It’s hard not to be aware that, as Christians, we are swimming against the mainstream secularised culture. The weekend of the high holy religious festivals, Easter and Passover, is the time when university students demonstrate, high school students play hockey tournaments and everyone shops for their new spring outfits. It is a poignant contrast between the concerns of the world and the concerns of the church: In the mall below brightly coloured flip-flops are displayed in Payless, piles of chocolate eggs and bunnies for sale in the dollar store, young people with dogs and guitars congregating on the steps above St Catherine, while inside the Cathedral there will be organ, choir, brass and handbells greeting the risen Christ. The sweetness, excitement and colours of the secular celebrations outside will be reflected in the flowers and liturgy of the great Easter festivals within the Cathedral.
First though, we will experience the solemn ritual of the Eucharist of the Last Supper at 7:30 this evening and the meditative sadness of the Good Friday services from noon until 3:30 pm tomorrow. When we exit the church into the bustling crowds on St Catherine tomorrow we know that we may be a minority in this secular society, but we are not isolated; we are part of the redeemed world. Our challenge is to make the world aware of Christ.
Of course, another challenge is to become more aware ourselves of issues we need to understand or confront as Christians. Here are some excellent opportunities
1. The Social Justice Action Group invites you to mark the 30th anniversary of the Supreme Court Singh decision which recognized refugees’ basic rights, by participating in some Amnesty International actions:
– write letters on behalf of our neighbours who are refugees
– create posters to show support for those who have had to leave their homelands
Sunday 12th April, after the 10 am Eucharist. All are welcome
2. Every Sunday we pray for peace in a world increasingly divided by war. The Public Theology Group has organised four consultations on the timely subject What Shall We Say to War?
Wednesdays, 7-9pm Fulford Hall
April 29 – When Christians Say Yes to War: Dr Marc Lalonde, Department of Religion, Concordia University
May 6 – When Christians Say No to War: Dr Vern Neufeld Redekop: The School of Conflict Studies, St Paul University
May 20 –Panel: Diverse Voices Respond to War
May 27 – Workshop: What Shall We Say to War?
There are some excellent books on this topic. I recommend Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence by Karen Armstrong
3. The Cathedral’s Spring Retreat at l’Ermitage Sainte Croix offers three options:
a) Full weekend, May 1 – May 3,
b) Extended weekend April 30 – May 3
c) Quiet Day, May 2
Sally Harrington Philippo is the guest speaker and Paul Kennington the chaplain. You can register with the Cathedral office or write to firstname.lastname@example.org
4. The Council on Palliative Care at McGill is presenting 3 free workshops 6pm – 8 pm on Mondays April 13th, 20th and 27th, all at Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom on the corner of Elm and Sherbrooke in Westmount. For more information go to email@example.com
There will be no Oasis Musicale concert this Saturday. The next concert, on April 8 at 6:15, with pianists Amy Felice and Sara Rezki, will inaugurate a new free Wednesday evening series. The Saturday series continues on April 11with a concert by Chamber Music without Borders.
Reminders -There will be a Seniors’ lunch on April 7th. The Social service Society convenes on April 12 after the 10 am Eucharist and the book group meets that evening to discuss The Circle by Dave Eggars.
Wishing you all a joyful and blessed Easter in the church and in the secular world.