On Incarnation, Literature, and Justice

A good reading of narrative and image (dominant aspects of literature) leads to vulnerability and openness in the classroom, an openness to the challenge of living who you are and living who you are meant to be. It cultivates respect for the practice and art of being creative: and being creative means living and learning in a spirit of openness to God, to self (the deepest unknown internal territory), and to others.

– Margaret Anne Smith

Christmas Thoughts

In the birth of the small and vulnerable Jesus, we already celebrate by extension the crucified and resurrected Jesus, and this means something concrete regarding materialism and the luminosity of the Gospel. As his imitators, we are called to simplicity just as Jesus was. We are called to identification with those whose financial status disqualifies them from participating in the mad rush of holiday shopping, just as Jesus is. We are called, not to family-centrism, but to open our doors to those who may be crushed by loneliness, just as Jesus did.

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What I mean is that until we find ourselves looking like Jesus at Christmas: poor, humble, and extremely open, then we have nothing to say to the culture. But have good cheer! I am convinced that we have been given a wonderful party with incredible joy waiting for us in the humility of the pennyless babe!

– Joel Mason

An Advent Prayer

We wait with Mary for Christ to be formed in us,
Daring to trust this hidden womb-weaving,
And treasuring the smallest signs of growth.

As Mary took heart to see
the wondrous swelling of Elizabeth’s belly,
So the burgeoning life of God we see in others
encourages us that this sacred life grows also in us.

More and more, we long to bring Christ into the world,
Though we know that pain and labour accompany the birth of new life
As surely as joy and wonder.

Groaning and waiting,
Pregnant with hope and desire,
We prepare today a place for your coming,
Son of Mary’s womb, and Christ of our own hearts.

written by Rachael Barham

Compline

Prayer Before Sleep

we give you now the day as it has been

with all its hopes fulfilled and all those deferred

we give you now the day as it has been
for all that was done
and all that was left undone
it is over now and we leave it in your very capable hands, it is enough.
now we give you the night that is ahead of us
keep our bodies, minds, and spirits in complete safety
hold us in the hollow of your hand.

Reveal the night to be Yours, o God.
When we cannot see anything else, you are there.

written by Joel Mason

Community Lament

O God, we look around us today
We see a world that is broken and people in pain
How can you look on, Lord of compassion?
Does your heart break with our hearts?

Or do you see only the hardness of our hearts?
Do you see us turning from you and from each other?
There is so much darkness all around us
There is so much darkness yet inside us

Hurting and lost, we lash out against each other;
There is violence near and far.
Lord, remember us, do you see
(and hear time is given to name places
And situations of violence near and far)

All creation groans and strains
Our bodies falter and suffer
Lord, remember us, do you see
(and hear time is given to name people
And parts of creation that are ill)

Our souls cannot bear all the loss
Fear and rage overwhelm us
Lord, remember us, do you hear our silent cry
(and hear a time of silence is given
To listen to our souls)

What we feel is not your peace
What we see is not your justice
What we trust is not your love
This is not how things should be
This is not how things will be

You are present in all this mess
You will not leave us alone or unfinished
Transform us, Lord Who washes our feet
Heal our land, Lord Who forgives all
Re-create our world, Lord of Glory.

We wait for you. We wait.
Amen

written by Walter Thiessen