Pastor's Pen November 2014

Recently posted on Facebook was an editorial cartoon, drawn by Bruce MacKinnon of the Chronicle Herald, which depicted one of the soldiers from the statues on the Cenotaph assisting Cpl. Nathan Cirillo after he had been shot guarding the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.   The picture was powerful as it conveyed both compassion and hope.


Many Canadians will never forget the events of Wednesday, October 22, 2014, when a lone gunman terrorized Ottawa.  I followed the story on television and on the radio.  That night I attended a function in which Waterloo Lutheran Seminary (WLS) was recognizing the work of Bishop Dr. Munib A. Younan, President of the Lutheran World Federation and Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan the Holy Land.   The day before Bishop Michael Pryse, Bishop Susan Johnson, Bishop Younan, and a delegation from Canadian Lutheran World Relief were in Ottawa and they had met with politicians on Parliament Hill discussing peace and what that meant for the World.   In his address titled, “Building Peace in the Holy Land: The Contribution of Christian and People of Faith”, Bishop Younan began by acknowledging the events of the day.   As words of encouragement to Canadians and to the Church he challenged us to build bridges of peace rather than walls of hatred to those who cause pain and misery.   For those who attended the programme, we had an opportunity to sit quietly in silence and pray and then the WLS choir, Inshallah, sang songs of peace from around the world.  That evening, when I retired for the night, I felt the loving arms of God holding me and imagined those arms reaching out to all who need comfort and peace.


The death of a loved one is usually a difficult reality for many to cope with.   In the life of the Church we proclaim, “Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again.”  We live in the comfort and knowledge of a God who loves us in our times of great joy, our periods of great sorrow and all our emotions in-between.  We are never alone as people come together to offer support and consolation during these challenging occasions.


This is so true as we celebrate All Saints’ Sunday, recognizing those who have shared and lived their faith with us.  We would not be who we are without the gift of their love and guidance.  Life and death is to be celebrated as we acknowledge the promise of eternal life with our creator.


To continue the worship experience, the chilling winds of November will also give us cause to pause and pray, remembering those who took up the call and died serving and protecting our Country which we will do on Sunday, November 9th .  On November 11, at all Canadian cenotaphs, we will hear the moving and powerful words, “We will remember them.”  May our thoughts and prayers resound throughout heaven and earth on this day


God calls us to be peacemakers and caretakers of creation.  Remembering the words of Paul to the Romans, God gives us strength and hope, realizing and knowing that, “Suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us”  (Romans 5: 3 -5 NRSV).   These are words to live by.


In closing, I offer these prayers to reflect on during your own personal mediation throughout these disconcerting times.  They are found in our Evangelical Lutheran Worship book (page 76 & 77).



O God, it is your will to hold both heaven and earth in a single peace.  Let the design of your great love shine on the waste of our wraths and sorrows, and give peace to your church, peace among nations, peace in our homes, and peace in our hearts; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.


Time of conflict, crisis, disaster

O God, where hearts are fearful and constricted, grant courage and hope.  Where anxiety is infectious and widening, grant peace and reassurance.  Where impossibilities close every door and window, grant imagination and resistance.  Where distrust twists our thinking, grant healing and illumination.  Where spirits are daunted and weakened, grant soaring wings and strengthened dreams.  All these things we ask in the name of Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord.  Amen.


Those in the armed forces

Almighty God, we commend to your gracious care and keeping all the men and women of our armed forces at home and abroad.  Defend them day by day with your heavenly grace; strengthen them in their trials and temptations; give them courage to face the perils that surround them; and grant them a sense of your abiding presence wherever they may be; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.


God’s peace be with you always.


Pastor Jeff