THE CAT’S MEOW
St. Mark’s Anglican Church, Port Hope
The Sunday of the Resurrection; Easter Day 12 April 2020
From Fr. Randy:
New Life in a Darkened Garden
St. John’s account of Jesus’ resurrection begins, not as day breaks, but where Jesus’ burial on Good Friday left off: in darkness and the silence of a tomb. But while darkness is often used as a metaphor for spiritual blindness, even evil, in John’s hands the darkness and silence of Jesus’ burial place becomes a sign of hope and grace. To quote Martin Smith:
What used to be the ceaseless reminder of extinction has now become the sign of God’s all-encompassing compassion. The silence of the night is the divine quietness that stills the deafening racket of accusation and blame. The darkness of the night has become a sign of God’s gift to us of ultimate rest and relief from the exhausting work of self-destructiveness and self-justification. *
This is the silence into which Mary Magdalene has walked early on Easter morning. And while we in hindsight can see the hope and grace of this new but as yet dark new day, Mary still reels from the horror of what went before: the violence of the crucifixion and the “racket of accusation and blame” that led to it.
But even while still dark, Mary perhaps perceives that within the darkness, the stillness, lies the seedbed of grace. We are in a garden, after all, and even in the shadows of such a place indicators of grace may be glimpsed: the blurred edge of a path, the indistinct height of a plant, the unfocused outlines of stones and tools.
It is often the case that it is within the ill-defined and threatening that the profoundest spiritual perception comes. In his book The Divine Milieu, Jesuit theologian Teilhard de Chardin calls our faulty perception, that which takes place in the dark, as a “little death.” We undergo many little deaths in life, failures and disappointments. Most of us were probably raised to believe that the message of Easter is the conquest of physical death, and that our own resurrection is a matter for the future to reveal. But when we understand life as a series of little deaths, deaths to be accepted and lived with on the often dark garden path of this life, we allow God to give us the gift of freedom. In our acceptance, even embrace, of frequent little deaths, and the inevitability of physical death, we open ourselves to the gift of Easter grace: grace to live this life in the fullest way we know how.
For that is how Christ himself lived. The faith of Jesus is not the faith of security, but the acceptance of insecurity. The faith of Jesus is that of the tiny seed which is not afraid to die in order to generate new life (Jn 12.24-25). This outlook on death and the new life it generates is what permitted Jesus to hand himself over boldly and selflessly to those who still lived within the “racket of accusation and blame,” and did the “exhausting work of self-destructiveness and self-justification.” These prevent us from hearing Christ when he calls our name as he did Mary’s in the dim garden dawn, the dawn of our eternity.
Today, in the midst of the greatest threat to human health most of us have ever witnessed, we find ourselves amidst the blurred outlines of a darkened garden. We stumble without knowing what our end will be. But in our embrace of our situation, in the same manner as Christ embraced his, we embrace paradoxically the key to life emboldened, newness of life—Easter life, a life in which love has truly been set free. RM+
* Martin Smith, Love Set Free. (Boston: Cowley Publications 1998), p.70
Archbishop Anne Germond, Metropolitan of the Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario, is inviting all Anglicans to ring bells on Easter morning at 9 a.m. “I invite you make this joyful, hopeful announcement wherever you are by ringing bells at 9 o’clock. Home bells, church bells. Let us make a joyful noise!”
Anne Oram has volunteered to ring the St. Mark’s bell at 9 a.m. Listen for it, and be sure to ring out whatever bells you may have at home to join in this great celebration of the Resurrection.
FINANCES As we go through this time of uncertainty we are hopeful for the future but we are also concerned about the financial repercussions. If you usually use your envelopes to give, please consider mailing in your donation or putting it in the mail box by the parish hall door. We are monitoring it! Or even better, tell us you want to go onto PAR We will also appreciate receiving whatever special Easter donation you wish to give at this time. We live in hope of returning to some new normal, but meanwhile our running expenses continue whether or not our doors are open.
The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund today announces a plan to allocate $200,000 to respond to COVID-19 around the world and in Canada. [https://pwrdf.org]
To give to PWRDF’s COVID-19 appeal:
Please visit our online donation page and make your gift in Emergency Response, indicating COVID-19 in the message box.
Call 1-866-308-7973 toll-free (please leave a message and we will return your call), or 416-822-9083 and we can process your donation over the phone.
Write COVID-19 in the memo field of your cheque and mail to PWRDF, 80 Hayden Street, 3rd floor, Toronto, Ontario, M4Y 3G2.
PBS radio program With Heart And Voice, WXX! FM Rochester. 91.5 .It is a weekly program of sacred choral and organ music from around the world. It is Sundays at 8am, repeated at 7pm the same day.
Toilet Paper: Should anyone wish to acquire a quantity of toilet paper, Peter Goering has offered to order it through the church supplier. You don’t have to buy a case unless you want to. He can order it (assuming there is still a lot available) by the case and either sell a case or smaller quantities (1/2 doz …) Contact Peter at 289 251-1858
PORT HOPE FARE SHARE The need continues! In this time of COVID-19, please take your food donations to:
- Davis Independent , 20 Jocelyn St.
- Food Basics, 125 Hope St. South
- Giant Tiger, 145 Peter St.
- Fair Share United Church 34 South St., when open. Wednesdays only, 10-12 noon and 6-8 p.m.
Cash donations are always welcome
To Anne Oram for passing along the information about services at St. John’s as it becomes available;
To Peter Kedwell, who has been keeping our church sign up to date and hopeful;
To Susan Abel who set out the palms for us last week and who will set out pots of lilies on our front steps to welcome Easter Day;
To Cathy Carlyle and Fr. Randy and all who have been phoning our members;
To all at St. Mark’s for being The Body of Christ.
From Graham Cotter:
“It’s strange how many people only picture God as transcendent, making Himself known by shooting off thunderbolts. God is transcendent, certainly, above he world and beyond it, outside time and space in a mode being which is beyond the scope of our imaginations to conceive, but the God who make Himself known to us is a transcendent God, the God who’s so close that He’s at the very centre of our existence… The real journey – that all people are required to take to achieve integration, self-realisation and fulfilment – the :”eternal life” of religious language is the journey inwards, the journey to the centre of the soul…The famous light on the road to Damascus, can be seen as a pictorial representation of the mind-blowing psychic experience i which the true self, driven on by God, finally overwhelmed that false, ferocious ego.”
Susan Howatch Mystical Paths,
A GIFT FOR FATHER RANDY
You are invited to make a donation in celebration of Fr Randy’s incumbency at St. Mark’s to either of the following charities:
- Doctors without Borders
- 551 Adelaide St. West
- Toronto, ON M5V 0N8
- Nature Conservancy of Canada
- 245 Eglinton Ave. East, Suite 410
- Toronto, ON M4P 3J1
We have heard from Graeme Lawson about his sister, Molly Mulloy, whom he calls ‘Mol’ as follows: “that she was in the ambulance headed to the Picton hospital – excruciating pain after a fall. But as I know the dangers of going to the hospital these days (my brother Phil, the doctor, has told me stay away from hospitals) I’m asking you if we could organize a united online prayer circle for Mol and send her healing energy. Much love, Graeme
P.S my cat Felix and i both love the palms, and I got palms to Ron and Pat Paddon on Sunday.”
Further to this request from Graeme, then, we ask your prayers for Molly Mulloy and for others known to us at this time who are in need of the healing energy of which Graeme has spoken.
If you would like, we can gather in The Cat’s Meow the names of those who are suffering in body, mind or spirit at this time and for whom you have a special concern and we can each undertake to lift them up in prayer before God. Let us have names by next Friday and they will be included in the next issue and onward.
— 0 —
The Cat’s Meow: For inclusion, contact Marion Thompson at email@example.com before Friday morning. 905-885-0787
Provided pro bono to St. Mark’s by:
Jim Corkery at Corkery + Co.