Love for God and others is central element of Jesus’ ministry
I have a great deal of difficulty accepting Bishop Mark MacDonald’s verdict on Canadian society (Spiritual struggle, systemic evil, April 2018, p. 5).
I do not dispute that there are incidents of racism that plague our society nor that these incidents may coalesce into significant blots that mar our history. However, to call racism “systemic” and to then claim that systemic racism has a “deep and wide presence in Canadian society” is to suggest, nay assert, that there is a malevolent intelligence nurturing the elements that will perpetuate and grow racism into the future and that that intelligence is human-sourced.
I don’t buy into that ultra-pessimistic view of ourselves and our society’s institutions and the implied duty of the church to enter into combat.
MacDonald goes on to say, “In Scripture, the struggle with systemic evil is a central element of the ministry and life of
esus.” I don’t get that either. I understand the central element of Christ’s ministry to be about love—“Jesus said unto him, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets’ ” (Matthew 22:37–40).
When I place this in the context of my reading of the gospels, Jesus’ teachings are about helping humankind to do better rather than mobilizing it to purge systemic evil. Isn’t that what led the crowd to demand that Pontius Pilate crucify Jesus? When it became clear to them that the purpose of the Messiah, unlike their expectation, was not to drive out the Roman conquerors?
‘Justice is done’
In the April 2018 issue, staff writer Joelle Kidd used quotes from Archbishop Fred Hiltz urging prayers for the Boushie family and for reforms in the justice system (Call for prayers, action in the wake of Boushie case, p. 1).
You should know that you are obligated to write both sides of a story. It is not your duty to lean towards one side in a dispute.
Nowhere did you or Hiltz mention that Boushie and his friends had no right to be on the farmer’s property.
It was unfortunate that this ended in the death of a young man. However, I believe the farmer had a right to protect his property, and that the jury saw it, too.
I pray for everyone; right is right, justice is done.
‘Nothing pretentious’ about church vestments
The comments concerning chasubles (Vestments add to ‘holiness’ of worship, except the chasuble, April 2018, p. 5) are ill-informed and offensive.
Simply stated, the chasuble, worn over the alb and stole, is the vestment worn by those priests who are celebrants at the Eucharist and is different in form and function from the dalmatic worn by deacons and the tunicle worn by sub-deacons.
There is nothing “pretentious” about [the vestments], and the assertion that it proclaims “Look how good I am” and “I am a big shot” is belied totally by the humble prayer traditionally said by the priest wearing it: “O Lord, who has said, ‘My yoke is easy and my burden is light,’ grant that I may so bear it as to attain Thy grace.”
While the vestments worn for the Eucharist symbolize functions of ministry, they are also intended to inspire and teach us of the meaning of the Eucharist, its history and its continuity.
They are to be worn with a due sense of humility. They, and their wearers, do not deserve to be scorned and belittled
A proud ‘Unican’
As someone who worships in both a United Church of Canada three-point church during the summer months and St. Hilary’s Anglican Church in Mississauga, Ont., when I’m back in the Peel region, this dialogue gives me great hope (United Church restructuring could boost dialogue, April 2018, p. 3).
I often proudly refer to myself as a “Unican” in conversations. While there are fundamental differences in the ways of worship and governance between the two denominations, the message being delivered from the pulpits and the love of congregants for our Lord remain the same. To me, these are most important.
I pray that this dialogue continues in earnest, and that, given the challenges faced by churches across our country, no matter the denomination, we move forward with this co-operative effort.