Alleluia! Christ is risen!

Signs of hope...

(photo credit: Louise Black)

After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, “He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.” This is my message for you.’ So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, ‘Greetings!’ And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshipped him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.’ (Matthew 28:1-10)

Should the Good in Good Friday say something

Happy Good Friday everyone! This article on this special day explains why Good Friday should, and does, start with ‘good’. This day, roughly 1981 years ago, Jesus was put upon the cross to save us from our sins. I know it’s sad that he had to pass away, but he did if for a good cause. If God did not play for him to die then he would have lived for awhile, but most definitely our sins would have not been forgiven and we would be living a dreadful, sinful life.

Don’t you think we should be rejoicing over his suffering instead of sulking in the shadows? He did it for us, God willingly put his son on the cross to sacrifice for us. That just reminds me about how generous and powerful God is. It certainly would not have been an easy thing to do but God knew Jesus was the only person who was special enough to do that.

We all wear dark colours on that day to honour Jesus’s life, but do you ever think that maybe he might like us to wear neon instead? He did it for us to live a happy and cheery life so by honouring him, he still might want us to thank him for all he has done for us. You might also be angry at this time of year. I suspect you might be furious at the people who put Jesus on the cross. You might feel like one of your friends is being bullied because Jesus is our friend.

So we also need to forgive. Let go all of our negative feelings so we can enjoy our sin-free day like Jesus meant us to.

Laura (11 years old)

Maundy Thursday through a Child’s Eyes

As Holy Week continues, and we really enter into the thick of it all, there is a memory from my childhood that keeps rising. I am about 7, singing in the children’s choir at St. Marks. We’re singing at a service with all sorts of ordained people, a vast array of interesting hats and one exceptionally vivid rainbow stole. I’m actually not sure what the occasion was, but I’ve always remembered it as being a Maundy Thursday service. The part of this service that sticks out to me the most is the singing. Everyone—my fellow choristers, the nicely dressed clergy, the whole congregation—was singing Jesus Remember Me, one of the more well-known chants from the Taizé community. In that moment I can remember feeling very small. While I might have been too young to find words for it, I knew that something profound was happening that night. It was something massive, and I could not quite tell whether or not I was a part of it. I wanted to be, but I did not have the ability to completely enter into the magic surrounding me. Surrounded by so many wise men and women endlessly singing the cries of a thief, I was a child shyly approaching Jesus. In asking him to remember me, I tugged gently at his robe. Our eyes met briefly, and he smiled at me, reassuring me that I would not and could not be forgotten. Suddenly I did not feel so terrified at my smallness.
This is a memory that has stuck with me for years. Every time I sing, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom,” I feel like a child again, looking up hopefully to this extraordinary man in a room filled with so many strangers. In the midst of the chaos and cacophony life is often filled with, particularly in the suffering we remember this week, that reassuring smile is most comforting. We may not always be the most dazzling star in the sky, but we will never be forgotten.

~Miranda

Invitations to walk and pray

We are in the city now. Jerusalem. The crowds are changing their tone – we know what is coming…

In the midst of Holy week I am planning a prayer walk for Holy Saturday. You are invited to hear a story of our modern crucifixion of Jesus as life giving water – and pray with us for the Resurrection anew. Here is a modified excerpt from the planned liturgy for the Prayer walk.

“Dear Grand River life giver,

How can I begin writing to such an esteemed stranger? I do not know you as I wish I did. As such, I hope you will not take offense at this small, presumptuous, hopeful offering.

I know you are the lifeblood of this land and many peoples. Before this I know you are your own life, and a being unto yourself. How then should a small creature like me relate to you, who were before me and will remain after me? For you are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Yet my people are many, and we have done you many wrongs. We have usurped the inheritance of those named by the peoples’ treaty to be wardens of your shores and waters. We have compounded the pollution of our hearts and ways with the spilled blood of our sisters and brothers, who had sworn to safeguard the life that you sustain.

It is they whose forgiveness I must seek as I approach your holy waters. Deal gently with me, for I am filled with brave talk and small deeds.”

These pipelines under our feet connect us in so many ways. They are the veins of our society and lives. Just think.
This morning, we put on our clothes, made in a factory WITH OIL.
For breakfast we had fruit, shipped here from Central America WITH OIL.
We packed ourselves snacks in plastic containers, made WITH OIL.
We drove to church in cars WITH OIL.
The pipelines connect us to the global economy of oil, and we are complicit.”

??????????????????????????

As we walk, wherever we find ourselves this Easter, may we remember the one who walks before us and leads the way towards the light.

-joshua

BFFLs

This is probably the hardest post I’ve had to write, because I have so much on my mind I don’t know what I want to say! Between packing, studying, getting affairs in order, making plans, talking on the phone with friends for two hours … oh hey, friends, that could be a topic!

Today is my friend-iversary! My friend Jennie and I met exactly eleven years ago today in the third grade. I was a new student a couple months before she arrived, so I had the opportunity to show her around when she moved to my new school. We’ve had ups and downs, we’ve done a lot of growing up over the years, and despite physically growing apart (me moving to Ontario, her staying in British Columbia), we’re still as goofy and comfortable with each other as ever. I think one of the most touching things she’s said to me over the years was actually from the conversation we had last night:

As we were making plans for Easter weekend, she said “Oh yes, on Monday we have to stop in at Ardène!” … I know she’s been working there for awhile now, it wasn’t a complete surprise, I thought she’d want me to meet her co-workers. Still, I asked her why, and she replied “The girls are really excited to meet you!” What? “Every time I go in to work I say ‘My friend’s coming soon, my friend’s coming soon!’ And they say ‘You have to bring her in!’ So we can go on the Monday and do that.” I knew Jennie was excited I was coming home, but I never imagined she would be shouting it from the rooftops (in a manner of speaking)! Sometimes I forget people can love me as much as I love them.

So today (well, all days really), I encourage you all to tell your best friend(s) at least one thing you like about them. Tell them why you cherish your friendship. <3

Kaitlyn

Eternal Life

Believe it or not, this is the biggest problem I’ve had with Christianity. Though I know the topic of eternal life is complex, I will try to write down my issues and thoughts about down here.

I think my problem with this concept comes from the fact that it has taken a connotation of waiting for the afterlife in many of the louder circles of Christianity. These are the groups where it feels like death is ignored and they talk about how the deceased will be dancing with the angles instead of talking about how death is hard. I think that focusing on the afterlife is not helpful. More than that, I actually don’t care if there is an afterlife and I do not like the fact that many Christians put way too much emphasis on it.

John 17:3 And eternal life is this: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

I never thought I would quote a bible verse in this blog, but this is a concept of eternal life that I think we should be emphasising. Instead of life after death, we should be focusing on life with God; since God is eternal, life with God must also be eternal.

As we approach Easter, I have been noticing the language of eternal life being used often, and I fear that the part of eternal life many hang their hat on is the afterlife part. If we put the emphasis on the afterlife, why then is Christianity more compelling then any of the other myths that dream about what the afterlife will be like and tell their followers how to get there?

Pamela

Peace in the Crazy

For me the being of Holy week always meant that my home was about to really bust. With 5 or more services in one week my Dad was never home and my Mum was always busy helping him. This week always revolved around making sure Dad got everything done. As child to me this was not a time to think about anything thing other then how many more bulletins I had to fold.

It was not till I was teenager that I began to have my own holy week traditions that helped me center myself in the craziness that was my house. Every holy week I try and take the time to listen to the whole Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack. For me the music put a personal touch to the story that was going through the services. It allowed me to take the time to reflect on Jesus’ journey to the cross in a more meditative way. I was better able to connect to people who went days up to after the crucifixion through music. As we begin holy week with Palm Sunday I leave you with one of the songs that gives me comfort through Holy Week and beyond. It helps remind me to relax and find peace in moments when it feels like the world is trying to stop me.