Thursday, October 13, 2016

Advent 2016

Advent Quiet Day: Praying with George Herbert 

Saturday, December 3, 2016
The devotional poetry of George Herbert, seventeenth century priest and poet, expresses heart-deep faithfulness; it also functions as spiritual direction for the pilgrim. 
Herbert’s spiritual journey was long, convoluted and complicated as we learn from his poetry. Therein lies its beauty and value for all his readers. 
Through a gentle reading of some of his poetry we’ll explore what he has to say about the season of Advent: a time of expectation and examination in preparation for the birth of our Saviour.
Led by the Rev. Canon Susan Bell, the Canon Missioner for the Diocese of Toronto. In this role, she works as a catalyst for and encourager of mission throughout the Diocese. Susan is Associate Priest at St. Martin in the Fields, Toronto, and Chaplain of Havergal College.
  • Begins 9:30 am with a gathering for coffee; ends 4 pm.
  • Fee $30 ($25 for Associates and Oblates) if you bring a bag lunch. 
  • A hot meal is an additional $15. 
  • Registration deadline: November 26, 2016
  • Registration here »

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Day

Christ has no body now on earth but yours; no hands but yours; no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which He looks with compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which He walks to do good. Yours are the hands with which He blesses all the world.

- St. Teresa of Avila 1515 – 1582

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Matthew 1:18-25 

Handing out gifts at St. John's Rehab
Mary was called by God to provide hospitality for the Messiah at great risk to herself, for she could have been stoned to death for the sin of adultery. Joseph was called by God to provide room in his heart for Mary, to give her a home and the protection of his name. He was risking his own reputation for the sake of Mary. How are we being called to provide hospitality in our time and place when so many people are homeless or don’t feel they belong? -- over 20 million refugees seeking a place of safety; LBGT’s still seeking acceptance; aboriginal people seeking a sense of belonging to their own culture; young people seeking meaningful work related to their level of education; elderly people desiring to feel useful.

We too are being called to find room in our hearts for God — Emmanuel: To see Christ in those who are hungry and thirsty; to welcome the stranger, clothe the naked and visit the sick and those in prison. Jesus said: “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” As we reach out in love and compassion to those around us, we are providing hospitality to those in need; we are ministering to Christ and at the same time being Christ’s hands and feet to the lost and the lonely.

Sr. Elizabeth Rolfe-Thomas

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

 John 14:23-27 (NRSV)

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. John 14: 27

On this day 2000 years ago Joseph and Mary must have been traveling by donkey on their way to Bethlehem for the birth of their first child.

Traveling – hasn’t this been part of all our lives? For my husband and me leaving our family in the United States and traveling to Canada so that he might serve as a priest on both sides of the border has become as familiar to us as getting dressed each day. However, it is not an easy task when a granddaughter says, “Please stay just a little longer”. This is what the apostle said to Jesus when he told them that he was going on a journey - a journey back to his Father.

Just as we leave our children in the protective hands of a person to care for them, Jesus left the disciples in the care of the Holy Spirit. Just as we say “Don’t argue, and love one another,” Jesus said the same to the people he left behind.

I believe that during this season of Advent we should reflect on the tasks he asks of us – love one another and remember that he said “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Do not be afraid.”

This is our journey, our hope, and our faith, knowing that God is with us forever in all of our travels.

 Lynne van der Hiel

Monday, December 21, 2015

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

 Isaiah 53: 1-6

The controversy over the reading from Isaiah is one of perspective. Jewish scholars relate the speech of the “Suffering Servant” to the Nation of Israel, while Christian scholars hear the premonition of a suffering Christ. The beauty of scripture is that despite the factual context and timeline of the voices, they reveal and speak to core issues of humanity. The teaching moment comes when we identify the core issue and then ask ourselves can I relate to this from experience, is it relevant in our current culture or our global ethic? Undoubtedly, disenfranchisement, oppression, and suffering remain perennial human issues, timeless in their impact on many each day of their lives. One common thread of these issues is boundaries; walls of fear, hatred, and ignorance erected in one heart against another, in one culture against another, in one country against another. The boundaries once erected then need to be defended; the result is suffering on both sides.

Sufi mystic Rumi once wrote, “Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing, there is a field. I will meet you there.” This vast field of possibility, a meeting place of peace, begins in your heart then expands ever wider with each relationship you are willing to participate in on equal ground. We can all meet on that vast field, with hearts committed to openness, until our world becomes a place of an ever-expanding consciousness of peace. It all starts with you.

Kathryn Tulip

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Monday, December 21, 2015

 Isaiah 26:1-9 

Awaiting the Messiah, the Child to be born, we prepare for His coming and we anticipate that day with hope, joy and love. 

How do you prepare yourself, O my soul? It is not enough to know the truth; you must guard the truth and keep it. Many have been in conflict with others as they claim to be defending the truth: that is ungodly zeal. Beware of that. But the words of the Prophet Isaiah teach you to “guard the truth … lay hold of the truth and keep peace” (Is 26: 2,3). The Truth is that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who came in the flesh into our world to reconcile all things unto Himself granting us His eternal peace. O my soul, you know Him, so guard this knowledge, hold fast to Him and His words and keep peace with yourself and with others; peace with those far and near … peace with enemies and friends … peace with all.

Preparing my home for Christmas includes sweeping, washing, choir practice and decorating with special ornaments. Likewise, my soul, your preparation for His coming requires emptying and filling.   

Emptying the heart and the mind of falsehood, and filling them with the Truth of who He is: the King of Peace, the Way, and the True Light.

Emptying the senses of worldly pleasures, and filling the mouth with the ancient song of Isaiah: “Behold, we have a strong city; He will make our salvation its surrounding wall.” (Is 26:1)

Emptying my time of vain occupations and distractions, and filling it with acts of charity, reconciliation, forgiveness, and kindness: “O Lord our God, grant us peace, for You render everything to us.” (Isa 26:12)

Mervat Iskander

Saturday, December 19, 2015

PEACE Sunday, December 20, 2015

 Isaiah 9:6-7

For unto us a child is born......

The strings start, then the sopranos come in followed by the tenors and before I can even line my fingers up on the computer keyboard to work on my meditation, the rest of the choir has joined in and I have a full blown performance of Handel's Messiah playing in my head. (The theme for this week is peace so it's a good thing the Hallelujah chorus with it's tympani part is part of the Easter section of the Messiah!)

For many years as a youngster, I remember my dad conducting Handel's Messiah at our cathedral. It was no small affair, choir, soloists and full orchestra. I'm not sure if the orchestra was paid in those days, but I do remember that the musicians loved to take part year after year. The most memorable performance was the year the bass player had a paying job later on the night of the performance but he didn't want to miss playing for Dad. He played the first half and had a friend step in for him after the break. One of them was tall and dark and the other was stockier and had shocking red hair and a full red beard. They could not have been anymore different. I don't know if the audience noticed the change but certainly the members of the choir and orchestra did!
....Unto us a son is given”

A child born and a son given. Consider the difference?   

  Chris Hooker