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Reflections, Images, and Videos from Our Reign of Christ (November 20) Services

November 21, 2016

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On November 20, the last Sunday of the Church Year, we gave ourselves in worship to the King of kings and Lord of lords as we celebrated the Feast of the Reign of Christ!

ghada-2-2As part of our worship, we continued our custom on this Feast Day of having an outreach focus that helps us reflect on how we can help spread Jesus’ rule of love in the world. This year, we were most honoured to have Syrian-Canadian author, translator, and University of Calgary Doctoral student Ghada Al Atrash (pictured to the left) speak to us in the homily time at our 8:30 and 10 a.m. Services, to help us better understand the feelings that Syrian refugees like the family we’re sponsoring may be experiencing when they come to Canada.

marcel_khalifeEmbedded immediately below are the 4 videos we showed on our screens before the 10 a.m. Service to prepare us for worship. Reflecting this focus, they feature songs sung in Arabic, and a video of some of the beautiful sights in Syria (accompanied by music featured in the video just below it from the Lebanese musician and 2005 UNESCO Artist for Peace, Marcel Khalife, instead of the soundtrack it has on the video in this posting). The Lord’s Prayer in video 3 is being sung at a church in Aleppo.

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Embedded below is the Gospel Reading we had at both of our Services.

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Embedded below (from Ghada’s YouTube channel) are videos of Ghada giving 2 of the recitations she shared with us. 

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Ghada talked with us about “verstehen,” a term associated with Max Weber, which means “empathic understanding” – an act of putting aside our own framework and seeing others’ experiences from the frameworks they themselves possess. She helped us to reflect on the trauma that the Syrian family we’re sponsoring has experienced by being forced to leave their homeland, and move our perception beyond an us-them, West-East, Canadian-Syrian dichotomy, to the awareness that our similarities with one another are greater than our differences – for we all share the same deep yearning to belong, to love and be loved.

Friends of Syria host dinner for refugees

Ghada’s words to us, and the passion with which she shared them, contributed greatly to our Services’ being emotionally charged times of encounter that none of us will forget. Something very powerful was happening in our midst – our hearts were being moved by God’s love. After Ghada finished speaking, I thanked her for raising our consciousness and helping us to connect with the family we’re sponsoring and spread love’s reign in our beautiful, broken world.

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We ended our 10 a.m. Liturgy, and the Church Year, by leaving the Sanctuary with hearts overflowing with praise to our King, whose loving rule it is our immeasurable privilege to go forth into the world and extend!

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At the Coffee time after both Services, we were delighted to have the opportunity to talk with Ghada, and purchase her book, Stripped to the Bone.

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