The Third Sunday of Advent (Year A)

JOY

Joy!

What do we mean by joy?  When and how do you or I experience joy?  Our reflectors this week look at the joy that comes as a result of a transformative moment when there is movement from despair and desolation to fullfilment and abundance.  As Miriam Spies notes, in the Gospel reading the imprisoned John the Baptist send his disciples to Jesus to discern if there is any good news to be had from Jesus.  He wonders if he has wasted his life.  The news he receives must have evoked some joy in his heart.  In her reflection Miriam Spies looks at this movement from doubt to joy.  In his reflection, “Compassion for Creation“, Pepe Ewert at the KAIROS Canada site uses the UN Charter of Human Rights as a point of departure to wonder if there isn’t something in the Charter that can move us to a joyous transformative moment in our relationship with creation in light of the challenges of Global Warming.

Wishing you the joy of transformation through the journey of Advent,
Norm Hennig-Pereira

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The Second Sunday of Advent (Year A)

Shalom, a name of God (Hebrew characters). &qu...

Shalom

Shalom, wholeness, peace. 

It’s something for which we long, for which the earth and its peoples cry out.  The Gospel lesson draws us back to the Forerunner, John the Baptist, and his call to get ready, to turn our hearts to justice, by being honest with ourselves and bearing the fruit of right relationships with ourselves, God and our neighbour.  Repentance which results in a congruence, a wholeness between the inner and the outer.  This week’s reflections ask us questions around that congruence, that peace and what it can mean for us.  In his reflection piece for KAIROS,  Pepe Elwert looks at congruent peace of what we say, in terms of our agreement on the UN charter on human rights and what we have accomplished, through a poignant breakdown of where we are at today.  Here at LightReflections, Miriam Spies examines peace from the point of view of linking up with the transformating power of God who makes the change possible for us to bring justice to the earth.

Online Advent Retreat
For those who are seeking some peace and congruence in terms of personal preparation both for Christmas and how we can begin actively prepare our hearts for God’s coming, two on-line Jesuit groups, Pray-as-you-go and Sacred Space, in addition to their daily meditations, have come together to provide an on-line Retreat for Advent.  Advent is divided into four sessions and each session is a guided meditation in text and audio format including directions on centering, a scripture lesson and questions to consider.

Wishing you travel mercies on the journey to peace,
Norm Hennig-Pereira.

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The First Sunday of Advent 2013

Andrey Gorshkov from www.sxc.huWelcome to LightReflections.ca!

For those of you who have been following us, welcome back!  We are looking forward to this new year of reflections as we prepare our hearts and hearths for Christmas.

We are delighted to have Miriam Spies as our reflector for each of the Sundays of Advent.  We will also be including links to KAIROS Canada, where they will be posting reflections on their Advent resource, “Growing Justice,” which itself is based on the Waldorf school’s tradition of the Advent Garden, encouraging a contemplative exploration of our relationship with creation and will focus on four justice themes:

• Gender-based Violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo,
• International Human Rights,
• Ecological Justice and
• Justice Discipleship.

In our Gospel lesson this week, Jesus warns his followers to be mindful of the what is happening around them, to see the in-breaking of the realm of God and not be blinded by the activities of the world. In this week’s reflection piece, “Waking up our hearts to the ways of God“, Miriam Spies looks at this mindfulness in the season of Advent as a time to wake up to God’s leading as we journey through this season.  In his reflection at the KAIROS Canada site, “Hope — Gendered Violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo“, Michiko Bown-Kai draws us to the question: how can we be a part of the ways of God  in our response to the way women are treated in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other parts of the world?

Wishing you all the rich blessings of this Advent Season,
Norm Hennig-Pereira
Chairperson, Faith Formation Committee
South West Presbytery, United Church of Canada

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Advent 1: Waking up our hearts to the ways of God

Miriam Spies

Miriam Spies

Read Miriam Spies’ reflection for Advent 1

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Rock the Bible : June 2013

Dear Light Reflections Followers.  

I would like to invite you to an exciting on-line Facebook Bible Study called “Rock the Bible”  It’s 30 days + 30 amazing United Church leaders and over a dozen posts by special guests (Shane Claiborne, Lois Wilson, Dennis Gruending, Donna Sinclair, Fulata Lusungu Moyo, our Moderator and more…) = one of the coolest, free (yep-free) social media based Bible studies ever.
For the whole month of June, join spiritual seekers coast to coast to rock the Bible from various perspectives and have a rockin’ time doing it. Get ready to Rock The Bible!

Click on the link or log on to your Facebook account and type https://www.facebook.com/groups/RocktheBible/ then click the “JOIN” button at the left top of the window.

Blessings,
Norm

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The 4th Sunday of Advent, 2012

artist: Gail Bressette Isaac place: Walpole Island Heritage Centre, Walpole Island First Nation, Ontario.We are coming to an end of our Advent journey, and an end to our time together at LightReflections.ca.  In our Gospel reading for the Fourth Sunday of Advent we read about the meeting of Elizabeth and Mary, two women whose lives were changed by the action of God, two women whose lives were ground zero for God’s new direction for the entire world.  Just as the shepherds would do later in the Gospel, Mary went with haste to “see this thing that has happened” which the Lord had told her about. (Luke 2:15)  Richard Choe‘s photo of a painting by aboriginal artist Gail Bressette Isaac reflects the beauty, intimacy and unity that must have been a part of that meeting.  In her reflection, Natalie Wigg-Stevenson pauses to wonder about that very grounded meeting of two women of faith, and draws us into contemplating what might be gestating in our own lives.  Meanwhile, Maureen MacLeod-Oliver takes us on her personal journey to a new life, and asks us to ponder a question based on Mary’s response to her news, “How will my soul now magnify the Lord?”

As this is the last blog for this season, thank you, our readers, for your companionship on this journey.  Thank you, too, to our bloggers for their insightful and illuminating reflections, as well as my co-moderator, Susie Henderson.

I wish everyone all the blessings of the Christmas season.  For those of you on this side of the equator, enjoy the beauty of winter, and for those on the other side, have a great summer!  We will be back in February at Lenten Block Party where we will once again gather voices from our community to reflect on the lectionary readings for Lent.

Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year to all!
Norm.

Links: Gospel for the 4th Sunday of Advent | Reflection by Natalie Wigg-Stevenson | Reflection by Maureen MacLeod-Oliver

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3rd Sunday of Advent, 2012 (Year C)

“What then shall we do?”

Used by Permission. All rights reserved by the photographer.

The question is one of the pivotal moments in this Sunday’s Gospel text.  It is a question that plagues us whether we are have or have not.  For those of us with meager means it is often a question of survival.  For those who are blessed or lucky to have what we need, it is a question that nags us (and rightfully so) when we are faced with the depths of human need or the groanings of creation.  Richard Choe‘s image for this Sunday brings the stark contrast of the question based on the perspective of two different worlds.  I wonder what happened a few minutes before this image was taken, as the one man approached the other on the street?  What were each of them thinking as the distance between them closed?  And then at the moment when their paths crossed, at the threshold point of their meeting?  Was there any kind of acknowledgement?  Did they know what to do?  Did one or the other reach out? Was there an interaction?  Or was it simply a passing by–a missed opportunity?  In her reflection for this Sunday, Natalie Wigg-Stevenson reminds us that the question is not to be taken lightly, John the Baptist makes it clear that how we answer is important for us as we prepare for the coming One.

Blessings of this season of contemplation,
Norm.

PS:  For those who attended the Ched Myer’s webinar on Luke’s Reveloutionary Christmas Carol, we have added a tab called “Adventus” where you are welcome to share your thoughts and activities related to preparing for the age to come.

Links:  Advent 3C Gospel Reading | Reflection on the reading by Natalie Wigg-Stevenson | Ched Myer Reflection page “Adventus”

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2nd Sunday of Advent, 2012

Used by Permission. All rights reserved by the photographer.The image from Richard Choe for the Second Sunday of Advent speaks to me of the thin places, those places that are at the threshold between heaven and earth, where heaven touches the earth and John the Baptist’s message that the Realm of God is at hand.  In the Gospel readings, John the Baptist comes out of the fringes (the wilderness) to prepare the way of the Lord, to announce the arrival of the threshold between Heaven and Earth.  Natalie Wigg-Stevenson reflects on what the impact of the threshold between heaven and earth might be for us today, while Jamie Holtom reflects on Zecharaiah’s (John, the Baptist’s father) threshold experience as he moved from imposed silence to speech.

Wishing you the blessings of waiting on the threshold!
Norm.

Advent 2C TextsReflection by Natalie Wigg-Stevenson | Reflection by Jamie Holtom. | Bios

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1st Sunday of Advent, 2012

Photograph by Richard Choe, all rights reserved, used by permission.Apocalyptic descriptions and the signs of the end of the Age continue through from the end of the last church year, to this new church year.  In the Gospel text, Jesus describes the fall of Jerusalem, a stressed earth and the ongoing birth pangs (growing pains?) of the coming realm of God. The picture painted by Jesus is reflected in the striking image provided by one of our guest contributors, photographer Richard Choe.  Does it describe a crying out against the bleak sky, or a calling forth of a new reality?   Natalie Wigg-Stevenson questions the relationship of these disturbing texts with spirituality, while I (Norm Hennig-Pereira) look at the possibility that Jesus may be referring the disciples to another silent, fringe reality below the stress and chaos.  Please join us in the conversation!

Blessings of Advent,
Norm.

Links to:
Gospel Text for Advent 1 (Year C) ,
Reflection on Advent 1 Text by Natalie Wiggs-Stevenson,
Reflection on Advent 1 Text by Norm Hennig-Pereira.

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Welcome to Light Reflections 2012

Photo by Marco Caliulo at www,sxc.huThe light and lights of Advent illumine and warm the cold darkness of Winter in the northern parts of the world, as well as the growing edges of our Spiritual lives as we look forward to Christmas and God’s full revelation in the Christ Child.

Welcome to our 2012 edition of LightReflections.ca, thank you for dropping by.  We hope that you will find inspiration and invite you to comment.

Our companions on the way this season include Natalie Wigg-Stevenson, who teaches Contextual Education and Theology at Emmanuel College, Richard Choe who has taken the photographs related to each of the Gospel lessons, Jamie Holtom, Teresa Burnett-Cole and Maureen MacLeod Oliver through the sharing of their experiences and their relationship to the texts.  The reflections are published on the Monday prior to the relevant Sunday of Advent.  You may navigate to the texts and the reflections by using the tabs in the header or the menu to the right under “Pages”.

As we move through this season, I would like to also draw your attention to KAIROS Canada’s Advent Blog, based on their new Advent resource, Seeking Shelter.  In one of his Christmas sermons, Martin Luther noted that if we really believe that we would treat the Holy Family any differently than those who first encountered them, we can prove it by how we treat the most vulnerable in our own neighbourhoods.  KAIROS’ Advent resource and the blog seek to find ways of welcoming the Holy Family today.

May you be blessed with the illuminating warmth of the Advent Season,
Norm.

Click here to go to our archive of 2011 Advent reflections.

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