March 18, 2019

It has taken me a bit of time to settle into the blog this morning because I wanted to add a couple of links in the menu to sites you might want to check on. So far, I have created links to Wesley Urban Ministries and to the United Church of Canada.

If there are sites you think would be helpful to what we are doing, or pages/ you would like to see added, let me know in the comments section below (which I hope is working today), otherwise let me know at mgmacd@gmail.com. FYI, you comments may not appear immediately as they need to be “o.k.’d” by me before they show up on the site, but I will see them.

I had a conversation with Janet Kennedy at Trinity/Hannon Pastoral Charge this morning. They will join us for our Good Friday Service (provided services are happening by then) and for the Hot Cross Buns afterwards.

Alternative Plans: What will happen if the churches are still not meeting on during Holy Week and Easter? This will happen. Resources you can use at home will be provided; but, more importantly, we will celebrate Easter no matter how long it is before we can gather. And perhaps, if the celebration is delayed, the resurrection story will have an even greater impact as we “return to life”.

A little over a week ago I began to provide, via email, the series, “Praying in the Midst of Life” with Ron del Bene. I have decided the Wednesday during this time would be a good place to add it as Wednesday is usually our Bible study time. So today, I will continue with the series.

week 2: Finding God

You can click on the picture to the left to watch the YouTube video, or click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q38YgIoveT0&t=237s

Background to things mentioned on the video:

Tent Scripture References:  Isaiah 54:1-5 : Exodus 37:7-11; John 1:1-14

Isaiah 54:2 Enlarge the site of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes.

Exodus 37:7-11

7 Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp; he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp.

John 1:1-14

4 And the Word became flesh and lived among us  pitched his tent among us], and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, F4 full of grace and truth.

Base Christian communities – communities that gather to read the Gospel and discern its meaning together

liberation theology – base Christian communities

Christianity and base-Christian communities as subversive to the oppressive government

talk about transcendence & immanence

Christian Base Communities and Liberation Theology go hand in hand.  In the 80’s and 90’s, paramilitaries were often used as part of a counter insurgency plan.

“the use of paramilitaries in Latin America as part of the general counterinsurgency strategy (where “insurgency” is a broad term, covering such crimes as organization of Christian base communities where peasants read the Gospels and think about such subversive matters as justice and freedom). The most significant example in recent years is Colombia, where paramilitaries linked closely to the military/landowner/narcotic-trafficking sectors have been carrying out major atrocities (while their mentors receive the bulk of US military aid/training in the hemisphere, increasing under Clinton). A very important case in the ’80s particularly was Guatemala, which you mention. There’s good work on this topic, among others, Carmack (ed.), Harvest of Violence; Falla, Massacres in the Jungle. “*

*(Unfortunately, I no longer recall where this quote comes from.  I may have gotten it my an on-line email group in my ministry contact or one of my books on Liberation Theology which I no longer have in my possession.)

Transcendence & immanence:  We can refer to God as being transcendent (that is over and above us), or we can refer to God as immanent (that is within us and with us in our midst).

Ladder & Tree images

John Climacus :  St John, generally distinguished by the appellation of Climacus, from his excellent book entitled Climax, or the Ladder to Perfection, was born about the year 525, probably in Palestine. By his extraordinary progress in the arts and sciences he obtained very young the surname of the Scholastic. But at sixteen years of age he renounced all the advantages which the world promised him to dedicate himself to God in a religious state, in 547.He was surnamed “of the Ladder” (Climacus) because he wrote an immortal work, the “Ladder of Divine Ascent.” In this work, we see how, by means of thirty steps, the Christian gradually ascends from below to the heights of supreme spiritual perfection. We see how one virtue leads to another, as a man rises higher and higher and finally attains to that height where there abides the crown of the virtues, which is called “Christian love.”

Questions and Enrichment:

Praying in the Midst of Life with Ron del Bene:  Week 2, Finding God

  1. As you listened to the participants on the tape discuss their continuing spiritual journey, with whom did you most identity?
  2. Is there something you heard or saw today that you would like to borrow and incorporate into your own prayer life?
  3. Have you experienced a shift in your understanding of God?
  4. Did you most identify with the ladder or the tree?
  5. What are the ways you experience Jesus pitching his tent in your life?

Creating Sacred Space: The tent represents sacred space – a place where the presence of God dwells.  Do you have a sacred space – a place where you find it easier to become aware of God’s presence?  Reflect on your sacred place or places?

Throughout the week, wherever you are, whatever you are doing whenever you think of it, imagine God’s tent pitched right there in the middle of it?  What does it look/feel like?  How does it make you feel to consider God’s tent being pitched in the midst of what is happening?

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