Vol 7 No. 52 Happy New Year!

Dear Folks,

Harold Camping, the American Christian radio broadcaster (and someone who brings disrepute to many things Christian) has finally retired.  The media has reasserted itself as the prophetic predictor of all things. The particular outlet that was especially galling was the BBC, galling because they mention the death of Amy Winehouse and the Royal Wedding, but not the G20, its riots, nor even as a left coaster, the Stanley Cup riots. In all seriousness, they do mention the Arab spring and most significantly, the Egyptian revolution. Earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan, brutal economic evaluations and devaluations, the death of Bin Laden, Gadhafi, and Kim Jong-il, Canadians troops left Afghanistan, American troops left Iraq. The Afghanis and the Iraqis are, many of them, already home and can’t leave. There is few times when we look back on a year that we are doubtful about its outcome: not because many important events didn’t happen, but rather because we don’t know the results of those particular events. (By the way, I’ve already mentioned Christopher Hitchens in a blog (https://www.cbwc.ca/content/blogcategory/148/330/) and a tweet (https://twitter.com/#!/_JeremyBell). He didn’t really deserve mention but it is there for your interest if you wish.)

Let me take you back to the beginning of January 2011. NATO Defence Chiefs were meeting in Brussels two weeks prior to the implosion of much of the Mediterranean base line. If you looked out onto the world in January 2011 as they did, you would find a fairly calm Middle East and Mediterranean basin. Not two weeks after they met, Tunisia was in an uproar, to be followed by Egypt, and a host of other countries, culminating in the turmoil that still exists in Syria. There were major upheavals in the occupy movements in the U.S., riots in Britain, and in this last week, a huge public disenchantment expressed with Vladimir Putin, someone whom everyone believed was completely beyond reproach. It is an old, tired and worn out notion that the Christian faith is known for when it talks of all the wild things that have happened, the pain of the world pathos, a wild and disturbing picture of the world (which is usually accurate) while forgetting to mention the hope in the Christ child at Christmas. Confession and criticisms without absolution and reconciliation.

I am trusting, hoping and praying there will be less war, mayhem, and economic upheaval and for some, even starvation this year. I am hopeful, given some of the events this past year, that there is a possibility and reasonableness in that optimism. In the end, my hope rests on this epiphany Sunday where, when the Wiseman show up, we are to be like them; that we can be like them. What we need to remember about them is not that they were wise or that they gifted the Christ child but before they were wise and before they gave gifts, they offered themselves in worship. So what comes first – worship or action? Rabbi Bulka from Ottawa commented last month that the rabbis often debated which was more important, study or action? He claimed that they came to the conclusion that study was more important if it was followed by action.  Not just clever but insightful. Making our way back to the Wiseman, what is more important – worship, giving, or being wise? Maybe in this new year we could sum up the Wiseman at Epiphany by saying that they were wise to worship Christ first, and out of that worship to find themselves in an act of giving, not only material gifts but themselves.  I end this newsletter by sharing with you a poem that I have shared in the past taken from the British Baptist Manual, Gather to Worship:


Among the poor,

among the proud,

among the persecuted,

among the privileged,

Christ is coming to make all things new.

In the private house,

in the public house,

in the wedding feast,

in the judgement hall,

Christ is coming to make all things new.

With a gentle touch,

with an angry word,

with a clear conscience,

with burning love,

Christ is coming to make all things new.

That the kingdom might come,

that the world might believe,

that the powerful might stumble,

that the hidden might be seen,

Christ is coming to make all things new.


Within us,

without us,

behind us,

before us,

in this place,

in every place,

for this time,

for all time,

Christ is coming to make all things new.


A very Happy New Year to you all,



In Christ,