hard hills to climb

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Beyond simple fences of genuine friendliness suggesting nothing of gravity will happen in this place of peace, we wake one day to a critical event, and perspectives change.

Freedom has a price.  We remember.

Cenotaphs and a fallen soldier.  Historic gothic halls and parliamentary folders with MPs barricaded behind caucus doors.  Canadian citizens momentarily floored that elected officials have come so close to harm.

We surrender naivety yet still look to the message of the Prince of Peace whose nativity we celebrate in two short months.  Under his towering love still rising above the hostile ground of fallen humanity on a hill of crucifixion, we have known blessing upon blessing to live a new way.  Holding the truth of potential shalom he cradled with care, we grieve all loss of life.  Emboldened by this sending of the Son, his life, his death, his resurrection hope, we receive grace to defend the principles upon which we stand with restraint.

Pivotal moments of testing for a country, city, community or church are not always so obvious as the challenges faced in the capital of Canada on Parliament Hill earlier this week.  We may be oblivious to the far reaching implications set in motion by someone or something going one direction and not the other, by making this response and not something else, by choosing to emphasize one thing over another.  But the natural repercussions of daily decisions and beliefs, ours and others, will precipitate consequences for good or for ill in time.

Sobering thoughts which challenge us to climb the hard hill of sober reflection.

The respectful search for truth and compassion within a healing balance of justice and mercy continues to matter at every level in both church and state; in each unique soul.

We often stroll from one day to the next without much thought of how each one affects the whole, caught in denial regarding the truth of our common human condition.  We forgetfully, neglectfully resist the monumental invitation to live in the divine love of Christ each moment by faith, standing guard over each attitude, taking each thought captive to his will in every sphere of our lives, faithfully climbing the hill of discipleship.

We easily loose sight of our true North in the changing polls of magnetic trends sweeping the globe.  We easily loose sight of Jesus whose dominion we accept with freedom of conscience, offered and received as gift.

And so we pray.

It is he who frees us from the brokenness of false selves in deep distress breaking faith on stress lines of desperate need to find true and wholesome meaning in life.

It is he who laid down ceremonial garbs of glory to take up outstretched arms in order to take down the power of sin through the giving of his life for us.

As Christians, we may wrestle to discern the nature of a proper response to violent conflict, the right nuance of actions and words to produce godly resilience in the face of roaring lions or misguided minds … but whatever that means, we want to choose him.

If you’ve ever come under the fire of unresolved anger and fear as you’ve stood guard at the doors of peace protecting the flock, you know it is no trifling thing to be captured in the sights of loveless eyes determined to make a contrary point.  Servant leaders standing as sentinels in visible remembrance of the high cost of our salvation in the war waged and won on Calvary’s hill on our behalf, are at times assaulted in random attacks from disaffected individuals and through systemic affronts by those who seek power at any price.

May the Lord bless you and keep you in your time of need.

We know the centre block of peace with God and others is founded on a normative authority much greater than ourselves and we dare not trust our human inclinations to either act or not act without the clear leading of his eternal perspective rooted in love for the world he created.

Shelter in place with the Rock of Ages as we stand together in faith that our Peace Tower will chime his perfect justice when time is right.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.  Be sober-minded; be watchful.  Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.  Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.  And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.  To him be the dominion forever and ever.  Amen.”  (1 Peter 5: 6-11)

Lord, when rifles of rage or rejection point at us point blank with intent to destroy, help us stifle any urge to rifle words of self-authentication to retaliate and choose instead a Spirit-filled identification with the sufferings of Christ.  Yet, with a deep desire to live expansively in your love, we also pray for courage to confront whatever evil comes to stare us down with honest judgement, restrained but not afraid of conscientious defence of your goodness that all may know the beauty of your peace.  May we stand on prayerful guard for righteousness and truth to be the hall of honour bearing marks of spiritual battle for the glory of your name as we hold fast to the upholding of the gospel entrusted to us.

Help us mark off scenes where things have gone wrong and to invite the investigative work of the Spirit and the Word to accurately assess the realities of our situation.  Perform the inner work of spiritual transformation necessary for our collective healing.

Sustain each one standing watch for your coming kingdom with the uniform of conformity to your love and peace.   Amen.’
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