Monthly Archives: November 2010
I grew a mustache this month. I’ve never really done the ‘facial hair’ thing before – and it certainly wasn’t invited by my spouse.
“Movember” is a movement to raise awareness, and funds, for prostate cancer. It’s kind of fun, and a bit silly, for us guys who tend to usually have a clean-shaven look. And, especially around the university campus, one can pick out those who are participating pretty quickly – so there’s something of a camaraderie in joining in.
To switch gears a bit, and at the risk of sounding heartless, I’m surprised at how many get on board with illness-related fundraisers. Cancer generates all kinds of support and funds for research; I’ve received all kinds of mailings from a multiple sclerosis society; lung disease invites contributions for the ‘seals’ they send out around Christmas time. Is it fear that generates such support? Do people give because it might be insurance for down-the-road, should they, heaven-forbid, get one of those ailments?
I don’t mean to say they aren’t worthy causes. I’m conscious, however, at the amount of energy is put in to promoting such efforts – mailings, commercial advertisements on TV, internet promoting, and so on. Is that what drives people to give? Marketing? (Maybe it is!)
What might encourage people to support life-centred endeavours? I’ve known of faithful church people who, when they have died, their families invite contributions to cancer research, and have forgotten about contributions to their church family.
In all of this, please hear me when I say that I would encourage support of research that can extend peoples’ lives in healthy and happy ways. I would always encourage people to be generous in their support of new findings that can benefit many. My hope is that people will also be generous in their support of smaller groups that may not have the same, high-profile, but who may be contributing positively to the community around.
And, in the back of my mind, I remember my grandfather who died of prostate cancer almost eleven years ago as I sport this ‘mo’ this month. He also gave himself – in time, money, and talents – to his community, and especially his church, in very generous ways.
Yes, it’s the beginning of a new year – a new church year!
This month has been one of newness in a few ways, for me. (In terms of the church-year, there is irony in the fact that November often is laden with end-times kinds of imagery and texts…)
The month began with a multi-faith lunch gathering (albeit smaller than anticipated) at the church-house. Early on, there was a Food Sustainability presentation by a few folks who have had something to do with food production in Canada, including MP Alex Atamanenko (as I look at that link, I’m realizing that the picture of the woman with the megaphone is one I took at a rally at The Sails on the 7th – I guess that’s what she did with the picture when I sent it to her at her request!). Leading up to November 7, All Saints Sunday, I was also working on ‘promo stuff‘ to get word out around the Synod about the mission congregation of All Saints Lutheran.
I wore a White Poppy this month in remembrance of those who have been affected by war – civilians, soldiers, those who have lost loved ones in violent conflict. On the evening of November 11th, I attended a Center for Inquiry meeting of some people coming together as agnostics and atheists; I was well-received and was pleased by the openness in the group to me.
Mid-month, I joined with members of the Okanagan Rainbow Coalition for Transgender Day of Remembrance – I was invited to offer some thoughts at the event, and it was an honour to be a part of the day that way. My family hosted an open house, as we do annually for the congregation (usually sometime close to Christmas). And, All Saints had its second “Souper Sunday” (aka “Soup & Spirituality”) on the evening of November 21st – Reign of Christ Sunday.
Today, for the first Sunday of Advent, we joined with the Kelowna Christian Reformed Church community for morning worship. It was an enjoyable combined Communion service! Our instrumentalists led the music with their singers. Both Pastor Duane and I offered meditations on the readings.
That’s the month in a nutshell… now for the new year ahead… I wonder if All Saints can be a ministry of the community – that our role is one to offer a different message from the Christian community than people may have thought before. There are many churches in the Kelowna-area; many of the churches, while connecting with the community in different ways here and there, have their own buildings and congregational matters to attend to much of the time. All Saints doesn’t have those kind of issues, yet it may be a stretch for some other communities to embrace the work that we do and support it. …we’ll see what the next year brings! And, without a doubt, I’m conscious that what this year will bring will be up to me, and up to the congregation of All Saints – the incarnation which we anticipate this season in the Christ child is also the incarnation we are to the world.
“O day of peace that dimly shines through all our hopes and prayers and dreams.” (ELWH #711)
In his book, The Power and the Glory, by Graham Greene, the hero – or non-hero – is a seedy, alcoholic, Roman Catholic priest who after months as a fugitive is finally caught by the revolutionary Mexican government and condemned to be shot.
On the evening before his execution, he sits in his cell with a flask of brandy trying to keep his courage up, and thinks back over what seems to him to be a dingy failure of his life.
Tears poured down his face. He was not at the moment afraid of damnation – even the fear of pain was in the background. He felt only an immense disappointment because he had to go to God empty-handed, with nothing done at all.
It seemed to him at that moment that it would have been quite easy to have been a saint. He would only have needed a little self-restraint and a little courage.
He felt like someone who had missed happiness by seconds at the appointed place. He knew now at the end that there was only one thing that counted: to be a saint.”
This month we observe “all saints day,” the remembrance of an armistice after a world war, and a church year ending. Life is also about death. But faith is also at heart about the grace of God. Live in that grace!