Thursday, May 18, 2023

How We Pray


When I was a child, my parents taught me to give thanks to God. For meal time, it meant saying thank you for the food on our table, and our bedtime prayers, for protection while we sleep and blessing others.



In Sunday School, at age 5 and 6, we sang those early songs of praise for creation. I remember a small friendly woman with white hair teaching us songs, with pictures on a chart to help us learn the words. Those songs were like prayers to a tune. Only we didn’t know it then.


Not all of the hymns we sang were about praising God though. Many were requests for help in times of trouble. And now that I think of it, I wonder if Noah asked God for protection while all that rain came down? Maybe that they’d have enough food on board for his family and all those animals, and that their ark would be kept from sinking or something worse. Noah knew God was with him in the helm, but being human, he might have been anxious sometimes as well.

The shepherd David prayed, and not all of them were thank you prayers. Many of them were about longing, asking for protection against enemies (Psalm 59), begging for wisdom for kings (Ps 72) and for an answer for himself in difficult times (Ps 13, 61).

Perhaps we don’t pray like David did, unless we sing his songs, but we do pray for protection, for wisdom in difficult times. We may also pray that others come to know God (Ps 20). Then also there are times that we show our love for God (Ps 18, 23). We do pray for others. Let’s keep saying thank you to God for answers to our prayers, and when things go well and we have something to celebrate.

We pray the corporate prayers in our services, when someone else leads and we respond. We can pray by ourselves too, as we go about our days, as we kneel in our garden, with work worn hands, or on a walk in the neighbourhood. Not all prayers need to be alone in our bedroom at night, or as we say grace before meals. Those are important too.

 Let’s not be shy about prayer. It’s not so hard, after all. We just need to remember to reach out and know that Jesus goes to the Father on our behalf.






Photo permission from Julianna McKenzie for portrait photo. Other photos are my own © C. Wilker

Tuesday, May 09, 2023

David Kitz’s messages at the Faith Inspiring Creativity Conference


David Kitz, Chair of the Word Guild, spoke at the Faith Inspiring Creativity, sponsored by the Surrey Christian Writers Group and Inscribe Christian Fellowship

1) Greetings by David Kitz at The Word Guild Conference
2)David Kitz: Developing Your Platform as a writer/ blogger (pt 1)
3)David Kitz: Developing Your Platform as a writer/ blogger (pt 2)
4) David Kitz on Drama & Writing (pt 1)
5) David Kitz Dramatizing the Psalms 19, 121, and 130 (pt 2)
6) David Kitz speaking about The Word Guild

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Catching Fish, Catching Men


In the days after Jesus rose from the dead, he appeared to his disciples at various times. But the time that strikes me most is when he appears at the lake.

The disciples been out all night fishing (John 21), because they didn’t know what else to do. What was going through their minds? Had Jesus really risen? Who broke the bread at their meal days afterward and then disappeared? It seemed unbelievable. They’d just go back to doing what they knew.

They had seen Jesus heal others. They had known him to feed thousands with just a small boy’s lunch, had made the lunch go so far and hadn’t really understood how it happened. And now there was this man on the beach building a fire. 

When they came out of the water onto the beach, tired and frustrated, this man had offered them food. He knew they’d be hungry. Then he told them to go out in their boats and throw the nets out one more time.

Now the fishermen might grumble because they’d been out all night and hadn’t caught a thing. They might have thought, We won’t catch any. What does he know?  But in this story, we’re not given that kind of detail, only that they indeed go out again and cast the net on the right side of the boat as they are told.

And you know what happened. They caught so many fish they couldn’t haul in the nets.

It seems their eyes were opened suddenly and they recognized this man as Jesus, their friend. The one who had called them “fishers of men” those years ago when they left their nets to follow him. So much had happened since then. What were they to make of all this?

Peter jumped in the water and went to Jesus. It might seem he had a new understanding about himself and what Jesus’ call meant. And he still had questions.

What does that mean for us?



Carolyn Wilker




Sunday, April 09, 2023

Happy Easter: More than just Chocolate


By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Once every year, billions of people around the world pause to remember the mystery of Easter. Most people love Easter: bunnies, chocolate, eggs, bonnets, lilies, flower crosses, and joyful singing. In the air, you can sense victory and resurrection and new life. No wonder that churches have many visitors on Easter Sunday.

I have always enjoyed Easter, especially for the chocolate.  Just like Christmas, Easter has its food connection and its spiritual connection.  Most people love to eat.  Easter family gatherings invariably involve lots of delicious food, especially those wonderful hot cross buns.

Good Friday is a traditional fast day where many choose not to eat in order to remember Jesus’ death on the cross for our sins.  Easter Sunday is a traditional feast day where families celebrate with delicious feasts.   Without Good Friday, Easter Sunday makes no sense.  Without Easter Sunday, Good Friday is just a terrible tragedy.  Good Friday shows that God can turn everything that is against us to our advantage. God transformed Good Friday (the most evil day in history) into Easter Sunday (the most beautiful day in history).

Many of us steer clear of Good Friday because it reminds us of death, of pain, and of our own personal mortality. Sometimes we may question: what on earth is Good about Good Friday? What’s so good about someone going through the worst suffering and most excruciating death ever imagined?  Good Friday seems too morbid, too deadly, too bloody.

Modern medical science is wonderful in the way that it can prolong life that would often otherwise be over.  But medicine can only postpone the inevitable facing all of us.  We are mortals here on earth.  In my mid-teen period, I lost sight of the power of Easter, and concluded that there was no life after death. Death was final, and that was the end of it.  Nothing was waiting for me but the grave.  What was it all about, I wondered?  Was life really worth the effort? I began to fear the power of death and the meaninglessness and emptiness of life. I even secretly wondered if life itself was worth living.

In the midst of my teenage self-doubt,  I still loved Easter, but I didn’t get it.  The flowers, the food, the fun and even Easter worship were enjoyable, but somehow I missed the message.  It is funny how you can celebrate something that you grow up with, and yet the real meaning can be missed.  When the penny finally dropped, when the light came on, it was like waking up from the dead.  I finally understood that Jesus solved the unsolvable death problem, and that by faith in him, the future is bright and unstoppable.

My prayer for those of you who love the Easter season is that you may realize that at the end of the day, love is stronger than death, and love has the final word.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-an article published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News  

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