Drummond Hill Newsletter, Wednesday, Oct 12, 2022
Wednesday Meditation (Luke 2:4)
‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favours!’
Clicking the picture will take you to Kairos website where they talk about speaking up for peace.
There is a strange uneasiness that is taking hold over our part of the world. Talks of higher prices, of an uncertain economy, and of fearful future is taking hold. War in Ukraine has no end in sight. In the meantime, the central bank is threatening to increase interest rates to slow down the inflation. No one seems to pay attention to a small person. No one cares if a person with despair disappears or not. Or at least a sense of helplessness, hopelessness, and powerlessness have overtaken our world.
Psalmist says, “I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war.” (Psalm 120:7) Those who advocate peace are seen as weak, useless, and on the wrong side.
Peace is more than hope. It is a reality we enjoy most of the time. As Christians the announcement of Jesus’ birth was also the proclamation of peace on earth. These are not two separate events, but bound together as one. Peace on earth begins with Jesus’ birth/arrival. Jesus’ birth/arrival signals the beginning of peace on earth. This is why when Jesus was preparing for his death, he spoke, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” (John 14:27) Being a follower of Christ is to be a person entrusted with Christ’s peace.
A song by Francis of Assissi begins, “Make me a channel of your peace.” The way we live the faith we hold onto, hope that we share, and love that we partake in manifests peace of Christ in all that we do. It is experienced by the world as unconditional and unlimited hospitality. It is the same kind of welcome a baby would receive from her mother, genuine and everlasting. It is like the serenity a child experiences when her mother kisses her painful finger after scraping it on a stick. It is a sense of protection, relief and safety she finds in her mother's hugs in scary moments. This peace is gifted to all who follow Christ.
As the bearers of this peace, we are in constant struggle to invite others to share in it without condition and limitation. We break down barriers so that those who live without peace may taste it in the very communal life we live. We proclaim this peace as the source of all life and reality of relationships among all God’s creatures. This peace is the basis on which all living things are connected together.
What will we do?
One thing that can really improve the quality of life is to be in nature. It would be ideal to live in the woods. Research, however, tells us that simply spending a few minutes in any green space like local parks can improve our health and state of mind. It seems that being in touch with God’s creation can benefit us greatly.
Gardeners know this. That is why they continually return to their gardens. Turning soils, planting flowers, and pulling weeds are all part of interacting with nature. Doing so brings our stress and blood pressure levels down, makes us calmer, and helps us to be happier and more content. As we enjoy Fall weather and anticipate Winter it becomes more difficult to be outdoors. Cold weather brings dampness. We tend to stay inside far more than being outside. One of the ways people design houses nowadays is to bring outside in. One way we do that is by having large windows allowing outside to be enjoyed within the comfort of a warm room. Another way is by physically bringing in outside into our rooms. We do this by bringing flowers, potted plants or small trees in and putting them where we can enjoy them.
Another way is to decorate our inside in ways that reflect colours of nature as well as seasons in our indoor spaces. We need to be creative and find joys of surrounding ourselves with an ambiance that reminds us of the vibrant life of nature throughout the year in ways that we fully thank and appreciate God’s gift of nature to us.
To be Christians is to live life as stewards of God’s creation. Our task is to be God’s helpers who point to what God has done, giving praise and thanks. Living the eternal life in Christ is to enjoy life instead of being stressed out in life. Being glimpses of what eternal life can be is to open possibilities for those who are much troubled in life to experience in small ways what life truly is in Christ Jesus our living Lord.
It is time for us to honour God in ways God’s creation becomes part of who we are by returning to God’s creation. How we find ourselves in God’s creation, the very nature by which we find spiritual serenity and contentment as God intended will help us enjoy life vibrantly. Sometimes it is important to remind ourselves that God has already created the world of fullness. In today’s world, we have locked God’s creation out from our surroundings. It is about time that we recover our place in God’s creation as God intended.
A Community of Faith
I was struck by the accusations that churches are not safe places. I could not imagine this until I was reminded how institutional churches from the Mediaeval times drummed out sinners and made examples of them. Witch Hunt was only a small part of this sordid history. Today many people still consider churches very unsafe and traumatic places. My thought was that we are far better now. Yet, I am still aware of many behaviours that are causes for concerns.
Today’s focus is not on what we do wrong, but on how we continue to build a community of faith that is peaceful, safe, and welcoming. At the same time, it is important to look at where we draw a line so that our focus on building a peaceful, safe, and welcoming place does not get overwhelmed by the ideology of building a perfect community. Simply put, where are our communal boundaries? We need these boundaries to know who we are and what we believe in.
We will look at various boundaries that define our faith community. This discussion will continue on for a while.
Each community has its own markers beyond which we have no claims. For some believers, this outer limit, at the extreme edge, includes the entire humanity. For others, it is based on one’s baptism as Christians. In our case, in the 20th century, anyone who attended Drummond Hill was where these marks were. It did not matter where they came from, whether they were baptised or not, by attending and contributing financially to Drummond Hill, they could belong. This still is the way many of us see where our outer boundaries are: attending worship and/or contributing to financial needs.
This is not how many people see our boundaries to be. Many people who used to attend, who have never been to our worship services, nor participated in any of our activities see themselves as members of Drummond Hill because once they attended. They may or may not have good memories. In conversations with me or others who are active members today, they tell us that they are members here.
How, then, do we draw our outer line? What are the marks that distinguish us as those who do and do not belong to Drummond Hill? What are the minimum understandings? Whatever these considerations are, the extreme outer edges are alway porous. These outer boundaries do not stay stationary, but change with time, context, needs, and perceptions. They are not as clearly drawn and difficult to erase as we think they are. After all these are not the core values who drive us in being who we are.
In the past few years, we worked hard to make these outer margins to be as universal as we can make it without losing who we are. Markers for being part of our community are:
1. Anyone who shows any interest in faith and seeks us out to figure out what faith is,
2. Anyone who wants to worship with us, 3. Anyone who participates in any activities that take place in Drummond Hill community.
Along with these, we also have placed markers to indicate who cannot belong:
1. Anyone who poses danger physically, mentally, and spiritually to a person or people in our community,
2. Anyone who disrupts peace and harmony of individuals or people,
3. Anyone who manipulates for selfish gain to the detriment of the whole community.
These are very broad and porous outer limits. These are mentioned in order to see whether as a faithful community, we need to revisit them. Notice that these understandings have no particular concerns regarding Christian values as we understand.
Are these current limits acceptable, functional, beneficial, and inclusive enough? Should we define them more clearly? Some churches insist that everyone has to be baptized in their own churches when they join. Some churches make the case that everyone has to participate in their minimum requirements such as attending worship and Bible studies. What would be most appropriate for us?
Next week: Being a Christian as a boundary of Drummond Hill
Forward 'n Onward!
How will our Fall and Winter seasons be? What will we be doing?
Sunday, October 9: Thanksgiving Sunday
Sunday, October 16: Something Old, Something New Sunday
Sunday, October 23: Past, Present, Future Sunday
Sunday, October 30: Reformation Sunday
Cinnamon Bun Tuesdays (10 am Tuesdays)
Thursday Devotion and Fellowship (Thursdays, October 20, 27, November 4,)
We will also start our monthly fundraising events in October and November.
Tropical Storm/Hurricane Fiona
We will let everyone know how we can help the people in our eastern provinces as soon as we hear from the Presbytery of Cape Breton.
and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.