Christ the King – Politics and Palliative Care

This morning we come to the end of the church year. Over the past twelve months we have celebrated God’s self-revelation in Advent and Christmas and Epiphany. We have recalled the suffering patience of Jesus in the season of Lent. We have walked through the darkness of Good Friday into the glory of Easter morning. We have faced the mystery and glory of Pentecost – the life of the Spirit given to create and equip the church. We have journeyed through ordinary time, listening to the stories of Jesus and God’s people.

And today we come to the last Sunday of the year, which the church celebrates under the banner of Christ the King.

We end the year with a statement of faith.

We end the year with a statement of hope.

We end the year with a statement of Christ’s glory.

We end the year with a decidedly political statement – Christ is King.

This declaration that Christ is King raises all kinds of important questions, of course, What kind of a king is he? What kind of kingdom is he bringing to our world? And the truth is that when we talk about that wandering rabbi, the language of kingship and sovereignty might not be the first thing to come to mind. In many cases kings have been absolute sovereigns – they have exercised power at will – they have commanded vast armies – they have gone to war without just cause – they have been wealthy tyrants – they have only too rarely served their people with integrity and grace. Continue reading

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love — the way over the mountain

Paul speaks of love as the more excellent way – an image which includes within itself the idea of a mountain pass. So love is the more excellent way, the higher way, and the way over the mountain. With this in mind, my sermon a few weeks ago included images from a walk I took on our mountain here in Montreal. Perhaps these images of autumn capture something of love’s glory and beauty, together with the words of 1 Corinthians 13.

Roland De Vries, Montreal

beauty, fragility, dignity — a photo exhibit

As part of celebrations of the 35th anniversary of the New Hope Senior Citizen’s Centre – which locates itself within the building of Kensington Church – I have prepared a small photo exhibit. The exhibit combines images of members of the Centre with detail images from the stained glass windows of Kensington Church. The juxtaposing of these images points to shared characteristics of the human and of stained glass – the shared identity in beauty, fragility and dignity. Here are three of the images…

Montage5

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Love, Caress, Difference (for valentine’s day?)

In my book Becoming Two in Love I have created brief, first-person “moments” that give expression to the account and ethics of sexual difference otherwise described somewhat abstractly. An ethics of sexual difference is one that affirms the fundamental mystery that the sexuate other is/represents. It is an ethics that entails a refusal of relations of appropriation and possession and identification between man and woman.

Here is one of those first-person “moments” that explores the caress as respecting difference and love between man and woman, also in the context of faith.

__________

IMG_9308We are by no means strangers. Years of a shared life form a thick and complex backdrop to our everyday conversations and encounters. Between us, the invitation to a caress is a summons to a privileged and private intimacy. And even if this invitation and encounter is marked by a degree of ambiguity or uncertainty, nevertheless a shared history of trust and care mean that the caress may be given, and received, in freedom. Risk remains, certainly—but who could or would mitigate every risk. Continue reading

Night Running (a new poem) #NDG

NIGHT RUNNING

Rhythmic stride and drumming feet
as dark descends on west-end street;
cicadas drone through August night,
humid air stays fullest flight.

Windows cranked to widest aperture,
invite a breeze to ease the temperature;
glistening brows and clammy skin
beg hint of breath, reprieve to win.

Floodlit bocce at Layton Park,
murmured conversation against the dark;
collared shirts and graying heads,
enjoyment ease in old world’s stead.

Public pool its waters calm,
in daylight hours a cooling balm;
echoes of laughter splashing zest,
diving kids now in bed to rest.

Darkened lane, air-conditioner’s thrum,
cloisters of coolness against nature’s hum;
whispering growling friendships of night
thwarted by windows now shut and sealed tight,

though living rooms blaze with blinds open wide,
and running voyeur gets a look inside;
not much to see that says much at all,
flickering screens keeping families in thrall.

Schools and churches dim and locked tight,
silent old beacons of learning and light,
old as the neighbourhood, much older still,
leading by fits and starts into goodwill.

Coronation to Somerled, turning to home,
by neighbour’s old Charger glinting with chrome;
legs tired, knees sore as I slow now to walk,
life’s always lived in the length of a block.

fenced in and free…

If you are anything like me, you’ve got a love-hate relationship with the mirrors in your home. You wake up in the morning to get ready for the day, you go into the bathroom, look in the mirror and wonder to yourself

did that zit really have to come out on the end of my nose

or, is that another wrinkle there beside my right eye

or, is that pot-belly sticking out just a bit more

or perhaps, not quite as much hair on top this morning.

There’s a mirror in the bathroom, maybe a mirror by the front door, maybe a mirror in the living room. Walking around your house is like watching your own life unfold in High Definition. And it ain’t always the prettiest picture – yea, some of us get a better deal than others – but most of us aren’t Narcissus. Most of us don’t spend our days in front of the mirror because we’re in love with our own reflection – we do so because we are preoccupied with what we perceive as problems Continue reading

becoming missional

Had a good retreat with the elders of KCKF this past Saturday – reflecting on who we are and who we are called to be. A part of that discussion was around the attractional/missional debate and we had a good, open discussion about what it all means for us.  I personally like the logic behind And: The Gathered and Scattered Church. We also watched this (from one Jeff MacGuire – don’t know him) which doesn’ t totally hit the mark but does a good job setting us up for discussion: