Stained Glass cross

St. Mary Magdalene Anglican Church

Vancouver,  B.C.

Diocese of New Westminster

Anglican Church of Canada

Diocese of New Westminster badgeSt. Mary Magdalene badge

Worship Times


Sunday Eucharist

10:30 am




Wednesday 7:00 pm


Centering Prayer

Thursday 2:00 pm


July 9th Pentecost 5, 2017                                    John Marsh


Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67; Song of Soloman 2:8-13; Romans 7:15-25a; Matthew 11:16-19,25







I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate… I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do.

Romans 7:15, 19


The voice of my beloved... My beloved speaks and says to me: "Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away! Song of Songs 2:8a,10


There is fluidity to her movement – flow to her dance


She moves as she wills


Expresses herself where she wills and so…


Wisdom’s children


Who are they?


They are varied, many, diverse


As different as John was to Jesus


All beloved


This is the poetic of life’s inherent vibrancy – creation fully alive, divinity perhaps breaking through!


This is the dynamic promise within life - our lives transformed and transforming


The dynamic Eros of divinity within all life


It is this dynamic pulse of promise which invites us to understand Paul


Law – all law not simply Jewish law, even divine law - can only inform


It provides only information not transformation


Law defines – brings knowledge –  yet cannot insure compliance ¹


This is not to dismiss law as useless but to recognize that where law defines


Life dances, leaps


By which I mean to say that law can never define life


Life must animate law


As we have often said of the ‘spirit’ of the law as opposed to its ‘letter’


But we know – don’t we - of the imposition of the letter of law


The force and power of legal definition in our collective story


At one time by law


Women were not fully human


First Nations were not fully human


Jews, Blacks, others of colour were not fully human


It was illegal to love certain persons


Such a heavy yoke, all by force of law!


Which is where sin comes in –


In the stiffening, the rigidity, the defining


So easily becoming the silencing, the binding, the confining, the judgment


John was demonic, Jesus a drunk and glutton²


This has profound political and social repercussions: pogroms, enslavement of all kinds, segregation, poverty, hunger and illness


And, not surprisingly, our personal lives are not immune


As we unleash the force of judgement on ourselves, others, binding, confining


This cycle of silence, isolation, pain and suffering becomes very hard to break


The weight of political, social, economic, and when required, religious strictures collude with archetypal fears and anxieties


 We are mired down and entrapped


As Paul says,


‘That which I should not do - I do and that which I should do - I do not’


But this seemingly hopeless trap carries within it spirit’s explosive dance




It lies precisely within the silencing, the isolation, the segregation…


End the silence, refuse the isolation, crack open the segregation


Paul breaks the silence


He admits, writes, speaks, accepts and acknowledges


This is a bifurcation point of grace – the unexpected fork in the road


In taking the road less traveled cracks open in coming to voice, in breaking the silence


In coming to the table, in engaging, risking sight and hearing


And then - perhaps


We played the flute for you and you danced, sang, moved³


So understand


‘Come to me all you that labour and carry heavy burdens...Take my yoke upon you and learn from me.

My yoke is easy and my burden light’


¹ As with speed limits, setting the law, posting the speed, does not mean compliance.

² See Matthew11:28-19

³ See Matthew 11:17

See Matthew 11:28-30