“Many of us are still suffering PTSD from the language of salvation.”
So I was told last week after our WBB service.
Post-traumatic stress disorder from the language of salvation.
I get that, even though it is not my experience.
I get it that the language of salvation has been a tool of manipulation,
rooted in an abusive spirituality of guilt,
and constructed for social control.
I get that.
But rather than abandoning the language of salvation
(and I appreciate that some folks just have to do that,
at least for a time),
I’d like to reclaim it.
<<<< Watch a short video about this ministry
A weekly early morning Eucharist service, Tuesdays @ 7:22 a.m. in the Wycliffe College chapel. Rich liturgy, creative music, provocative preaching and the celebration of communion followed by a breakfast of home baking, preserves, juice and organic fair traded coffee in the chaplain’s office.
A community of people who meet for food, reflection, and mutual encouragement, Thursdays @ 6:00 p.m. in the CRC campus ministry office at Wycliffe College. We eat together, pray and read scripture, listen to each others’ stories, hear guest speakers, and engage in wide-ranging and deeply probing conversations.
Any of our staff team would be happy to meet with you individually to discuss personal concerns or issues that you are dealing with. Contact any of us via email to arrange a time for a confidential conversation.
My daughters think that I hate shopping. They are mostly right.
Not all shopping, but certainly the kind of shopping that might take me into a mall. Indeed, my overwhelming bodily experience in a mall is an overheated irritation that gives birth to a grumpy exhaustion. My body literally starts to ache if I’m in the shopping mode too long. And too long is something like five minutes.
Actually, I can start to feel that overheated irritation and soreness just looking at a store these days.
That is one kind of bodily soreness.
But there are other kinds.
In what is perhaps the most remarkable turn of a phrase in the letters of Paul, the apostle tells us in Romans 8.22 that “the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now ….” This is a creation longing for redemption, longing to be set free from all that binds it.
Perhaps only the women in our community can begin to understand what Paul is talking about here, and even there maybe only the women who have given birth. I can tell you as a very concerned observer that there is an intensity in the groaning of labor like nothing else that I have ever witnessed. Groaning in travail was the way the older versions of the Bible put it.
But this is a travail, a work, a pain, born of hope. The smile on a woman’s face upon delivering her baby and holding that child to her breast is also one of the sweetest things that I have ever had the privilege to see.
All of creation is longing for that smile.
All of creation looks for the day of resurrection.
All of creation is waiting.
All of creation is in Advent.
The man who began his letter by identifying himself as a slave …
‘Paul, a slave of Jesus Christ’ …
and who has at times in his epistle called his readers to be …
‘slaves of justice’ …
comes to the heart of his correspondence by writing …
‘For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear,
but you have received a spirit of adoption …’
Slaves of Christ, even slaves of justice, but for those very reasons, not captivated by a spirit of slavery.
Obviously the apostle is playing with this (and many other) metaphors in this letter.
Urban Remixed presents
Room at the Table:
Urban Ministry from Justice to Imagination
with Jamie Howison
st benedict’s table, Winnipeg
Facilitated by Brian Walsh of U of T
Monday, November 26 @ 7.00
Church of the Redeemer
162 Bloor St West, Toronto
(Bloor St & Avenue Rd)
Refreshments will be served
For more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
There is something powerfully ironic about Leonard Cohen’s song, “Anthem.”
Anthems tend to be declarations of faith, of nationhood, of victory.
But Cohen’s anthem borders on lament.
Instead of evoking a memory of past glory that sanctions an optimistic hope,
the artist sings:
The birds they sang at the break of day
“Start again”, I heard them say
Don’t dwell on what has passed away
Or what is yet to be
There have been a number of amazing musical moments in my life.
Moments when the joy fills the room, even as the artist leads us into deep places of pain.
Often enough, those moments happen on Tuesday mornings.
There is something about the Wine Before Breakfast bandhood that finds a way to reach deep into our souls; something that gives us voices to sing – even at 7.22 in the morning!
In my life the WBB band stands in a rich tradition of artists whose music they will often bring into our worship. Artists that I have had the good fortune to enjoy performing live:
Leonard Cohen, Bruce Cockburn, Josh Gritter, EmmyLou Harris, Daniel Lanois, Van Morrison, U2 and Bob Dylan.
And it is a Dylan concert that this week’s music will conjure up for me.
It was the late 70’s and Dylan had ‘got religion.’ In fact, the show that he was touring was nothing less than a gospel revival! And there he was on the stage of Massey Hall singing:
A group of GCFers will be going to see:
By Aldyth Morris
Presented by Sanctuary and The Bench Theatre Initiative
Friday, November 23
8:00 pm (meet at 7:45; doors open at 7:30)
Tickets: $12 in advance, $15 at the door (buy your own)
Sanctuary, 25 Charles St E, Toronto
For details see this website or email Carol Scovil
Standing in grace,
sharing God’s glory,
boasting in suffering,
and hope that does not disappoint.
This is the language we meet as we turn to Romans 5 tomorrow at WBB.
Grace, glory and hope. Sounds good.
But what’s suffering got to do with it?
Well it seems that Paul figures that if there is going to be grace, glory and hope,
and if all of this is going to be anything more than
cheap grace, fading glory and false hope,
then we’re going to need to think about suffering.