You were strong and I was not…

Carissa's world

Dave: Pride has nothing to do with inner strength…two different notions.

Me: Proud people seem so strong…at least they’re perceived as being strong.

Dave: So tell me…staying in an abusive relationship just to keep your “public image” is it a sign of inner strength?

Me: Not at all…

Dave: I’m glad you agree on that…

“The drops of rain were cold and she hurried into the church. Months without seeing Daniele and the unsettling feeling that something is wrong…She knew she’s taking a risk and she knew she can’t handle another insult from him, but she was hoping…maybe here, in the church where he served as a ministrant, maybe here he will be her friend one more time. For the last time.

-Dani…Hello…

He seemed absorbed in his prayers. The long white outfit made him look like an angel but the look in his eyes when he faced her had…

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Our Bodies are Temples of God

Exploring the Word:   Sermon – January 25, 2015

By Roland Legge

3rd Sunday after Epiphany (Year B)

Jonah 3:1-5, 10

Mark 1:14-20

God within Us

Are you ready for a revolution?  If you are not you might want to reconsider if you want to be a follower of God and Jesus.  God and Jesus are continually trying to bring on a revolution of love, peace and justice.  They are always surprising us and encouraging us to walk a different path.

Back in the days of Jonah, God was just as busy trying to transform the world.  God chose Jonah to be part of that plan.  Now Jonah seems like an ordinary person. He is no king or prince.  Jonah is not unlike us, fearful of living and speaking prophetically and often too lazy to try.  So it is no surprise that Jonah couldn’t be bothered to go Nineveh.  But God somehow got him there.  The story goes on to tell us that Jonah was first eaten by a fish when he was trying to run away and then burped out near Nineveh.  Yes, God does go to great lengths to get our attention and then cooperation.   Most importantly, God wants us, like Jonah, to be part of this transformation of love.

So Jonah gets to Nineveh and reluctantly does the work of God.  He is just barely into the city proclaiming the sinfulness of the Ninevites that they begin to repent.  They were so convincing that our surprising God heard them and forgave them.  But like lots of us Jonah was not so forgiving and became enraged when God so quickly forgave them of their sins.  Jonah had become so full of hate that he was not so ready to forgive.  Then God let Jonah sulk under a bush until he knew that God was not going to change her mind again. You see God is always surprising us.  Doing the things we least expect. How is God surprising you? Who are you meant to forgive?  Who are you meant to challenge?  Who is God calling you to see in a new light?

When God breaks through our armor, often during the traumatic times of our life, then we become open to living out God’s revolutionary plan.  If we choose to be part of God’s plan , then we can become part of this holy work.

In the Gospel according to Mark at the beginning of Jesus’ revolutionary ministry he calls upon two men, Simon and Andrew the fishermen.  They were both courageous men! It is quite likely that Simon and Andrew came from upper middle class families.  They not only had to be willing to give up family and friends but a comfortable standard of living.  They were willing to risk their lives. They followed their hearts rather than over analyzing their options which would have probably prevented them from living out their calling.  They chose a very different life from what they had been groomed to be.  They chose to be counter cultural.

It is Jesus who brings out the revolutionary love in others such as in Simon and Andrew.  It happens in the surprising ways that Jesus goes about building God’s revolution.  Most revolutionaries would build a strong army.  But Jesus goes about inviting ordinary but extraordinary people into his movement.  These are a group of untrained, uneducated, fishermen, and tax collectors stumbling along after Jesus.

 (Pulpit Resource Vol. 34, No. 1 Year B January, February, March 2006 by William Willimon Published by Logos Productions Inver Grove Heights MN P.G. 18)

Are you surprised?

 

When we can feel the Spirit of God, which is always accessible to us, we see and feel the world in a different way.  When we see injustice, we see a way to liberation. When we see poverty, we not only ask why, we seek the path out of poverty.  When we experience neglect for Mother Earth, we grieve, but make choices that will begin to heal the earth. When we are told that we can’t make the world a healthier and more loving place we ignore the sentiment and get on with the revolution.

Each of us has done something to further the revolution.  Here is one story of a teacher in Los Angeles as told in Awaken The Art of Imaginative Preaching.  Does this story bring any people to mind for you?

Rafe Esquith is a teacher in inner-city Los Angeles, California who sees culturally sanctioned disparity between resources and opportunities available to children of wealthy parents and children of parents with lesser means.  He also recognizes that there is a misconception about poor children not caring about school.  His way of teaching, his whole way of living, which for years included working four jobs to pay for all of his classroom extras, is countercultural.  Esquith draws his students to class hours early and keeps them in school hours after the closing bell, and seven days a week.  They clamor to reach and perform Shakespeare, to do challenging mental math problems during breaks in class, and to spend recess learning intricate guitar concertos.  This inspired and inspiring teacher has swept up generations of children into his pro-learning movement, many of whom have grown up to return the support they received from him.  Other schools have tried to lure Esquith away with much larger paychecks and easier settings but he holds his ground.  Viva la revolution!

Awaken the Art of Imaginative Preaching Advent Epiphany 2005-2006 by Janet Norman and Paul Turley Published by Logos Production Inc Inver Grove Heights MN P.G. 37

I hope the story Esquith brings to mind people in our own community. We do have revolutionaries/healers right in our own midst.  We have people who visit our many shut-ins.  We have people who give of their time to community groups who provide great opportunities for our residents of all ages. We have teachers, nurses and many others who go the extra mile to care for those they serve.

Our society tells us the poor, the elders, the disabled, the mentally ill are not worth our time.  Thankfully we have people who the see the value in each person just like Jesus did. Even coming to church today is counter cultural.  It goes against our society that says that life has everything to do with consumption.  Thus in some way we are all revolutionaries of Jesus.  What do you think of that?

Our Bodies as Temples of God

Sermon – January 18 2015

2nd Sunday after Epiphany

By Roland Legge

1 Samuel 3:1-10 (11-20) Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 John 1:43-51 

 

God calls the people we least expect! Can you imagine being Samuel waking up in the night to this voice calling his name?   Now there is old Eli who recognizes this voice as that of God. This must have been challenging for Eli because why would God talk to Samuel rather than him.   The miracle is that Eli was able to humble himself by encouraging Samuel to answer.

Then there is Nathaniel with his poor opinion of people from Nazareth. So what was it that convinced him that Jesus was worth paying attention to even though he came from the backwaters called Nazareth?

When you think of it Paul was also a very unlikely follower of Jesus because at one point in his life he was one of Christianity’s greatest enemies. He did everything he could to make life difficult for the Christians. Then one day on the Damascus Road he has a radical turn around and becomes a follower and proselytizer for Jesus.

I think we can blame all these conversions on the Holy Spirit! These people had their lives totally turned around. They were all able to feel the presence of God in their physical and spiritual selves in such a powerful way they could not continue to live in their old ways of fear and greed.   How has your life been turned around?

I want to focus on the Epistle because it talks of what for me is so important. Paul was calling on his people to use their bodies for the transformation of the world. He calls on his followers to treat their own bodies with respect and dignity and do the same to others. In essence Paul was describing how God becomes incarnate in each of us every day. How God loves to live in every cell of our bodies. Did you know that Christianity is one of the few religions that believes that God became incarnate in a human being? I go even further and say that God seeks to become one of us each day. This is not just a spiritual concept! It is about all of us especially our physical bodies.

Most of us have grown up in the Church that has not been comfortable with our human bodies. We, that is the Church and Society, have come up with all sorts of rules, taboos and destructive theology that has divided us up into two beings a that we are intended to treat our bodies as temples. Our bodies were created in the image of God. In the book of Genesis we are reminded that God was pleased with what God had created.

How do you feel about your own body? No one is perfect! No one has a perfect body because each body is unique. I have struggled with my body image for years. I am certainly not the image of stereotypical strong man. I have too often feared my own body. I keep worrying about what could go wrong. But if you think about it our bodies are amazing miracles. It is amazing that our bodies work well most of the time and especially when we are taking care of them. It is amazing how often, other parts of the body, will make up for a part that is not working well. We are truly blessed.

I believe Jesus came into the world to help us live fully in our human physical life here on planet earth. I don’t think Jesus was concerned about the afterlife. He wants us to live the best we can during our earthly life. He wants us to use our bodies for the building up of the Kindom of God.   He wants us to enjoy the incredible gift of being blessed with a human body that allows us to fully experience the world through sight, smell, touch and thought.

Also I believe that the Spirit desires us to enjoy being sexual beings. Meaning thus that God intends for us to experience the world and each other through our bodies. To remain being fully human we need gentle touch to remind us that we are part of something much greater. Then when we give ourselves fully to another person it becomes a sacred act that radiates the love of God. I appreciate what Rohr says about the Catholic Theological Society’s 1979 Study on Human Sexuality.

The Catholic Theological Society’s 1979 Study Human Sexuality summarized it rather well when stated that our sexual action must aim to be “self-liberating, other-enriching, honest, faithful, socially responsible, life-serving, and joyous.” That is certainly the task and journey of a lifetime, but it is no more or less than what Jesus said when he taught the greatest commandment of love of God and love of neighbour. The two loves “resemble” (Matthews 22:39) one another. They are each the school of the other. We will learn how to be properly sexual as we understand the properly passionate relationship that God has with us. And we will learn to be properly spiritual as we come to understand the true character of human longing and affection.

http://sojo.net/preaching-the-word/pure-passion?parent=41152

When we can openly talk about sexuality in church we will have come a long way.

I hope we can learn to value our bodies more. I hope we will stop trying to separate our personhood in to the physical and spiritual. We are all interconnected. Each of us are a weaving together of all our physical and spiritual qualities. They cannot be separated!

I invite you this week to intentionally be aware of your amazing body and how you feel blessed to live in it. What are you thankful for?

When we feel so blessed by our bodies we cannot help but want to take better care of ourselves and to encourage others to do the same with their own bodies. This all must happen to heal the world.

God within Us

The Power of Intention

Sermon – January 11 2015

Baptism of Jesus Sunday (Year B)

By Roland Legge

Genesis 1:1-5

Acts 19:1-7 Mark 1:4-11

 

Today we mark the day of Jesus baptism. It was an important day for Jesus! He felt compelled to follow in the way of John the Baptists. He wanted to start afresh again through the repenting of his sins. He wanted to publicly profess his faith in God! He also wanted to make clear that God was God and Caesar wasn’t.

The story goes that when Jesus is baptized a dove appears, a sign of the Holy Spirit descending on Jesus. Do you remember when a dove appears in another Biblical story?   If we go way back to the book of Genesis a dove is sent out to find dry land and finally it returns with a leaf in its beak. I think Mark wants us to connect Jesus to Noah. Hence he has a special relationship with God and he is to be trusted.

I believe in the power of intention! Jesus made his intentions known to God in how we was going to live his life. This was his strong desire to spread God’s love and stand is solidarity for justice. However this is much more than our annual New Year’s resolutions. How many of us hold on to our resolutions for more than a month. I don’t think many of us do. Do you?

When we set our intentions we are using all of who we are in mind, heart and body in connection with the Holy. This becomes a powerful force for change. How do we do this? It comes out of our prayer, mediation, and worship, all within community. It comes out of listening to the Spirit within us and around us. It comes from the cries for justice from our brothers and sisters from around the world. It comes from the teachings of Jesus and other wise people. The miracles is that the more we live it out the more right it feels. However it is often not easy.

In the United Church of Canada we mostly baptize our children. I am probably one of a few of you who was baptized as an adult. For most of you the equivalent would be your Confirmation or Re-Affirmation of Faith. It is the time when we proclaim to God and our community of our choice to live in the way of Jesus. It says to ourselves and those around us, that everything comes from God. We have been put here on earth to be good stewards of amazing Mother Earth to whom we are just one small part of.

As follower of Jesus we choose to try out a very different understanding of how humans and Creation are to live in harmony with each other. We say NO to the Domination system that says only the toughest and most violent people will survive. We offer the radical understanding of power through vulnerability and weakness. We follow in the way of Jesus that gives this world an opportunity to pass on this amazing planet and gift of life to many future generations ahead.

Sadly Christianity has been terribly influenced by the Domination System. This had led to horrible violence being let loose on many vulnerable people. Millions of people have been killed in the name of Jesus. If Jesus could speak to us today he would be very angry and sad!

The Jesus Movement is one of compassion! It is also has a peculiar concern for the vulnerable and oppressed! This makes many of us in the West uncomfortable because we have so much. Yet Jesus cares about us all.

His call is for us is to be more generous with all we have been given. It doesn’t matter to God who paid for it or made it. It does matter how it is being used. It does matter that those who are in greatest need benefit from the technology; production of food, clean water, affordable housing. People who are sick such as the thousands of people in Africa who are suffering from Ebola should get the medicine they need whether or not they have money to pay.

God calls all of us into ministry. Ministry is all about spreading the Good News of Jesus. This is not about capitalism, materialism or militarism. In fact it goes against any ideology that gives the power and privileges to a few people. The Good News is that we each have enough! The Good News is that we can all enjoy life when we share more equitably with each other. The Good News is that no one needs to suffer from poverty, violence and or war. The Good News is that there is a better way to live on this planet.

So go and keep spreading the Good News! Jesus has abundant life planned for you! Jesus knows that you have important things to do in this world that will help to make it a better place for all. Jesus has given you everything we need to live well in this world.

 Jesus and Discipleship

Called to Witness

Sermon – January 4th 2014

2nd Sunday of Christmas

By Roland Legge

Hebrew ScriptureJeremiah 31:7-14

Gospel:  John 1 (1-9) 10-18

 

 

Who was John the Baptist?  Scholars believe that John the Baptist had his own movement for liberation.  John was calling on people to turn their lives around well before Jesus came on to the scene.  Many of us believe that Jesus was originally a follower of John.  But as time moved on Jesus got a name for himself.  The scripture we read today is the result of the early followers of Jesus choosing to keep John the Baptist in the story although in a lesser light.  In the end John’s movement eventually joined the Jesus movement.  But this took many year and in the mean time the two groups struggled for acceptance.

In our Scripture reading today, from the Gospel according to John, the author shows us that John the Baptist’ ministry was to be one of witness to Jesus.  Jesus needed John to point to him as the son of God, the Messiah that many Jews had been waiting a long time for.  Why did Jesus need a witness? Because Jesus was so busy healing and proclaiming the Good News that few people understood who he really was.  John was needed to proclaim to the world that Jesus was no ordinary man!  He was indeed the son of God.

While for some Jesus was not big deal because they saw Jesus as some crazy zealot who was trying to free the Hebrews from the Romans.  They didn’t think that Jesus would amount to much.

But then were those who felt threatened by anyone challenging the status quo whether that was the religious officials or the Roman Empire.  It didn’t take long before a group of people, Romans and Jewish officials sought out Jesus to arrest him and kill him.  They were particularly concerned by the many peasants getting excited that God had something better planned for them.   The smell of rebellion was in the air.

In this atmosphere Jesus was calling on his followers to be witnesses for the Good News that Jesus and his disciples were proclaiming.  To be a witness to Jesus was also to be a disciple, choosing to live out this vision through words and actions.

Witness

We all need to discover how we are being called to witness for Jesus.  It won’t be easy!  Every day thousands of people proclaim their witness for materialism and capitalism on all our media devices.  So we need to find ways to get people’s attention.  We need to walk our talk so people will take us seriously.

How do you witness to the power of Jesus in our world? Sometimes it comes from the most unlikely of people, often a child.  I quote from a book by Thomas Long:

Diane Komp, a pediatric oncologist, tells the story of the time, early in her practice of medicine, when she was treating a little girl named Anna for leukemia. This was back in the days when the recovery rate was woefully low, and though Anna had gone in and out of remission many times, by the age of seven she was facing the end. At Anna’s side at the last were her parents, a hospital chaplain who favored psychology over theology, and Komp herself, who at the time would have described herself as a “pragmatic post-Christian agnostic.” Komp writes, “Before she died [Anna] mustered the final energy to sit up in her hospital bed and say: ‘The angels – they’re so beautiful! Mommy, can you see them? Do you hear their singing? I’ve never heard such beautiful singing!’ Then she lay back on her pillow and died.”      Anna’s parents reacted “as if they had been given the most precious gift in the world.” The hospital chaplain quickly left the room, leaving the agnostic Komp alone with the grieving Christian family. “Together we contemplated a spiritual mystery that transcended our understanding and experience. For weeks to follow, the thought that stuck in my head was ‘Have I found a reliable witness?’” – Thomas G. Long, Testimony, Talking Ourselves into Being Christian

 

I think of two of my elementary school teachers, Mrs. Gardner and Mrs. Reid who taught me at Edith Cavell Elementary School in Vancouver.  They witnessed to the power of God by the way they taught each of their students.  As a child I could feel the love they had for me and their confidence in my abilities.   I also could feel that they had the same love for each of their students. 

 

I think of Russ Hudson, one of the teachers and researchers at the Enneagram Institute.  He is a witness for the type of world that Jesus desires us to experience where every person will be recognized and honored for the gifts and love they bring.  He points to the way where people of all and no religions of the world can get along with each other.  He points to the truth that God has given us everything we need to live fully in our world.   He shows us how we can begin to access the holy within each of us.  It is a matter of uncovering what we already have.

 

I try to witness to the holiness of each person in our world.  I believe that we are all made in the image of God.  We all have that of God in each of us.  It is even there in some of the most terrible people in the world.  I believe that we all have amazing stories to tell about our lives.  Every story I hear are most amazing stories of love, hope, determination and struggle.  So whenever you share your story with me I feel very blessed.  You all act as witnesses to the holy calling that each of us have been given.  Your stories fill me with hope because I have no doubt that God continues to be active in our world working through each of us.

Preaching the Word by William H. Willimon

The more we intentionally choose to witness to the type of world that Jesus desires us to live in, the more faithful our witnessing we will be. The best way to do this is by living as though this is already true. So we love each other for who we are. We speak up for those who can’t. We share everything we have. We care for planet earth because we have been blessed with its providence. We learn to resolve disputes nonviolently. We can have heaven right here on earth. This is the Good News!

What do I want for Christmas

Sermon – December 24th 2014

Christmas Eve 2014

By Roland Legge

Hebrew Scripture: Isaiah 9:2-7

Epistle: Titus 2:11-14

Gospel: Luke 2:1-20

 

 

For most of us Christmas is a very special time of year.  It seems to bring out the best in us.

We love to get together with family and friends.  We think of our elderly and disabled who are not able to get easily out of their homes.  We think of the many individuals and families who do not have enough to eat and so donate to food banks.  We seem more generous at this time of year as many non-profit organizations get more donations.  We seem to make a bigger effort to get along with each other. It is said that one night during the 1st World War the soldiers stopped fighting on Christmas Eve and came together for a party playing soccer, sharing some of their rations and showing each other photos of their families back at home.  These are all little miracles.

Now imagine if we lived each day as though it was Christmas. I think the world would be a lot better place. As Christians, followers of Jesus, we indeed are called to live this out each and every day. How do you live this out each day?

As I get older the giving and receiving of material gifts seem to be getting less and less important. What I do value is having time to be with friends and family. I value taking some time to reflect on how I am living out my call from God. What do I need to keep doing? What do I need to let go of? What new thing might the Spirit be calling me to do. I value doing my best along with others to continue to make the amazing planet earth we have been gifted by God a better place where all can enjoy.

There is much I want for Christmas! But not just Christmas but every day. I want human kind to learn how to live more in harmony with Mother Earth. One thing I would like to see are our governments and mining companies take greater responsibility in how they mine the resources and how they treat the local people; many who are being displaced around the world. I would like us to value all of Creation simply because God created it. It doesn’t have to have a financial value to be of worth.

I want to see the end of wars around our world. Violence is such an outdated way of solving disputes. Too many people make huge amounts of money making all the equipment and computer programs to fight these terrible wars. We must not let greed rule our ways. If soldiers can stop fighting for a night we can stop fighting any time we choose too. Jesus did really show us the way to resolve disputes non-violently. Let’s take Jesus seriously and really follow in his ways.

I want to see the great religions of the world to get along with each other. I believe there are many paths to the Divine. Instead of fearing each other let us be open to learning from each other. Let us find ways to work together on issues of importance that we can all agree on such as peace, the environment, healthy people, the economy and much more. Let us enjoy the diversity of people that God created us to be.

I want to see the end of all forms of prejudice whether that be ageism, homophobia, racism and/or gender. We need to keep asking God to help us see that we are all created in the image of God. To be reminded that God is not concerned with all these prejudices but more with how we treat each other and Mother Earth and all that makes it up.

Yes there is much I want for Christmas and for everyday of the year. The Good News is that many acts of love, compassion, reconciliation and justice happen every day. Sadly the media seems to ignore much of this. So remember this when you watch the news. This doesn’t mean we should ignore all the bad things happening around the world.

There are so many challenges our world faces. Yet, if each of us live our lives with the help of our inner and community guidance of the Spirit the world will continue to be transformed. The greatest gift you can give the world is your time and talents in living out the great Commandments to love God, self and neighbour. With each of us doing our part in our personal and corporate lives the world will become more and more healthy. God knows you make a difference! Do you know that?

One of the greatest gifts I have ever received is the relationship I have with my wife Jen. Through her love for me I am learning to be more attentive to the Spirit. She helps me to be my God given self. To be my true self. I am also thankful for my extended family and friends who make it awesome to be me. I treasure each and every one of them. So when I am around Jen, family and friends I feel valued and so feel compelled to make a difference in the world. I want others to feel that same kind of love that melts away fear and hatred.

I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas. I hope it will be a time to enjoy yourself, your family and friends. I hope it will be a time to reflect on your life and listen to the inner voice of the Spirit that will continue to show you the way. Most importantly I hope we will reflect on what it means to be a follower of Jesus. To ask how is Jesus asking you to live in his way?

May God continue to bless you on this journey.

Christmas

Radical Mary Mother of Jesus

Sermon – December 21st 2014

Advent Four – Year B

By Roland Legge

2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16: 

Luke 1:47-55  Luke 1:26-38: 

 

Can you imagine being Mary, mother of Jesus?  I wonder if the story we heard in the Bible today was really so straight forward.  Do you think she would have accepted the news that she was going to have a baby out of wedlock so well and so quickly?  What do you think?

I don’t want to denigrate the story of Mary because I believe she was a very courageous woman.  But I think the over simplification of her story does not reflect the strong faith and courage she had.

Now let’s imagine that you are Mary.  You are young. You are soon to be married.  You don’t have a lot of choice about how you will live your life.  You are feeling very vulnerable. The man you are to marry is a kind and gentle man.  But he is a man of his times.  You have to be careful in how you treat him.  You have to be careful in what you say.

So when an angel visits  you with the so called, Good News, that you are to give birth to the son of God you at first are shocked.  You think: How could this be?  I am not ready for this!  I am in so much trouble!  This could mean the end of my chance to marry Joseph.  This may be the end of my life.  You can’t help but cry!

Mary could have run away and I wouldn’t have blamed her.  But Mary shows us the courageous woman she is. She does feel strongly called to bring this child into the world.  She somehow knows he is going to be special.  But she makes this choice knowing she is doing this at great risk to herself, the baby and the rest of her family.  Mary is far from being gentle and innocent.  She has a fire within her, the Holy Spirit that leads her forth into the chaos of the world.

I love the Magnificat, Luke 1:47-55, which for me describes her faith.  This shows us the radical side of Mary. It turns upside down the traditional understanding of her.

 

Sadly the Christian church has changed Mary into this quiet obedient women that no woman could ever hope to emulate.  Why?  She has been shaped through theology to represent the male feminine. These represent the feminine qualities that males suppress in themselves and then project onto women.  I quote from Rosemary Radford Reuther:

To a large extent, Mary has been simply a cultural and religious symbol of this projection.  She becomes the idealized nurturant mother, cut off from the qualities of sexuality and wifehood that are despised by men. When women try to model themselves after that understanding of Mary, they receive something very distorted and alienating for them—an act that is impossible for any women to follow.  Virginal motherhood is not something any woman can actually accomplish.

Sojourners Preaching the Word: http://sojo.net/preaching-the-word/onehumanity?parent=41145#PTWadvent4B

I choose to believe in the revolutionary Mary who lives with great courage. She stands up for God in calling forth people to repentance standing in solidarity with those who live in poverty, violence, war and oppression.  She does not call women to live a life that does not reflect all of who they are and who they are capable of being.  If Mary was living today I think she would a strong feminist!  What do you think?

I believe that God calls upon us to live with the same courage Mary had.  Can you think of a time in your life when love has been birthed as a result of some ones courage and vulnerability?

I remember when Terry Fox was running across our country to raise money and awareness of cancer.  Because of his courage and vulnerability he dramatically increased the research going into the prevention and cure for cancer.

His heart for life touched a lot of other hearts not only in Canada but around the world. He continues to make a difference.

I think of Malala as a contemporary Mary who continues to raise the awareness of the importance of the education of girls around the world and in the importance of respecting and honoring human rights around the world.  She is turning the world upside down.

I think of Louis Wilson, former Moderator of the United Church of Canada and former member of the Canadian Senate who continues to work for social justice in our country and around the world.  She took on National Sea Products in Lunenburg Nova Scotia when they were negatively impacting the local fisherman and fish factories.  She stood up for the rights of women in the United Church of Canada.  She challenged the Canadian government to build healthy relationships with countries around the world that respect human rights and to challenge those who didn’t.  Lois will never be forgotten.

I think of my Aunt Jean who never gave up on her church and Presbytery raising funds for the Mission and Service Fund.  She was the very opposite of meek and mild.  She made sure you never forgot about the importance of the Mission and Service fund.  She walked her talk through many years of working for the YWCA and as social worker.  She has changed me for ever.

In essence Mary was the first disciple of Jesus.  Jesus got much of his values from Mary.  If it hadn’t been for Mary’s courage Jesus may never have been born.  So I give thanks for the mission and ministry of Mary.  It was through her courage, and the courage of many other people there is much to celebrate in our world today.  There is also hope for the future.  Merry Christmas!

 

Mary