All posts by johncarr

The Clay Pot Boy – A Russian Parable (Harry Currie)

Once there was an old couple who were childless. They had longed for a child for many years. One day it came to them to stop waiting and to shape a child for themselves out of what was available to them. The old woman looked around their house. The first thing she spied was a clay pot. That gave her an idea! Quickly she went to the riverbed and found the best clay in all the area. She brought it home. That night she and her husband loving fashioned a boy in the shape of a clay pot. They left it to dry overnight. Then it was fired in the oven the next day. And lo and behold, out of the oven came a delightful little boy! 

Like any newborn, the little clay pot boy was very hungry. He ate and ate and ate and ate. When the old woman and the old man had fed him all the food in the house, he began to eat their possessions. He ate the old woman’s weaving loom and the old man’s axe. Finally, he even swallowed up his parents, the old woman and the old man! Then he headed out into the world. 

And there his eating grew even larger. First, he met the neighbors. “I’m hungry!” cried the clay pot boy! The neighbors quickly offered him bread and milk. They had heard how he had literally eaten his parents our of house and home. He drank down ten tubs of milk and ate five baskets of bread. He met a bull in the next field and ate it horns and all. At the next farm he didn’t even as politely. He swallowed the farmer and his plough, the farmer’s wife and her hoe, their rooster and their hens sitting on their eggs. Finally, he swallowed the whole barn! 

Then he headed toward the billy goat with curly horns who was grazing in the next field over. When he reached the billy goat with the curly horns, the clay pot boy cried, “I’m hungry!” The billy goat saw all that the clay pot boy had eaten and he decided to the boy needed a lesson! When the clay pot boy headed toward the billy goat with his mouth open wide to eat him, the billy goat put down his head with the curly horns and charged. Bang! Boom! Smash!

The billy goat hit the clay pot boy smack in the middle and he burst into many, many pieces! Out tumbled the old woman and the old man and all their possessions. Out tumbled ten tubs of milk and five baskets of bread. Out tumbled the bull, horns and all. Out tumbled the farmer and his plough, the farmer’s wife and her hoe, the rooster and the hens and their eggs. And even the farmer’s barn! And…that was the end of the clay pot boy. The old woman and the old man never made a clay pot boy again. And the billy goat with the curly horns was always much beloved by all. 

The clay pot boy story is a story that speaks to our time specifically of consumerism, but to any time and to much larger issues when nations, cultures, empires, groups, or individuals consume others.

The Me Too movement is a backlash against men, sometimes powerful men who have consumed women… taken what was not theirs. The growth of the Western World, or the First World and Capitalism was growth often at the expense of poorer countries who were exploited. We can tell of the terrible consumption of the Holocaust, or Residential Schools, or the Inquisition, or of war, or of Colonialism, or other events where larger powers ate up smaller powers. And we have to look at our own lives and think about where we are more interested in taking, having, gaining and/or consuming. Things like goods, emotional leverage, position, perks, money, favours, sex, food, or other things we want.

Jesus offers a different narrative. In a world that often has a slogaon of “Eat or be eaten,” Jesus offers himself to be food. He is bread. He is water. He is wine.

Instead of taking from others, Jesus offers himself to others. He is food to a person’s soul. To those who hunger for justice, to those who thirst for love and acceptance, to those who want the bread of equality and the wine of peace, Jesus offers himself. To those who want to taste inner healing, Jesus is a balm. To those who are starving for forgiveness and reconciliation, Jesus feeds their souls.

So, the question we can ask ourselves. In what we can we be food to souls. Instead of taking, what can we give?

The Rev. Harry Currie
First Presbyterian Church, Edmonton

Moving to Yellowknife! (Kenneth MacRae)

2 Corinthians 5:1 “For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.”

Twelve! That is the current number of times I have moved in my life. This is not counting six months in Kuwait, nor the months living in a field in Wainwright, nor the 14 weeks on basic training. 12 represents the number of times I have had to pack up my worldly belongings and move to another home. Over the summer I had to move, curtesy of the military, from St Albert to Yellowknife. I hate to quote George Carlin the comedian but he is very accurate when he said, “That’s all I want, that’s all you need in life, is a little place for your stuff, ya know? …., everybody’s got a little place for their stuff. This is my stuff, that’s your stuff, that’ll be his stuff over there. That’s all you need in life, a little place for your stuff. That’s all your house is: a place to keep your stuff.”

The good news about moving is that you have to sort through your “stuff” to figure out if you need to take it with you. When we arrived in Yellowknife the movers put our 32’ tube TV in the basement. We sort of forgot we even had one. The basement of our home was basically our son’s domain, so we never went downstairs to relax. When that heavy TV was being lifted downstairs, my wife and I looked at each other and said that it was time to get rid of it. Thankfully there is an eco-center in Yellowknife so it is not just in a dump…I hope.

Government housing is usually old so that means smaller rooms. When we arrived in Yellowknife we had a “march – in” to our duplex. That happened from 1030 -1150 hrs. The moving van arrived at 1155hrs. We were still trying to figure out what rooms were in the house that we hadn’t seen before, to tell the movers where to put everything.

This move however was a little unique. As a Presbyterian minister and military chaplain I usually don’t have to worry about finding a home church. I’m usually called to a church or to a base chapel. Here in Yellowknife there is no chapel and no Presbyterian Church. For the first time in my life my wife and I went “church shopping”. Every church says that they are a welcoming church. Not every church embodies that phrase. People get use to their “cliques”. They want to spend time with their friends. Some churches welcomes the strangers in their midst. Others just look at the strangers.

We think we found a church home. We have visited 4 different churches but a local Baptist church was very friendly to us and introduced us to various people in the church. They were not putting too much pressure on us and had various groups to join which sound interesting. The music is great. The preacher is not too bad either…for a Baptist!

While every community that we have moved to is unique in their own way, one of the blessings that we have as Christians is that we can usually find brothers and sisters in Christ in every community around the world. Home for me is not really about my “stuff”. It is finding people to love and to be loved by. It is finding people who like to laugh, to share your concerns, to pray with. It is a bonus if I find people who like to golf, or fish, or play games with. No matter where we live, as long as God is present with us, we are never alone. Let the adventure begin.

Padre Kenneth and Cathy MacRae

The Cost of Unity (Rodger McEachern)

20 ‘My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.’  (John 17.20-21, New International Version, NIV, 2011)

Jesus prayed that those persons who “believe in me” after hearing the apostolic message from Jesus’ original twelve disciples (“their message”) “may be one”. This being “one” speaks to a unity that is not less but is more than a unity based on external factors. Jesus is praying that his followers would have a oneness that is grounded in the oneness that Jesus has with his Father, “that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.” Further, the oneness that Jesus’ followers have through believing in him is a unity that is to be experienced and lived out “so that the world may believe” that the Father have sent Jesus.

How are we to experience and live out being “one”? Three basic ways are:

  1. We need to repent for our prejudices and preferences that divide and not bring together the followers of Jesus. Too often our words and actions are means of criticism of other believers; they drive away other Christians. I am not referring to upholding biblical truth and the apostolic testimony that has been held by most Christians during all times in all places. Yet even this truth is to be spoken and lived out in love so that our oneness is a lived reality.
  2. We must come to the cross. We come to the cross of Christ as sinners, we receive forgiveness for our sins and are reconciled to the Father and to one another as God’s children (Romans 8.14-16). So, we come together, not as Presbyterians or Pentecostals, conservative or progressive, white or indigenous, male or female, young or old, but as the people of God ransomed and redeemed through the work of the cross of Jesus.
  3. We are to open our lives to the Holy Spirit and spiritual renewal. Someone has said, “Christian unity…was inaugurated on the cross, is given by God and wrought by the Spirit in the hearts of people. History teaches us that when revival comes, the Spirit takes virtually no notice of denominational labels….” As we open our lives to the Holy Spirit we are brought into the presence of Jesus and the Father (Ephesians 2.6); we come closer to God and we come closer to one another.

Yesterday close to a hundred of us gathered for worship. Coming from different racial, ethnic, and demographic backgrounds we came together as followers of Jesus. There was no delusion that our coming together reflected the perfect “oneness” Jesus prayed for. Yet as we praised the Name of the Lord, repented of prejudices and preferences, and called upon the Spirit to enliven us to the love of the Father, we drew closer to the cross and to one another.

The Rev Dr Rodger McEachern
Callingwood Road Presbyterian Church

Speaking Out about Principalities & Powers (Janet Taylor)

Naaman (II Kings 5) was an important fellow. Some books call him a field marshal, while others say he was the commander of the Syrian army. He’s described as great, honourable, victorious, mighty, and valorous. But he has a problem. And it’s a problem many of us have also experienced at one time or another. He has a skin problem. No, it wasn’t necessarily leprosy as we think of leprosy; in the First Testament that term is used to describe any problem with the skin. So maybe it was psoriasis, which does leave white patches all over the body when it’s severe. Maybe it was discoid lupus. Maybe it was severe eczema. Who knows? Whatever it was, it was a problem for Naaman. A big problem.

In one of the border raids which were a regular occurrence between Aram and Israel, a young girl was grabbed to become a slave, and eventually found her way into the household of Naaman’s wife. While there, this plucky young woman suggested that if Naaman could visit the prophet from Samaria, he would be cured. Obviously Naaman’s wife shared this information with her husband, because next thing we know, Naaman was asking the King’s permission to go to Israel.

Much has been written about the courage and temerity of the young slave girl who spoke up about a cure. Sermons have even been preached on how this young one spoke “grace to power,” raising her up as an example to the rest of us, glorifying her courage and encouraging us to live by her example.

We could emulate the young slave girl, literally willing to put her life on the line to tell Naaman’s wife about the prophet. But we shouldn’t. There are thousands of children and teens around the world who fit that part of the story far more accurately than us – sold, enslaved, detained, and abused. In Libya alone an estimated 1,200 children live in subhuman conditions in European Union-sponsored refugee detention centers.[1] We cannot use this story to glorify the nameless girl with her knowledge, because doing so would glorify her captivity, and That. Is. Never. An. Option. Our faith demands that we speak out and actively work against the powers and principalities that placed her, and still place children today, in captivity. That’s real courage.

The Rev Janet Taylor
Braeside Presbyterian Church, ST Albert, AB

[1] http://www.channel4000.com/world/at-least-40-killed-after-airstrike-targets-migrant-center-in-libya/1091647871

The Dance (Stephen Haughland)

“And now I’m glad I didn’t know.
The way it all would end.
The way it all would go.
Our lives are better left to chance.
I could have missed the pain,
But I’d have had to miss the dance!”

Today, most Garth Brooks fans would recognize immediately the words from the refrain of his hit single, simply called “The Dance.”  They are words which speak truth to our human condition: telling us that life is a  dance that requires our presence, participation and enthusiasm – no sitting on the sidelines, no hanging back, and only one way forward – get up and do it…! Even if we don’t always know the steps, and even when there’s pain, in the end what’s most important is the effort. We don’t want to miss the dance!

Long ago, a certain man also invited us to a very special dance. Many, however, doubted him because he seemed so awkward and unspecial: The poor child of an unwed mother. Uneducated. Unattractive. Utterly homeless. Acquainted with sorrows and familiar with grief!  What dance could he possibly teach us?

But he knew us, and better than we know ourselves. He wanted us to hear and remember the music that God had placed in every human heart. He knew that we could learn again that dance called faith, that dance called hope! Called love! Called joy! Called courage!

Then, suddenly, he was taken. Called to solo-dance with the sad music of betrayal, pain and death. Was he gone forever?  Would our dance with life end?

But no! Incredibly, amazingly, his sad solo was really a victory!  Because of him, the dance of betrayal and pain became the dance of joy and hope. Because of him, the dance of death became the dance of life! Because of him, we can hear again the music of God which never ends and cannot be stopped. Because of him, we can learn again the melodies of joy, hope, and love! Because he lives, he gave us back the dance!

Because He Lives, He gave us back The Dance!

Today that dance has many names. Some call it a religion. Others call it a way of life. Still others call it a faith.

I call it the dance: the dance with Life that will never end.  I call it Christianity.  I call it Life itself!

The Rev. Stephen Haughland
Westminster Presbyterian Church, Chauvin AB

Sharing a Cold Drink of Water on Jesus! (Charlie McNeil)

I was part of a conversation the other day.  A bunch of clergy were talking about church politics.  As an aside one would think we’d have better things to talk about, but there you are!  At any rate there was a comment about a sister denomination’s national meeting coming up in the summer.

The comment regarded brothers and sisters in Christ who did not share the speaker’s theological, Biblical, and general perspectives.  He basically indicated that whoever didn’t share his perspectives were expendable!  Not only to that particular denomination,  but also to the church and more pressingly to the kingdom!

I came away from that conversation with a heavy heart.  Not so much because it involved another denomination and their fellowship or lack thereof.  But because I began to reflect upon how I relate to others who do not share my views, perspectives, or practice!

In my reading and responding to the Biblical critique and the theological journey; they do not really have anything to do with anyone else but me!  As the Old Testament witness had one character ask – am I my brother’s keeper?  That reference had to do with the Biblical character’s attempted evasion of God’ question about where his murdered brother was?  The evasion didn’t wash with God!

The flip side of that reference would be that both Testaments make it clear that we or better put I are called to be not so much another’s keeper but neighbour to others.  What is the litmus test of being neighbour to others?  Clearly it is Jesus’ teaching as outlined in the Parable of the Good Samaritan.  In brief that parable teaches a loving care that costs each something.

That cost is expressed in the kind of love which Jesus demonstrates.

That demonstration of love calls upon me is to clean up my act through the intercession of Christ Jesus and the interaction with the Holy Spirit.  Its my life, my faith, my practice that is to come under the microscope and not my neighbour’s, my brother’s, my sister’s, or my anyone else’s!

The conversation mentioned above gave me a great deal of food for thought about how I relate to others – not only in the church – but particularly in the church!  I regret to say that the tendency to show the door to others lurks somewhere in my DNA alongside the powerful love of God.  Perhaps not my words but my actions and body language may well give the message that others are not to let the door hit them on the way out – as the Irish used to say!

This morning in my devotional, meditation time, and prayer I was directed to Colossians 3 and particularly to Colossians 3:17.  Funny how its Jesus Who is the plumb line to which all words and deeds are to be squared, and not me!  That chapter calls the reader to be raised with Christ Jesus out of the muddle of our human condition into a powerful new experience of growing through liberating love and transforming grace!

That chapter refashions how Christians and the church are to relate one to another.  It is rather striking that it is through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs that we are to mutually learn something anew of the ways and means of God at work in our very midst.  The praise of God speaks volumes into life and the practice of the faith.

So do I make a list of those “who would clearly not be missed” a la Gilbert and Sullivan?  Or do I make a prayer list that is open ended and which seeks God for me and we – not to proscribe but to intercede?!  Or better put do I seek God in prayer and be open to God’s directions in a great many things – including and especially how I relate to Jesus’ many little ones?

Jesus takes it rather personally how I treat you!  Can I offer you a cold drink of water in Jesus’ Name and hang out with you for His Name’s sake?  I profoundly hope so!

And more to the point can I take a cold drink of water to the guy who prompted these reflections and offer it to him in Jesus’ Name?!  For he too is one of Jesus’ little ones!

Blessings for the journey!
Charlie McNeil

Who is this man? Reflections on Jesus (Janet Taylor)

Who is this man? It’s a fair question, one asked by Sadducees and Pharisees, by priests and Romans, Jews and Gentiles. Who is this man? We’ve been asking this question for over two thousand years, and we’re still asking it, still looking for an answer.

In Acts, when Saul meets Jesus on the road to Damascus, Jesus is a flash of light from heaven and a disembodied voice. In John’s Revelation, as he stands in heaven in a dream-state, or what we might call a trance or a vision, we see another Jesus: the Lamb who was slain. This is the exalted Christ, the Lamb that was slain for “persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.” (Rev. 5:9) In John’s Gospel, though, Jesus is much more human, appearing at the seaside and joining the disciples for a fish-fry. Matthew’s Gospel records that the sight of the risen Christ made the tomb guards shake and “become like dead men.” (Mt. 28:4) Indeed, within all the different stories of the post-resurrection Saviour, no two stories describe Jesus in the same way. Is he recognizable, or a stranger? Is he bodily present, or not visible to the naked eye? Who is this man?

There are thousands of images of Jesus in the pages of Scripture, and most of us tend to play favourites with some of them, preferring to picture our Jesus as one thing over another: infant, precocious 12-year-old, full-grown son leaving home, battler of Satan, healer of the blind, comforter of the grief-stricken, miracle-worker and cross-bearer, friend, servant, rabbi and revolutionary. He’s the Son of Man and the branch of Jesse, Son of David and a boy from Nazareth. He’s a broken man who weeps at the tomb of his friend, and a risen Saviour walking the road to Emmaus. He’s as mysterious as the wind, and as intimate as our breath. Jesus heals the broken, rebukes the wind, brings redemption, judges, intercedes, and welcomes.

Mature Christian faith involves deepening and widening our understanding of who Jesus is; as a living Saviour Jesus never remains static, and neither should our understanding of him.

S. M. Lockridge was a preacher at Calvary Baptist Church in San Diego, California from 1953 – 1993. He offers a powerful answer to the question, “Who is this man?” I invite you to watch, and see if his words challenge your understanding of who this man is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzqTFNfeDnE

The Rev. Janet Taylor
Braeside Presbyterian Church
St. Albert, Alberta

The Witness of “Nothing” (Christine & William Ball)

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body.While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.  Luke 24:1-12

Christ is risen, He is risen, indeed!

The angels said, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?

He is not here, He is risen”

The tomb is empty. This is the great Easter surprise and joy.

To celebrate this Good news, our congregation brought brightly coloured plastic eggs to church, filled with symbols of new life.   We exchanged eggs and then opened them to find wonderful symbols for Easter.  A stone, symbolizing the stone rolled away from the tomb, a frog, dragonfly and butterfly that experience metamorphosis; seeds, bulbs, new sprouting plants, even some chocolate chicks and eggs.

One young fellow was unusually quiet at the front of the church and so I asked him what he found in his egg and he replied – “nothing.  There was nothing in my egg.”

My first thought was to apologize.   Sorry, that egg is a dud- a mistake, but then I thought…

It is an empty egg – You have the best symbol of new life – an empty egg.  You have the symbol of the empty tomb.   The women and disciples discovered the empty tomb on Easter morning and that is why we celebrate.  “Jesus is not here, He is risen from the dead, Halleluiah.”

The youngster gave me a little smile and held onto his empty egg.

Later, concerned that he might be disappointed, I sought him out during fellowship time to give him another egg filled with little chocolate eggs.  He looked at me a little surprised to receive a second egg.

As wonderful as symbols of new life like bunnies, chicks, butterflies, seeds sprouting are, it is hard for them to bear the full weight of the Easter miracle.  The first Easter proclamation was a “nothing.”  An empty tomb.  And that is all that the women at the tomb reported, as the synoptic Gospels (Mark, Matthew and Luke) relate.  He is not there.

The further witness of the women, of the 12 disciples, and of the “many” was that while the tomb may have been empty, Jesus was still present.  One can hardly imagine the shift in their hearts from grief and pain to joy, from fear to courage and boldness, from doubt to trust and belief.  It is upon this witness – the empty tomb, and the real presence of Jesus among them, that leads us to proclaim God’s great good news of New Life in Christ.

Christine and William Ball                                                                 April 29, 2019
Mill Woods Presbyterian Church

 

 

Who knew?  The empty plastic Easter egg did turn out to be the most significant of all.

Wreck it Ralph (Harry Currie)

Matthew 10:35:  Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace but a sword.

The movie Wreck it Ralph (Disney 2012) is about Ralph who doesn’t want to be a villain in the arcade game any more and thinks that if he goes into another game he can be a hero and gain respect. Of course when he goes into another game he kind of wrecks the game. And the movie then is about how he works with a princess to fix the mess he made and in the end he is a hero.

And I want you to think of the times when maybe you wrecked it. It seems to be a fairly human thing, you know, to have the ability to wreck things. In fact one of the first games I played with my granddaughter Spencer before she could even walk, was that I would build a tower out of blocks and she would come and wreck it and knock it down.  All of us have stories of wrecked relationships, of personal failure, of leaving a trail of wreckage at work, or at home, or at church or wherever. We all have said things we regret, hurt people, acted foolishly, and made mistakes. Every one of us has been a “Wreck it Ralph” in some ways, sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally.

One time a bishop met with a man and his son and the bishop asked them what they did to celebrate Christmas. The man named Fred explained to the bishop and to his son, Sam that they would get up on Christmas morning, open their presents and then go to church. Sam replied “Church?! On Christmas? We’re going to go to church on Christmas?” Fred patiently explained, “Of course, that’s what Christmas is all about. It’s about Jesus’ birth and God coming to us.” Sam said, “I know, I know, I know! But Christmas! Church wrecks everything!” The church wrecks everything. Yes it does. And the reason we come to church is to meet the child who was born to wreck everything.

It is the side to Jesus we don’t like to talk about. And it may be upsetting in an age where terrorism and violence always seem to be in the news to hear the words of the one born in a manger, that he hasn’t come to bring peace but a sword. But the sword that Jesus brings I think is the sword of truth, and the truth is that this world hurts a lot of people and is broken and so Jesus came to wreck the world as we know it.

I think Jesus came to wreck the whole system that thinks that people are expendable. Jesus came to wreck the systems of the world that deny a cup of cold water to someone in need. Jesus came to wreck the political systems that determine who is in and who is out. Jesus came to wreck the economic systems that make a very few people fantastically wealthy and the vast majority of the people in this world poor as church mice. Jesus came to wreck our world wide tribalism, that pits one tribe against another in competition, enmity, violence or envy, whether that be race, culture, political parties, ethnic groups, or faith traditions.

Jesus came to wreck our fear or death and exclusion, by telling us that we are all loved and included and that there is love and acceptance with him in this life and beyond the grave. Jesus came to wreck our view of the world which puts us at the centre of it, and everyone else a lesser light, and instead replace it with a view that love is the centre of the world and service to others is the way to be. Jesus even came to wreck our sense of family life, so that we would embrace a wider view of family, that all people are God’s children.

Jesus came to destroy our egos, …our selfishness, our self-centredness…which is the source of all our sin. Jesus came to wreck our value systems, which says that people are valued for their power, their wealth, their possessions, their looks, their talent or their heritage. I don’t know about you, but when I hold up the sword of truth to my own life, there are few things that Jesus needs to wreck.

For Jesus says: (and I paraphrase) For everyone who seeks to save their life will lose it, and those who let their lives be wrecked for my sake, will find life.  Amen

Harry Currie,
First Presbyterian Church, Edmonton

Emergency Alert! (Kenneth MacRae)

One year ago my wife and I traveled with two other couples to go to Hawaii. While we were there we got the following text on our phones, “Emergency Alert. Ballistic Missile Threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate Shelter. This is not a drill.” Now to be honest this “alert” lasted for 15 minutes or so but we had not checked our phones for the first 10 minutes. We could hear a siren in the background and we wondered if there was a fire drill going in our condo. We looked over the balcony and people were swimming and others simply waved. No one was panicking. Then my wife checked her phone and found the message.

What was our reaction? Most of us said, “Well there are worse places to die than Hawaii!” Howard, another military chaplain, said, “I don’t want to die with Ken near me!” (He is such a loving person). We decided to sit on the balcony and wait for the flash! A few minutes later we got the next text message that essentially when, “Oops. Ignore previous message.”

Sadly this situation happens fairly often. Not necessarily pending death by Ballistic missile, but many people get news that they have cancer. People have a heart attack. People drive on the Anthony Henday and are surrounded by idiot drivers. The reality of death can sometimes hit us hard.

As Christians, we don’t have to be afraid of death. Ok…the dying part might suck…but the death itself is not something we have to worry about. John 3: 16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

No one wants a lingering painful death. However an eternal life sounds interesting. I’m more surprised when people think that eternal life begins only after death. Why not think that eternal life begins now! Start doing the things that you want to take into eternity. Take harp lessons now (or pick some other musical instrument). Turn off the TV and invite some friends over for games and have a laugh or two. Pick some recipe that has a picture and try to recreate it with your family (In my case what I make and what it is supposed to look like is never the same!) Practice kindness to all people. Be loving. Be caring. Don’t hold grudges. Live your life as you would want it to be throughout eternity.

May God’s blessing be upon you.

Padre Kenneth MacRae
Chaplain – Canadian Forces