The Christmas Eve service and the Christmas Day service at St. James Anglican Church was blessed. Father Mark Greenaway-Robbins in his sermon this morning asked us “What would Jesus think this Christmas Day?” He spoke to all the amazing acts of generosity which were occurring around the world and not really being covered as such by the media. The first ‘giving’ he described was to the millions of refugees around the world who are being taken in by strangers and organizations. There’ the Red Cross and the Red Crescent and many more. He celebrated all the Christians doing missionary work and caring for the poor and sick around the world. He spoke to the local work in the Downtown Eastside by the Salvation Army, Union Gospel Mission, the United Church, and of course the many volunteers from St. James Anglican. He thought Jesus would see all this charity and love pouring out from individuals far away and near by and be thankful.
Father Mark Greenaway-Robbins and Ruth Greenaway-Robbins will be in Wales in the New Year. In person, at the end of the service, he asked that I pray for them. Naturally I was grieving his imminent departure and thinking all about my loss, fearful about who the new minister would be. And of course Father Mark said just the right thing and took me out of myself yet again. Leaving I saw Father Mathew whose street clinic is to the old men in the DTES. I always feel better just seeing him. My friend Helen is preparing to leave on missionary work in Africa. The Muslims have been killing the Christians but it’s not really the Muslims, just bad men, claiming God on their side. It won’t be the first time, that has occurred. But even now Muslims of 4 countries are joined with the US to contain the plague of ISIS. These fanatics dinosaurs have arrogantly claimed their vision as jihad when indeed they’re nothing more than barbarians and pillagers. The sad part about religion in war is that it’s always the ‘comic book’ brand that gets the followers.
I’ve enjoyed Father Mark these last years at St. James Anglican because his message in sermons and in the Thurible he writes each week speaks to the highest and deepest in Christianity.
Personally I admire Helen because she goes with love to help the children in Africa. I’d personally rather go with the French Foreign Legion or a British Expeditionary Force. I’m like the ‘machine gun preacher’. I should feel complete with my Bible but frankly I am never comfortable without a knife handy and really would gladly have a Glock 9 mm pistol at hand always. I don’t have a pistol. I let my licenses for these expire and sold the two I had some decades back. I’d had fun for a while shooting at targets and would gladly return to that but the bureaucracy and propaganda irritate me.
And Jesus, son of God, was born to Mary in Bethlehem. God the creator entered His Creation and changed the fabric and nature of the universe from that day forward. The Cosmic Christ was created. The world had been in black and white before that, a kind of Darwinian place of Kings and Queens, Emperors and empires, with their richest followers and most powerful adherents. Jesus by contrast was the ‘servant king’. As an adult he’d wash the feet of his disciples and welcome children to him and celebrated women. The secular authorities in the name of Herod would seek his death shortly after his birth. His family would escape to Egypt before returning in later years. There is mystery to that time in the east. Jesus was learned always beyond his years. Christmas Day though he was a baby in swaddling cloth in a manger. His birth was the promise, “he so loved the world, he gave his only begotten son’. The birth of Jesus was the essence of hope. This world is just a passage. The real world is much more.
Now I’m on my sailboat, enjoying the peace and calm in the harbour. The sunshine today has been splendid. I’ve some time off from work and a trip to Turkey planned. As usual I move any valuables to storage and have arranged for friends to manage my ‘stuff’ while I’m away. Gilbert stays with his surrogate mother. He’s sleeping now beside me. He enjoyed our time in church today. He has so many friends there. Then we played ball. Now he’s eaten a “little cesar” and is sleeping. The ceramic heater is sufficient for the boat. I’m cozy and have found the electric blanket so will check that out as I’ll be sleeping here this week. I have hoped to take the boat out but had second thoughts because the forecast has been for rain but now I see that that’s only on Saturday so once I get the RV repair arranged I just may get out. I have this lethargy which is only made worse by giving into it. That desire to hide in bed under the blankets and never come out comes over me this time of the year. I really must resist it. There are so many things to do and see.