Faith from the Edges

Faith and life from the perspective of me.

Archive for the month “December, 2015”

#AdventWord #Surprise

#AdventWord #Surprise

Yesterday I was gratefully surprised when the federal government here in Canada announced an inquiry into the Murdered & Missing Indigenous Women & Girls of our country  that has been at a crisis point for a number of years. This is something that I and many others of different faith traditions have been praying and lobbying for, for a number of years. The church I worship in, the church I work for, is actively engaged in reconciliation work. This work is hard, necessary and God driven. It is about repairing relationships between indigenous and settler peoples who share this land.

So I am grateful for this surprise, for our federal government following up on one of its promises made recently. I am grateful that prayer has been answered. I am grateful that they are going to listen to the families of the women and girls. I hope that this will mark a real shift in this country about how we deal with indigenous women and their struggle for equality. I am looking forward to more surprises.

P.S. Sorry about the crappy photo – taken with my iPhone of my computer screen while watching the news conference yesterday.

 

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#AdventWord #Be

#AdventWord #Be

There are few places in my home where I can just sit and be. On the couch near this fireplace is one of them, in the summer it is on our deck sitting in the shade on a warm day. Both are places that I can just sit, sip a drink, have a quiet moment with the dear one, just be present and not think about what needs to happen next. There are not many places in my life that can happen at the moment. I am grateful for them, for they calm me down, and remind me that being present helps to settle my heart and open me to God’s presence in my life.

During Advent it can be hard to find those moments and just be. There is always something that needs doing, something that needs attending to, something that needs to be planned. Taking those moments, slowing the heart down, being present to those around me, are for me what is really important about Advent. It is about making space in my life for the Spirit to speak to me and help me see the coming of God’s kingdom. Now it’s time for a cup of tea and a moment to just be.

#AdventWord #Care

#AdventWord #Care

I am a little behind on this, so you may be getting a few blog posts from me today on Advent Word. The word for December 6th was care. To care for each other, for those we know well, for those who are our family is easy most of the time. To care for those we don’t know as well, that is harder, especially if it means stretching us beyond our normal comfort zones. The gospel, the good news of Jesus, calls those of us who follow his way to make that happen. We are called as disciples to love our neighbours as we have been loved by God our creator. That means all of our neighbours in this messy, painful, often violent world, all of them. We are called to care for the least of these most of all.

The dear one, as many of you know, is the rector of Immanuel, Wetaskiwin here in central Alberta. This past Sunday we remembered St. Nicholas – the bishop of Myra who cared for three young women who didn’t have enough. He made their lives bearable. Our parish has done some of that as well. We brought in gifts for children who wouldn’t likely get gifts this Christmas in our community, we brought in gifts of food for our local food bank to make sure that people in our community will have enough to eat. In other words we cared. We continue to care and hopefully share the love of God with those who are our neighbours, both near and far.

 

#AdventWord #Believe

#AdventWord #Believe

I believe, you believe, we believe. But what is belief? What does it mean? Before I got really sick, the dear one preached a sermon explaining the word believe. That to believe is to trust. Trust in God, trust that Jesus is walking with you, to trust your community – to believe in all of that. When I was sickest from the chemo because of my cancer, I hung on to that. I had to I had little else to hang on to at that moment. I had to believe, to trust, have faith that I was going to get through all of it and come out the other side.

It was trusting that the light would return, that God’s grace would be enough, that my community would continue to pray for me, that the medical people knew what they were doing. Trusting that I would get through it all.

Today’s Advent Word, believe struck such a nerve today because I realized how much I had hung on to that trust.  I trusted that others would pray for me when I couldn’t pray.  I trusted that even when the pain in my feet from the neuropathy was so bad I was crying that Jesus was holding me tight. I trusted that I would get through this horrible thing called cancer. I believed. I believe that the light will return. I believe that I will get my life back. I believe.

#AdventWord #Worship

#AdventWord #Worship Each night through Advent the dear one and I, as long as we are home,  light the candles of this little Advent wreath. We then pray the Advent collect together. When our children lived at home we would also sing a verse from an Advent hymn. All this before we say grace at meals. Family worship has been and continues to be an important part of our life together.

As the weeks of Advent go by we light more and more candles and the light grows. We worship at home because our faith is important to us. It is a way of keeping us grounded. It is knowing that God is part of all we do. During Advent in particular it is about waiting for the one to come, while worshipping the one already with us.

These little acts of worship through the day, through each week, have given me hope when it seemed hope wasn’t possible. They have given me a connection to that which is greater than me. They have reminded that others do this as well and we are all connected through the web of worship. Worship is what makes sure I don’t get off track in my faith life. Worship for me, is life.

#AdventWord #Repent

#AdventWord #Repent

If you ask the dear one, members of my family or my closest friends they will tell you that I worry, a lot. I worry about little things and I worry about big things. So when I was thinking about the Advent Word, repent I realized that I needed to talk about my own repentance.

I am an impatient woman and that is one of the reasons that I worry. I worry because I can’t wait for things to come around in their own time, or for the news I have been waiting for to happen. I really need to repent of this. Right now my little/big worry is about my hair growing back, post-chemo. The picture above shows my head at 5 weeks post-chemo and you can see it is still just wispy. I am worrying about how long it will take for me to have hair on my head. Good gracious, I really need to let that go! My hair will grow back, when it grows back.

Repentance is about turning around and doing things differently because God loves you. I know this. Sometimes I live this. When it comes to worry however I still have work to do. I am going to have to keep giving my worry to God and repenting regularly. I know God loves me, I know I need to let things happen as they happen, now I just need to not worry about it!

#AdventWord #Forgive

#AdventWord #Forgive

Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Most of us know where those words come from, the Lord’s Prayer.  But do many of us know this prayer in another language? I don’t, sadly. I need to learn. The picture above is the Lord’s Prayer in Cree syllabics. You can hear it here.

Today’s Advent word got me thinking about forgiveness as it relates to the work on reconciliation I am doing as part of the Indigenous Ministry Initiative of the Diocese of Edmonton. I have been privileged enough to be at two Truth and Reconciliation events – one locally held and the other a national gathering. I have heard the stories of Residential School survivors and heard members of my church offer words of remorse and ask for forgiveness. I work as a settler person on assisting rural churches develop actions of neighbourly reconciliation with indigenous communities. It is hard work and often means seeking to forgive our church for its past and asking others who were hurt by those actions in the past to do the same. It is the work that God has called my church to do and called me to be a part of. It is how I make forgiveness real.

 

#AdventWord #Give

#AdventWord #Give

When I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer back at the beginning of June I had little idea of what to expect. I knew that I would have to have chemo and I knew that meant I would be off of work for awhile. That ‘awhile’ turned into 6 months. What I didn’t expect and what overwhelmed me at times was the gifts that I would be given. There was food, prayer blankets, scarves for my head, prayers, gift cards, teacups and tea, and did I say food!

Today’s Advent word is give and I immediately thought of all those gifts that have been given to me. They were given because of love, wanting to support the dear one and I, wanting to share joy and beauty with me. The dragonfly gifts were especially important as the dragonfly has become a symbol of the resurrection for me. Dragonflies have to go through a transformation from wriggly water loving larva to become the swooping through the air beauties we see in our gardens in the summertime. These gifts all make me realize how much I have been given and remind me to give as I am able of myself to others who need them. They also remind me of the greatest gift given to the world, Jesus.

Thank you to those who gave me the gifts, here’s to recovery, here’s to being able to share my gifts with others, here’s to waiting for the gift of the birth of Jesus once again.

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