EMAIL mj.morris@live.ca


Saturday, March 28, 2015

CrossWalking: Showing our Love for the City

By Rev. Yme Woensdregt

Next Friday, Christians from different churches in Cranbrook will join together for the eleventh annual Good Friday CrossWalk.

 It’s a spiritual pilgrimage through the streets of downtown Cranbrook. This is worship in the streets! We pray for our city, its leaders and all who live here. We pray for our nation and for the world.

The CrossWalk begins at 10 am on Good Friday at the Clock Tower. From there, we will carry a cross through the downtown core of the city and stop at several locations.

At each stop, we read a passage from Scripture and we pray together.
Our prayers will embrace the city and its people, leaders and governments around the world, our legal system, our health care system, caregivers of all sorts and those who need to be surrounded with prayer and compassion and grace.

We pray for the victims and perpetrators of war and hatred. We pray for all whose lives need to be held up in the light of God’s love. We end with prayers for the churches and other faith groups, all who seek to live with peace and compassion in the world. We pray that we might learn to live and work together with compassion for the good of all people.

Why do we do this?

We do it as a faithful witness to the grace and compassion of God. We hold up our city in prayer so that God’s love might surround and embrace us all with healing grace. We journey together, bearing witness to Jesus who comes to our world with a different vision of what a whole and healthy life looks like.

Cross Walk 2014 
God’s vision for the world is of a community of compassion and companionship. It’s a world where power resides in service and self–giving love, not in might and coercion. It’s a vision of healing and restoration so that all people may live together in peace with justice.

For faithful Christians, the cross is about an alternative vision of what life could be like. Jesus didn’t die on the cross primarily so that we could get to heaven. Rather, he was executed by the state because his vision of life was so radically different that he was seen as a threat. In the cross, we see the depth of Jesus’ passion for a world based on a radical equality among all people. We see the power of God’s love, which holds us up even in the midst of the most painful suffering.

In our CrossWalk, in our prayers, we give voice to that vision. We don’t ask God to come crashing into our world to set everything right. Rather, as we pray, we make a fresh commitment to live by the gospel values of compassion, peace, justice and wholeness. We make a public act of witness that we walk with Jesus, that we share that same vision of a life made whole and new.

Canadian theologian Douglas John Hall talks about prayer as “learning to see the world through God’s eyes.” As we pray, we learn to view the world with compassion and grace. We learn to seek justice for all people. We seek to live on this earth as responsible and faithful people who care for one another and who care for the earth as well.

CrossWalking is one way in which we renew our commitment to walk in the way of Jesus. It is a way that leads to a cross, since walking this path faithfully will bring us into conflict with the world and its values.

God invites us to be partners in what John Dominic Crossan calls “God’s great cleanup of the world”. We work in partnership with God, so that the gospel values of love and compassion and justice might triumph in our own lives and in the world.

God has a deep, abiding and profound love for the world. Our prayers for the city and all its people, for peace and justice, for hope and healing, reflects our longing to participate in God’s passionate love affair with the world.

As we journey through the city, we feel the burden of the cross we carry. At the same time, we experience the reality of its liberating power. We renew our commitment to the crucified and risen Christ as we commit ourselves to serve Cranbrook in love.

Join us on Good Friday, April 3. We begin at the Clock Tower at 10 am. I invite you to journey with us. Come pray with us. Come show your love for Cranbrook. Come carry the cross with us. Come and give witness to an alternative vision of what life could be like.

Rev Dr Yme Woensdregt is the Incumbent at Christ Church Anglican in Cranbrook BC

The Commander in Chief is endangering Canadians

Perrceptions by Gerry Warner
“Suppose They Gave a War and Nobody Came” was the title of a forgettable 1970 movie that ironically seems to have some prescience now as Commander in Chief Stephen Harper prepares to expand our Iraq misadventure into an even larger war in Syria.
Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t believe Syria has declared war on Canada.
In fact, Syria is embroiled in a five-year civil war that shows no sign of ending and is, therefore, in no position to declare war on anyone, little alone us. But this minor detail doesn’t bother our brave Commander in Chief, who’s so eager to get into an even bigger war that he hasn’t even bothered with the diplomatic niceties of telling the Syrians he’s declared war on them, something that’s supposed to be done under international law and the United Nations in the vain hope that it will cause the country declaring war to have second thoughts.
That technically makes Canada an international war criminal, but our eager Commander in Chief doesn’t worry about technicalities even though our US partner in this dangerous venture took the time to inform the Syrians.
And what was the Commander in Chief’s justification for expanding this dangerous venture that has already taken the life of one Canadian? In the past, he said Canadian F-18’s would only go into Syria with the “clear support” of the Syrian government. But Tuesday in Parliament, he said: “The reality is that the Assad regime does not have the will nor the ability to counter the Islamic State in Syria.” In other words, the Syrian government, led by Bashar al-Assad, is in such dire straits from the civil war that it’s incapable of fighting back.
Obviously we have a very brave Commander in Chief.
Our brave Commander also likes to stoke the fears Canadians understandably have about ISIS, the fanatical, jihadist, terrorist group that has overrun parts of Iraq and Syria and committed ghastly beheadings in the name of a perverted brand of Islam that the great majority of the world’s Muslims don’t support. But the PM ignores this in a brazen bid to enrage his core supporters into supporting a holy war against a small but blood-thirsty band of Islamic fighters capable of causing havoc in the volatile Middle East, but with no capacity whatsoever to harm anyone in North America.
Does ISIS have missiles capable of hitting Canada? No.
Does ISIS have an air force that could drop bombs on us? No.
Does ISIS have a navy capable of shelling our shores? No.
Then what are we doing in Iraq and Syria attacking ISIS? Good question!
Unfortunately, ISIS does have a sinister way of harming us thanks largely to our Commander in Chief’s so-called “strategy,” which is playing exactly into their blood-stained hands. Remember the good ol’ days when Canadians were known internationally as peacekeepers? Now, thanks largely to Canada’s participation in the wars in Afghanistan, Libya and now Iraq and Syria we’re no longer seen as international good guys. We’re now seen as another Western, imperial power riding on the coat tails of Uncle Sam dropping bombs indiscriminately on Muslim believers in the Middle East whether they are jihadists or not. And so they hate us and out of that hatred and thanks to the Internet they’re able to recruit “lone wolf” terrorist wannabes in our own ranks that in a few isolated cases have succeeded in killing us. That’s the tragic consequences of what Harper’s bellicose, war mongering strategy is doing to us. Yet, if the polls can be believed, a majority of gullible Canadians support him.
Surely expanding this war in the most war-torn part of the world has deadly consequences we can hardly fathom. Don’t you think it’s time then to hit the re-set button on Harper’s folly?

Gerry Warner is a retired journalist that has lost all respect for the Commander in Chief,

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Allan Ritchie shares life and experience with grandson Lark in 'First Communion - Last Communion'

Allan Ritchie with pike 1954 (Ritchie collection)
Writing about his grandfather Allan Ritchie, his grandson Lark noted that he was probably the first 'High-Tech Communication Specialist' out of Moose Factory. He arrived in Chapleau in 1904.
Mr. Ritchie, who was a familiar participant in Chapleau parades, worked a large part of his life as a CPR telegraph operator at various relay points west and east of Chapleau. Allan Earland Ritchie died in may 1961.
I am delighted that through Brian Ritchie, Lark's brother, I am able to share "First Communion - Last Communion', written about time spent with his grandfather. It first appeared in www.kamazooie.com 
'First Communion - Last Communion' by Lark Ritchie
On a Thursday evening in May, in the Spring of 1961, my mother fried some pike fillets and sent me with them to the Lady Minto Hospital. I brought them to my grandfather, who lay there in the last stages of cancer. I was twelve years old, and he, sixty seven.
"Hello", I said, as I entered his room. He opened his eyes and looked up with a short reply. "Hi Boy, sit down". I sat. He arranged himself, moving a pillow under his side, facing me. We both knew his conditions, though we did not talk about it.
A silence continued. We were used to silence, we had spent my life until that point as grandfather and grandson. Walking and sitting together; few words, long periods of silence, interspersed with teachings and play that helped make me who I am today.
I handed him a small brown paper bag. "Mommy made some fish for you," I mumbled, and handed the bag to him. He accepted the bag, and pulled out two packages wrapped in white translucent waxed paper. He unwrapped one. "Ooo, Fish", he said. His expression conveyed that this was an important thing, and that somehow, I was special for bringing it to him. "Where is it from? What kind?"
"It’s Pike," I replied, "From down the river."
"Who caught it?"
"Daddy caught it. Down past the rapids, in the weedbed near the beach."
We both knew that place; we had traveled the river and each bend, each weed bed was as familiar to us as the cupboards of our homes. For others who travel the river, that spot is on the east side of Henderson Lake, a small sand beach now used by hunters in the fall as a moose hunt campground.
Again we entered a moment of silence, as he broke a fillet into two. "Have some with me," and he handed me a small piece. "I already ate," I said, "we had it for supper." He offered it again, urging the fragment towards me, "Have just a little piece with me; it’s better to eat together."
I took it and ate it.
Allan Ritchie Chapleau carnival (Ritchie collection)
For some seconds, we chewed, and swallowed. "It’s good." The short sentence trailed off, almost a whisper. I watched him break off another piece, which he handed to me. I accepted it. He broke off one for himself, and as he did, I saw tears in his eyes. The first tears I had ever seen in those eyes, and the last. My own eyes welled with the same warm water. He rolled onto his back, looked at me, and his hand motioned, "Eat." He placed his own piece into his mouth, and chewed. I did the same.
He looked up, past the hospital ceiling towards a sky he saw in his mind, "We used to camp there, on that beach, it is a good place for a break; to cook." He wiped his lips, and then his eyes; first one, and then the other. "Across the river, there is a small bay; behind the island. It’s another good place to fish." And he told me a story of a fish he had caught there, and how he had used a green line and a sucker to catch it, and how it had flopped in the canoe. He told me one more; of a bear on a rock, just down the river a bit.
Our tears had passed, and he asked me about school, and what it was like outside. I do not remember what else we talked about, or when, or how I left. But it was the last time we ate together, and talked of fishing and hunting, of canoeing and camping. I saw him one more time; two days before the end. He was unaware.
We had shared a fish. Looking back at it now, it was an act of communion. A final sharing of knowledge, and being together. A passing. The basis of that communion was the river, and the life and lifestyle it provided. Two people connecting, two adjacent generations. Two ages of humanity; one moving into the past, one into the future, bound together by memories of a river. Saying goodbye.
This little story illustrates the central significance of the environment in many Native American lives. When in the last days of life, a man remembers and shares life and experience in the context and framework of a river, we begin to understand the subtle, yet vital interweaving of ecology and being, a fundamental entity in personal and social identity.

My very best wishes for a most blessed and Happy Easter, My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Michael J Morris

Michael J Morris
MJ with Buckwheat (1989-2009) Photo by Leo Ouimet


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Following the American Dream from Chapleau. CLICK ON IMAGE