We awoke this morning to a dark, cold and rainy Sunday.  My heart sank as hopes of cycling to church seemed to be dashed, however, following a soggy “Wil Walk” the rain seemed to be easing up so I donned my lovely purple raincoat and cycled to St. Stephen’s.
    Actually it proved to be a good decision as, by the time the Service was over, it was still cold and gloomy but had stopped raining, so apart from biking home into the face of a sharp wind, it was not too bad, shall we say “brisk”. Fortunately I had planned to have a nice hot lunch of Ratatouile so there was hope of warming up at the end of my trek!

    I left Victoria, in the company of Mandu ( who likes sitting on suitcases), slogging away on the Paper, and was pleased to discover that Jenna Smith was preaching today.
   Her sermon was excellent, the first of a series of 4 which she will be doing on various Sundays between now and Christmas. Her concept is to take major current affairs issues and look at them in light of the Scriptures. She noted that she had been brought up with the premise that a good Preacher has a newspaper in one hand and  Bible in the other.
   Today she delved into the current crisis in Syria and cited 3 short Gospel passages in which Jesus spoke in terms of “war” and “peace”. One of her main themes was to pose the question whether there is in fact such a thing as a righteous war  and whether, in light of the Gospels, Christians should ever embrace violence. Jenna was quick to point out that we were not gathered to actually “take sides” on such questions but to dig deeper into Scripture and to find in what way we, as 21st Century followers of Christ should be responding to world crises.
 Lots of food for thought for the week to come!
   Frequently, at some point in our Service, Nick prays that we should, for a space, leave behind all the stresses of the past week and worries of the week to come, while we gather for Worship. Today I actually felt just a bit more “at home” at St. Stephen’s. There was nothing specific; a smile here, a “hello” there, an acceptance of the person who quietly knits through every Service!
  I like to imagine the whole idea of Sabbath as being sort of a safe island in the course of our lives, each person or family a little boat steering our course ahead and then pulling into the harbour of Sabbath  to refuel, to rest, to be in a safe haven. Even in our post-Christian world, Sunday streets are quieter, there is less traffic and a peace settles over the city (well at least in the residential neighbourhoods I frequent!)
   So as this day winds down I intend to stay bobbing at anchor in the harbour, humming a Hymn from this morning and hopefully refueled to face a variety of possible “shoals” I need to navigate around in the week to come!