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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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Why Pray when You can Fight?

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Fighting makes us feel strong.  Prayer reminds us that we are vulnerable.  Fighting makes us feel in control.  Prayer reminds us to let go and let God.  Fighting feeds on anger and bitterness.  Prayer feeds on forgiveness and peace.

I became a Christian 42 years ago, after 17 years of spiritual hide-and-seek.  Being raised in church, I was taught to pray as a child but never really understood the intimacy of a real relationship.  As a teenager, my prayer life gradually faded into non-existence.  I never rejected God.  I just kept God at a convenient distance without even realizing it.

God to me was not untrue, but rather irrelevant.  I never rejected prayer.  It just slipped off my radar screen into oblivion.  I never rejected the Church.  I just found it painfully boring and obscure.  Though I was desperately seeking for the meaning of life, I had no idea that the Church would have anything to offer in that area.

When I was brutally attacked as a teenager by a gang member, I turned to martial arts in a secret desire for both self-defense and revenge.  Fighting made me feel strong.  I had no idea that prayer might turn out to be a more powerful weapon.  Within a year, I came to know Jesus Christ on a personal basis, and lost the desire to get even.  A few years later, I discovered that this bully had gone after someone larger than him who had kicked this bully’s teeth in and twisted a broken beer bottle in his face.  Hearing that story taught me that violence always breeds violence.  It was better to forgive because there is always ‘a faster gunfighter just waiting around the corner.’  Even with that realization, it still took me twenty years  before I finally parted company with martial arts.

When I met Jesus Christ 42 years ago, I was flabbergasted that someone was actually listening.  Prayer no longer felt like talking to the ceiling plaster.  It felt personal, real, and infectious.  I couldn’t get enough of connecting to this new best-friend.  There had been  an emptiness inside me that skiing, golfing, and parties couldn’t fill.  Through prayer, I felt a new inner peace and warmth that even my former drinking buddies noticed.

Going back to church, I noticed that church wasn’t as boring as it used to be.  While it may have changed, the big thing was that I had changed from the inside out.  I developed a new love and concern for people that I used to avoid and even look down on.  Instead of resenting life, I began to wake up looking forward to the next adventure that was ahead of me.

One of the things that troubled me though, as a new Christian, was the infighting between all the different denominations.  Why couldn’t the Anglicans, Baptists, Pentecostals, Mennonites, Presbyterians, etc learn to get along and stop competing?  Sometimes Christians reminded me of my old life as a non-Christian when I would rather fight than pray.

One of the wonderful gifts of living on the North Shore is that denominational bickering is at an all-time low.  Clergy and pastors speak well of each other’s congregations and even freely send parishioners to attend other churches.  There is a generosity among North Shore pastors that allows us to bless each other instead of cursing each other.

This hasn’t happened by accident.  It is the fruit of thirty-six years of weekly prayer by the North Shore clergy, first at Hillside Baptist . and now at Valley Church.  By praying together on the second Wednesday of each month, God has been teaching the North Shore pastors how much we need each other.  We busy North Shore Clergy have been learning that we are too busy not to pray.  By focusing on Jesus Christ, we have been rediscovering that we are on the same team.  Denominations are second.  Jesus is first.

Every denomination has its own strengths and weaknesses.  Instead of putting down another group for their flaws, we are learning to hold them up in prayer that they may become all that they are meant to be.  Presbyterians don’t need to become Anglicans, and Anglicans don’t need to become Baptists.  Our real calling is to love each other with the life-changing love of Jesus Christ.  Many churches have formed because someone was hurt.  We have been learning that it is time to forgive, time to heal, time to pray.  Why fight when we can pray?  My prayer for those reading this article is that we may rediscover the deep truth that the family that prays together stays together.

 

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide

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1 Comment

T.G.I.F.

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

I vividly remember my father coming home from work on Fridays, and calling out ‘TGIF!!’  Often such announcements would be followed by our whole family going out to celebrate at Nat Bailey’s White Spot restaurant.  The White Spot, like A&W, used to be famous for its tradition of eating dinner in one’s car.  No self-respecting Vancouverite would dream of eating fish and chips anywhere else.

TGIF was also a pressure that I experienced as an older teenager: a pressure to make my Friday nights very exciting and sensational.  If I wasn’t experiencing an adrenaline rush on Friday night, I would feel guilty as if I had failed the invisible TGIF law of the universe.

More recently, I have discovered another meaning to TGIF. TGIF also means facing our fears, facing our anxieties, facing our grief.  Friday is a symbol of the ending of the week and also the ending of life.  Friday is both an ending and a new beginning, a dying and a potential rising.  Very few of us want to face our own personal mortality.  Yet our fears of dying are actually our fears of living.

TGIF also makes me think of the most important Friday in the year: Good Friday.  Thank God It’s (Good) Friday!  Many of us avoid Good Friday like the plague, because like a plague, Good Friday reminds us of death, of pain, and of our own personal mortality.  Sometimes we wonder: what in the world is Good about Good Friday?  What’s so good about someone going through the worst torture and most agonizing death ever invented?

Many of us are tempted to switch TGIF to TGIS: Thank God It’s Sunday (Easter Sunday in particular).  Everybody loves Easter: bunnies, chocolate, eggs, bonnets, lilies, flower crosses, and joyful singing.  Everybody loves victory and resurrection and new life.  No wonder every church is packed with visitors on Resurrection Sunday.  But very few of us love Good Friday.  Good Friday just seems too morbid, too deadly, too bloody.  It just seems too hard to say TGIF about Good Friday.

I remember as a boy when I first watched a movie about Good Friday.  I was struck by the hatred of the soldiers towards Jesus, the brutality that he endured, the whippings and the nails driven in his hands and feet.  It all seemed so unfair, so unnecessary.  What in the world was good about such a Good Friday?  I wanted to drag Jesus down from the cross and save him from his agony.  I knew that he had the power to call a legion of angels to save him.  Yet he didn’t.  I felt very disappointed in Jesus.  My other hero Superman always got away when the green Kryptonite was about to kill him.  But Jesus let me down and ‘wimped out’ by dying on me.  For years, Easter made no sense to me, because I thought it was about remembering a dead Jesus.  I had no idea that Jesus was alive and well, and just waiting to change my life.

As a teenager, I became convinced that there was no life after death, and that nothing awaited me but extinction and returning to dust.  I began to fear the power of death and the meaninglessness and emptiness of life.  I even began to secretly wonder if life itself was worth living.  TGIF began to lose its effect on me.

One day in Grade 12, I met some fellow students who seemed different: happier, more peaceful, more focused in their life.  They had a joy that seemed to bubble over.  I knew that whatever they had, I wanted it too.  So I asked them what made them ‘tick’.  They said with a smile that their secret was a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  They told me that Jesus had broken the power of death on the Cross, that he had taken my sin and guilt on Good Friday, and rose to new life on Resurrection Sunday.  They told me that I could live forever if I would turn from my self-centeredness and let Jesus become the centre of my life.

I was hungry and curious.  So I ‘opened the door of my life’ and let Jesus come in.  It felt like rivers of liquid love filling me from the inside out.  I experienced joy in a whole new way.  I felt whole and peaceful in an unexpected way.  Most importantly, I lost my fear of death.  I knew that my life had meaning and purpose because of Jesus taking my place on Good Friday 2000 years ago.  TGIF!

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide