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Epiphanies in Prayer IV – Lament

I was a stranger and you did not welcome me.Matthew 25:43a

This is the reflection on prayer that I didn’t want to write, and yet on this Monday morning, following the awful events over the weekend, including last night, I don’t think I have much choice. The attack on a mosque in Quebec City last night was an abhorrent attack on people when they are most vulnerable: in the very act of prayer that I have been hoping to lift up as integral to our relationship with God. The hasty and ill-conceived immigration ban announced by the new US administration has created chaos and outrage the world over.

So today, my prayer is one of lament. Acknowledging our personal hurts and the hurts of the world. And yet, lament is a powerful form of prayer that helps us genuinely move forward and take action. Prayer is not about pretending that everything is okay, but it really is a genuine bearing it all in front of God. God is perfectly able to accept our anguish and our anger. Lament is not only acceptable, it can be healthy, as it can move us to change what we see as wrong in the world. As I mentioned in my sermon yesterday, Pope Francis is quoted as saying “First you pray for the poor, then you feed the poor, that’s how prayer works.”

I wanted to share this letter from the Canadian Council of Churches, that was written in response to last night’s attack:

To all Canadians,

It is with great shock and sadness that I have learned of the heinous deadly attack on le Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec. While the details of the attack and the motivations of the attackers have yet to fully emerge, we recognize that the Muslim community within Quebec City has been the target of hateful, Islamophobic acts within the recent past.

To our Muslim sisters and brothers in Quebec City, in the province of Quebec, and across Canada, our member churches are with you. We grieve with you. We stand with you.

We recommit ourselves to opposing the hate and prejudice that disfigures our communities and leads to violence both at home and abroad.

Similarly, we recommit ourselves to protecting and advancing the fundamental freedom of conscience and religion for all Canadians: to worship in peace and safety and to live out the demands of our conscience and religion together in community.

May God comfort those who mourn today, and lead us into justice and peace.

Canon Dr. Alyson Barnett-Cowan
President
The Canadian Council of Churches
30 January, 2017

 

The link to the letter can be found here:

https://www.councilofchurches.ca/we-grieve-with-you-we-stand-with-you/

 

Yours in Christ,

John

 

Upcoming Events

  • Shakespeare: Henry IV
    • Shakespeare Returns to St. Matthew’s. Wayne Valleau is leading a class on Henry IV, running Mondays at 10:00am until February 20th.
    • Wayne is particularly adept at drawing themes out of Shakespeare, and connecting his plays with other parts of history and mythology into his works.
  • Annual Reports!
    • With the beginning of the year comes our preparation for our Annual Congregational Meeting. The date for the meeting remains to be formally decided, but in preparation for that is a reminder to everyone that we are now starting to receive reports and narratives for our yearly compilation. Please submit your reports to Shaundra Carvey at darby-shaundra@telus.net
  • Congregational Membership Classes
    • If you or someone you know would like to formalize membership with St. Matthew’s, I am hoping to run a membership class in the next few months. If you are interested, please email me, call me at the church, or speak with me directly on Sunday mornings.

Church Office Hours

  • Wendy’s office hours are Monday from 11:00am – 3:00pm, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:00am to 3:00pm.
  • My regular office hours during the day are Sunday through Thursdays from 9:00am to 3:00pm. Pastoral care visits and community meetings sometimes require that I be out of the office from time to time during those hours.

 

 

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