Nov 19, 2017

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The Christmas Gift

The Christmas Gift

“On entering the dwelling, they [the 3 wise men] saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure-chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. ” (Matthew 2: 11) It was the week before Christmas, and everyone in the house was busy getting Christmas gifts together and placing them under the tree. The Smalls were a poor family, so this year they had chosen names and each person was to receive only one gift from a family member. They had gone to the market and bought the best tree that they could afford. It was only 5 feet tall. That was shorter than anyone in the family except Mary, who was a six-year old. But at least it was a perfect tree; that is, one without a bad side. Some of the boxes were large and some were small; some stout and some were elegant; and some were better wrapped than others. On Christmas morning when the family received their gifts they found that there was one extra gift. But who was...

Nov 19, 2017

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Truth

Truth

Whenever in scripture –both the Hebrew and the New Testament –the word we translate as “truth” relies foundationally upon the Hebrew word “emeth” The Greek equivalent word is “alaytheia.”  “Emeth” is a very difficult word to translate into English, because it comes from a very different culture than ours. Most often when we translate this word from either Hebrew or Greek we mean veracity; but sometimes we mean fidelity i.e. faithfulness. “Amen” another Hebrew word is closely related to emeth; it affirms as a statement of truth in the phrase “so it is!” Here is an example of how emeth can be legitimately translated differently in English. The Psalmist wrote, “I have spoken of your faithfulness [or your truth] and your salvation from the great congregation” (Ps. 40:10) Interestingly, the symbol that best expresses the meaning of emeth is the rock. You can build on rock. You can rely on rock as a secure foundation for your existence. “Emeth” in...

Oct 9, 2017

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The Thanksgiving Visitation

The Thanksgiving Visitation

“Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:3) In my opinion our faith is enhanced by faith-related legends. According to the Webster Dictionary a legend is “a story coming down from the past, especially one popularly regarded as historical, although not verifiable.” (bold italics added) Legends may or may not be always strictly biblical, but they are important, as they teach our children virtues we want to them to learn. Saint Nicholas and Robin Hood are other famous examples of virtuous people in legends.  Hassidic Jewish rabbis have given us legends, too. To understand this story you need to understand two new concepts. First:  What is a “shabbos goy”?   Because Orthodox Jews are not permitted to work after dusk on a Sabbath, shabbos goys are employed to help prepare food and serve dinner, etc. during the Sabbath.  Second:  What is a “tzadik”? The rabbis teach that God has appointed 36 “tzadiks” to serve Him in the world. Tzadiks ...

May 22, 2017

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When Confession is Delusion

When Confession is Delusion

“Confess your sins to one another” (James 5:16) In this month’s devotion I want to deal with the question, “Why is it so much easier to confess our sins to God than to one another?” Since God is righteous, just and without sin and hates sin -while on the other hand fellow man knows himself intimately and, therefore, knows she/he is a sinner- why do we chose to only confess our sins to God? I also ask myself, if I have confessed to God, then why do I keep relapsing into the very sins that I think I have confessed? When I ask myself these questions, the disturbing answer I get is that in such instances we may not be truly interacting with God, but are actually be confessing only to ourselves and then granting ourselves self-absolution! When that is what we are doing, what a travesty that is! Our Christian obedience is then failing precisely because self-forgiveness is not real forgiveness and can never lead to breaking with the sin “confessed.” For this very reason the...

May 22, 2017

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Begging for Bread

Begging for Bread

“He [the LORD] raises the beggar from the dust; He lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honour” (1 Samuel 2:8) Who wants to be a beggar? Not many people. And that’s for sure! The modern man or woman with 2 cars and a home and a mortgage considers him/herself middle class and doing OK. Thank you very much. On the other hand the man who lives in a completely paid off $ 5 million dollar home with 3 cars and a yacht thinks the person with only 2 cars and a mortgage is socially/economically far below him. And the person who lives by dumpster–diving looks up at the person with 2 cars and knows that he/she is amongst the beggar class in North American Society. What is more, and in clear contrast to the myth of upward mobility, more and more poor and middle class people are economically trapped in place or are on a downward spiral. To-day, as in Jesus’ day, many rich people tend to despise the beggar class. Read the story of the Rich...

May 22, 2017

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Project of Heart – Residential Schoo...

Project of Heart – Residential School Interactive Project

A few years ago, our government apologized to our First Nations people for the injustice that had been done for generations. For over 100 years, Aboriginal children were removed from their families and sent to institutions called residential schools. The government-funded, church-run schools were located across Canada and established with the purpose to eliminate parental involvement in the spiritual, cultural and intellectual development of Aboriginal children. The last residential schools closed in the mid-1990s. During this chapter in Canadian history, more than 150,000 First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children were forced to attend these schools some of which were hundreds of miles from their home. The cumulative impact of residential schools is a legacy of unresolved trauma passed from generation to generation and has had a profound effect on the relationship between Aboriginal peoples and other Canadians. Collective efforts from all peoples are necessary to revitalize the...