Moderator Mardi’s Blog: God of Yellowknife

Some of you have wondered about where I’ve been. Not only where my travels have taken me but how far I’ve wandered from blogging, facebook and twitter.

Since mid-January I haven’t been as active as usual on social media. There are two main reasons: a couple of infections slowed me down so much that I couldn’t invest energy beyond the many ‘essentials’; and a felt need for a more contemplative time to balance action for awhile.

With physical energy returning along with the spiritual reorientation of Lent, I am ready to be online again.

I write from Yellowknife, NWT where General Secretary Nora Sanders and I are visiting the church ‘north of 60’. This visit follows my time with another northern community – Keewatin presbytery – meeting in Nelson House, Manitoba a couple of weeks ago. Having spent much of my winter in warmer-than-usual southern Ontario, it’s been good to be in snow and ice, even though it’s still warmer than normal in northern Manitoba and the Northwest Territories as well this winter.

I believe that Yellowknife United Church is the most northerly United Church congregation in Canada. And as we shared in worship this morning with the Rev. Peter Chynoweth and the congregation, we received a gift of hymn lyrics created by this congregation to ground their expression of faith in the bio-region in which they find themselves. Their own version of Jaroslav J. Vajda’s ‘God of the Sparrow’ (Voices United #229) had us singing lines such as:

God of the raven, God of the fox,
God of the northern lights…
God of the blizzard, God of the rain
God of the dene drum…
God of the greenstone, God of the ice,
God of the ptarmigan…
God of the taiga, God of the snow
God of the boreal…

What a rich experience of soul, community and creation linkages there are here! Today we explored how when we participate in the healing of any of one these three – soul, community and creation – the healing of the other two also become possible.

Nothing beats singing soul-full songs for health and healing. I’ll soon be celebrating with you the winners of our “Earth Day Hymn Contest”. Well over two dozen entries were submitted with fresh new music and words. An overwhelming response which made for a challenge for the Music United judges! We look forward to singing these together in our shared liturgy throughout The United Church of Canada on Sunday, April 22nd, 2012.

Our new Earth Day liturgy for that day is already posted – along with some fun congregational challenges leading up to our Earth Day celebrations – at http://www.united-church.ca/earthday. Our hymn writing winners will be announced soon as well.

Wherever you find yourself, I hope you’re singing of hope today, as I am under the dancing Northern Lights.