Love

This is the forth and final post of our Valley of Dry Bones series.  Do not forget to take a look at Part I, Part II, and Part III.  If you are finding this series valuable, we would love if you would share it with your community! Of course, as you already know, this narrative arc of life, death and resurrection repeats itself multiple times over the course of our lives. We “die” multiple times before we die and we are “resurrected” multiple times before we are resurrected. According to the pattern, we experience wonder, suffering comes and, strangely, renewal occurs; we experience wonder, suffering comes and, strangely, renewal occurs...

This is the third post of our Valley of Dry Bones series.  Do not forget to take a look at Part I and Part II.  If you are finding this series valuable, we would love if you would share it with your community! In some ways, knowing that the world can be a place of wonder makes the valley of dry bones all the more tragic. In other ways, however, having one foot firmly planted in wonder allows us to find meaning – and yes, even wonder – in the most tragic of circumstances. At a visceral level, it even allows us to see the goodness and humanity of those who have caused so much pain and suffering. Here, I would like to return for a moment to Michael Sharp’s story. Michael easily had one foot planted in wonder. He laughed easily. Despite the trauma he witnessed on a daily basis, he seemed to live life with a lightness of being. But there is more. Because Michael had one foot planted in wonder, he saw the goodness and humanity in every single person he met....

This is the second post of our Valley of Dry Bones series.  Do not forget to take a look at Part I.  If you are finding this series valuable, we would love if you would share it with your community! By all accounts, the dry bones passage is a resurrection story. It has all the markings of the audacious hope associated with resurrection, and like all resurrection stories it is both macabre and strangely delightful. This prophecy is so remarkable, it is a sermon in and of itself. To deepen our appreciation of this prophecy, however, we do well to see it in its larger context. When I say this, I am not actually talking about the immediate context. With respect to the immediate context – Ezekiel is bringing a prophesy to the citizens of Judah who have seen their homes destroyed and who have been cast into exile, many of whom were also killed along the way. But it is the much larger context that interests me. What I am referring to here is the long arc of the Biblical story – or...

It was a Wednesday. I had just finished making supper when CBC news reported that the bodies of three UN workers had been found in a shallow grave in Congo where they had been documenting crimes against humanity. In a small way, I knew Michael Sharp, one of those UN workers. In 2010 and in 2015 Michael spent a portion of his holidays in Bammental, Germany where our family was living at both of these times. During those weeks, we had the opportunity to share a few meals, tea times and conversation with one another. Michael had dedicated his life to peacebuilding work. Now Michael is gone, killed precisely for the peacebuilding work to which he had dedicated his life. Michael made an impression on me – he was idealistic, funny, generous and kind. He had an incredible capacity for languages. And peacebuilding seemed to come to him as naturally as breathing. While the death of Michael and his colleagues has deeply saddened me, I know that as far as the Congo goes their deaths are only a few among many....

It was one of the more difficult seasons of work I had had for some time. I was working with clients that I found challenging. Whether it was because they reminded me of painful relationships in my past, or because I recognized in them things I didn’t like in myself, I am still not sure. But I was struggling to find my feet in my work. In the midst of this struggle, my mentor asked me how I was loving my clients. My heart sank, as I wasn’t sure how to answer the question. I floundered, and said, well I can see what they can become if they get healthier. She said no. How are you loving them now as they are? That question has hung around my subconscious for a very long time. What does it mean to love? To love the person that I am not sure I like? What does it mean to love difficult people? For that matter what does it mean to love the people I like? As a society we are more than a little impoverished in...