As I write this the wind is howling outside my study window and the temperature says -10 with a windchill of -18; and I thought I left Moose Jaw in 2011! The compensation has been the spectacular sunrise!
A two-part message today. The second part of my six-part description of our Baptismal Covenant Commitments and I drop in on our Youth Group Leader where I learn how to make real coffee!
We promise to live in the wake of Christ's baptism, pun intended! The water that he was plunged into runs off on us. We are baptized into Christ and that's possible because God in the person of Christ was baptized into the entire process of conversion necessary for humanity to finally and fully live.
What does that look like? It looks like the path outlined for us in the Baptismal Covenant a series of nine affirmations in which we affirm our belief in Father, Son and Holy Spirit and in six commitments to live in a certain way. We covered the first of these in last week's newsletter.
The second commitment is "Will you persevere in resisting evil and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord? We will, with God's help." The Christian life highlights a profound freedom, the freedom to break free from enslaving habits that seek to pull us down, the freedom to break free from our tendency to hurt others in order to secure our comforts and privilege, the freedom to speak and act contrary to structural imbalances that bring about inequality in our society. This requires patience, perseverance and courage; it requires that we remain open to "turning around and changing our thinking and acting" (repentance) and it requires the ability to be vulnerable. Traditionally this was embodied in the sacrament of confession. Anglicans call it "The Reconciliation of a Penitent" (see p. 171 of the BAS on anglican.ca or in one of the prayer books at the church). I don't know about you, but I'm still discovering "unfinished business" in my life in which the call of the Holy Spirit is essentially "there's more freedom for you to experience and share with others!" That we can "return to the Lord" and find in that return a welcome and love fills me with hope for all of us!
I visited with Gavin McGhee, long-term St. Philip attender and son of Stacy and Ruth McGhee. As of Dec 1, 2023 Gavin is our youth worker. By taking up this challenge he follows in the footsteps of a family tradition, both his mother, Ruth and his grandmother worked with youth at St. Philip; what an amazing legacy! Visiting with Gavin was a treat, quite literally. As the picture shows, Gavin is a coffee meister; he showed off his bean collection and his state-of-the-art hand grinder and muscle-powered espresso machine. For a guy who likes his coffee as I do this is about as authentic as it gets! And then he really bowled me over, telling me about the books he's reading, name-dropping my favourite theologian (Rowan Williams) and lending me a book by Walter Brueggemann, about whose work I wrote my Th.M dissertation. Well-played Gavin, well-played!