Matthew 27:46 & Mark 15:34

My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?

Worship Cancelled for March

Worship Cancelled for March

Please note that Sunday Worship and Wednesday Lenten study have been cancelled for the remainder of the month to comply with Health Services recommendations during this time of global pandemic.

Thursday will remain Food Bank Pickup day.

Pastoral visiting and smaller gatherings will continue, we continue to be church and lift one another, our neighbours and world up in prayer.

The Bishop’s directions can be found here