Southpoint News December 3, 2015
31 days ago I started an Instagram account. After four winters of living here, I realize that I struggle with SADS. This winter, when I felt myself turning inwards and downwards, I decided to push back. I decided I would actively attend to the world outside my skin and search for the small nuggets of beauty hidden in the world around me. Each day, I would post a photo of the miracle of ordinary on Instagram.
Little did I know the profound effect this posture of attentiveness would have on me. By turning outwards, actively searching the landscape for beauty, and slowing down long enough to honour it in the form of a picture, I began to experience something close to joy. I have been praying for this fruit of the Spirit for years, assuming that God would bring it up from somewhere deep within me. Little did I know that I would find joy by turning outwards, beyond the confines of my skin.
This week, I have faced a new unexpected inner conundrum. My Instagram account not only connects me to a Joy from beyond myself, but to the world’s profound sorrow. Each day I receive images of refugees from an Instagram account. Sitting with these images, pondering what it must like to be inside these people’s skin, I began to feel guilty for my joy. What right do I have to joy when so many are suffering? Wouldn’t it be better if I were to stay depressed, in lament? How do I hold both of the beauty and the joy of the world in tension? How do I honour both of these realities?
The scripture reading for the second weekend of Advent is from Baruch 5:1-2 “Take off the garment of your sorrow and affliction, O Jerusalem, and put on forever the beauty of the glory from God. Put on the robe of the righteousness that comes from God; put on your head the diadem of the glory of the Everlasting.” I find these verses incredibly moving. It is not wrong to take off the garment of sorrow. It is not a betrayal to lift up my hands to receive a new garment of praise. Nor is it necessary to close myself off from suffering to experience joy. Sorrow is an honest and true responses to the afflictions and horror of life. But it is joy, not sorrow, and beauty, not affliction, that shall have the final say over creation.
Lament and deeply grieve all that is not right in your life and in our world. But open your heart and soul to the miracle of goodness. As we remain in this tension, the Spirit will lead our hearts through songs of lament and songs of praise.
Here’s to Advent: the realm of joy and sorrow, sharp as swords.
December 6th: SUNDAY SERVICE – Speaker, Christie Goode
December 11th: Youth Group
December 13th: SUNDAY SERVICE – Speaker, Christie Goode
December 18th: “Joyeux Noel” 7:30 movie screening @ Brooksdale: bring a snack to share
December 20th: ALL IN SERVICE
December 21st: Ice Skating Christmas Party
December 24th: CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE – Brooksdale @ 4
December 27th: Christmas Carolling at Retirement Communities
Mending the Net: Community Connections
The leadership team will be meeting next week to finalize an action plan regarding the disbursal of funds in missions budget as a response to the refugee crisis. If you would like to contribute to this response, please place a check in the offering this week.
Winter Retreat – February 5-8, 2016
We have a great response so far for the winter retreat. The camp is a wonderful way of deepening our connections as a community and is open to ALL ages and all stage of life. Due to our projected budget for 2016, we cannot promise financial assistance, but if finances are prohibitive, please let Anne know and she will do her best to help you come. Registration forms and first payment are due December 13, final payments by January 17. Please put check and form into offering, clearly marking memo line of check “retreat”, check made out to church).
There are just 6 weeks left to donate blood this year. Hospitals never close and neither does Canadian Blood Services. They need donors throughout the entire month of December. When donating remember we are in the Partners for Life Program and our church ID is: THEC180665. Here’s a quick video to inspire you:
“Joyeux Noel” 7:30 movie screening @ Brooksdale
Matt Humphrey is inviting us to join him in their Christmas tradition of watching Joyeux Noel. This films tells the remarkably true story of the Christmas Day truce of 1914, during which the French, German, and Scottish soldiers meet on the front lines and negotiate a cease fire, which leads to singing of carols, the sharing of the Eucharist, and a soccer match. The fellowship experienced there transforms the leaders of each side and the story follows this disruptive path on into the following year when those involved in the truce are punished by their superiors for their actions.
Matt writes, “I find this to be a film which, as the Quakers say, “speaks to our condition.” And watching it has become something of a tradition for us around Christmas each year. I’m happy to have a chance to see it together. “
Finally, we offer deep thanksgiving for Thea, who is now both tube and cancer free.
A year ago Monday she began her journey with cancer. We celebrate God’s faithfulness to her
and continue prayers for her health.