Pomp and Circumstance

Dictionary.com defines the idiom “pomp and circumstance” as “a splendid celebration with ceremony and fuss”.

This past Easter Sunday I attended an Easter Service full of pomp and circumstance at St. Luke’s Anglican Church in Burlington, Ontario with my wonderful sister-in-law and her equally wonderful hubby. They are regular parishioners of that church and have been very involved with its function. Since I don’t attend church very often in my own town, I do like to go with them on special occasions.

St. Luke’s is the oldest church in Burlington having been established in 1834 and built on land given to them by Chief Joseph Brant. It is the quintessential white clapboard church with a steeple situated on a plot of land among large, ancient trees. It truly is picture postcard pretty.

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Inside, the church is lined from floor to ceiling with thin wood planks that have turned to a deep, mellow, satiny,  rust brown over the past 183 years. Matching wooden beams gracefully arch overhead and draw your eye upwards. The dark wood walls are graced with beautiful stained glass windows depicting scenes from the Bible and some church Saints. The church is also blessed with a wonderful pipe organ whose pipes are painted red, white and blue.

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The ledges along the walls were decorated with lovely cyclamen plants in soft pastels and in one front corner there was a profusion of beautiful blooms in Spring colours. After the service, the pretty plants were going to be delivered to shut-ins in hopes of brightening up their day and letting them know that God loves them.

I am not used to attending a church where there is a lot of traditional ceremony involved in the service. There was a long processional with many people wearing different gowns with various colours and symbols. I think they are called vestments and clerical gowns. There was someone carrying a banner, another person carried a large brass (?) cross, some were carrying long candlesticks while others were carrying staffs of some sort and a young girl held aloft what looked like a fancy binder with Bible readings. It was all carried out very solemnly.

I was prepared to hear a somewhat staunch sermon but the Rector shared an amusing and down to earth message about the similarity between a roller coaster ride and the ups and downs of the events leading up to Christ’s crucifixion. The youth pastor also gave a good lesson to the little ones using chocolate eggs and helium balloons with “He Is Risen” cards attached to their strings. (Unfortunately, the helium was a little tired by then and the balloons had difficulty “rising” to the occasion – lol!)

Worship was composed of older hymns, many of which I was unfamiliar with. However, as a special part of the Easter celebration, we were treated to wonderful accompaniment by a brass band. My two favourite hymns of that day were sung to the glorious ringing of a wide assortment of hand-bells brought in by the parishioners. The church rafters truly “rang” with praise for our risen Saviour!

The service was truly a “splendid celebration with ceremony and fuss” all for the glory of the Lord.

As we were leaving the church, the sun shone through the beautiful, yellow, circular stained glass window at the peak of the roof bathing us all in a shaft of golden light. It felt like God was smiling down on us from Heaven.

I find it interesting to see how other Christians choose to worship God. While its not my personal worship style, I know that many believers find comfort in a more traditional, formal style of liturgy and litany. I don’t think that “form” matters as much to God as does how we truly relate to Him and to one another.

I believe that unity in both faith and relationship is what the apostle Paul was talking about when he wrote to the church at Ephesus:

Eph 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the calling with which you are called,
Eph 4:2 with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love,
Eph 4:3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Blessings

(Photos courtesy of Burlington Cultural Mapping)

Good Days

It feels like I have been doing a lot of moaning and groaning on here lately so I decided that it was time to share something cheerful.

We had lovely Spring weather this past weekend. I invited my Mom up for a quick visit on Saturday. When she got here, we went for a drive along our lovely waterfront park. The water of Lake Huron was a deep, translucent jade colour. There were quite a number of people participating in the annual shoreline clean-up event. It was nice to see families working together to clean up our waterfront. Being on the prevailing wind side of a Great Lake, we get quite a lot of flotsam and jetsam accumulating after all the Winter storms that blow our way.

Then we drove to the top of the sand bluffs which may be 80 – 100 feet high above the lake. The town of Goderich was built upon these bluffs, which are the remnants of a glacial lake. From one vantage point we could see the mouth of the Maitland River flowing into the lake looking like a river of black oil against the jade green of the lake.

We stopped for lunch at a restaurant that sits on the crest of a hill above the lake. It was nothing fancy but we enjoyed one another’s company.

My Mom had not been feeling well but I think that the sunshine, the scenery and my scintillating company helped to elevate her spirits a bit. I know that I enjoyed her company and she  gave me deliverance from cabin fever.

The weather was beautiful again on Sunday. Plans to meet up with my son and his family fell through so I asked my hubby if he felt like going for a drive to Sarnia to visit my Mom. I suggested that we have a picnic and walk around the park down there.

Instead of a picnic, we all went to Archie’s Albert’s, a well known local hot-dog stand situated almost underneath the large international Bluewater Bridge that joins Canada and the States. I pigged out on a spicy and very sloppy cheese dog. I had as much cheese sauce running down my fingers and hand as I had on the hotdog!

After the junk food delectables, we drove on winding roads through lovely Canatara Park. We stopped near the beach to look at the crumbling remains of the ice walls along the shoreline. A “Laker” ship was heading towards the entrance of the St. Clair River, which is a very busy shipping channel in the Great Lakes system.

We strolled along trails beneath an old oak forest. Small children were enjoying crunching through the dried leaves. In a small garden in an open area, white snowdrops, yellow and purples crocuses, and a bunch of beautiful purple mini irises were poking out. A young girl was learning how to skateboard while watchful grandparents strolled behind her. There were people of all ages out and about enjoying the beautiful Spring weather. Many of them were walking dogs. There were dogs of every size and description – I have never seen so many dogs in one place!

After our stroll, we parked ourselves on park benches overlooking the St. Clair River and proceeded to people watch. I got a chuckle watching three young kids rolling down a small hill, over and over again. Such innocent pastimes! We chatted with passing dog walkers and patted some pooches. There are always quite a few people fishing and we got a laugh when two anglers got their lines hooked together, unbeknownst to one of them. The angler who knew, jokingly gave his line a big tug making the other angler think that she had caught a fish. LOL

Afterwards, we went back to my Mom’s where we sat in the sun on the back deck drinking tea and eating chocolate chip cookies while feeding friendly black squirrels peanuts in the shell. Simple pleasures. 🙂

On our drive back home, my hubby and I stopped at a restaurant for a light supper. I happened to see a sign advertising no sugar added (magic words for someone, me, trying to lose weight) Moose Tracks ice cream so of course we just HAD to have some! YUM!

When we arrived home, the sun was just starting to set and it was still mild so we decided to go for a stroll around the neighbourhood. The air was scented with the fresh aroma of cedar and spicy camp fire smoke. The tree tops were filled with a variety of birds singing Evensong. So tranquil. What a lovely way to end a lovely day.

I thank God for the many blessings of this past weekend – the company of loved ones, sunshine, mild temperatures, and lovely scenery. God Is Good – All The Time!

Psa 31:19 How great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You; 

Psa 107:8 Oh that men would praise Jehovah for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the sons of man!