Tag Archives: worship

starting over, again

So I’m using this picture again because I’m taking another stab at these new year’s resolutions. I wrote back in January about the contemplative practices I planned to take up so that I could delve deeper into my faith, particularly through practices of gratitude. Around March (maybe February?), I got a cold and began finding getting up at 5:45am to pray too difficult. I lost the rhythm and quickly lost the practice. I’ve been chastising myself ever since to try to get back into the swing of things. Continue reading

Good-bye to the God of Capital Letters

I’ve long defended praise and worship music to friends who claim it is too simple theologically. “It’s not about the theology,” I’ve argued, “so  much as it’s about a meditative practice.” The reason I used to love P&W, and in surprising moments nowadays, still do (albeit with a touch of nostalgia, an emotion that never sits right with me), is its chant-like quality. There’s the possibility of losing myself in the repetition, and opening my eyes surprised to find out I’ve been swimming in the deep waters of the Divine. But in recent years, I’ve found this depth harder and harder to plum. Even so, it hasn’t been the simplicity that has bothered me, and I’ve struggled to figure out what it is that I fail to connect with.

I visited a church a few weeks ago, heavy on P&W – and all of a sudden it struck me: I can’t handle all those capital letters projected onto the screen:  Continue reading

Fall On Your Knees

There’s a battle in our house every Christmas. The territory is marked thusly (at least from my perspective): my husband wants to listen to CD’s of sad Irish people singing sad carols; I want to hear my Christmas sung by Motown. I guess I just feel that the Gospel should be sung in gospel style! And so, when it comes to Christmas Eve services, I tend to be dubious when a frumpy white lady gets up to sing ‘O Holy Night,’ which has long been my favourite Christmas song.

But tonight’s rendition at my in-laws’ Methodist church was perfect!

As the soloist hit the line, “fall on your knees,” she held it and her voice yearned my whole body toward my kneecaps and I found myself wanting to hit the floor. Continue reading

The Weight of Our Waiting

A blog begun in Advent that is built on the unstable theological foundation of waiting should probably begin by articulating a theology of that waiting.

I preached this sermon twice this year in the first week of Advent – first, on a Wednesday afternoon, to the community at Emmanuel College where I teach and, second, on the Sunday to a small Anglican church here in Toronto. This video is offered courtesy of that church.

These were the first times I have shared the story in public of my friend Zvezda’s death. She died 8 years ago, and I thought I was ready to tell it, but both times I was surprised by how difficult these words were to speak. Of course, it was the memory of Zvezda that cracked my voice both times. But it was more than that too. What you cannot see in this video are the various faces Continue reading