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Dear Beloved Passing the Peace Readers,

I’m sending you greetings for the next two weeks as I will be away on Study Leave from May 15 -21. This week I want to share with you the ways a poem and a plant have guided me in prayer.

In her poem Lead, Mary Oliver concludes:

I tell you this

to break your heart,

by which I mean only

that it break open and never close again

to the rest of the world.

Over the past several weeks, I have watched with much delight as the garden between the church and the manse has come alive with over half a dozen bleeding heart plants. A favourite of mine from both my grandmother’s and mother’s garden, watching this beautiful flower bloom feels like a hundred small prayers for my heart and all of our hearts to be broken open to the rest of the world.

I hope you will join me for worship this Sunday and keep this image in mind as we sing our final hymn, Spirit Open My Heart. The refrain goes:

Spirit open my heart, to the joy and pain of living,

As you love, may I love, in receiving and in giving,

Spirit open my heart.

We live in a world that loves to rush us to comfort, offers us lots of ways to numb our feelings, or tries to sell us ways to distract ourselves. I’ve bought into the lie before that the best life possible is one without suffering, discomfort, or pain while losing sight that these feelings often go hand in hand with risky vulnerable acts of choosing love. From a justice perspective - I want a world free of unnecessary and undue suffering caused by oppression and violence. From a spiritual perspective, I want a world where we all feel brave and safe enough to take loving risks, to open our hearts to the joy and pain of living.

May the peace of Christ be with you in the breaking open of your heart

May the peace of Christ be with you, reminding you that in hardship is also the blooming of faith,


Yours in Christ,

Rev Michiko