Thursday, December 11, 2014

Feria on the Thursday - Now we are no longer strangers and foreigners

Lithgow, Scotland 

Dear Fathers, Friends in Christ, 

It is truly amazing how sometimes a conversation with a complete stranger, can lead you to write 
a reflection, which I am sure is going to be of comfort to many. 

I was at the hairdresser in Strathdale , a suburb of Bendigo, Australia  and there was this 
Scottish lady having her hair done before mine. I listened to some of the conversation and it appeared that she had come out from Scotland late in life to be with her daughter here in Bendigo. After I had my hair cut , I met her again in the cafe next door and had a chat with her . She had lived all her life in Lithgow , Scotland and now at 70 odd she suddenly moved to Bendigo, which must have been an enormous culture shock. She was a Presbyterian and back in Scotland a member of a traditional Presbyterian Kirk and she could not find a Church here in town that would match that. That can be sad , if our Christian faith takes a very important part in our life.
She felt like a stranger, maybe a foreigner. This is a feeling that many of us who immigrate from our home countries to Australia  and this applies also to myself, although I have been more then forty years in this part of the world. 

Big changes in our lives  , they can make us unhappy and restless and time and time 
again we are reminded of Ephesians chapter 2, verse 19 " Christ our corner stone 

19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.

On this sunny thursday afternoon I was able to share this portion of scripture with 
this lady and put her name on my list of people to visit as a Priest. William Williams 
wrote this beautiful hymn " Guide me, O thou great Redeemer" and I think 
it to be very appropriate to what we have been talking about. It is therefore my Holy Prayer that if you feel like a stranger or foreigner, over even very lonely, that this meditation may truly be of comfort to you. 

Guide me, O thou great Redeemer,
 pilgrim though this barren land;
 I am weak, but thou art mighty;
 hold me with thy powerful hand;
 Bread of heaven, 
 feed me now and evermore.

 Open now the crystal fountain,
 whence the healing stream doth flow;
 let the fiery cloudy pillar
 lead me all my journey through;
 strong Deliverer,
 be thou still my Strength and Shield.

 When I tread the verge of Jordan,
 bid my anxious fears subside;
 bear me through the swelling current,
 land me safe on Canaan's side;
 songs of praises,
 I will ever give to thee.  

 Words: William Williams, 1745;
 trans. Peter Williams, 1771, alt. 
Music: Pilgrimage, Cwm Rhondda, Caersalem

Father Ed Bakker 
Anglican Catholic Church / Original Province 
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne