Rector's Message



Holy Habits By Rev’d Val
While the term, ‘Lent’ comes to us from a variety of ancient words meaning ‘spring’, and if we’re being honest who among us is not looking forward to warmer days, more sunshine and those first green shoots that tentatively greet us in our gardens, for Christians, Lent is a time that we intentionally set aside and dedicate to prayer and spiritual renewal in anticipation of the great celebration of Easter. During Lent we are asked to pause and consider where we’ve been and where we’re going in our Christian life. Like the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert, the 40 days of Lent give us a chance to prepare for what is next in our lives. It is in the desert, a place of few distractions, that Jesus took the time to ask himself the “hard” questions, and in the silence of that place to risk coming face to face with trials and temptations as he wrestled with what he had been asked to do by God. Lent becomes therefore a time when we consider Holy Habits, that is those actions and routines and disciplines that keep us focused and attached to the person at the centre of our faith, Christ Jesus. We choose these habits at first, but after a while they become a strategic part of who we are, in Christ Jesus, as the Spirit empowers us to serve and to act. Lent is a journey that we make as both individuals and as a faith community. May God’s Spirit work in and through us so that these Holy Habits find space to grow and flourish in us and among us into life-giving restorative routines.

Ash Wednesday, March 6th, 7pm
As we gather on the first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday, we participate in a liturgy and a ritual that is ancient in its origins. Our prayer book tells us that these ashes, placed upon our foreheads in the shape of the cross, are a sign that speak to us of the frailty and uncertainty of human life. As they are placed upon our heads, we hear the chorus ringing over us as the celebrant moves from person to person, ‘Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.’ This may seem an odd, even morbid focus for us, in a society that goes to great lengths to avoid the reality of our own morality, but on this very special evening, far from running from our own mortality, we stand before it, in all its harshness, and we give a nod to its truth. It is no lie, we are dust and to dust we will return. Everything eventually passes. Yet within the parameters of our beginnings and endings, in the interlude called life – much is possible as we acknowledge the love given to us by God, and moving out into the world we strive to extend it to those who spend so many of their days painfully aware that they are dust. It is somehow, nestled in the finiteness of life, and in the rhythmic gesture of this night, that we are invited into each day to acknowledge its fresh brilliance while allowing our resolve to grow ever stronger in service to our God … mindful, grateful, and infused with love. Ash Wednesday, not a service that you usually attend? Never too late to start a good habit. We are especially blessed this year that Bishop Linda will be with us as Celebrant and Officiant. Please plan on attending.

Prayer: There’s an app for that – Anglican Journal https://www.anglicanjournal.com/prayer-theres-an-app-for-that/

Spirituality on the Go:
Centre for Action and Contemplation https://cac.org/category/dailymeditations/
Over the course of the last few newsletters I have offered different suggestions of sites that offer opportunities for reflection when we are pressed for time. Today, I would like to offer this suggestion of the Centre for Action and Contemplation in which Richard Rohr, Catholic priest, Franciscan friar, and prolific writer based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, offers a daily meditation on a variety of themes over the year. While not long in length, they definitely are written to get us thinking and wondering. Why not subscribe to these daily offerings?

Spirituality on the Go: Part Two
As I mentioned in our last newsletter, sometimes we feel that to be truly spiritual we need long spans of time and that simply is not the case. Adding to suggestions from last year, might I suggest:
My Daily Minute
https://www.norvalunited.ca/connect-online/my-daily-minute
Yes, you read that correctly this is a 60 second daily devotional, well to be totally honest, you may spend more than a minute at this site, but it’s goal is to give you a Scripture, a brief thought and this is my favourite part, a link to a short video related to the theme of the day. This comes to us from the United Church, and is based out of Guelph Ontario. If you choose to subscribe to it, it will be delivered into your Inbox every morning.
World Community for Christian Meditation
https://www.wccm.org
Does your taste run to something a bit quieter? Al-ways wanted to meditate but not sure quite how to start. You will want to visit the site of World Communi-ty for Christian Meditation to find endless resources to help you on your faith journey. If you like using apps, they also have one that can be downloaded by visiting your App store and looking for ‘wccm’.

 

Spirituality on the Go
Sometimes we feel that to be truly spiritual we need long spans of time. I’m here to tell you that that simply is not the case. I hope over the next few newsletters to offer some suggestions about resources that are available to us, and especially when time can be limited. Why not incorporate one or both of these into your daily routine.
To begin let’s start with: a Three Minute Retreat
https://www.loyolapress.com/3-minute-retreats-daily-online-prayer
Yes, you read that correctly a three-minute retreat, whenever you need it. I think most of us can manage that. Why not click on the link and be pleasantly surprised?
For another choice why not visit Pray As You Go, https://www.pray-as-you-go.org/home/ This is a 10minutes daily devotion that give some beautiful music, a reading of Scriptures, and some short pointed questions to support reflection.
For those who prefer, both of these website are also available as Apps. Let me know what you think after using them for a while. Better yet, why not submit a reflection on your reflecting for the next newsletter!