High River United Church of High River, Alberta


Thank you St. Brigid

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I woke up at 4:45 this morning.  I was gripped by some form of deep-seated fear—the kind of feeling that seems all pervasive, lacks logic and often occupies that precious place between sleep and awake.  For some reason, I started praying to the 5th century Irish Saint Brigid who is known for her gifts of protection and healing.  It was enough to get me through to 6:45 when the clock radio goes off.


Why the fear, I wondered?  I mentioned my pre-dawn fear to my partner Susan during breakfast.  Turns out, she was awake about the same time with the same feeling.  We mulled over the recent Trump immigration travel ban and the widespread dis-ease being felt around the world because of this and endless Trump tweets.  We named the significant losses of close friends and loved ones who have died too soon during the last months.  We expressed our sadness regarding the shootings in the Quebec mosque and voiced our concern around the recent increase of emboldened racism and hate speech. We reflected on the challenges associated with leading a congregation through a time of unprecedented shift and transition.  We both realized that there is more than enough cause to wake in fear.  We both realized that we need each other, our church, and the communion of saints even more. 


If there was ever a time for a congregation of faith to claim its place in providing healing and hope, it is now.  It’s no longer a matter for congregations to prove their relevancy as much as it is about choosing to embody and live a daily practice that is compassionate and inclusive.  The church has a profound theological imperative to foster right relationships, provide hospitality, and follow the wisdom and teaching of Jesus. Much of this practice can happen over a simple meal with people from, cultures, spiritual traditions, sexual orientations and socio-economic backgrounds that are unknown to our experience.  This is of course, what Jesus did.  Truth, understanding and compassion can be learned and practiced when we share bread and pour tea.  When this happens, guess what?  Fear goes away.


As I thought about my pre-dawn prayers to St. Brigid, I realized how important it is to draw the communion of saints around me at times when I’m afraid.  Sometimes, I just need to sit quietly and pray while I imagine God’s light and love around me, around my family, those I love, those in pain, those in danger and, the congregation I serve.  I am also remembering that intentional conversation around matters that trouble us helps to alleviate our fears and makes room for trust, creativity, and a deeper expression of compassion.  All of this together helps us be better people and fosters a much deeper appreciation for one another.  Thank you St. Brigid.





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123 MacLeod Trail S.W. High River, Alberta.

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