Heat & Light
The heat is intense these days. The image in Jesus’ Parable of the Sower (our Gospel text for this Sunday) comes to light in a new way. While the sun is an essential element in the cultivation of life, it can be a harsh and dangerous force as well — like the seeds that were spread on rocky ground and subsequently scorched by the sun.
It also reminds me of Spike Lee’s 1989 film, Do the Right Thing. The movie depicts rising racial tensions in a New York City neighbourhood. The city was also in the grips of a heatwave. You can view a clip of the film here (be warned, there is some foul language at the end of the scene). The intensifying heat parallels the growing racial and social tensions that reach a boiling point at the end of the film. It’s not exactly our situation. But there is certainly a mix of heat and light that is being generated in our current moment of social and racial tension. The heat may be unavoidable. But we can hope and pray for light as well. Let me point you to two sources of such light.
The first is a roundtable series that is being sponsored by the Black Anglicans of Canada (see poster below). I, along with several others from Epiphany & St Mark, attended the first session on Wednesday night after compline. It was excellent. Aina-Nia Ayo’dele from the City of Toronto offered a powerful analysis of anti-Black racism in Canada and some of the ways that she and the City have responded. Please consider registering and attending the three remaining events.
The second source of light comes from the United States and is inflected with American themes. But it is an incredible theological reflection and call to conversion as it concerns the history of the Episcopal Church and the realities of anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism. An open letter composed by three women of colour who are all priests in the Episcopal church — illuminating.
Let us keep our world in prayer as we seek to be receptive soil for the seeds of the gospel.
Join us for online weekly worship held on Sundays at 10:30am
Join our services through Zoom Meeting on your computer:
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Meeting ID: 777 678 934
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COMPLINE – Wednesdays at 7:30 PM
Each Wednesday at 7:30 PM, we will gather for a short service of prayer. You can access the service through the same link that we use for Sunday worship.
Compline, which comes from the same Latin root as the word “completion,” is a form of prayer that marks the end of the day where we hand the night over to God and ask for a restful sleep.
PRAYERS: FOR USE DURING THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK
The Church of England has produced an excellent prayer resource for use during the pandemic. The booklet includes prayers about the outbreak, personal prayers, prayers with children, and a pattern of daily prayer.
| FROM THE DEACON’S DESK – Prayers and Reflections |
The late great Maya Angelou once said, “it is sad but true that sometimes we need tragedy to help us to see how human we are and how we are more alike than we are different.” She could have been talking about COVID-19 and the effects it has had and continues to have on the world as we once knew it.
Many years ago, a young man walked from village to village in his country accompanied by a strange assortment of followers. The motley crowd consisted of fishermen and business owners, a wealthy man who worked for the imperial government, a revolutionary who some people would call an anarchist, and a thief or embezzler. Later, he even attracted prominent people—wealthy, religious leaders, and even members of the high court of the land. He counted females among his followers. That was something discouraged in his day! He had a heart for the poor, the sick, the lonely—the marginalized in society. That young man had some very interesting conversations and stories. His stories and conversations taught his listeners about developing relationships based on love for God and for neighbour, accepting everyone and ministering to all regardless of their background. He did not shy away from conversations around the political and social events happening around him. In fact, he saw our involvement as an important part of being a good neighbour. This is the great message of Jesus Christ whose name we bear. He too recognized our common humanity and how we are more similar than dissimilar despite age, gender, social status, colour, creed, race.
COVID-19 has shown us the timelessness of Jesus’ message of love based on authentic relationships. As each ugly layer in our society is exposed, we as Christians must recall and follow our Lord’s teachings. Reading our Bible is easy, coming to church (when it is possible) is easy, giving a quarter to someone on the street is relatively easy, talking about Jesus is easy. Concentrating on living the way Jesus has instructed us to live, is not at all easy. Confronting our prejudices takes a lot of work and a great deal of honesty and we are all in different stages of this journey. We are a work in motion. As the Church of the Epiphany & St. Mark, Parkdale embarks on its journey to justice and wholeness in our church, let us uphold each other with loving support.
We come before you in a spirit of supplication. As sinners we know we have much for which to repent as beloved children we know we have great reason to hope in your abundant mercy. As members of a society plagued by opposition to your Gospel, we implore your assistance and aid to work towards a society where discrimination, racism, hatred, bias, division, and rejection of your love is replaced by faith, hope, and charity in the communion of all your saints on Earth and in heaven. May your Kingdom come, Lord Jesus. Amen. (https://thejesuitpost.org/2020/01/a-prayer-on-martin-luther-king-jr-day-for- the-grace-to-boldly-work-towards racial-justice/ Published January 20, 2020)
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