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The All-Important Spark: Fire Communion

Sermon by Rev. Shawn Newton.

Flaming 2021

“Burning the Old Year” – Naomi Shihab Nye

Letters swallow themselves in seconds.
Notes friends tied to the doorknob,
transparent scarlet paper,
sizzle like moth wings,
marry the air.

So much of any year is flammable,
lists of vegetables, partial poems.
Orange swirling flame of days,
so little is a stone.

Where there was something and suddenly isn’t,
an absence shouts, celebrates, leaves a space.
I begin again with the smallest numbers.

Quick dance, shuffle of losses and leaves,
only the things I didn’t do
crackle after the blazing dies.

Happy New Year!

As we turn the page of the calendar to greet a new year, we do so with hopes that 2022 will bring many good things, not least an end to the long pandemic we’ve endured. As we open our hearts to the promise of a new year, let us both look back on the year that has been and towards the days that lie ahead. May doing so help us to enter the new year with intention and care.

On Sunday, we will mark the arrival of 2022 with our annual Fire Communion ritual. It will of course be different, given that we won’t be able to gather around the flame of our communal chalice for the burning ceremony. Instead, we’ll adapt the ritual and invite you to improvise at home in whatever way makes sense for your situation—with a candle and small piece of paper for burning, or without. In addition to this annual ritual, Angela Klassen will share an inspiring story, Danny Fong will provide special music, and Tanya Cothran will update us on the work of Flaming Chalice International. My homily will reflect on the all-important spark that animates our lives.

Sending you all best wishes for this new year.

In faith and love,
Shawn