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.

Lutherans Connect is a group site from the

University of Toronto Campus Ministry.

Use the button below to connect and 

Contact them if you wish it sent to your e-mail daily

This devotion of this new series centres on Thanksgiving 

 

"Gathered Alone Together"

To see the entire series click in the upper corner of the devotional for the month dates.  Each month will contain the devotionals for the days for that month.

Feel free to go to the sign in at the top corner of the website to have this devotional e-mailed directly to you daily.

Click on the URL below for Bishop Susan Johnson's

daily hymn and prayer

 

http://www.elcic.ca/publichealth/BishopSusanHymnandPrayer.cfm

Below is a button that will lead to a bible study on Paul's letter to the Phillipians called "An Epidemic of Good News".

It is presented by Pastor Curtis Aguirre, a former pastor of Hope Lutheran, who presently is serving in Penticton at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church.

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

 

                                        © Rebecca Garber

 

 

HEALING FROM INTERNALIZED OPPRESSION

Submitted by Eileen Garcia

 

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.

Hope Lutheran Church
2174 Departure Bay Rd.
Nanaimo, BC, Canada
V9S 3V6

e-mail hope2174@shaw.ca

phone: 250-758-1232

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