Day 56: Saturday November 4
The door stayed open today. It was time to reconnect with my garden, and with my Montreal family. And it was a lovely day. My body thanked me for not being seat shaped for hours on end, and revelled in the work of putting vegetable beds in order for the winter, raking leaves (yes, raking, not blowing-don’t get me started on those satanic contraptions), and marvelling at the grace with which plants settle into the process of letting go. Lots of cuddles with a 12 week old grandson, and supper with his amazing brand new parents was a delightful way to spend these oh so precious last few Saturdays before the pastoral routine returns in little over a month.
Day 55: Friday November 3
I opened the door! I felt a little like a bear coming out of hibernation, but the excuse was a good one. I met up for dinner, downtown, with the Rev.Dr. Karoline Lewis, a.k.a, the director of the Luther Seminary D.Min. Degree programme, so for the next seven months, “she who must be obeyed!” She happened to be in Montreal to give a workshop. The evening was filled with good food, a little wine, and rich, inspiring conversation, of two church nerds, preaching geeks, but a real shot of encouragement to get this writing done, so that we can share it with others. It couldn’t have come at a better moment in my writing process. Grace is like that, isn’t it? More than we hoped for, and just at the right time.
Days 53 &54 Wednesday & Thursday November 1 & 2
There’s nothing like turning the calendar over to November to concentrate the mind on the task at hand! Nothing to report except following Stephen King’s advice. close the door, sit down and write. The section I am working on right now is the least exciting, but for a thesis, an important part; justifying the metholodlogy. What a soul-less phrase! My garden beckons, spotting a couple of you at the gym, the temptation to catch up on the We Sing Thanksgiving programme….all great things, but to be resisted for a necessary good…. sigh.
Day 52: Tuesday October 31
All Hallows Eve. Now’s there’s a day steeped in so much tradition, it’s as thick as molasses. My Celtic DNA stirs on this day, as my pre-Christian ancestors would have marked Samhain – the end of harvest, when to protect that hard earned crop, bonfires were lit to ward off mischievous spirits. In typical syncretic fashion, somewhere around the 8th century, the feast of “All Hallows” – All Saints, and its Vigil, “All Hallows Eve” were deliberately placed over the pre-Christian celebration to try to stamp out pagan practice. That didn’t work, did it?…. Now, after centuries of mischief, bonfires, lanterns, tricks, and treats, it’s a feast day loved perhaps most by Hershey and Cadbury, and Nestle, and whoever makes Twizzlers! Go figure!!
For all who love to carve their jack-o-lanterns, and dress up in costumes ghoulish or garish, may you be safe tonight as the veil between worlds is stretched to liminal thinness. I’ll see the guilty ones at the gym in the morning!
Day 51: Monday October 30
I was/am a scholar of the Reformation, and have been for nearly 30 years. My own journey through the church has been one of personal reformation as I have prayed, and worked to find my place in the institutional church where the talents and gifts God gave me could be best used. Last I checked the Roman Catholic church still does not ordain women, so my move from that particular denomination
was probably the right one, given that my soul, body and being resonate with all that it means to be ordered to a life of “Word, Sacrament and Pastoral Care.”
So, why then does all this hype about the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation bother me so? It does. I have NEVER wanted to reenact the mythic “nailing of 95 theses to the Wittenberg doors” by Luther in 1517. I have NEVER wanted to conclude, as one theologian has recently done, in a widely publicized blog, that “Protestants won.” There is much to be said for some honest reflection, 500 years after this tectonic shift in the church universe took place, and church ‘professionals’ like me should absolutely do that, to test our complacencies against the liveliness of the Holy Spirit, to let the scrutiny of reflection highlight our biases and prejudices that mar the living of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, albeit in pluriform ways. However, it seems to me that for many of you reading this blog, it doesn’t really matter too much what Luther said when, and how the Popes responded, then. What matters more, now, is a deeper question, worth asking of ourselves personally, and as communities of Christian faith and practice: “How is our life being reformed by our relationship with the Living God?”