From Peter’s Pen YP Newsletter, June 2020

A glitch somewhere in cyberspace prevented my newsletter entry making it into the YP newsletter which came out today.  Here it is.

From Peter’s Pen

Lessons From the Waiting Room of Life
I am so grateful to God for the love and concern of the church family during this time of unexpected medical need. As I await my pending surgery your cards, messages and emails have come to mean a great deal to me. Thank you, but above all, thank you for keeping me in your prayers.

There has been a lot of waiting involved in this medical process and waiting is not my strong suit, but all of this has been a gentle reminder to live in the moment aware of God’s many blessings. While waiting I have been more or less quarantined, but this has not prevented me from being able to enjoy the sights and scents as spring has brought new colour to the garden day by day. Many of you have been quarantined too and are anxiously awaiting the arrival or a vaccine, or good medical news, or word about a job, or even just the opportunity to be with loved ones again. I hope that the arrival of summer boosts your spirits as well and that in the midst of this time you will be aware of God’s faithfulness each and every day and of his mercies which are new every morning.

Covid-19 has without question given rise to fears and has taken a toll on many, but it has also led to lower pollution levels, and opportunities to connect with old friends we had lost touch with in the busy times. While on a daily basis we must support and pray for those effected by the virus, those offering service in these times, and those seeking solutions, I also pray we come alive in new ways to many of the blessings that may have gone unnoticed in busier times.

I am also grateful to God for the medical solutions that are available to me and for the team that are caring for me. We live in a great country and part of what makes it great is the medical system we have and the countless staff at all levels who make it so wonderful. Previously I had never spent a night in the hospital in my life, but now I have seen first hand the incredible efforts 24/7.

One of the wonders of our health care system is that it has brought together some of the finest and most knowledgable professionals and workers from around the world. I was cared for by a team of doctors and nurses who had come to this country from far away places like Iraq, Iran, China, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Jamaica. Each one was wise and compassionate, but they were also putting their lives on the line during these days of Covid-19.

I have been deeply disturbed, as we all have, by the reports of growing racism against Asians in response to the coronavirus. It is human nature when we are afraid to look for a scapegoat to blame, but this always makes things worse. In the midst of this there has been an explosion of tension in response to longstanding racism against African Americans south of the border. We may be on the other side of the border, but racism is real here too and we must stand and work against it.

Many in these Covid-19 days are suggesting that working from home as we have been doing since March may present a good alternative for the long term. While it cuts down on commute time thus eliminating many a traffic jam and offers companies significant savings on rent, we should be very cautious. The modern workplace brings people of many ethnicities together and offers them the opportunity to build relationships and friendships with people of different economic, cultural, and ethnic identities. Whereas working from home will rob us of these opportunities to put a face on other ethnicities and hear and value their traditions. In a world where we come and work together face to face we should be less prone to fear and prejudice.

In recent years we have had the privilege of visiting a First Nations reserve with a team of volunteers, but with Covid-19 there will be no Oneida experience this year. These opportunities also widen our understanding and appreciation of our indigenous neighbours. I pray our friends at Oneida and all our first nations peoples will remain close to our hears in this times and we will continue to build bridges of healing and understanding.

The church must stand against all racism, but at the same time, like the hospital we must be a community in which all people come together as a team. We too must work and serve together from east and west, north and south as one great fellowship born of the love of the Great Physician, Jesus Christ.

Corona Creativity
With all the talk and fear of the coronavirus we may have forgotten what a real corona is and I am not referring to a brand of beer. The corona is the bright pearly glow of the sun that only becomes visible during a total eclipse when like a crown it surrounds the dark face of the moon. It is the light that reminds us the sun is still with us during a time of sudden darkness. I pray the life and witness of our church is like the corona of the sun during these days of Covid-19 as we continue to bear witness to the risen Christ.

We are so grateful for the gift of webcasting that was made to the church more than ten years ago and the manner in which David King and his team have been able to strengthen this ministry during these days. Apart from our Sunday worship it has afforded us the opportunity to offer some beautiful concerts in the empty sanctuary – these can still be viewed online. It also enabled Dale Rose and I the opportunity to offer daily devotional conversations during Lent and to follow these up with a ten session online Discipleship 101 class posted to our website in the weeks that followed Easter. These along with our Walking Together daily devotional edited by Paula Willis, a roster of volunteers and pastors offering phone calls, resources and messaging from our Director of Family Ministries have been strengthening our fellowship when it would be so easy to drift apart. In the midst of all this Janice Ivory Smith has been a guiding hand. Thank you to all who have helped us bear witness to the Light of the World, Jesus Christ, whom the the fear of the coronavirus, the economic hardship and the racial tension nor anything else in the world can put out. Let us continue to let our light shine!

Peter Holmes