A Failed Attempt at Unity

My first attempt to be a referee between Protestants and Catholics in our quaint fishing town was a failure.

On Sunday evenings in the summer, the local Pentecostal Assembly held outdoor praise and worship concerts in the parking lot in front of the grocery store. There was also passionate preaching about the need to get SAVED, or, ‘sohved’ as the locals pronounce it. This is a beautiful form of evangelism, and yes, I agree, we all need to be ‘sohved’.

However, the sound system used by the group was very powerful, and the message was loudly broadcast throughout the entire town, including into our little Catholic chapel, where we held Masses at the same time !

Since I was the liturgical musician, I approached the Pentecostal pastor and kindly asked him if he would consider turning down the volume at his outdoor services. When he realized that I was Catholic, he put his hands on his hips and glared at me. I left the meeting wondering whether he had heard me. He had not.

The next warm Sunday evening, we again heard the loud music blaring into our chapel. I decided we would have no liturgical music that evening. Instead, we listened to the Pentecostal music. I believe it was I tended especially for us. Perhaps they felt that we were not yet ‘sohved’.

(Photo Credit : Arthur Miranda, Unsplash)

Christians and Etiquette

Christians should be known for their politeness and good manners. Probably your parents stressed the importance of proper decorum and social skills as much as mine did.

Therefore, you can appreciate my shock when Fr. Jose told his congregation, from the pulpit, that he did not want to be invited to dinner by anyone ! He explained that he disliked Newfoundland food, and found it much too bland. Turnip, he said, was his least favourite food.

I looked around the church to see that my fellow housewives looked as dismayed as I felt. We are a hospitable group, and love to make others feel welcome ! We express our love through food.

Yes, generally the traditional diet has been bland here. God did not bless our spectacular island with much good topsoil. Thus, mainly root vegetables, carrots, potatoes, beets and turnips , along with fish , formed the mainstay of the traditional diet, along with salt beef, local berries , and home-made bread.

Exotic spices are not available in rural outports, but our store stocks lots of Savoury, grown here on the island.

However, despite Fr. Jose, who declined our hospitality, my husband and I continue to invite others for tea by the sea.

Bergy Bits in NL

We are having a bumper crop of icebergs this year !

The bergs float down from Greenland, and pass behind our house often. When the wind is blowing from the West, small pieces of bergs, called Bergy Bits, wash up on our beach. We collect some and put them in our freezer, to crush and use in delicious lemonade in the summer. And yes, the lemons we use are organic, flown to our lovely Isle from Spain !

Lost and Found at the Vatican

Have you ever been lost in a foreign country ? If so, then you can identify with the sense of panic my friend, Veronica, and I felt when we got lost at the Vatican.

Our travel bus had dropped off our group of jet-lagged pilgrims near St. Peter’s Basilica. The tour guide told us that we were free to explore the big church on our own, and instructed us to meet at the drop-off spot at 1:00 o’clock. We were far too excited to pay attention to where we had been dropped off, we only noticed that it had very tall trees.

Veronica and I spent our time in the Adoration Chapel, and when it was time to return, we stepped out into the bright sunlight, and realized, at the same time, that we didn’t know where we had been dropped-off ! We walked towards some tall trees, but that was not the spot !

Italy was still sweltering in heat at the end of September, and we were wearing warm Newfoundland clothing. Veronica, a former nurse, recognized that we were probably in the early stages of heat exhaustion, so we bought delicious gelato ice cream to cool ourselves.

Finally, a kindly gentleman noticed us, two red-faced, warmly dressed , confused women, and asked if we were lost. We explained that we didn’t know where we needed to go !

He told us that most tour buses drop passengers beside the Vatican Museums, and he showed us the way there. We arrived, just at 1:00 o’clock, sweaty and exhausted, but too proud to admit that we had been lost.

This experience made me more aware that the world can be very confusing and frightening for people who have no relationship with Jesus.

Then again, I realized that the Catholic Church does not talk about a personal relationship with the Lord.

We can see that more serious dialogue is needed on our way to achieving full Christian Unity.

Photo credit: Leo Morden, Unsplash

A Housewife’s Stress on Sunny Days

On cloudy days, I am convinced that my house is immaculate. However, on sunny days, I realize that this thinking is not quite accurate.

When the bright sunshine comes streaming in through our large windows facing the sea, I see dust and smudges that I never notice on overcast days. Then I step up my housecleaning efforts, using a variety of natural cleaning products . Even then, however, I know that there is still dust lurking somewhere.

Similarly, when the Holy Spirit shines his light of conviction into our hearts, our consciences alert us to areas of sin in our lives. Jesus is continually inviting us into closer relationship with Him, and as we voluntarily turn away from thoughts and activities that displease Him, our relationship deepens, and our prayers become more effective.

Recently He has been reminding me that I was jealous that my friend Linda spent the winter in Florida while I shivered, that it is not a good idea to eat home-made chocolate cupcakes for breakfast, and that my vanity is on display when I spend time on YouTube looking at make-up tips for older women.

Jesus loves us, knows that we are frail, and that we will never reach full perfection in this life, but He appreciates our efforts to acknowledge our areas of sin and weakness.With his grace, we are able to lead lives that are pleasing to Him and to others.

Photo Credit : The Good Soul – Unsplash

Very Sneaky Indeed

Should Christians be involved with politics ? Absolutely ! Perhaps we think we would rather pay attention to ‘spiritual’ issues, but in doing so, we often find that laws are in put in place making our countries even more secular. We need to pay attention, and speak up !

I watch our governing body, The House of Assembly, on live webcast. Last year, a politician proposed that our province’s Coat of Arms should be changed ! It seems that he was upset that the animal on our Coat of Arms is an elk ! Newfoundland has no elks. Therefore, he maintained that a Caribou should be placed on the emblem. There are Caribou here.

However, this was just a sneaky way of trying to introduce legislation that would also remove the Christian cross from our provincial symbol. And, since our province is multicultural now, it was proposed that we also remove our motto, which is in Latin, but which translates into the Lord’s words from Matthew 6 :33, Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God.

What did I do about this ? I complained loudly, wrote letters, and invited other Christians to voice their objections too.

It seems that our voices were heard, since there was no further discussion on the issue. So, for now at least, we are still a province guided by divine wisdom ; Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God.

(NL Coat of Arms from Wikipedia)