Sunday, November 05, 2006

Sunday Lectionary Devotional

Mark 12:30
30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' NIV

Remember, remember the Fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.

That’s an old rhyme which people in Britain still recite at this time of year. It refers back to the assassination plot led by Guy Fawkes in 1605. He wanted to kill King James (of the King James Bible) and all the parliamentarians as they gathered for the opening of parliament at Westminster Palace. One of the cellars was stacked with gunpowder and he almost got away with what would have been the 17th century equivalent of 9/11. Informers gave him away and the plot was squashed. All the conspirators were horribly tortured and barbarically executed.

The event is still remembered each year on the Fifth of November. This coming Sunday, families from all over Britain will gather at Fireworks festivals and build bonfires to celebrate the event. It’s Britain’s equivalent of our 4th of July celebrations. It’s also a festival of defiance, because the fireworks remind Britain’s political representatives that the real power of the land belongs to the people.

This year, we will have something going on at the church to remember the Fifth of November. It’s nothing to do with fireworks or explosions. It’s to support a wonderful cause – the Race for the Cure. Over the years, I have marveled and been in awe of the amount of women who courageously face, confront, and survive breast Cancer. Their positive attitude in the midst of very trying circumstances is a worthy example to all of us about how the human spirit can face fear, overcome sickness, and triumph in the midst of trials and tribulations.

So about a month ago, I challenged the congregation to raise money for the Christy’s Angels group, who were running in memory of Christy Blanchard, a great friend and member of Erin Church. I also wanted to do this in memory of Pearl Swallows and others in our congregation, and even those whom I knew in Scotland who had dealt with this disease.

So what did I do? I told the congregation that if they could raise $1000 for the Race, then on Sunday 5th November, I would have my beard, moustache, and hair shaved off at the end of the morning service. I am glad to say that the donations have been coming in, so there is every chance that I will be completely bald on November 5th. By the time you read this devotion, I will be as bald as a pool ball.

Some people wonder why I want to do this: it’s because many of the brave women who undergo chemotherapy and radiation for Breast Cancer lose their hair. It’s my way of identifying with them. When you watch thousands of them running and walking together, survivors and sufferers, families and friends, you realize how much of themselves they give to one another.

I must admit, I’m a wee bit worried about losing my hair and my family are not so sure they want to see this happening, but it’s all for a good and worthy cause.

Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
When Stushie will shave off the lot!

May God bless and be with you all.

Stushie is the writer of the Heaven's Highway blog; the Sky Pilots site for Busy Pastors, and also the host of the radio pragam "Seven Days."

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