Sunday at Scarboro – Sep 30, 2018

Worship Start Time: 10:30am
Theme: Creation IV - Mountain Sunday

Come to Scarboro as we worship together every Sunday at 10:30am. We will have the coffee on at 10, so come early and catch up with your community. There will be more time for coffee, tea and conversation after the service in the Memorial Hall.

This Sunday is also Orange Shirt Day, when we wear orange in recognition of residential school survivors.


Save the date: Saturday, October 13 - FALL FEST
Come to Scarboro from 11am - 3pm for a day of festivities:

There will be the usual bake sale - featuring our famous Oat Cakes - as well as various preserves, frozen soups, and other goodies; a book sale; a children's clothing & toy swap/sale; a fabulous loonie twoonie carnival; displays from various community partners; and a cafe where you can have your tea and scone, or grab a coffee and choose from a selection of goodies.

There will be live music in the Memorial Hall, beginning with the Foothills Brass and finishing up with a drum circle led by our friends at YYC Campus Ministry. Between musicians we will also be showing several Pecha Kucha presentations - a new and dynamic style of storytelling. Come by and check it out!


Creation 4 - Mountain Sunday and Orange Shirt Day

Isaiah 65.17-25

Rev. Erin Klassen

 

This is a scripture passage that we usually hear in the season of Advent, that time when we are getting ready, anticipating the presence of Christ among us. So, we see these verses as the promises of God, and what will happen when the divine is human and walks among us. This is good news for the lamb and the ox…. the struggling and the oppressed....

 

BUT is it good news for us?

 

After all, aren’t we the wolf and the lion?

It’s not a thought that we like to dwell on.

But there it is anyway.

 

We want to identify with the lamb, sweet and cute and soft.

We love a good underdog story. (I mean, I’m a lifelong Rider fan)

When we watch Star Wars, we are so behind the rebel alliance. We ARE the Rebel Alliance - standing up for what we believe in, what is right and true.

 

But what if we’re The Empire?

 

When we read this passage in the context of Orange Shirt Day, it changes a bit.

If this is new to you, Orange Shirt Day is an event that grew from Phyllis Webstad sharing her story of having her brand new sparkly orange shirt taken from her at the age of six when she arrived at St. Joseph Mission residential school.

 

We have this storybook in the church. In it, Phyllis speaks of being excited to finally be one of the big kids who gets to go to school. She and her grandmother make a special trip to town, to go out for breakfast and go shopping for a new shirt for the first day of school.

 

This is a rite of passage for so many of us. We did it as a family, not that long ago. Except that when Phyllis got to school, her shirt was confiscated, her hair was cut, and she learned that she was not safe.

 

Her story created an opportunity for discussion on the aspects and experiences of the residential school legacy. So today, September 30, we wear orange to show our support, acknowledge the harm that was done, and to remember and honour residential school survivors and their families.

 

With this piece of our legacy, our history, our colonialism, fresh in our minds to hear the words of Isaiah, is to be convicted.

 

No more shall there be (in it)

   an infant that lives but a few days,

   or an old person who does not live out a lifetime;

for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth,

   and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed.

They shall build houses and inhabit them;

   they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

They shall not build and another inhabit;

   they shall not plant and another eat;

for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,

   and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.

They shall not labor in vain,

   or bear children for sudden terror.

 

Ouch.

 

In light of what has been done by our government, our church -

Land ceded and unceded, still contested,

Children robbed of their childhood, their families, their language and culture.

That stings.

 

To be honest, it is tempting to say and I used to say: I wasn’t there, I didn’t do that.

I’m not responsible.

But I am.

 

As my friend and colleague, the Rev. Mindi Welton-Mitchell points out:

As a white Christian woman, I do not have to worry about being asked about my citizenship. I do not have the same fear when police pull me over in my car. I do not worry about my child being taken from me. I do not worry about being harassed on my way to worship. I have privilege. And when I ignore it, I become part of the system of oppression.

 

I need to see that I am more like the wolf than the lamb.

That doesn’t mean that I am excluded from God’s new creation.

But it does mean that I have a lot of work to do.

I need to recognize my privilege and do my part to dismantle racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and other forms of systemic violence. That will take effort and imagination.

It will be as mind blowing as a wolf and lamb eating together, as a lion eating straw.

 

It is hard to imagine because we don’t know any different, and that’s mostly because we don’t want to know any different. I am comfortable in my life. I like my house and my car, what I’ve worked for, and what has been laid out for me, if only by virtue of where and when I was born.

 

But I do want to see the vision that God sees.

I want to be a part of the new creation that God promises.

I want to be included in the joy and delight.

Which means that what I know and how I act, need to fall away. They need to be forgotten.

I need to get in on the Apocalypse.

 

That is what comes to mind when we read this passage, is it not?

 

There is this great video in which the Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber welcomes us all to the Apocalypse, inviting us to pull up a chair and make ourselves uncomfortable.

She goes on to say, that apocalyptic literature is not what we think it is.

This is less, “the end is nigh” and more “the end of the world as we know it.”

Writing like this, prophecies like this, exist to proclaim a big, hope-filled idea that dominant powers are not ultimate powers. Empires fall, tyrants fade, systems die, but God prevails.

 

We know the sin that was residential schools, it is time to account for the harm that was done.

We need to listen to the stories and work toward healing, as best we can.

We need to continue to dismantle the systems that devalued the culture and personhood of those who were here long before us.

 

That is where I get stuck.

I don’t know how to climb that mountain.

I do know that my liberation, my reconciliation, is tied up with that of others.

I cannot be free until we all are.

That joy and delight, the new thing that God is doing, will not happen until we take action to make it so.

 

The action that I commit to taking is to decolonize my living -

  • I will read books by marginalized folks, indigenous writers, people of colour, queer folk.
  • The same goes for the music that I listen to.
  • I will read the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

https://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/documents/DRIPS_en.

  • I will read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action and put at least five into action in my own life.

http://www.trc.ca/websites/trcinstitution/File/2015/Findings/Calls_to_Action_English2.pdf

 

I don’t want you to be allies.

I want you to be traitors.

I want you to be traitors to the system that violently holds you up at the expense of others.

I want you to betray the silent pact that privilege/dominion makes with you to have your back so long as you don’t make waves. Revolt.

-Sidrah Ahmad on Twitter Sept. 27, 2018

 

Let us revolt in the name of God.

Check out the latest news, updated every Friday:

Sermon – The Light of Humility

February 2nd, 2014

The end of next month, from March 27 – 30, the last national Truth and Reconciliation event will be held in Edmonton.  This is an opportunity for survivors of the Indian Residential School system, even those of the second generation, to speak and be heard.  It is one of the first steps in healing.

As many of you know, I am one of those second-generation affected.  A short time ago I was able to attend the hearings that were being held here in Calgary, and I told of the deep hurt that my father had suffered.  It’s a story that many of you here have heard me tell.

Read moreSermon – The Light of Humility