In the foreword to the book entitled Audacious Anglicans, written by Canadians Ralph Moore and the late Gerald Rayner, Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote: “What the Body of Christ really is only appears as you tell the stories of how he has been real in this or that specific life…We need these human narratives.
After a while, the thread of truth, the rhythm of life and death, the visceral loneliness—after a while they are impossible to ignore. Standing, kneeling, the liturgy of ashes gets personal, as the sign of our origin and our end smears the foreheads of the faithful: “Remember, you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19).
In recent years I have come to deeply appreciate the rites of smudging conducted by indigenous peoples. From a pouch containing cedar, sweet grass, sage and tobacco, an elder draws a handful and places the mixture in a shell.
In last month’s editorial, Canada deserves better (Dec. 2013, p. 4), I concluded by saying, “It would be gratifying in 2014 if we were able to see political leadership centred on integrity, justice and honesty, at all levels and in all branches of government; leadership that gives us a sense of pride. It is what Canadians deserve.”
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