There are some great books in Hope's downstairs library for spiritual considerations. Feel free to browse and borrow. Just sign the card on the inside of the cover or write a note.
Lutheran's Connect Devotional Website
Peace to you!
I hope this finds you in a place of anticipation for the season of Advent, when we prepare our hearts for the journey toward Bethlehem and all that it means to enter the story of the birth of Jesus. I am happy to be sharing with you news of a new devotional project that starts on Sunday.
Our theme this time reflects on how music transforms us as disciples. In both Hebrew and Greek, the words for sound, noise, and voice are all the same. And these words are also used to convey the presence of musical instruments and even the sound of language being spoken. In the biblical story, human sound and voice are used to express joy and sadness, the praise of God and the longing for restoration. How does music lift up our Advent hope and our year-round longing? How can our voices inspire us to bring forth our deepest desires for new creation?
As we journey toward Bethlehem, along the way, we will explore the musical term ‘selah’ which means ‘to pause and take a breath’ while singing or praying. How can we make space and take a breath to dwell in the wonder and mystery of Advent?
Join us starting November 27th, for twenty-nine devotional days until Christmas. And may the coming of the Christ child bless you in your Advent journey!
These devotionals can be seen at:
Archived devotionals can be located at the right side of the site
What Are We Waiting For?
Meditations and opportunities for discussion offered by the leaders of the Lutheran, United Church, Presbyterian Church and Anglican Church leaders.
Eternity For Today
To subscribe to the e-edition of this devotional series go to:
It was from Joseph first I learned
of love. Like me he was dismayed.
How easily he could have turned
me from his house; but, unafraid,
he put me not away from him
(O God-sent angel, pray for him).
Thus through his love was Love obeyed.
found in her collection A Widening Light: Poems of the Incarnation
I Bow Down
Here is an amazement — once I was twenty years old and in
every motion of my body there was a delicious ease,
and in every motion of the green earth there was
a hint of paradise,
and now I am sixty years old, and it is the same.
Above the modest house and the palace — the same darkness.
Above the evil man and the just, the same stars.
Above the child who will recover and the child who will
not recover, the same energies roll forward,
from one tragedy to the next and from one foolishness to the next.
I bow down.
- from "Am I Not Among the Early Risers", found in New and Selected Poems: Volume Two
Reconciliation with our Native Community
Among many topics the Hope Breakfast Group has been exploring the issues around reconciliation with the native community. We have read and had guest speakers on the topics of UNDRIP, the truth and reconciliation commision, aboriignal spirituality and the legacy of residential school trauma. Here is a CBC site with information. Warning: it is a very emotionally charged topic that speaks of abuse and trauma.
A school they called Alcatraz: Survivor reflects on sisters' deaths at Kuper Island Residential School
God As Her
Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis, Ph.D
Senior Minister for Public Theology and Transformation - Middle Collegiate Church, New York, NY
It makes sense that because white men created so much of religion, the image of God was an old white man with grey hair. However, this image needs a makeover because he’s no longer working.
My God is a curvy black woman with dreadlocks and dark, cocoa-brown skin. She laughs from her belly and is unashamed to cry. She can rock a whole world to sleep, singing in her contralto voice. Her sighs breathe life into humanity. Her heartbreaks cause eruptions of justice and love.
Of course, because God is a mystery, we don’t know everything about Her. So out of our imaginations and our yearnings, our hopes and our fears, we make stuff up. At our best, we project goodness, power, kindness, and love onto God. At our worst, we create a God who is punitive, angry, judgmental, and harsh. We do this because we are those things, and we think they make us safe.
Projection itself is not the problem. The problem occurs when we don’t examine those projections with a critical eye, with a hermeneutic of suspicion. The issue is that we write laws that codify the shadow parts of the god we create, in order to diminish others, to abuse others. The trouble starts when our god is too small, when we reduce our worst projections to fit in our pocket and keep this god on our team. When we neglect to confront this created god, we get the Crusades and the Doctrine of Discovery; the murder of indigenous people and Jews; apartheid and enslaved Africans; sexism, xenophobia, and homophobia—all in the name of the too-puny god that is the worst of ourselves.
I know I’ve got my projections. They are inspired by my imagination and by textual studies. In Hebrew, the words for womb and mercy have the same root, and the word for spirit is feminine: ruach. In Greek, the word pneuma [breath or spirit or soul] has a feminine article, the word Sophia stands for wisdom, and the word agape—God’s love for us—is also a feminine word. Therefore, my God is an incarnate feminine power, who smells like vanilla and is full of sass and truth, delivered with kindness. She’ll do anything for her creation; her love is fierce. She weeps when we do and insists on justice. She is God. She is Love.
This is the Time to be Slow
This is the time to be slow
Lie low to the wall
Until the bitter weather passes
Try, as best you can, not to let
The wire brush of doubt
Scrape from your heart
All sense of yourself
And your hesitant light.
If you remain generous,
Time will come good;
And you will find your feet
Again on fresh pastures of promise,
Where the air will be kind
And blushed with new beginning.
I Know Who Holds Tomorrow - Sonja Cole .
I don’t know about tomorrow;
I just live from day to day.
I don’t borrow from its sunshine
For its skies may turn to grey.
I don’t worry o’er the future,
For I know what Jesus said.
And today I’ll walk beside Him,
For He knows what is ahead. .
Many things about tomorrow
I don’t seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand.
. Every step is getting brighter
As the golden stairs I climb;
Every burden’s getting lighter,
Every cloud is silver-lined.
There the sun is always shining,
There no tear will dim the eye;
At the ending of the rainbow
Where the mountains touch the sky.
Many things about tomorrow
I don’t seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand.
Rebecca Garber [April 15, 2021]
Let me tremble seeing the Divine wearing red
drumming the direct heart and body contact
And make me dance joyfully, confidently
between and with the mysterious Sacred
while patiently dealing with the mundane
leaning in to both the bitter and the sweet.
Help me release sadness and hurt from
past times, enabling many memories
to retreat into the back of my mind
freeing heart and mind, mind and heart
to fully occupy eternity now.
Let me release traumas imbedded
within my very cells, so that they
no longer continuously replicate
as my body renews and replaces them.
Let me hear the release speak through
a wind chime tinkling in salty wind
blowing across the Salish Sea
with its breath luxurious with seals
barking as they frolic and mate.
Let me revel as I move through times
of radical change, reveling in excitement
of embracing transformation, embracing
it without fear—always listening to one
particular bass voice singing
“I’ll be there as I was there
as I have always been to see
your life unfold”—holding a final surprise.
As She Lay Dying
At the last, death crept in
with the slow timidity of
night at nearly summer
solstice, and I sit there
holding her hand
while her motionless feet walk
into mystery I cannot see
soon to know a secret
Her respiration rate like
grains of sand too large to
pass through the waist of
an hourglass, nothing left
to do but wait, her hands
tiny like squirrel’s feet
her radio still sputtering
as she dances along into
She drinks a tot of scotch
then another, and one more
lighting up her face briefly
sips of creaturely satisfaction
her very last.
In the face of nothing more
to do except wait, I read to
her the mystery she wants
(by morning, she’ll have
read one more). She slowly
says “I…am…afraid—really afraid.”
In the morning, all her vital
signs drop and she is there
only in her irregular breathing
outside there’s thunder and
Inside, she slips into a coma
we all talk, knowing that hearing
goes last. Everything slows down
until quietly, without a whimper
she succumbs to the inevitable
and her eyes open wide.
The doctor closes them
with a finger and a thumb.
It is over.
ONE SPIRITUAL JOURNEY
you formed me in the image of your creativity
inflated my lungs with your love
made my ears turn to the human voice
my eyes focus on faces, my body respond to touch
you wrapped me in acceptance at my baptism
but as i grew, fear surrounded me and blurred my vision
shame blunted my senses and crippled my walk
i could not find you there leading me
walking beside me, pushing me from behind
instead of looking outward, trusting good
fully inhabiting my body, i moved into the
isolation of my mind, turned my back on possibility
fear became a swirling fog
and i could not find my way
its thick darkness the companion that left me lonely
frozen ground upon which i stumbled
fell, and curled my arms around myself
losing hope, caving in, giving up
you fed me with bits of bread and wine
word—words of love, of safety, of enough
though i could only hear
the inner voices saying otherwise
you waited while i wandered in my wilderness
frozen, unable to think, to move, to want
except in lightning flashes of relief, kind faces
and one strong hand holding on, saying
i will stay, i will not leave, will not give up on you
bits of bread dropped in the dark led me back
eaten on my knees, salted with my tears
seasoned by my own sweat until day
slowly dawned in that bright white
intensity holding all possible colours
black earth aromatic, warming in the sun
welcoming my bare feet into a sacred dance
imprinted in my very DNA, my heart knowing
that all shall be well, all shall be well indeed
Some days I prefer
to ignore your assurances,
pave my own path, lose my own way,
cross quicksand if I have to --
relinquish my will.
Remember the blistering, narcissistic desert,
the devil who taunted you there?
You know it well - the desire, the drive
to conceive and control, predict and prevail.
You, too, have wrestled the egoistic impulse,
the credit-hoarding greed of spirit
that flares within and keeps me,
on some days, from offering praise,
stops me from seeking your face
or following your excellent way.
I'm left to my echoing solitude,
murmuring my own name.
Jesus, teach me to pray. Lend me your hand,
Talk to me of forgiveness until
all my dear falsehoods fall way.
Mend the cracked compass of my mind,
and guide me to my true desire.
- "from Oblations: Meditations on St. Benedict's Rule,
How the Light Shines
O God, I know that there is a time for everything:
a time to help and a time to refrain from helping,
a time to leap to action and a time to wait patiently,
a time to care for others and a time to care for myself,
a time to be busy and a time to rest,
a time to make decisions and a time to discern a direction,
a time to speak and a time to listen,
a time to name wrongs and a time to admit I’m wrong,
a time to seek joy and a time to be found by it.
Please, God, instill in me the wisdom to know what time this is
and help me make the most of it.
To sit and dream, to sit and learn,
To sit and learn about the world
Outside our world of here and now ----
Our troubled world ----
To dream of vast horizons of the soul
Through dreams made whole,
Unfettered, free ---- help me!
All you who are dreamers, too,
Help me to make
Our world anew.
I reach out my dreams to you.
Drinking From the Saucer
John Paul Moore
I've never made a fortune,
And I'll never make one now
But it really doesn't matter
'Cause I'm happy anyhow
As I go along my journey
I'm reaping better than I've sowed
I'm drinking from the saucer
'Cause my cup has overflowed
I don't have a lot of riches,
And sometimes the going's tough
But with kin and friends to love me
I think I'm rich enough
I thank God for the blessings
That His mercy has bestowed
I'm drinking from the saucer '
Cause my cup has overflowed
He gives me strength and courage
When the way grows steep and rough
I'll not ask for other blessings
for I'm already blessed enough
May we never be too busy
To help bear another's load
Then we'll all be drinking from the saucer
When our cups have overflowed
HEALING FROM INTERNALIZED OPPRESSION
I watched the Black Lives Matter Movement with mixed feelings.
After all, I came to Canada to embrace "white privilege". It is not fun to be part of a hated minority, to have your kin murdered or otherwise assaulted by an empowered black majority, even if you do understand the roots of their hatred and have supported their cause. Hatred may live on, even when the power structures change.
Living in a prejudiced environment and being the target of prejudice because of race, gender, handicap, sexual orientation, culture etc. is demoralizing at best and, at worst, it may completely destroy a person's capacity to love. Social rejection, and even hatred, may be part of the formative years. Reactive anger may become an imbedded part of the victim’s personality. Living with hatred damages the brain and the capacity to trust.
People who do not understand may say, "Why can't you just get over it?" The answer is that the assault on your person continues, imbedded in the social structures. It does not go away, even if you try to live exclusively in your minority's world. Unconscious insult is there whenever you pick up a book, turn on the T.V. or go for a walk. Even if hostility is absent, the victim’s necessary state of hyper-vigilance may trigger hostility as a passerby senses the anxious energy.
Yet letting down your guard can mean losing your life. Hyper-vigilance is exhausting. Suicide is common among hated minorities. Those who are strong in love may have to make the first move towards friendship and seek to understand the social walls that oppress. This can be hard work and requires patience. Even when there is no threat, it is hard to change a lifetime of habits.
The oppressed person may be perceived as "over-reactive". The “oppressor” may move or speak in a way which is natural to those in power and trigger fear. People become tired of having to reassure, they move on to easier company, thus reenforcing the victim’s identity as outcaste. Most people prefer the comfort of the very familiar, nothing changes.
In order to become part of changing prejudices, well-meaning individuals have to become aware of their own patterns and how patterns inter-lock. Fear of rejection may trigger rejection. Hidden anger may trigger revulsion. Recognizing and accepting these feelings and staying through uncomfortable situations may be difficult, but it is the only road to growth. Is there anything to be gained beyond greater justice and peace?
People who have been members of hated minorities can bring numerous gifts to a receptive community. The hypersensitivity which assured their survival may mean sensitivity to your unspoken need. They may be unusually creative or spiritual or tough. Once trust is built one is free to enjoy the gifts and limitations that come in any loving, reciprocal relationship. How do I as an outcaste help myself?
I sit daily with an image of Jesus and meditate on the word "Beloved". I rehearse in my mind beautiful memories. I sing Hymns and love songs to myself, write poetry and do some art. Nature heals me, loving friends help. Yet even now a small act of hostility or prejudice may trigger old tapes. I must work very hard to calm my old survival brain. I may need time out, but it does get easier.
I am also a victimizer by my own prejudices. How do I help to bring greater justice to others? I work to be aware of the beliefs and practices which automatically support me but which keep others in places of inferiority and injustice and I seek to change these. I will experience loss, but I believe Love is worth the effort. Recognizing and embracing my own places of powerlessness and fatigue can bring me into solidarity with those held less by society.
Old age can be an invitation to greater solidarity with, and compassion towards, those who endure a lifetime of rejection and disempowerment. If victims of racism and other forms of oppression united we would likely find ourselves in the majority. If we who are prejudiced against others would gather, I think we would find we had collected every human being and perhaps many animals. May we learn to love one another, one day at a time.