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Musings:On Living and Loving with Hope...

Last night I watched on Netflix, All Quiet on the Western Front, yet another remake of a 1929 novel that seeks to capture both the monotony of battle, the struggle for survival and the randomness that is life. This afternoon I will do another funeral. Another funeral for an individual who died only a few years older than me. And on Sunday, and again on November 11th we will remember and honour so many who lives we cut short by the horror of war.

Kate Bowler in her book, No Cure for Being Human puts it this way:

This is what happens to all of us. We fall ill. We get old. We can’t have that baby or keep that relationship. We missed our chance to go to this school or take that job. Our parents die before we know them, and our kids forget our love. We lose people before we can learn to live without them.

What’s a body to do?

Live. Love. Embrace each day fully.

I’ve come to believe that it really is that simple. Seek to be present to each moment. Let go of expectations, for as Anne Lamott once wrote, “Expectations are resentments waiting to happen.”

But what of hope? Where is hope in a life without expectation? Isn’t hope in its very essence expectation? I say no, hope is experienced in the present, in the now, in this moment – in one’s awareness of what surrounds them and dwells within them.

Live. Love. Embrace each day fully.

In the depictions of trench warfare in All Quiet on the Western Front there are moments of hope, instances of tender care of one man for another – we need only be present to them, to notice and appreciate them.

As I gather today with a family in grief over the death of a loved one, there will be shared memories of a life well lived, of love shared and nurtured, and this is hopeful – not in some airy-fairy way about heaven, ‘somewhere up there’, life in the here-after – but here and now in the grit and struggle of daily life.

Live. Love. Embrace each day. Day after day.

I will use Jesus words ‘Blessed are…” as a basis for the funeral reflection this afternoon and explore with those present how we would be better served to understand the beatitudes as a series of statements that honour those amid the struggle that is life.

Honoured are the poor in spirit, for they will be comforted.

Honoured are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

Honoured are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Honoured are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

Honoured are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Honoured are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.

Honoured are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kindom of heaven; right here, right now.

Honoured are you, even when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

Rejoice and be glad, because your reward is great in this heaven that we are building right here in the same way as the prophets before us ushered in the reign of God.

Eventually Kate Bowler lands on a conviction in her writing, one that I think I’ve believed and lived for a long time, but could not, and did not express as eloquently, “Hope for me is the belief that I am in a story that is about love—God’s love for me and our love for each other.”

Live. Love. Embrace each day. Day after day.

May it be so. Amen.


Looking Ahead

This morning (Monday) has been spent preparing the funeral for Karen Leger which I will officiate at this afternoon at 1PM. I suspect, as I started this task at 4AM that I will be calling it a day soon after the internment is complete at the Midgic Cemetery. As Jen and Kate will be away this evening I trust I am awake long enough to greet some of the ghouls, goblins and superheroes that will come 'round seeking treats!

On Tuesday, All Saints Day, I will meet with the Lectionary Study Group at 10:30AM and together we'll look at the readings for this coming Sunday. In the afternoon I expect to be at the Drew.

I will be in the office on Wednesday morning and look forward to welcoming those participating in Seniors Sharing the Table. Come and share in the fun with the folk from Open Sky at 10AM! On Wednesday evening the SUC Executive will meet for their monthly Grounding Meeting after which there is an opportunity to participating in an online panel discussion, From Pandemic to Endemic: Impact on Theology, Church, and Spiritual Health, hosted by Christian Council of the Capital Area. John Perkin, former Chaplain at Mt.A and friend of Sackville United Church is a panel member.

Thursday will be devoted to crafting a liturgy and reflection for Sunday - Remembrance Sunday. We are in need of someone to read scripture and some one to read the names of the honour roll. Call me if you would like to participate in either of these ways.

Friday and Saturday will be days off.

Sunday is Remembrance Sunday. Wear a poppy and lets us remember and resolve to work for peace. And don't forget, there will be a lunch and learn after the service! Lunch by Lloyd and Learning shared by Bruce Moore. At 3PM Lloyd, with the assistance of Harris McSheffery will be offering a service at the Drew Nursing Home.

With the support of the Ministry and Personnel Committee and the Executive, I am on Study Leave from November 7 to 13. With the exception of an overnight trip to PEI on the 7th I will be available to respond to any pastoral emergencies. During the week I will be doing advance planing for the Advent season. Ellie Hummel, Multi-Faith Chaplain and Spiritual Care Co-ordinator will be leading the Sunday Gathering on November 13th during which she will speak of her work at Mt. Allison. Thank you for your leadership Ellie!

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