Sacraments: God in Flesh
Our March 19 worship gathering was a celebration of our 7th anniversary!
Our theme invited us to reflect on how the words sacred, sacrament, and sacrifice all come from the same Latin root word, sacer, which means to hallow (to make holy), to set aside (set apart), to consecrate (for divine purpose) or dedicate. We shared together in the sacrament of communion (visible signs of invisible grace). And we reflected on the sacred nature of Earth and creation (filled with God’s presence) and sacrifice - the giving of life so that new life is possible.
Here are the three readings we shared:
“The truth of the matter is, unless a grain of wheat falls on the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest. If you love your life you’ll lose it; if you hate your life in this world you’ll keep it for eternal life. Anyone who wants to work for me must follow in my footsteps.”
- John 12:24–26a
“With my first bite of food, I think about what I am eating. I understand the sacrifice made by the plant or the animal to give me life. My life is connected to their death. There is a sacred relationship between myself and the food I eat.”
- Randy Woodley, Becoming Rooted, 67–68
I once spoke to my friend, an old squirrel, about the Sacraments –
he got so excited
and ran into a hollow in his tree and came
back holding some acorns, an owl feather,
and a ribbon he had found.
And I just smiled and said, “Yes, dear,
- Daniel Landinsky, inspired by St. Francis
Take time outdoors and pay particular attention to where you encounter the sacred, and what sacraments you notice - those visible signs of invisible grace. Where do you see signs of sacrifice - the giving of life so that new life is possible?
Global Recycling Day
Today is Global Recycling Day. While we try to recycle the best we can, I am aware that our recycling system is broken and misleading. Particularly concerning plastic. Less than 10% of plastic produced worldwide is recycled. Canada produces about 3.3 million tons of plastic a year, and 2.8 million tons of that ends up in landfills. Additionally, Canada ships a portion of our plastic waste to other countries to be 'recycled,' contributing to global plastic polution.
So, when I think of recycling, I think of the many other "R's" that should come first:
Forgive us for taking more than we give back.
Remind us that everything we buy will one day be garbage.
Help us repent from wasteful ways.
Restore our sense of belonging and connection to the community of creation.
Renew within us awareness that the earth is full of your glory.
Joy, Play & Family Day
This month Lisa Carr-Pries led our gathered worship time on Family Day weekend with an invitation to reflect on joy and play. Here is a short re-cap of her invitation for you to do on your own.
You changed my wild lament into dancing.
You ripped off my funeral clothes
and dressed me up in joy
so that my whole being
might sing praises to you and never stop.
Lord, my God, I will give thanks to you forever.
Take time to wander and wonder, spin and smile - to consider this theme of delight, playfulness and joy. What comes to mind when you think of whimsy? What brought you immense joy as a child? What was the last time you saw something and it took your breath away? How did that change you?
End your wandering with this blessing:
Go from here knowing that
That divine delights in you,
just as you are.
Find delight in the Earth,
Joy and gratitude will be your rich reward .
Waiting to be seen
Take out your earbuds
Put away your phone.
Let the ordinary
Beauty of this moment
You are in
Bring you pause.
This is holy ground
The Divine shimmering
Below the surface
Waiting to be seen.
- Wendy Janzen
What is guiding you?
Touching on themes of incarnation and epiphany, our January worship gathering reminded us to pay attention to God’s sacred presence among us. God’s incarnation was not a one-time event. Epiphany was not a one time event. They are archetypes of how God is active and present in a variety of forms in the world - showing up in human form, in all creation, in stars, on journeys into unfamiliar territory.
Matthew 2:9b-10 “...they (the Magi) set out, and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen in the east, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy.”
All that the magi had to illuminate and guide their way was a star and a dream. Their journey to encounter holiness began with a burning light, with a step taken, with companions gazing in the same direction.
As we stand near the beginning of this new year, what is guiding you? What are you noticing? How are you following your longing to encounter holiness? Which direction is calling you? What are you giving your attention to? Who are your companions on the journey?
Six Word Sermons for Advent
Hope is our grounding in shadow.
Peace runs deep; listening, connecting, flourishing.
Joy comes to an open hand.
Love inspires action, caring beyond self.
Blessed be the darkness
A blessing for heading into December and Advent
Blessed be the darkness,
protecting, covering, comforting.
Blessed be the early evenings,
and long nights.
Blessed be the moon and stars,
and monochrome landscapes.
Blessed be the deep stillness
and inner quiet.
Blessed be the hope
held in the shadows,
beneath the ground,
and deep in the belly.
- Wendy Janzen
Stopped in my tracks
Today I was
in my tracks
by the sweet
of rotting leaves.
Heaven on earth!
A tree's offering
to the soil.
This scent tells
the curious truth:
death can be achingly,
Death is not
a final ending,
it is a transformation,
- Wendy Janzen
Compassion, not consumption
Thoughts for heading into municipal elections.
How do we measure progress?
We’ve gone off track,
lost our way following
stats for economic growth,
Why not measure
a city’s success through counting
how many species of insects we have,
how many people are not hungry,
how many different birds children can name,
how many stars can be seen at night,
how many green spaces there are,
how easy public transit is to access,
and how healthy the waterways are…
Let’s exchange our lawn mowers
for native plant gardens.
Dim our insecurity lights.
Talk to our neigbours.
Park our cars.
Be happy with enough,
and no more.
Draw the circle wide.
Care for the least.
- Wendy Janzen
A Million Thanks
A million thanks, Eternal One,
for all the gifts of life.
For each element, each life form,
that intersects with mine,
I offer my deep gratitude.
For the sun, air, and clouds,
the tamaracks, maples, and willows,
For the blue jays, crows, and geese,
the bunnies, squirrels, and fox,
For the moths, bees, and spiders,
the asters, sunflowers, and goldenrod,
For the apples, squash, and carrots,
the grains, seeds, and nuts,
For ponds, creeks, and rain,
the rocks, soil, and compost,
For neighbours, friends, and strangers,
and all microscopic life I cannot see,
For this community, ecosystem, home,
for this place of belonging and connection,
and for a million other ways you
bless my life and all lives,
I am truly thankful to you, the
Ground of our being,
Creator of all that was,
and is, and ever shall be.
- Wendy Janzen
Reflections, poetry, prayers, photos, and resources written by Wendy Janzen unless otherwise noted.