Praying for the Whole World

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Ruth Poetry


At the season of first fruits, we recall
two travellers, co-conspirators, scavengers making do with leftovers and mill ends, whose friendship was stronger than fear, stronger than hunger, who walked together, the road of shards, hands joined.


Once, Id have done anything for Naomi.
Anything at all. Willingly.

Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people; and your God, my God.

I kept my promises,
didnt I?
I went to Bethlehem and to the barley fields and to Boaz.

But no one told me how far this road would go. No one said that as soon as I bore my baby
the women would carry him away, chanting a chorus of blessings.
Not on me;
on her.

No one said that milk would leak from me while my baby nestled at Naomis breasts. Even if I loved her with the love of seven sons (and I’m not saying that I dont)
Id not relinquish my child.
Not without regret so strong that it paralyzes and silences me. Forever.


Time for a different kind of harvest. Sated with bread and beer
Boaz and his men sleep deeply on the fragrant hay.
The floor doesnt creak.
When Boaz wakes, his eyes gleam with unshed tears.
He is no longer young, maybe forty; his face is lined
as Mahlon's never became.
Who are you? he asks
and I hear an echoing question: who is it? what is it? who speaks? Spread your wings over me, I reply and his cloak billows high.
Now he clasps my foreign hand and kisses the tips of my fingers now skin glides against skin
and the seed of salvation grows in me the outsider, the forbidden
we move from lack to fullness we sweeten our own story
and as my belly swells I pray
that the day come speedily and soon when we won't need to distinguish Israel from Moab
the suns radiance from the moons
Boazs square fingers
from my smaller olive hands amen, amen, selah.

Rabbi Rachel Barenblat

The Awakening

Yes, daughter, go, said Naomi,
and so off Ruth went, out from Bethlehem, to the fields of barley,
the fields of Boaz.
All that long day Naomi waited, weak with hunger
and worry.
Had she been younger or stronger,
she, too, might have gone
to glean amidst the grain for bits of kindness.
But Naomi was not young;
she was not strong;
so in Bethlehem she stayed and slept,
dreaming, sometimes, of the younger woman, hidden among the sheaves, perhaps never to emerge
or return.
With every dream
panic pulsed through Naomis blood until she wakened to see before her Ruth, and food, and
the future.


The First Night

on what would be their last night together, till death they did part
Boaz and Ruth lay in slumber, each, in parallel,
dreaming back to that first night, on the threshing floor
beside the grain pile.
He’d been sleeping when she, in stealth, tiptoed to where he rested,
uncovered his feet
and curled up at his toes. When he awoke,
they spoke, first;
then they slid, slowly,
into the space that, unbeknownst to either, they would share forever
in time, and text, and tradition.


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

To The Saints

To the Saints at Whitehorse United Church - greetings to you, and peace.

That's how Paul would have said it. "To the saints in the church at ____" and by that he meant the people of that church. To be saint is to be a follower of Jesus, and a part of the family of faith. That's you! As we come to this time of year....All Hallow's Eve, and then All Saints and All Souls Day, it's important to remember that.

So - greetings to you, and peace, all you saints!

I'm home again after being away for the bulk of two weeks. I'm trying my best to get reconnected, but my goodness there's a lot of stuff happening! I can't remember if I told you, so I'll tell you (perhaps again) that I have been at two courses:

The first was in Burlington Ontario, and it was a course on "Biblical Storytelling". I attended this course last year as well. In essence, it advocates and explores the benefits of TELLING scripture rather than reading it. As a follow up to that, I'm inviting you to come to two sessions Nov 10 and 17, from 10-noon. We'll work on memorizing the Christmas story according to Luke. If you want to get a head start on that, we'll work on Luke 2: 1-7, and then if we have that down, we'll continue to verses 8-20 as well. My preference is that you use the New Revised Standard Version.

The second was in Orillia Ontario, where I attended the annual training session of the Canadian Police Chaplains' Association.

And now I'm back, raring to go, as they say.

Here's a poem I found (author unknown to me) about saints - real life, all-too-human ones. I needed this poem this week, and perhaps you will like it too.

These are the thin days
of Hallow’s Eve, All Saints and Souls
when we offer thanks for those who linger with us
and the souls who come to find us.

Here among us
are the saints-in-making
the challenging one, close by or far away
the incredibly rude one
the smoker all too near
the creepy one with too smooth tongue
the tedious religious one
the facebook friend you wished you never hatched
the annoying one with certain aim
the one who pushes all your buttons.

Yes. Him. Her. Them. Those. The Others.
All souls they are.

Oh November 1, what a day you are
you demand us notice
not just the lovely ones,
not just the saintly-defined-by-us ones,
but all the souls-in-making
even unbearable saints.

We can do other but stand firmly in the day
and wonder (really) how the Light is being shaped
deep within their heart
while being kind in ours.

 I wish you a wonderful week.
with love and in hope

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Whitehorse Pride Parade 2016

Whitehorse United Church was well represented in this year's Pride Parade,

WUC Banner carried by Sheila and Heather 
A nice summer day for the Parade and an exciting high-energy event. Great to participate.

As Ellen Degeneres says, One day we may get to a place where people say, what does it matter whether you're gay or straight - why can't we just judge people by the car they drive.

Posted by Hank

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve Pageant

Here's a photo taken at the end of this year's Christmas Eve Pageant.  During the whole pageant this little guy in the aisle seemed to be totally enthralled with what was going on.

In this photo, I can't help but wonder what is going on in his young mind as he watches.  Whatever it is, it's got to be good.  And, of course, this is a big part of what Christmas is all about - the wonder and the mystery.

For more Pageant photos, go to the Church website photo gallery page, or click here.

Posted by Hank

For more Pageant photos, click here.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Outdoor Service

Today's outdoor service, led by Jennifer Moorlag, highlighted Whitehorse United Church's support of Braeburn Camp.  A beautiful sunny day, too.

And a picnic on the lawn.  Thanks to all who brought food, and thanks to Joy Wickett for preparing the hot dogs and coordinating the food. Great fun, fellowship, and worship.

Posted by Hank

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

United Church of Canada - 90th Birthday

Today is the 90th birthday of the United Church of Canada, and Whitehorse United Church hosted a birthday party on the front lawn of the church.

There were balloons, fruit drinks, muffins and rice crispy hearts by Joy Wickett.

A bit of a windy day, it was. So when I went to take a photo of Rev. Bev with the balloons, they blew into her face.

Here's a pic where the balloons are not in her face, and folks enjoying the party.


Posted by Hank

Monday, May 18, 2015

Today's Lesson

A drunk walks into a church ....

I know, it sounds like the start of a bad joke.

But yesterday at our worship service, just before the choir was to sing the anthem, a very inebriated man walked in and sat at the back of the sanctuary.

During the singing of a very powerful anthem, those of us in the choir could see the man was moved by the singing when he threw a triumphant fist high into the air, as if to say "Yes!!".

The sermon that followed was on the theme of inclusiveness, focusing on the words within the United Church of Canada crest, "Ut omnes unum sint", "That all may be one". The challenge of living this call of inclusiveness was brought into stark reality when the inebriated man mumbled incoherently at periodic intervals during the sermon. Toward the end of the sermon, the man abruptly stood up and said some words that were quite disjointed and unintelligible, and then ended by shouting in a clear voice,

"I love you, and there is f***-all you can do about it!"  He then left.

When the shock of the profanity settled a bit, one of our choir members leaned over and whispered,

"Isn't that kind of what God says?"

Reverend Bev did a great job, asking us to join her in a short prayer to think about God's challenging call to be inclusive. At the end of the sermon Barry Kitchen softly played "Draw the Circle Wide" as we meditated on the sermon and what happened.

Note to Bev: New sermon title - I Love You, And There's Nothing You Can Do About It.

For those who, like me, were distracted from hearing the full message of the sermon, you can hear the audio by clicking here.

Posted by Hank