Tag Archives: nature

2nd Annual Bruce Trail Pilgrimage

We had a spectacularly beautiful day for our four-hour Bruce Trail hike.  Thanks to Randy F. for these pictures.

Here we are starting out at Mountainview Conservation area...everybody is looking pretty perky

Here we are starting out at Mountainview Conservation area...everybody is looking pretty perky

There were some ups and some downs along the way

There were some ups and some downs along the way

By this point some have left and others have joined the pilgrimage, we've been on the trail a couple of hours...tired but still happy!

By this point some have left and others have joined the pilgrimage, we've been on the trail a couple of hours...tired but still happy!

Tom pointing out a point of interest... And a special mention goes to Sophie, Richard and Andrew, our youngest pilgrims so far!

Tom pointing out a point of interest... And a special mention goes to Sophie, Richard and Andrew, our youngest pilgrims so far!

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Water, water everywhere

Have you seen the water in Twenty Mile Creek lately? Maybe you cross it on Victoria Avenue, or catch a glimpse as you’re driving over the bridge in the Hollow. What’s amazing is that the creek is still running. Ball’s Falls is falling…not just trickling, like it usually does in August. All this rain makes for pretty waterfalls.

This week Stephanie and I were on a walk in the Niagara Gorge. It was a scorching hot day, and we were parched. We came to a little waterfall showering over the trail. Even though we were really thirsty, I don’t think either of us thought, “Let’s take a drink.” When did we stop being able to drink the water we live by? What year? What decade?

In our Sunday evening worship service we’ll be reflecting on water, the gift from God that St. Francis referred to as, “Sister Water, so useful, humble, precious and pure.” Those are interesting adjectives. Maybe we all need to be more water-like!

I also want to give advance notice of our second annual First Mennonite Bruce Trail pilgrimage, happening Sept. 13th after church. We had a pilgrimage last November 2 (see the pictures I’ve posted below) with a good turnout from young to old. We started at Mountainview Conservation area on the other side of Beamsville, and we arrived at our church around 4 hours, and many kilometres, later!

We all probably cross the Bruce Trail at least several times a week. A pilgrimage is an invitation to get out of our cars, slow down, and experience this beautiful corridor of wildness that is the backbone of the Niagara Peninsula. The pilgrimage is about walking prayerfully, listening to what God has to say. It’s about being pilgrims together.

This week’s prayer: You created us to be thirsty people, Lord. Give us living water. Open our eyes to the water around us.

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Bruce Trail Pilgrimage 2008

Our pilgrimage began at Mountainview Conservation area on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in November.

Our pilgrimage began at Mountainview Conservation area on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in November.

The leaves had all fallen, so the view over the lake was spectacular.

The leaves had all fallen, so the view over the lake was spectacular.

There was time to talk along the way and catch our breath.  More people joined the hike at various points.

There was time to talk along the way and catch our breath. More people joined the hike at various points.

It was a time to enjoy God's creation and each other's company.

It was a time to enjoy God's creation and each other's company.

We walked the mountains and the valleys together...a good pilrimage was had by all!

We walked the mountains and the valleys together...a good pilgrimage was had by all!

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Greetings earthlings!

We share the world with other earthlings. Earthlings meaning non-human animals. How do you live with animals?

Some of your minds go immediately to pets we might have living in our houses…dogs, cats, birds, fish, lizards, hamsters. A few of us are farmers, who think of the animals in the barn. Maybe some of us think of animals that are unwanted guests in our homes, like ants or mice or bats..

When I think about living with animals, I look up from my computer here and see my refrigerator, and think about milk and eggs and butter. And then there’s the Styrofoam containers of meat. It’s not exactly living with animals, but more like living from animals, and living from animals dying.

As far as eating goes, I couldn’t have eaten the peach I had for my night snack without the essential help of bees, who pollinated the fruit. Bugs and organisms of all kinds help to make the earth fertile so crops can grow.

So, yes, we all live with animals, but how is this a faith issue? Does it really matter how we treat animals or think about animals? Let me pose a question…if it came to the church’s attention that I had left my dog on a leash in the hot sun without shelter and let him starve to death there, would that jeopardize my ability to be your pastor? Is cruelty to animals incompatible with being a pastor? I have a feeling that a lot of you would have reservations about me if that happened. In choosing your pastor, you want someone who is caring and empathetic…if I could be heartless and cruel to an animal, it would raise questions about my essential character in your minds. Who we are affects how we relate to all living animals.

This Sunday I want to explore what scripture teaches us about animals, and ask some questions about our own relationship with animals. Have you ever heard a sermon about how we should treat animals? I haven’t. Why is that?

This week’s prayer: Help me to see my place in your created world. Help me to see You in this created world.

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