It’s a story of pride. The belief that when humanity comes together, it can achieve anything.
It can build a tower to heaven.
It can make its own way to salvation.
It can become God.
The Tower of Babel is a story of pride, a story of how quickly pride in our abilities, our technology, our wealth, and our power can lead to idolatry. And how idolatry can leave us scattered, confused, and destroyed. Continue reading →
The words echoed through the ancient hall as the cardinal read out the result of the final vote:
“Habemus Papam.” In English, “we have a Pope.”
Jorge Mario Bergoglio had been elected as the new bishop of Rome.
We might expect that the other cardinals sitting next to Bergoglio would take this opportunity to congratulate him, to hide their own disappointment behind their smiles, perhaps even to put in a good word in for themselves before the white smoke signaled the bedlam of the crowds waiting below.
However, instead of speaking words of congratulations, the Cardinal beside Bergoglio turned to him and with a seriousness a smile cannot convey, spoke only these five words, some of the first words the new Pope would hear: “Do not forget the poor.” Continue reading →
Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
It’s a true, but a challenging statement. Its true, because while we may not put our money where our mouth is, we do put our money where our hearts are. Its challenging because we need only look to where we put our treasure to find where we’ve placed our values. Indeed, as a country, as a church, and in our families, we need only look at our budgets to discover what we actually believe. Continue reading →
“And he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem, who were two years old or under” (Matthew 2:16).
We do not know, of course, if this was a historical incident. That’s a debate that’s not going to be settled. But I can easily treat it as historical because, if it did not happen at that exact time and place, it has happened a thousand other times. A routine atrocity in an unimportant country, recorded by almost no one; and if I named for you now Kraras or Fence of Legs or the Markale marketplace, these words would have no meaning for most or all of you, these small massacres in distant lands, as unremembered by the world in general as a slaughter of children in a corner of the empire was by the empire’s own chroniclers.
It is a part of the normal operations of power. But even worse, in this case, it is the direct result of the coming into the world of the Incarnate Word. Continue reading →
I love apocalyptic films. Alien invasions, panicked pandemics, climate change catastrophes, and nuclear fallout: our culture has depicted its own destruction in a myriad of ways.
This week I rented the film, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, an apocalyptic story in an end times sub-genre I like to call: A Giant Asteroid is Set on a Collision Course with Earth. Continue reading →
If you’re anything like me, your heart sank when you saw the numbers in bold newsprint:
500 Hamas rockets fired into Israel.
466 Israeli air strikes.
3 Israeli civilians dead.
16 Palestinian civilians dead.
75,000 reservists called up.
If you’re anything like me, your heart sank even more when you saw the graphic circulated on Facebook. In the background is a skyline with the Statue of Liberty, Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower and Sydney Opera house. In the foreground is a downpour of rockets. In bold letters is the question, “What would you do?” In the parlance of Facebook:
In a recent film about the renowned Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki, he relates some amazing facts about the reach of the breath that we breathe. Suzuki says that we now have evidence that the breath that we breathe out will enter into the space around us, gradually combine and recombine with other breaths, expand and travel. This process continues, he says, such that IN ONE YEAR our breath will have travelled around the world and back to us so that we will breathe in the breath we breathed out 365 days ago.
This is an astonishing fact. As are other facts that contemporary science offers for our meditation: we are breathing in the dust of stars, every moment. We are breathing in the breath of plants and animals, the breath of countless other human beings. The living and the dead.
It is one of our most ancient beliefs that we as Christians belong to a Communion of Saints, the living and the dead. We believe we are mysteriously, graciously, sustained by the goodness, the holiness, the justice of others. They are God’s breath among us now. Continue reading →
My name is Angie, and I oversee the drop-in meal program in the basement here at Church of the Redeemer, an Anglican parish in Toronto, Ontario. Our program runs 5 days a week, 9am to noon, catering to anyone in need of a meal, specifically those who live on the streets and on the margins of our society in downtown Toronto. We see about 100-120 people per day, and offer breakfast and lunch, as well as important services like our medical clinic, counseling, legal services, art studio, discussion groups, and more. I have been with the program since April of this year.
When Jesus was asked questions, he often responded with a story. So allow me to share some stories as we explore this weeks’ texts. Continue reading →