Sunday, June 24, 2012

Nativity of St. John, St. James Anglican Church

I've been sick for weeks.  Dx'd skin cancer, bronchitis, pneumonia, resolving, waiting biopsy, legal threat from an pro abortion father when I supported the pro life mother condemned by the courts for the healthy child Monday morning quarterbacks always knowing better how the past should have been played. , unsuspected tax burden and failure of those who I'd loaned money to to repay their loans while continuing to party irresponsibly, and work, so much, with so little support from a government that promises but takes away.  I've been sick.  I wanted to stay in bed coughing up green phlegm, pounding headache, all joints anching.
But when patients tell me they were too sick to see a doctor or go to hospital, I confess, I consider it an oxymoron.
I'm a sinner and Kiekegaard described life as "sickness unto death'.   Being sick I needed to be in church more than in bed.  An evangelical minister friend says there should be neon signs up on churches shouting 'sinner emergency' and  'soul sick' wards manned 24 hours a day.  .
So I went.  I was glad I did.  The incense had me hacking but probably it's healing power helped get the chunks of evil out of my lungs.  I had to leave to get some cough syrup from the car before coming back to join Laura and Gilbert.  The congregation at St. James is a delight, so many loving people.  From all walks of life, all ages.  A fascinating collection of humans who I'm so thankful I'm able to be a member with.
Father Mark Greenaway-Robbins sermon was especially good. He challenged us all to think of the threats to Christianity that are present today, listing  secularism, individualism, the rise of radical Muslims, the wishy washy watered down lotus land Buddhism and more. But he said he thought the most important one was Christian Hypocricy.  He then took us through the Lord's prayer and asked us each to consider how well we were doing this week individually.  As usual I feel extreme guilt when it gets to the part of forgiving, being the most unforgiving person in the world.  I could see though that those around me were snagging on other parts of the Lord's Prayer.  Like do we really want "thy kingdom come' when it means the first shall be last etc.
So there I was arrogant about dragging myself to church only to see that my sin of pride remains strong despite my own best efforts.  Then Father Mark Greenaway-Robbins talked about authenticity and used as a very odd analogy a 'stick of rock' candy from his childhood in England.  Given the neighbourhood he had to clarify that his comparison of that rock to God was not as the neighborhood 'rock' comparison might be.  Indeed even through the discussion of hypocricy he had us all laughing though when he got into the description of this candy cane candy without the hook and how it was good through and through he had the kid in us all wanting the candy more than the analogy.  The message was made though.
It was good to laugh and we all sang hymns and joined in responsive readings.  We shared the peace and by the end of the service felt no longer alone.  Communion had brought us together again.  Gilbert even met a friend, a puppy who was new to the church but as happy to see Gilbert as Gilbert was to see him.
As a child I remembered most the martydom of St. John's, his  head on a platter  as the request of a girl..  Today his importance as the bridge between Old and New Testament was emphasized.
 I was thankful to be at St. James Anglican today. I'll start another week now working on being a good Christian and maybe even becoming more forgiving with supreme effort.  Alternatively, I'm thankful for the Grace of God which can heal even a sinner such as me.

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