In the Light of Christ
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Rev. Rob and Revy Kevy discuss ways in which our faith intersects with our lives in the public square. Find the podcast on YOUTUBE and SOUNDCLOUD and ITUNES.
Welcome to 2019! I hope the Christmas Season was a blessing to you and your family. I’d like to say a special thank you for the many cards and gifts received these past weeks. Margie and I are so appreciative of your generosity and we enjoyed celebrating the gift of Emmanuel with you. I write these words on the eve of the Feast of the Epiphany (January 6). The first reading from our liturgy that day is from the prophet Isaiah. Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you. Through the birth of Jesus and with the celebration of Epiphany, we acknowledge that we are the people on whom a great light has shone. The image of the magi and their journey to Jesus figures prominently at Epiphany. Tradition holds that the wise men did not stay with the holy family after their visit. We don’t exactly know which way they went but Matthew’s gospel says they went home “by another way”. But they certainly didn’t stay. As we look upon the manger one final time this year, we know we cannot stay there either. Like the magi, we too are called to move away and take the light of Jesus with us. Arise, shine; for your light has come! We are asked not only to admire the light, but to be people of light. The light of the Epiphany is given to us as a gift, but we cannot keep it to or for ourselves. This is an image I hope our parish can carry into 2019. As we move away from the manger, and move forward with the gift of the light of Christ, which way will we go? At our Vestry meeting on January 27th, we will be presented with a way forward in the updated Mission and Ministry Plan. In this plan we will highlight ways that we, as a community of faith, can carry the light of Christ through Discipleship, Evangelism, Outreach, Service, the Transforming of Society, Renewing the Earth and learning to be good Stewards of all that God has given to us. Arise, shine; for your light has come! I hope you will come and engage in this important aspect of our parish life together. To quote Bishop Desmond Tutu, “Do what you can do where you are, and God will surprise you!” Are you up for a surprise this year? Let’s go!
In the Light of Christ
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If there was one gift, I could give everyone in the Parish this holy season it would be a book by my favorite spiritual writer Henry Nouwen book. (Perhaps you could treat yourself and slip one under the tree and open it up Christmas morning and yell “Thanks Rev. Rob!) In Finding My Way Home, Henry writes:
“I have found it very important in my own life to try to let go of my wishes and instead to live in hope. I am finding that when I choose to let go of my sometimes petty and superficial wishes and trust that my life is precious and meaningful in the eyes of God, something really new, something beyond my own expectations begins to happen in me.”
The Advent season is upon us. A time we set aside to wait for the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day. But it is important that this waiting has a purpose to it. We are given this holy season, so we can reflect on what it means to know that we are so loved by God that God chose to enter our humanity and be one with us. As you consider the enormity of this truth in your life, you may find yourself letting go of all you think you need to be lovable and begin to see the world around you in a new way. It is out of knowing that we are enough for God, no matter where we are or what’s we’ve done, that radical hope will come alive in us.
I invite you to set aside some time this Advent season to let God love you. I will be setting aside time in the sanctuary for quiet prayer and reflection on Wednesdays at 10am and 7pm, December 5, 12 and 19. You are most welcome to come. May God be with you and the ones you love this holy season.
On Saturday September 29 I participated in the Walk A Mile in Her Shoes Event in support of Anova London. Anova provides safe places, shelter, support, counselling, and resources for abused women, their children, and all oppressed individuals to find a new start. The sun was shining, and the energy of all involved was high as men from the community slipped on the 2 inch red high heel shoes and trekked the one mile route around Victoria Park. The day raised over $30000 for Anova to support the many programs they offer. I would invite you to their website to learn more. anovafuture.org.
In our baptismal covenant, we promise to strive for justice and peace among all people and to respect the dignity of every human being. Abuse of any kind, particularity abuse of women at the hands of men, is in direct opposition to this. It is unacceptable that this is continuing at the rate that it is. Saturdays walk was much more than a fundraiser. It was a sign to the world that we can stand in solidarity with the victims of abuse and that together we demand a world where this is no longer acceptable. As one person said to me on Saturday, “My dream is that we won’t have to do this fundraiser every year because there will be no need for Anova.” This is God’s dream too. That God’s good creation is free from violence and injustice and that all of God’s children, male and female, young and old, will live in peace. Jesus’ call from Sunday’s gospel reading (Mark 9:38-50) is to be salt so we can season the world with a love that penetrates deep into every soul. So deep in fact that respect for the dignity of every human being becomes part of who we are. May we pray that violence ends. May we be salt for the world and season it with love and peace. May we together walk toward God’s dream for God’s world!
I don’t know if it still plays on television, but I love the Tim Hortons commercial that describes our feelings as Canadians about the coming of fall. A woman is walking down her street on a sunny summer day, when she looks down and sees a maple leaf that has fallen from a tree to the ground. She looks into the camera and screams, “Noooooooooo!”. We are moving from the warm lazy days of summer to the chill and busyness of fall.
Officially, summer ends and fall begins on September 22 at 9:54pm. This is a perfect time to consider our spiritual journeys. What can we meditate and pray about as we enter this special time of the year? How will we be transformed this fall? Here are a few things we all can consider.
1. Balancing darkness and light. We often fear the dark and only adore the light. Joyce Rupp, a Catholic writer and poet challenges us to befriend our inner darkness: "I gratefully acknowledge how darkness has become less of an enemy for me and more of a place of silent nurturance, where the slow, steady gestation needed for my soul's growth can occur. Not only is light a welcomed part of my life, but I am also developing a greater understanding of how much I need to befriend my inner darkness."
2. Letting go. As we watch leaves fluttering to the ground in the fall, we are reminded that nature's cycles are mirrored in our lives. Autumn is a time for letting go and releasing things that have been a burden. All the religious traditions pay tribute to such acts of relinquishment. Fall is the right time to practice getting out of the way and letting Spirit take charge of our lives.
3. Acknowledging impermanence. Autumn reminds us of the impermanence of everything. We have experienced the budding of life in spring and the flowerings and abundances of summer. Now the leaves fall and bare branches remind us of the fleeting nature of all things. "The poet Wallace Stevens once wrote, 'Death is the mother of beauty.' What those words say to me is that we cherish the beauty of a sunrise, of a relationship, of a child's hug, precisely because those things will not be around forever and neither will we be around to enjoy them."
I pray you find the peace that passes all understanding as you enter into this fall season.
How does one begin a blog page? I guess from the beginning! By way of introduction, I'd like to say how grateful I am to be part of the Anglican Parish of Holy Trinity St. Stephen's Memorial. My road to the priesthood was a long one and at every turn I'm amazed at how the Spirit has guided me to places I never thought possible. Years ago I was a student at Fanshawe College in the Radio Broadcasting Course. As a part time job I worked at CJBK radio on Wellington Ave (graveyard shift from midnight to 5am) watching the big reel to reel tapes go round and round! I would always drive by this particular church on my way to the radio station. I was raised in the Anglican tradition and at that point in my life was not active in the church at all. I remember wondering what this particular Anglican Church was like. I wondered what would happen if I went in one Sunday. Like many folks who drift from Christian community I figured that ship had sailed and that I'd never go back again. So to be serving here as rector and priest is a humbling experience. Now I drive by the radio station on my way to work and wonder if God was smiling at me those many years ago as if to say, "Don't give up on me kid, cause I'm not giving up on you." I'm currently reading "Grateful" by Diana Butler Bass in which she writes. "Grace begets gratitude, which, in turn, widens our hearts toward greater goodness and love." I guess I will begin my time here acknowledging God's grace which carried me here and creates my feeling of gratitude for this new ministry. I invite you to join me here every once in a while as we discover together the many ways God's grace enters into our lives. I hope my reflections will be a chance for us consider God's presence within our journeys. I believe that if we spend time doing that every so often that we will discover the voice of the Spirit guiding us along our paths. God hasn't given up on us...God hasn't given up on you.
June 27th, 2018
I thought that it would be a good thing to end my time here by saying a few words. It has been an honour to be able to serve this parish as the Interim Priest for the past 8 months since Canon Keith left to go to another parish. I know that this congregation will continue to push forward in ministry with the new Rector, Rev. Rob Henderson. My time here has been an amazing time and it is a bittersweet goodbye for me. The many thanks from the congregation has certainly humbled me in accepting all that you the congregation gave to me as we said good-bye. This is just a closing of a Chapter in my life and a beginning into the future wherever I will go. It is for all of you a new beginning as you welcome Rev. Rob at the first of August. Many blessings and Shalom. Marian+
Rev. Rob Henderson
Rev. Rob began his ministry at Holy Trinity St. Stephens Memorial in August 2018. Before arriving in London he served as Rector of St. James Roseland in Windsor (2011-2018) and Rector of the Anglican parish of St. Paul's Essex/Trinity Cottam (2008-2011). Rob is a graduate of Huron College (M.Div) and University of Windsor. (B.A). Rob enjoys reading, movies, sports and longs walks at Springbank Park. He and wife Margie have 2 sons, Brett and Kyle.