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Musings... On Being Kind...

Well, I am back. Yes, it is good to be back home. It was a pleasure to sleep in my own bed last night but, it was also a pleasure to be away for the past week – a time of rest, relaxation and recuperation following the first hectic and sometimes challenging weeks of this new year!


Jen and I travelled on Saturday to Orlando, where on Sunday we boarded a cruise ship for a seven night cruise that took us to Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and Dominican Republic. Unfortunately, the weather caused us to miss a port in Bahamas and we had to endure an extra sea day – a hardship – NOT!


I have long enjoyed travelling. Meeting people along the way, learning of their stories and of the places they come from has always fascinated me – and this trip offered ample opportunity to be fascinated by the warmth and generosity of many, and appalled by the sense of entitlement and privilege of a few.


Speaking with crew members offered a glimpse into lives of loved one separated from family, working 10 to 12 hours per day, up to ten months of the year away from home, offering service, with generous and kind smiles, to some who seemed only to take their efforts for granted… as if they were entitled to it.


On numerous occasions I was so deeply saddened by the way crew members were treated… What is it within some that leads them to believe that they are somehow more deserving than others? More entitled? Is it just because they have ‘paid good money’ for this experience that they think they can disrespect the one who is serving them? I so wish I’d had the courage to speak up… but alas… the power as displayed, silenced me as well.


The best I could do was be genuinely present with those I interacted with and in true Canadian fashion apologize – even when it wasn’t my fault…


It is not lost on me – the privilege that I experience as a White, Western, Anglo, Saxon, Protestant, male… ironic that two of the Netflix series I started to watch on the flight to Florida and back, touched on the power and abuse of power that has been perpetuated by men in recent history: The Program, and, Turning Point: The Bomb and the Cold War. The first documentary examines the ‘troubled teen’ treatment industry and the second, as the name implies, explores nuclear proliferation and the Cold War…


There are days I wish it were as simple as tattooing that Facebook meme on each of our foreheads, “In a world where we can be anything, be kind!” But of course, it is not that simple, for sometimes, firm words are required. Sometimes clear boundaries need to be established and enforced… and I suspect, and hope, that such a time will arrive soon for both Ukraine in its struggle against the invasion of Russia and Palestine in its struggle for liberation within Israel.


Might we ever use our privilege and power to promote and foster peace and justice.





Looking Ahead

This morning was spent in the office responding to a backlog of emails and other correspondence and the afternoon was devoted to two pastoral visits.


On Tuesday morning I have a meeting in the morning followed by the gathering of the Lectionary Study Group. I have a meeting with a colleague in Amherst over lunch after which I will do visits at the hospitals in Sackville and Moncton.


Wednesday afternoon will have me again at the office for meetings with the Stewardship Convenor, followed by two other meetings, the first with a student from Mount A about an application for funding and the Executive for its Business meeting at 6PM.


Thursday will be devoted to crafting the liturgy and reflection for Palm Sunday and at 7PM, on behalf of the Region, I will attend a meeting of the governing body of Visions United Church as the Pastoral Charge Supervisor, a role I have been appointed to by the Pastoral Relations Committee of the Region.


Friday and Saturday will be days off (but I suspect I will be working on the sermon still), and on Sunday I am so looking forward to being in community with you again after two Sundays of being away!  Thank you to Ellie and Catherine who offered leadership at the Sunday Gatherings in my absence and to Scott Stuart who was available to respond to pastoral emergencies.  And huge congratulations to all who contributed to the success of the PIE Auction.  May we continue to be Public, Intentional and Explicit in our welcome and affirmation of LGBTQ2S+ persons!


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