Tuesday, April 26, 2011

April 26, 2011

Happy Easter!

I trust the pictures on these worship bulletins will help you feel connected to your church. The Easter bulletin displays the painting at the front of our sanctuary, which been inspiring people since it was dedicated a generation ago. The image on the back shows you what we did during Lent. The coloured fabric drew our attention to what was missing, and on Easter morning we saw it: the empty cross.

The Good Friday bulletin features the cross in the Friendship Room, which replicates the image in Elva Frederking’s chancel painting. Hold it next to the Easter bulletin and you’ll see what I mean. Dave McNabb made it a few years ago. As you know, through Lent we have been considering Spiritual Transformation through the Arts, and this cross was one of the images in our very first week, Wood and Sculpture.

The empty cross reminds us that all the fears we have will be defeated, overcome, removed, eradicated by the fulfillment of our Christian hope. The whole inhabited world is transformed. That’s pretty hard to believe when we are in difficult times, but that is the point. God cares enough to be with us, cares enough even to empty the cross and the tomb, and carry on with us beyond our fears. Christ is risen! 
Please know that your hopes, fears and concerns are important to your church, and that we pray for you. A blessed Easter season to you.

The Rev. Dr. Catherine Faith MacLean

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

April 20, 2011

Finally Easter is arriving!
Palm Sunday we heard familiar words, and considered how we speak or hear phrases that have the power to change lives: I know. Forgive me.  I understand. I love you. You can trust me. Goodbye. Welcome home. Hosanna. And of course, Jesus is the Word made flesh.

In this most sacred week of the Christian year, here are words to pray:

Thank you, God, because through your holy Easter mystery, 
it is as though we stumble out of a tomb,
as though we come out of the shadow, rubbing our eyes,
as though mystery unveils before us, and takes our breath away:
and we see, right before our very eyes:
All our loss and sorrow is turning back
     Turning back from the edge of death
            Death is not the last word
                 The last word is from the heart
                        From the heart comes pain
                             Pain carried by movement, like waves on the ocean
                                    Waves on the ocean rise and fall
                                        Rising and falling we trip again
                                                Trip again and fall on our face
                                                     Fall flat on your face
                                                            Face the truth
                                                                 Truth comes from the heart
                                                                        Heart of the Word
                                                                             The Word.
We pray for you, and the world.

The Rev. Dr. Catherine Faith MacLean

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

April 13, 2011

Is there a building where your soul finds shelter?

That is a spiritual question for you to ponder. For some of us there is a place where we feel most free, most generous and most blessed. It may be St Paul’s. Have you noticed that when you look up into the rafters, the ceiling looks like an upside-down ship? That is an intentional reference to the biblical metaphor of Jesus with the disciples on the sea, calming the storm. Your church is a shelter in the storms of life.

Perhaps it is a community building like the art gallery pictured on the front of the bulletin. The AGA houses works that are transformational. It is a place to be moved in the depth of your spirit by art that is on view for everyone.

For others it may be a place in memory: a childhood church, a cottage, or a grandparent’s home. The back cover of the enclosed bulletin is a hundred year-old log cabin, with new stained glass windows. It has been a home from which people were nurtured to go into the world and into the generations, and now it speaks both of that heritage and the lively reality of a family at play.

Whether architecture speaks to you in awe or in comfort, I hope you will take a few minutes this week to consider how your soul finds shelter. Sheltered, we become strengthened to venture outside once again and face the storms.

And through the storm, Jesus sits with us in the boat, and keeps us intact.

The Rev. Dr. Catherine Faith MacLean

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

April 5, 2011

I trust you are enjoying the sunshine this week, and the delightful sounds of running water as the ice melts away from the sidewalks.

This week in worship we celebrated Spiritual Transformation through Cloth and Fabric. Maureen MacMillan weaves colour with texture, and leave us breathless. Lyle Wiebe cross stitches west-coast symbols, and we can see the running salmon. Margo Fiddes pieces fabric and her quilt is so vibrant, is as though spring melt echoes around us.  

It occurs to me that you may have something special near you as you read this letter. It might be an heirloom cross-stitch. Perhaps it is a quilt made from dress scraps by a great-grandmother; created for a function, it becomes a treasure over the generations. 

Faith can be like that. What we need from faith – a function of courage, comfort, companionship – becomes the treasure of a lifetime’s spiritual experience. Those initial deep encounters with the Holy expand into something we trust.

I hope you have routine that you trust in your day, and that you know we hold you in prayer in your church.

May you feel warmth of blessing today.

The Rev. Dr. Catherine Faith MacLean