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Soaked to the Skin

This is my first post as a member of ‘The Community.’ I am grateful for the opportunity. Each week I will be posting a blog that reflects on our journey as baptized Christians. It is intended to be a place where we might dialogue together about bearing witness to Jesus by virtue of how we journey day by day. It will be a reflection focused on the intersection of Church Street and Main Street. I hope readers will feel comfortable engaging in meaningful conversation and dialogue as part of this virtual community. With that let’s dive in….

Leonard Cohen wrote, “I don’t consider myself a pessimist. I think of a pessimist as someone who is waiting for it to rain. And I feel soaked to the skin.”

The truth be told, many of us are pessimists. Last year we enjoyed an unseasonably warm Spring in March. This year has us all wondering if we could have a private audience with Wiarton Willy.  Surely the rodent that we’ve all come to rely on must’ve been a little off on Groundhog Day. There has been much weeping and gnashing of teeth about the weather these past few weeks. These days of rain/snow and wind can get us down. We focus on the darkness. It is difficult to remember the sunshine that has warmed us in the midst of our summer days. It seems to have been a long time ago. But perhaps these cool and damp days are good for us. We forget that sometimes we need to be soaked to the skin to fully appreciate the nature of being warm and dry. Another great line of Leonard Cohen is found his song Anthem – “Ring the bell that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” Somewhere across the windswept, rain-soaked or snow filled sky that I look into is a ray of light. It may be dim, but it serves as a reminder to me that the sun will shine, that the sun has not vanished, that the live-giving power of the Son is still there despite the fact that it obscured at the moment with a grey darkness.

Is it Optimism that we need to embrace then? In Bread for the Journey Henri Nouwen writes about living with hope. “Optimism and hope are radically different attitudes. Optimism is the expectation that things—the weather, human relationship, the economy, the political situation, and so on—will get better. Hope is trust that God will fulfil God’s promises to us in a way that leads us to true freedom. The optimist speaks about concrete changes in the future. The person of hope lives in the moment with the knowledge and trust that all of life is in good hands. All the great spiritual leaders in history were people of hope. Abraham, Moses, Ruth, Mary, Jesus, Rumi, Gandhi, and Dorothy Day all lived with a promise in their hearts that guided them toward the future without the need to know exactly what it would look like. Let’s live with hope.”

No matter what causes us to be pessimistic, we need to be reminded that by nature of who we are, that we should live as Optimists. We need to be optimistic because we are a people who are bathed in hope. You see, like Leonard says, ‘we are soaked to the skin.’  We have been saturated in the waters of baptism. That soaking has caused us to wade into waters that are often tumultuous. Following Jesus of Nazareth as a baptised follower sometimes will cause us to ask difficult questions about why life can sometimes be so demanding, sometimes dark, and in many cases cruel. But the covenant that we share with Jesus calls us to live in hope that our work, compelled by the love of Jesus, directs us to that time when justice and peace will kiss. We declare that God will see truth springing up from the people and justice pouring down a new rain from heaven. There will be a harvest of plentiful love, redeeming and renewing justice, and unbelievable sense of shalom. That redemptive and life-giving justice is best lived when we find a way to move past cynicism and negativity and live with a hopefulness that allows us to embrace one another, forgive one another, heal one another, and love another.

It is Holy Week. And we know that we are journeying towards The life-giving miracle of Easter. We journey towards the light of an empty tomb. But we make that journey knowing full well that in order to arrive there; we must walk the dark valley of Good Friday. We make our journey to the empty tomb in the shadow of the cross. We can enter into the pain of the passion of Jesus Christ, and we can tolerate the cool air found in the shadow of the Tree because of the assurance that has been given to us in our baptism; we are signed with the sign of the cross and marked as Christ’s own forever.

So I pray we embrace the optimism that is inherent in our baptismal covenant. By virtue of our call to seek and serve Christ in all persons, we are a people of hope and optimism.

Because we are beloved by God, and called by God to love others we live in hope because darkness does not have the last say. These cool, damp, and dark days will give way to the light of the summer sun and the warmth that it brings. We are certain that Light and Love will win. No need to be pessimistic – we are soaked to the skin in love!

The Rev'd Canon Dr Kevin George

About The Rev'd Canon Dr Kevin George

Kevin is a priest in the Diocese of Huron. He is currently Rector of St. Aidan's Church. Born and raised in Newfoundland, Kevin is a storyteller, a gift he learned at the George dinner table in his home community of Whiteway, NL. Look for references to the 'holy land of Newfoundland' in his posts as he is proud of his heritage. Kevin is a Bachelor of Education (1994 Memorial University of Newfoundland), a Master of Divinity (1997 Huron University College), and a Doctor of Divinity (2012 McCormick Theological Seminary). Kevin's previous parish appointments were to the Parish of Labrador West in Labrador City/Wabush, NL, and St. Mark's by-the-Lake in Tecumseh, ON. Kevin is married to Catherinanne who ministers for the Roman Catholic Church. It is no surprise then that Kevin is passionate about ecumenical and interfaith dialogue. He is an avid reader, a cat lover, and a rabid Habs fan! Ole, Ole, Ole!
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6 Responses to Soaked to the Skin

  1. “All the great spiritual leaders in history were people of hope. Abraham, Moses, Ruth, Mary, Jesus, Rumi, Gandhi, and Dorothy Day all lived with a promise in their hearts that guided them” You seemed to have lumped in Jesus in with bunch of people looking for a savior and all in need of the only Savior Jesus. He wasn’t looking for a way ,He is the only way.I heard one preacher say once “I bet it galls God the father to no end to have His son Jesus mentioned in the same breath as Buddha ,Mohammad ,etc.”

  2. “All the great spiritual leaders in history were people of hope. Abraham, Moses, Ruth, Mary, Jesus, Rumi, Gandhi, and Dorothy Day all lived with a promise in their hearts that guided them” You seemed to have lumped in Jesus in with bunch of people looking for a savior and all in need of the only Savior Jesus. He wasn’t looking for a way ,He is the only way.I heard one preacher say once “I bet it galls God the father to no end to have His son Jesus mentioned in the same breath as Buddha ,Mohammad ,etc.”

  3. God will not ultimately tolerate and definitely not celebrate people who do not point the way to Jesus as Lord and Savior.There is only one way leads to God and God has chosen that way to be through Jesus his only son .God has said in His word ,as you know,There is only one name given under heaven by which a man must be saved, I am the way ,the truth and the life .No man comes the Father but by me and also And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever possesses the Son has life; whoever does not possess the Son of God does not have life. God does tell us about a broad path but it doesn’t lead to God but destruction.As for being myopic,thank-you,so is God.It’s the only one that fits through the narrow gate

  4. I can’t help but draw parallels between a few of this week’s blogs. David identified the reality of Seasonal Affective Disorder–namely, the way that we are naturally affected by our surroundings. But within that reality, he identified hope: the call for the Christian community to respond to despair with love in word and action.

    Kyle (and as our Facebook feed suggests, many others) struggled with the removal of references to Christianity on an interfaith calendar–and rightly so. But he also encouraged us to look beyond the calendar date–a date that one of our Orthodox friends reminded us represents only part of the Christian community. If we truly are Easter people, then we live in the resurrection, day in and day out.

    You point us to that same baptismal identity. And you know, none of us should be surprised, especially during Holy week, because the journey to the cross is ultimately the journey to the resurrection. The temptation to live in a perpetual Good Friday (like some sort of purgatory) is great, especially when the Christian life seems discouraging. The temptation to crucify others for their faults or beliefs is just as great. The challenge, for me, is to claim that baptismal identity and the hope that proceeds it in every moment, asking myself how the life and ministry I am called to share in speaks resurrection into every Good Friday.

    Sorrow may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning. Thanks be to God.

  5. David Burrows

    “Sorrow may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning. Thanks be to God” – Jesse I admire your pattern of ending comments with psalm quotes; Kevin and Tony I honour the dialogue you are sharing.  Considering Nouwen, Scripture, Interfaith dialogue and ‘truth’, I tend to look to community, conversation, and context. I am most inspired by the conversation between Emeth and Aslan in the latter chapters of C.S. Lewis’ The Last Battle. At times we get too caught up in words and truth, such that we miss God’s presence as we are trying to prove ourselves right.

  6. I believe that the  faith   has  to make  us  think. ABout  what ? How we treat each other, the need not  to go out there  and  start  calling each other all  sorts of names. Of  not thinking we are  the only  place with  all truth. But  we can learn  from  other traditions . But above all we  must  treat all of our  fellow Christians  as  family. Accept fellow believers always. peace Paul

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