Make Hay while the Sun Shines

I am trying to utilize all my time to the best of my abilities as I have a lot to do and deadlines are looming.  Train rides are now filled reading and writing.  I have been asked to write a sermon on Psalm 133 in German for an area wide church magazine and my sermon is to be sandwiched between the sermons of two former bishops of the area for this short publication.  The morning commute is taken up quickly with reading, underlining and note taking.  The pressure seems immense.

The train back is the same, but the sermon is not for publication, rather it is for Sunday morning worship.  Along with meetings, visiting, and family life things are pretty busy.  This morning the news was all about the violence in Nice, France.  It was difficult to read and reflect about any scriptures without the thoughts of those who have suffered great violence coming to mind.  Psalm 133 is especially potent as unity is a theme.  A Psalm to repeat as a hope, a way forward, and of a remembrance of better times.

Psalm 133. 1 “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!”

Life is always on a razors edge and so we make the best of what we can, when we can.

IMG_20160715_124730The weather last week was hot and humid and it seems the corn and grain had sprouted up higher, but then came the cool weather and some heavy rain.  While taking the train I get to know more and more of the scenery.  Some famers have cut and balled their hay already, and other fields now lay a bit flattened like some giant has danced poorly across the ground leaving scattered footprints in the fields.

Lately in France, and other countries, it feels like when it rains it pours.  All the more reason to ball up some of our hay, our Scriptural ‘food for thought’ and nourishment so that we can get through the hard times with the eternal hope of new life in Christ.

A different perspective – Brussels

Social media and other forms of media are now flooding with reports about terror attacks in Brussels.  Air and train travel has been suspended.  I was invited, along with other Church of England clergy in the Diocese in Europe to travel to either Nice, France, or to Brussels, in Belgium for a special Chrism Mass.  Bishop Robert is in Brussels, and Bishop David is in Nice for the respective worship services.  Chrism Mass is where the bishop blesses the oils that are used in the rite of Baptism, in other words, Christening.

I write this from home in Germany. We have had a number of guests arriving and so it was not convenient for me to make the trip to Brussels for the Chrism Mass and I did discover that I had packed some small containers of holy oil in my boxes that arrived from Canada. I decided a couple of weeks ago, that as much as I would like to visit Brussels and join in the worship, it was not conducive to family plans.  Of course I now wonder where I would be if I had been traveling to Brussels.

Some have reported that there really are no safe places in the world anymore.  It is precisely this reason that it is important to remind ourselves of the need for healing in the world and in our relationships with others.  Chrism and the link with baptism reminds us all of our own death and hope of resurrection in Jesus Christ.  After watching pictures of people fleeing the airport I pray for God’s peace, healing, and a change in  perspective that we might come to live our baptismal calling.

At this moment I pray for those who have been traumatized in these recent events, for those who have died and the family and friends who mourn their loss of life.  In the words of the commission – the sending out of those recently baptized – “Will you acknowledge Christ’s authority over human society, by prayer for the world and its leaders, by defending the weak, and by seeking peace and justice?

With the help of God, I will.”