Some of you may have seen a post on FaceBook lately about Pope Francis' advice on what to give up for Lent. It is taken from a sermon he gave a few years ago, and has been boiled down significantly, but the advice is still very appropriate.
Here it is - what will you give up for Lent?
Give up hurting words and say kind words.
Give up sadness and be filled with gratitude.
Give up anger and be filled with patience.
Give up pessimism and be filled with hope.
Give up worries and trust in God.
Give up complaints and contemplate simplicity.
Give up pressures and be prayerful.
Give up bitterness and fill your heart with joy.
Give up selfishness and be compassionate to others.
Give up grudges and be reconciled.
Give up words and be silent so you can listen.
Come Sunday morning to church and together we will walk this Lenten journey.
God bless you!
Come to church on Sunday as we at Aylmer United Church celebrate Black History Month.
Every February since 1996, the Government of Canada invites Canadians to participate in Black History Month festivities and events that honour the legacy of Black Canadians, past and present. For 2018, the theme of the Government of Canada’s Black History Month campaign is Black Canadian Women: Stories of Strength, Courage and Vision. Black history month is also celebrated in the United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands, and the USA.
I quote from a United Church of Canada Minute for Mission:
"Let us take time to remember African-Canadian history, the struggles and the haunting legacy of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
Black people have been part of the United Church from its beginning and continue to play a vital role in the church today. We celebrate this history by sharing the story of Union United Church in Montreal, Quebec.
This church was created in 1907 and was known as Union Congregational Church. From the start Union led the way in reaching out to the Black railway porters and their families who were segregated from the rest of Montreal, offering them a place of worship and a place to call their own.
We sing thanksgiving for the foundation of Black people who have led the way toward The United Church of Canada becoming an intercultural church, a church where all are welcome!"
See you Sunday!
I have a colleague whose favourite holiday is Groundhog Day. At first I thought this was crazy. But when I heard the reason I began to understand. Groundhog Day has very few expectations. The greeting card companies have not made a major campaign out of it (yet - let's hope they leave this one alone). There are no expectations of gifts, or special rituals. There are no extra services for ministers to prepare. It is just a fun and rather whimsical day - if you even remember it. In most parts of Canada it boggles the mind to think that spring could be just around the corner on February 2.
Do you remember the 1993 movie Groundhog Day with Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell? Murray plays Phil Connors, an arrogant Pittsburgh TV weatherman who, during an assignment covering the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, finds himself caught in a time loop, repeating the same day again and again. After many adventures and attempts at getting himself out of the loop of same-old, same-old craziness, he begins to re-examine his life and priorities. It is Rita, played by MacDowell who is the inspiration for him to get his life back on track.
And craziness it was. There is a definition of insanity that says "insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." In the movie poor Phil starts to display some of the signs and symptoms of insanity. But with great effort and with some major soul searching and determination to do things differently he was able to break out of the time loop and find a happier and healthier way.
Are you stuck in a time loop? Is the church? Are we doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results?