“Living with arms wide open”

David Rust commenting on “Radical Welcome” by Stephanie Spellers – CHURCH PUBLISHING INC. Kindle Edition.

I am proposing the following format to get discussion started on this blog. I will summarize in a few sentences a section of the book “Radical Welcome” and then add a few questions or comments of my own. Then, after you have read the same section, you are invited to post your comments on this blog related to the section of the book being discussed. I’d appreciate it if we avoided stating an opinion without knowing the context of the comments from the book. I trust that as we consider the book, we all remain open to the to the promptings of the Holy Spirit to possibly lead us to new insights rather than simply restating what we believed on the topic prior to reading the book. And so……

Pages 41 – 49: “Living with arms wide open”

“So much of our time in church is spent maintaining and protecting: buildings, doctrines, traditions, plans, expectations […]. But what if that is not our call at all? What if […] the love of Christ is actually supposed to free us, to make us imaginative and resilient and fearless enough to go wherever the God of transformation would have us go? What if closing the door to change, something we might have done out of love for our traditions and communities, actually closes the door to the Spirit of God?
Does this mean anything goes, that God revels in chaos? Absolutely not. For millennia Christians have spoken of God’s plan to draw all of creation back into union with the divine will. That requires movement. And movement of any kind is change. If our natural orientation, or certainly the orientation of our institutions, is to resist change and movement, then something has to give […].God needs a free church that defines itself as a community of humble, courageous, flexible disciples who are truly willing to surrender all. Why? Because God is a God of surprises, and our best posture in following and serving God is one of openness and receptivity.
That doesn’t mean it’s easy. Even for those who dropped their nets and followed Christ, the spiritual practice of staying open to God and open to The Other was far from intuitive. In Acts 11, some circumcised believers confronted Peter, frustrated that uncircumcised Gentiles had been accepted as part of the community. To ease their anxiety, he relates the story of his own dramatic conversion and opening. Once, in a dream, he saw unclean animals spread on a sheet coming down from heaven, and heard God commanding him to kill and eat the beasts. He dutifully replied, “By no means, Lord; for nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.” The reply came from heaven: “What God has made clean, you must not call profane” (Acts 11: 8-9). At that very moment, he awakened to find several Gentiles at his door, begging him to come and baptize a Gentile household in Casearea [sic]. He knew the message from God was about freedom: the freedom to go to this household, the freedom to trust that the Holy Spirit was already there, the freedom to be as radically welcoming as God.”

David’s comments:

I was particularly caught by the example of Peter ….. a devout Jew, absolutely certain that the Hebrew Scriptures called for NOT eating certain animals – that these were absolutely unclean and forbidden. Yet God himself stated, ‘Never consider unclean what God has made pure.’ (Common English Bible). What an uproar must have surged through Peter’s mind and spirit at this dream.

Beyond that, Peter used this dream as an example of God’s new expectations; expectations that the early church should expand to allow the “unclean” Gentiles into the church. Peter expected the early church to turn their Jewish training and tradition upside down, at first, only on the basis of Peter’s dream!

Think of it! If a preacher today stated something similar, there would be lots of controversy!

I wonder what conversations the early church had over this new revelation?! Did they feel they were letting down their background by being open to the possibility God was actually telling them something new? Did they think Peter spoke with the voice of God, or as a misguided fool? And yet we know that the early church did change to allow “the Other” into it.

Radical, indeed!

Your thoughts?

David

“The Dream of God”

David Rust commenting on “Radical Welcome” by Stephanie Spellers – CHURCH PUBLISHING INC. Kindle Edition.

I am proposing the following format to get discussion started on this blog. I will summarize in a few sentences a section of the book “Radical Welcome” and then add a few questions or comments of my own. Then, after you have read the same section, you are invited to post your comments on this blog related to the section of the book being discussed. I’d appreciate it if we avoided stating an opinion without knowing the context of the comments from the book. I trust that as we consider the book, we all remain open to the to the promptings of the Holy Spirit to possibly lead us to new insights rather than simply restating what we believed on the topic prior to reading the book. And so……

Pages 29 – 40: “The Dream of God”

“Why are congregations […] becoming radically welcoming? Why should any of us risk transformation? Quite simply because God did it first. From the beginning, God has been about the business of creating, reshaping, and making things new. The record of Scripture is filled with images of a God who turns things upside-down in order to get them right-side up, and creates something from what would seem to be nothing.
A warning: the new thing God is bringing to life is not “new” in the way we so often understand and fear it to be […]. “God is changing things so that they finally reflect the dream of God. It will be new to us, but it is merely the fulfillment of what God intended all along.” [Bishop Michael Curry]
And change they do. Jesus’ whole ministry — the whole account of God’s human life among us — is that of one who honors his tradition, but will not be bound by it if the dream of God demands something else.
And [Jesus] knew, as we struggle to acknowledge, that there is no way to have the dream without the transformation. The point is not to slog away in maintenance mode or to sit on the sidelines, pining for what was. The God of transformation invites us to “be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating” (Isaiah 65: 18). God yearns for us to be part of this new creation and to rejoice in its unfolding.
God invites us to share in that nature, not only by some pure, mystical connection to God in Christ, but through our flesh, blood and spirit relationships with one another.
God rejoices when we move beyond ourselves, beyond our hostility and ignorance and suspicion, past our “dividing walls” and into relationship with one another, signifying to the world that we are one reconciled body, the body of Christ. In this, we reflect the mutual relationship and union that is the very nature of Godself.
It is true that God stands with God’s people through every trial, but not so that they will sit comfortably with the privilege of apparent divine favor. Now they have to stand in solidarity with, graciously receive and welcome the vulnerable ones within their community and beyond it whom they might find it most difficult to accept: the orphan, the widow, the stranger, The Other. God has done it for them. Now they are called to respond in kind, literally imitating the God who graciously welcomed them.
God’s hospitality [is] the welcome that actively loves and receives us just as we are, despite every reservation, expectation or term we might set out, however strange we imagine ourselves to be, however far out we have been cast. That is Jesus’ hospitality, as he illustrates with seemingly every action, and nowhere more clearly than in his radically welcoming table fellowship. He invites lowly fishermen, unclean prostitutes, marginalized tax collectors, and insignificant widows to partake of the lavish feast he has come to offer all.
God has graciously, prodigally welcomed you, because it is in God’s very nature to seek you out and welcome you home when you feel the least worthy of embrace. Can you do likewise with others, entering solidarity with the outcast you find yourself least willing or able to receive? Can you make room within yourself to receive The Other?”

David’s comments:

I hear these thoughts, and I can see how Jesus wants to invite all to His community. But I am not yet anything like what Jesus wants in and of me. “Can you make room within yourself to receive The Other?” I am not sure I have even made room for Jesus, yet.

Your thoughts?

David

“Defining Radical Welcome”

David Rust commenting on “Radical Welcome” by Stephanie Spellers – CHURCH PUBLISHING INC. Kindle Edition.

I am proposing the following format to get discussion started on this blog. I will summarize in a few sentences a section of the book “Radical Welcome” and then add a few questions or comments of my own. Then, after you have read the same section, you are invited to post your comments on this blog related to the section of the book being discussed. I’d appreciate it if we avoided stating an opinion without knowing the context of the comments from the book. I trust that as we consider the book, we all remain open to the to the promptings of the Holy Spirit to possibly lead us to new insights rather than simply restating what we believed on the topic prior to reading the book. And so……

In the section “Defining Radical Welcome” (p. 11-26), certain terms are defined:

“Radical welcome is a fundamental spiritual practice, one that combines the universal Christian ministry of welcome and hospitality with a clear awareness of power and patterns of inclusion and exclusion.”

“Think of the times you have been embraced, welcomed, received. We all know how good it is to come home like that, even if the territory is new. When someone […] thinks of us and our needs and hopes; when someone listens with full attention to our story and then offers their own, without seeking to master or co-opt; when someone sets aside their own preferences in order to joyfully, humbly defer to ours. When we are welcomed like this, we can experience the state of freedom and love I believe God wills for all people. It is a joy to receive this welcome. It is also a joy to offer this welcome, to say to another person: “May I know you better?” ”

“But there is more to radical welcome, as the word radical signifies. Radical […] amplifies the welcome, broadening and deepening and launching it to the next level. It also indicates a deep, fierce, urgent commitment to some core ideal. […] Radical is Jesus. Radical is getting down to the roots.”

“Who is ”the Other”? [The Other] is at once a full, complex, individual human being with a unique story and perspective and a member of a larger group that exists within the social hierarchy […]. Depending on who the dominant, empowered groups are in your parish, The Others are the ones you have the power to systemically marginalize and/ or oppress. They are […] the targets of oppression, while those who hold certain privileges and power are non-targets. […] Identifying The Other requires only the recognition that, within the social system in which we all function, some groups have been given social, economic and political power over other groups.”

David’s comments:

Well this sounds harsh… the Other is the target of oppression. Except, maybe there is some truth to this. If a street person comes in to our church begging for a sandwich, I may well feel I hold “power” of position over that person. I may not directly oppress the street person, but I know in my heart I am “better” than him/her.

REALLY?! Do I really think this? Or am I so transformed by the renewing of my mind, that I can see the scenario above and Radically Welcome that street person into our congregation? And how do I talk to this person? With my hand over my wallet? Or looking this person directly in the eye, and seeing the image of God in that person?

I am a long way from being Radically Welcoming!

Your thoughts?

David

“Introduction”

David Rust commenting on “Radical Welcome” by Stephanie Spellers – CHURCH PUBLISHING INC. Kindle Edition.

I am proposing the following format to get discussion started on this blog. I will summarize in a few sentences a section of the book “Radical Welcome” and then add a few questions or comments of my own. Then, after you have read the same section, you are invited to post your comments on this blog related to the section of the book being discussed. I’d appreciate it if we avoided stating an opinion without knowing the context of the comments from the book. I trust that as we consider the book, we all remain open to the to the promptings of the Holy Spirit to possibly lead us to new insights rather than simply restating what we believed on the topic prior to reading the book. And so……

INTRODUCTION
In the Introduction, this book asks:
“Is it … possible to transform mainline churches into the multicultural, multigenerational, inclusive body of Christ so many of us yearn to become? That’s where radical welcome comes in. Radical welcome is the spiritual practice of embracing and being changed by the gifts, presence, voices, and power of The Other: the people systemically cast out of or marginalized within a church, a denomination and/or society.”
This book wants to:
“study churches that ran the gamut in terms of community composition and who and how they were welcoming. In particular, I opted to focus on how each dealt with embracing across lines of race and ethnicity, generation, sexual orientation, and class privilege. Some wrestled with one issue, most with a combination. No one had the same margins or the same center, so the lessons are truly broad in their application.”

My personal opinion (speaking as myself personally, not as a representative of any church committee):
Why would Trinity Lutheran even consider going down this path? Why would we step away from the church experience many of us have right now? Why would we want to become a “multicultural, multigenerational” church “changed by the gifts, presence, voices and power of the Other.”

My response is because Jesus wants His people to live meaningfully in this world; to bring Him meaningfully to every person in this world. This is the Church’s great calling, and we are missing the mark by not doing this.

AND because if we do not change, our church will die. We will all get old together; our children will either go to another church which offers something more and different, or leave Church altogether.
Your thoughts?

David

I started writing an ending “Love in Christ, David”, then edited it (made it go away). Why did I do this? I DO want to express to you love in Christ, so why don’t I stand up and say so? I don’t know, so……

Love in Christ

David

“Foreword”

David Rust commenting on “Radical Welcome” by Stephanie Spellers – CHURCH PUBLISHING INC. Kindle Edition.

I am proposing the following format to get discussion started on this blog. I will summarize in a few sentences a section of the book “Radical Welcome” and then add a few questions or comments of my own. Then, after you have read the same section, you are invited to post your comments on this blog related to the section of the book being discussed. I’d appreciate it if we avoided stating an opinion without knowing the context of the comments from the book. I trust that as we consider the book, we all remain open to the to the promptings of the Holy Spirit to possibly lead us to new insights rather than simply restating what we believed on the topic prior to reading the book. And so……

FOREWORD:
This book “gives us a framework and … gives us practical tools. In a step-by-step journey of discovery into what radical welcome is and how it can work…. [this book] offers us a blueprint for planned growth, change and mission…. [the book] shows us that there is a great, untapped source of strength for every congregation. It is the presence of The Other within the pastoral neighborhood: that group of persons who stand just beyond the social/ cultural threshold of the congregation. We are asked to confront how we all “participate in systems of inclusion and exclusion.”….. This is not a “feel good” book. It is not about how we should all be nice to strangers at coffee hour. This is a book about the very hard challenges that face any of us when we decide to step outside of our isolation for the sake of the gospel.” (p. ix – x)

David’s comments: I read the Foreword, and already my senses are tingling. Go look for The Other. REALLY? Confront how we include and exclude people in our church. REALLY? Step outside of our isolation for the sake of the gospel. REALLY?
This could be a threatening book to read. I need to trust the Holy Spirit to direct my thoughts here.

An invitation to discuss Radical Welcome

From David R.:

I am posting this blog as an invitation to early discussion.

I have just started reading the book Radical Welcome: Embracing God, The Other, and the Spirit of Transformation by Stephanie Spellers. This is the book Trinity Lutheran church council is using as a “jumping off” point to encourage new growth in God’s life for our church.

Below are some quotes from the book that I want to ponder more deeply:

“Radical Welcome Is . . .
Hospitable • Connected • Centered • Open to conversion • Intentional • Comprehensive • Becoming (an ongoing change) • Beyond diversity • Faithful • Compassionate • Real”

“Radical welcome is not . . .
an invitation to assimilate. • Radical welcome is not feel-good ministry. • Radical welcome is not reverse discrimination. • Radical welcome is not a conventional church growth strategy. • Radical welcome is not political correctness or a haphazard, reactionary throwing out of the baby with the bathwater.”

Already I look at this and then at me, and marvel at the size of transformation in me this change will require.

I like to think God is molding me, and I see the idea of accepting all people to the house of God.

And then I say to myself “Him too, God? That one too? But she hasn’t been… (fill in the blank.) He has never…. (another blank to fill in).” Already I am challenged to stretch, and I am not through the first chapter yet.

Some really early thoughts:
…we cannot do this by ourselves – it won’t work unless the triune God is actively leading us to change.
…we would need a fair amount of prayer and discussion and teaching and “buying in” to get this moving.
…this is not a 6 week, or 6 month, or 2 year journey. I feel there is a degree of inertia in our congregation that would have to be overcome. Implementing full scale radical welcome will require more than a passing interest in the idea (see “buying in” above).
…there may even be the danger of losing existing members along the way if we pursue this. If we could lose members over the “pipe organ or not” debate of the past, a full-scale change like this proposal could potentially cause more members to go elsewhere.
…our focus will need to change from the everyday concerns to “how does (fill in the blank) action advance God’s Kingdom in the areas Trinity Lutheran is accountable for?”

I invite you to obtain the book on your own (less than $10 through Amazon Kindle) or to leave your name with the church office to borrow a copy. Then drop your thoughts and comments on this blog as you read or re-read the book.

David Rust

From the editor: You may also be interested in Hannah’s article about the book Radical Welcome: “What’s so radical about welcoming people to church?”

What’s so radical about welcoming people to church?

You may have read that Church Council has recently started to study a book by Stephanie Spellers, a former religion journalist and member of the Lutheran Church, and current priest in the American equivalent of the Anglican church. It is called RADICAL WELCOME – Embracing God, The Other, and the Spirit of Transformation.

For over 100 years, our church community has been enjoying traditions of the faith that go back even further in time. It is important though, that we consider whether, along with keeping the best of these traditions, God may be wanting us to make any changes in order to perceive his spirit in the Others who may come our way in the here and now. Using excerpts from many Bible passages, song texts and works of literature, alongside of the practical experiences of eight diverse American congregations and her own experiences as a Black woman often in the minority within church circles, the author reminds us that God’s hospitality is much more far-reaching than we often portray it.

Jesus asks us to go the highways and byways and welcome guests to his, not our, celebrations and gatherings. We must trust that exactly those potential guests whom he wants in attendance will cross our paths in the various aspects of our lives. But we must not judge these guests by their appearance or their differences. And we must not expect that these his guests assimilate to our ways. We should do much more than ‘accept’ them out of political correctness. Instead, we should be prepared to listen to and learn from their experiences so that through these we too can come closer to God. Together we can mutually grow in our faith. We should make it possible that they can take leading positions within the structures of our congregation right alongside those who have always had the say here.

Since our heavenly father looks deeply within each of us and, despite everything he sees, embraces us heartily as his own children, we can do no more than run out into this world full of joy and relief and share his warm hospitality with others.
The Bible presents us with many reminders how we are to dedicate ourselves to the Others. In Deuteronomy 10:16-17 for example, the Israelites are reminded that they too were once strangers in a strange land and that therefore they are to love strangers. We, as God’s people, are continually called upon to extend justice and welcome to others. According to Isaiah, this includes feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and welcoming the homeless into our homes (Isaiah 58:6-7). In chapter 2, verses 14–16, of his letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul wrote: He is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself a new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and that he might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross. God rejoices when we tear down our walls of ignorance, suspicion and hostility that may separate us from others and when we come before him in close communion with the other members of his extended family.

It is essential that “we” who may make up the majority in this congregation and who may have made many of the decisions in the past take a serious look at who is not among us and ask ourselves whom we have knowingly or unknowingly been excluding. We must ask ourselves the difficult questions related to power and powerlessness. Do those who tend to come regularly to church and who take on many volunteer obligations predominantly come from intact, healthy families with good jobs, nice clothes and with the right number of healthy children? How open are we to those who do not come to church for a wide range of reasons and whom we overlook as a result? When someone among us, who possibly unbeknownst to us regularly visits a family member in a prison, psych ward or home for the elderly or disabled, does make it to church on the occasional Sunday, do we stand in our regular little circles or do we devote our attentions to this person? Do we consider that this person might have learned so much more about Jesus’ mercifulness than we have, as we (lucky for us) have not needed to experience such places? How much can people such as these teach us about trust in God when we do the radical thing and step out of our familiar zones and truly welcome them, not just on Sunday mornings but by connecting with them during the week as well.

Do we think about and pray for those people who need to stay away from church because the smallest whiff of perfume, hairspray or exhaust fumes takes their breath away and restricts their airflow such that they can barely leave the house? Do we even know whether anyone in the congregation might be diagnosed with complex auto-immune illnesses such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) and is housebound as a result? People in these situations of quiet isolation could very well have more frequent and deeper conversations with God than those of us who are healthy. How much could we learn from them if we seek the means to step into communion with them instead of simply adding them to the list of “missing” members.

Anyone whose child exhibits severe behavioural challenges, whose father has depression and who has already made a number of attempts on his life, or whose mother regularly needs to sleep off her drug-induced highs, will most likely not be attending church regularly even though he or she was once baptized, confirmed or welcomed in as a member of the congregation in some way. To what extent do we let these brothers and sisters in the faith fall into oblivion?

Spellers reminds us to follow Jesus’ example and radically let all people experience true hospitality, be they the hungry and the homeless, the widowed, the single parents, the singles, the childless, or those who married into the congregation, in particular those who come from different ethnic or cultural circles, along with the aging, the students, and those who come from other socioeconomic groupings – simply put, we are to genuinely welcome all people who stand on the margins in our midst.

How heartwarming would it be for someone to find various oases of neighbourly love, beyond the Sunday morning service, places in which he or she is fully accepted and taken seriously. Everyone who, for a variety of reasons, does not follow the “standard” life path of graduation, engagement, marriage, baptism, confirmation, retirement, anniversaries, etc. will most certainly have experienced other inner adventures, and will likely have walked down a different path with God and can certainly enrich our congregation’s walk of faith.

We need to ensure that not one person in the congregation feels the need to hide an aspect of his or her life from the rest of the church family, be it a long term disability leave, an industrial accident, a lay-off, an eviction or foreclosure. No one should need to worry that others in the congregation see him or her as less worthy in God’s eyes. Someone who is grieving, or drained because of caregiving duties, or reeling from the revelation that a child is of a different sexual orientation should have places and people within our congregation with whom he or she can share his/her burdens. As the family of a gracious God here on earth, we cannot simply tell these people to form their own support groups; such structures must be readily available when the need arises. The more we devote ourselves to their needs and perspectives, the more we will understand the height, the width and the depth of God’s love.

Instead of fearing that this discussion around „Radical Welcome“ might mean that “others“ might take away “our“ church, we should be asking ourselves what we are truly praying for whenever we join in with the words “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done.“

Let us pray for and with our church council as well as the various group leaders as they ponder texts like this one:
“The more we welcome new perspectives and voices fully into our lives, the bigger and fuller our knowledge of the world and of God, and the richer our identity as the body of Christ. Radically welcoming communities are in the business of saying yes to that opening, even if it means a de-centering, identity-shifting encounter with The Other“ (Spellers, p. 81).
Do something radical – find ways to REALLY get to know the people you don’t usually spend time with, invite them for a mid-week coffee and ask God to show you both the next step. Let us be open to new surprises from our all-loving God.

Hannah Noerenberg

a garden for all

I am excited that on April 17, Trinity’s church council approved a garden proposal for the church grounds and the park across the street. This is something a few people (including myself) have been dreaming about for a while, and it is becoming a reality now:
“As we are planning some renovations to the inside of our church, we want to consider our outdoor surroundings as well. By landscaping the grounds of our church, we hope to provide a welcoming and nourishing outdoor environment for our members and the people of the community. To this end, our proposal is two-fold: to plant and maintain a community garden in the park across from the church and to revitalize the grounds in front of [the church]. We envision [these] to be places of beauty that inspire respect, relationship and stewardship.” (from the proposal)
The project is supported by the Social Justice Committee and also by the Lotz family, who see it as something that honours the memory of their father.

Here are the plans for year one of the community garden – that’s this year: (brown = raised beds)

Year two will look something like this, i.e., there will be more raised beds:

If you are interested in getting involved, please contact the church office (780.433.1604). There will be a work bee coming up in May to build the raised beds. We will also be looking for plants and seeds.

Here are the plans and concept drawings for the front of the church – where junipers are currently growing. These plans will be implemented mostly next year, with some hardscaping happening this year. How much we get accomplished this year already depends on the amount of help we get. So again, I invite you to get involved!

East end (close to glass doors):


West end (by Luther Centre doors):

eggs & chickens

Easter is approaching, and people are buying eggs: Chocolate, jellybean, and “real”. In our society, eggs go with Easter like Santa with Christmas. I am part of this: I have fond childhood memories of searching for Easter eggs in the garden – what a thrill! And also of colouring eggs each year with my mom and brothers. Later we did the same with my daughter, and she now continues this on her own.

Where do the eggs come from? In my tradition, it is the Easter bunny who brings (and makes?) them. But of course, most eggs – perhaps even the Easter eggs? – are produced by chickens. And where are the chickens? Many of them subsist in endless rows of tiny wire cages, wings and even beaks clipped, perhaps medicated against the diseases which tend to be a problem in these operations. That is how we get our cheap eggs in the supermarket. A smaller percentage get to go outside during the day and forage on fenced-in pastures of various sizes. These are the free range chickens. In German, they are called “glückliche Hühner” – happy chickens. I cannot bring myself to buy eggs that were not laid by happy chickens, even though they are substantially more expensive.

Some people here in Edmonton have gone further: They keep their own backyard chickens (see River City Chickens Collective). It seems like a no-brainer: You get fresh eggs from happy chickens, bug control, and manure for your garden. Plus they are entertaining to watch and kids love them. There is just one problem: The city does not allow chickens. Last week one urban chicken keeper got busted: She was fined $500 and asked to remove the birds. Why are chickens not allowed? A city official quoted in the Edmonton Journal cited noise and disease concerns. I’ll let you decide whether these concerns are any worse for chickens than for dogs or pigeons – both allowed by the city. Personally, I think there is no reason why the city should not allow up to, say, 6 hens per yard. Ironically, Edmonton has been hiding behind its city-wide food and agriculture strategy: No changes will be made to the bylaws until that strategy is developed.

Perhaps this Easter we can be more mindful of where our Easter and other eggs come from. To me, this is part of believing in God who made and redeemed this earth, including the chickens. Perhaps you will decide more carefully what kinds of eggs you buy. Perhaps you will write to your councillor about the silly chicken bylaw. Or perhaps you will even engage in an act of civil disobedience and make a home for a few chickens in your back yard.

snow!

Finally snow! I have been yearning for a thick blanket of white all winter. And when I looked at the brown grass, the bare shrubs and trees, and later the cracks in the ground, I thought, how much must the plants yearn for a cover that protects them from the dry wind, and that turns into thirst-quenching meltwater in the spring. Now, finally, there is something for them.

My thoughts contrast sharply with how the weather has been presented in the media. Sunny, dry, warm days were welcomed by announcers as “nice” or “beautiful” while cold and snow are bothersome, causing traffic troubles and overall inconvenience to us humans. Also, there has been no hint that maybe, maybe this unusually mild winter could be a sign of things to come as our globe is warming. The announcers are pandering to what they perceive to be the dominant sentiments of their audience – Edmontonians – and unfortunately climate-conscious people, gardeners, friends of trees and other plants, do not seem to be among them. I feel silenced, ignored. And I feel our fellow humble creatures of flora are also ignored.

Well, I am standing up for us in this post. Hooray to snow, hail, rain – we need it. The plants love it. Thank you, God, for this snowfall, and send us more!