Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Time



In my supervised Field Education class last week we had a discussion around the concept of time, in part because most of the people in the class were late for the 9am class.  Some people are almost always late for appointments, some are not comfortable unless they are 10 minutes early and others most often arrive just on time.  How our parents dealt with time, undoubtedly has an influence on how we think about time and punctuality.  

Time is one of those interesting concepts, both in terms of the hours on the clock, but also the times or seasons of our lives.  And how we spend our time is also interesting – do we spend it on things which are important or squander it away on things which are more trivial?  What is most valuable when you think of time?  Time spent at work, to earn a living; time spent with family; time to nurture your own interests - how do you balance your use of time?  Do you think about time as a finite commodity…we only get so much time, or does it seem endless? Are you happy with the way you spend your time and if not, what can you do to change things?

Time is one of those things which seems to expand or contract depending on what you are doing – time waiting for a test result seems to take forever, time spent on vacation goes by quickly.
Paul and I have both celebrated birthdays this month and we wonder where the time has gone. 
We have had a great time in Baltimore this week with Jennifer and Justin and Kim and Mitch to celebrate Paul’s birthday.


Today Kim and I went with Jennifer for her 28 week ultrasound and we got to see little “Chicklet.”…all two pounds and 10 ounces of him.  All being well, in 12 weeks or so, he will make his way into the world and we will start a new time in our lives.

Many of us are familiar with the words of Ecclesiastes 3, which starts with, "To everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven" The writer then lists a variety of times, including a "time to be born and a time to die."  We might well argue that many die to young, far before their time - but that is for another reflection.  A bit further in chapter 3, the author says, these words, which to me speak about God's desire that we find joy in the times of our lives, 


12 I have concluded that the only worthwhile thing for them is to take pleasure in doing good in life; 13 moreover, every person should eat, drink, and enjoy the benefits of everything that they undertake, since it is a gift from God.


We have had a great time being together this week and I have many things with which to fill my time, till I return to Baltimore to await the baby’s birth.  It is an exciting time in our lives and it is a gift.


Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Creation



So you know from last week's blog that I am back to “work” after my summer of semi-retirement. I spent time in the office this week planning worship to focus on the season of creation, a fairly new liturgical season introduced by the Lutheran Church in Australia.  This season is part of the larger season of Pentecost and offers us the opportunity to reflect more deeply on our part in this wonderous and mysterious gift of God known as creation and which God proclaimed was good.

More Voices has so many beautiful pieces of music which pick up elements of creation. I particularly love “Called by Earth and Sky” #135

Called by earth and sky
Promise of hope held high
This is our sacred living trust
Treasure of life, sanctified
Called by earth and sky

The verses go on to speak of the preciousness of water, air, land and fire and our responsibility to passionately care for all that has been entrusted to us.

There is something in the power of nature and its many expressions that speaks to my soul; from the awesome power of storm, to the magical moments under a star lit sky; to the sweeping grain across a prairie field or the serenity of early morning looking over the lake at the cottage or sunset when the day is done.



There is also something incredible about the ability of nature to heal the earth when we leave it alone.  I remember a TLC show that postulated what would happen to the earth if humans were no longer present.  It was amazing how quickly the earth would return to its prehuman state and most signs of human presence would be eliminated.  When I ponder the power of creation, I am reminded how small and insignificant my part is in it.

The refrain for Psalm 148 in More Voices says:

Let the whole creation cry, “Glory be to God on high”

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Work

Most of you know that on June 30th I ended a wonderful 26 year pastoral relationship in Cole Harbour and I began my "summer of retirement" - 8 weeks being unemployed (I didn't actually retire and start receiving a pension) - 8 weeks without "work."  It has been a wonderful summer and truly a gift to be able to live for a period of time without being concerned about an income since that money had already been set aside.

Over the course of the past 8 weeks I have thought a great deal about the concept of "work" which so often is exclusively tied to income  Work is what we do, to earn money so that we can enjoy life.  With the exception of looking after a dog for a week and officiating at a few weddings, I did not work, in that traditional sense but I had the joy of working in a whole new way. For the first time in years I baked brown bread; I took delight in planting a vegetable garden at the cottage and tending to it all summer.  My sister and I planted flowers in beautiful barrels and actually kept them alive. There was no money exchanged but the work was life giving and soul satisfying.

We do a huge disservice to the concept of work when we think about it primarily in terms of money and we separate it from all other aspects of life.  The hymn "Worship the Lord" #401 in Voices United, by Fred Kaan and Ron Klusmeier, proclaims in the refrain that "worship and work must be one."  The second verse says
Praying and training that we be a blessing
and by our handiwork daily confessing
we are committed to serving humanity
worship and work must be one!

Work is so much more than how we earn a living.  It is all about what we do to make a difference in the world and make the world a better place. 

I am happy to be going back to "work" this week. Once again I get to use my gifts and skill, passions and abilities in a vocation I love and I will earn a little money which is always helpful. I am looking forward to my time with the fine folks of the Waverly Pastoral Charge.  Next week I will also return to work at Atlantic School of Theology to teach once again.

May your week be filled with good work - whatever that looks like in your life. And as we come to Labour Day and enjoy the last long weekend of summer, may we remember the many people who sacrificed greatly to create a Labour Movement and unions to give workers a voice.  Blessed are we as a result of that "work."

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Wet

Yesterday was a wet and dreary day.  We were very grateful that our day at the beaches was lovely and dry and since there is nothing you can do about the weather, you just go with the flow.
We were cruising from Rouen back to LePecq outside of Paris with a short stop in the little town of Les Andelys.  It rained all day so we were not able to enjoy the sun deck as we cruised.

When the ship docked a few of us got off, rain pants, jackets and umbrellas and went to see the tiny town.  A few brave souls followed the guides up the hill to the ruins of the Chateau Gaillard, a fortress built by Richard the Lionheart back in the 12 century.  On a clear day you have wonderful views of the river from the top of the hill.  Unfortunately for us the views were obscured by low clouds and rain.

Afternoon tea was served on board the ship with lovely French coffee which warmed our chilled bones.  The Captain's farewell dinner was last night and today is our last full day.  Some of us are going back into Paris, others have left for Versailles, some are doing an afternoon excursion to Napoleon's Chateau de Malmaison and some are doing Paris by night this evening.  All of us will be packing at some point today because our luggage needs to be outside our room at 4:30am and we leave the ship at 5:30 to begin our journey home.  All being well Halifax folks will be home at 4:35 tomorrow afternoon.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Emotion



Day 13 - Normandy Beaches
Sunday, June 19th, 2016

Emotion
Today was a day filled with emotion as we embarked on our full day tour of the Normandy Beaches.  Viking offers two options, the US tour and the Commonwealth Tour.  Our first stop was in Bayeux where we saw a magnificent tapestry that chronicled the events leading to the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The tapestry is 70 meters long and 50 cm wide.  We each had an audio guide that explained what was happening in each of the scenes.

We continued to the beaches and stopped for lunch in Arromanches a seaside village on Gold Beach where you can also see the remains of the ingenious Mulberry Harbour, towed across the English Channel to facilitate the offloading of cargo for the D Day invasion.  We continued to Juno Beach and the amazing Juno beach Centre.  We watched a short video which left us all in tears as the reality of what happened on the beaches was made that much more real.  At the end of the video it showed a lovely family walking the beach and talking about the events of that day in June 1944.  As they are walking, superimposed on the screen are images of soldiers marching along and then the words on the screen say, “When you walk the beach, they walk with you.”  There was not a dry eye as we headed out to walk the beach ourselves. We were so fortunate to have a lovely sunny and warm day to walk on what many referred to as “holy ground.”

Our next stop was the Canadian Cemetery, Beny-sur-Mer, where 2048 soldiers are buried.  It is a peaceful and beautiful spot filled with flowers.  We were each given a rose to place on a grave of our choice.  Many of us looked for Nova Scotian soldiers and quietly pondered the sacrifice which had been made by so many who were so young.

Next we visited the Pegasus Museum and learned more about the importance of Pegasus Bridge which was taken by the British in order to prevent a German counterattack.  I also learned about a dog named “Bing” who was a paratrooper and was given the animal version of the Victoria Cross.
Our last event of the day was a drive by the British Cemetery at Ranville, the first village liberated by the British.

It was a very full day, full of emotion, full of pride, full of memories.  Of course it was also Father’s day and one couldn’t help thinking about all the fathers, sons, and brothers who never made it home or who came home very different from when they left.

Back on board the ship it was time for another lovely meal and then a few of us went up to the Cathedral where at 11:00 they do an amazing light show, projecting a series of images on the front of this gothic building, accompanied by music.  The first show was quite modern while the second show included many of Claude Monet’s images as he did a series of paintings of the cathedral.

Milan

Our last day in Italy was spent in Milan visiting 4 very impressive sites. We started at the Cathedral which is the 4th largest in the wo...