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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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Mountaintop Renewal

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

 As a teenager, I first began skiing in the North Shore Mountains.  Mountaintop views from Seymour, Grouse, and Cypress are often stunning.  Mountains cause us to realize that the world is so much bigger than our compartmentalized life.  They are a way to get away, to recover perspective, to remember who we are in the frantic busyness of North Shore life.

While I loved skiing the North Shore Mountains as a teenager, I still felt an inner emptiness.  Something was missing that I could not put a finger on.  I had no idea that I was on a spiritual journey.  At age 17, in the final months of Grade 12, I had a mountaintop spiritual experience where I met God and within a week felt called to ordained ministry.  My maternal grandmother and mother, who were more discerning than me, both knew already that I would end up as an Anglican priest.  My plan had been to be an electrical engineer like my father.  Instead I became a social worker before becoming a priest.  As of this May, I will have been ordained now for thirty-two years.

I love the Anglican way, even with its challenges.  I also deeply love the wider Church, with its rich interdenominational flavours.  It is good to appreciate the strengths of one denomination, without being narrow or rigid about it.  Anglicans do not have the corner on biblical truth, but we do have a contribution to make in the wider picture.

In January this year, I had the privilege of having a one-month mountaintop sabbatical.  As I had done eight years ago, I went to a small cabin on top of Mount Sumas where I had the opportunity to spend time in solitude with God.  Many people in the bible went to mountains when they wanted to deepen their walk with the Lord.  Moses is one of the most famous examples.  The Good Book tells us in Exodus 19:20 that “the LORD descended to the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain. So Moses went up.”  Moses spent forty days and nights with God face to face, coming down with the Ten Commandments.  Mountaintops were also one of Jesus’ favorite places to pray (Mark 6:46)

While on Mount Sumas,  I journaled on my IPhone what I was hearing from the Lord.  While none of these impressions were ‘written in stone’, I sensed God speaking to me many times during that month.  God reminded me many times that I am his adopted son, that I am loved and accepted.  A prayer sabbatical is a wonderful way to slow down and just listen to the still small voice.  God showed me that I don’t need to rush ahead of him, that he is in charge, and I need to surrender afresh to his will and purposes.   While on Mount Sumas, God was renewing and refreshing my heart.  Many times he reminded me of that original mountain top experience that I had with him in Grade 12.

My prayer for those reading this article is that we may be reminded that he is humble and gentle in heart, and that he loves to give rest to our souls when they are weary and burdened (Matthew 11:28-30).

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-an article previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

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

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

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, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, 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, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. 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 $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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37 years later….

 

Our lives are in God’s hands. God has been faithful in the last 37 years of serving him as an Anglican priest/presbyter. There have been many surprises along the road. He has worked all things for the good in ways that I would not always have imagined. (Romans 8:28 & Genesis 50:20)

Nana Allen, my maternal grandmother, was an amazing lady. She was a devout Anglican Christian who loved the Book of Common Prayer, and knew that something was being tampered with in the DNA of Anglicanism. Nana knew that I would become an Anglican priest, and told me this years before I even came to personal faith. She was very close to God and heard his still small voice.  Nana’s desire was to live until I became a deacon (which she did) and then to live until I became a priest (which she did).  She died shortly before my throat operation on May 25th 1982 when God restored my voice. I wrote her funeral eulogy, but had to rely on Rev Harold McSherry to deliver it.

My earlier ordination as a deacon May 18th 1980

In the Anglican Church, they ordain you twice just to make sure that it sticks. 😉 My first ordination was on May 18th 1980 where I was ordained as a deacon by Archbishop David Somerville. I was wearing a new suit that I had been given as an ordination present. For my ordination as a priest on May 31st 1981, Archbishop Douglas Hambidge ordained me at St Philip’s Church Dunbar. It was a challenging time because I was having speech therapy but my voice had not returned. My medical specialists assured Archbishop Hambidge that my voice would return in another month or so. When this did not happen, my medical specialists encouraged me to leave St. Philips on Oct 1st 1981 to take up full-time speech therapy. They were concerned that otherwise my voice might never come back. This was a very painful but needed transition. I was off work doing speech therapy for exactly one year on Oct 1st 1982 when I moved to St Matthew’s Abbotsford as the assistant priest with Archdeacon Jack Major.  Being at St Matthew’s was life-transforming for me in untold ways.

The Hirds singing a song unto the Lord at St Matthias Oakridge

Absolutely foundational in our Christian walk and growth was our time at St Matthias Oakridge with the Rev Ernie Eldridge.  Ernie+ encouraged us to use all of our gifts, especially the gift of music. Janice my wife is a professional musician who graduated from the UBC School of Music. We loved to sing together, especially with our singing group Morning Star. One of the unfortunate side-effects of my Botox treatments every three months is that while it helps my speaking, it limits my singing voice. My guitar playing has greatly improved after eight years of guitar lessons with Tony Chotem. So even though my singing is limited, I am still able to serve in the area of music ministry. When I get to heaven, I look forward to the complete restoration of both my speaking and singing voice. In the meantime, I am grateful that I am still able to preach and serve as a priest, after being told by my GP in 1981 that I would never preach again. Without the throat operation, the ongoing prayer, and the Botox treatments, this would have been my fate.

 

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

– You can learn more in the sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit which is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback andebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

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, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, 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, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. 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 $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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Hark The Herald Angels Sing!

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

There is something about the Christmas season that starts you singing.  Many people hardly ever sing in public.  Yet Christmas can turn them into instant musicians, belting out Jingle Bells, Away in a Manger, or I wish you a Merry Christmas.  My best friend as a teenager was a self-professed atheist, but he loved to sing Christmas Carols.  I will always remember going door-to-door with my atheist friend singing Silent Night, Holy Night and raising money for the local Christmas Stocking Fund.

One of the best loved carols of all time is Hark the Herald Angels Sing.  Charles Wesley, the brother of the famous John Wesley, wrote this carol in 1739.  Charles wrote over 6,500 hymns, making him the most prolific hymn-writer of all time.  Charles was born on December 18th, 1707, the 18th of 18 children.  His father, Samuel Wesley, an Anglican priest in Epworth, had a very profound impact on his life.  Both Charles and his brother John had a first class education at Oxford, where Charles worked on his MA  On May 21st, 1738, Charles underwent a life-changing conversion which significantly released within him his gift of song-writing.  Almost every day Charles would be writing another brand-new hymn.  Both Charles and his brother John were ordained Anglican priests.  In those days, Anglicans never sung hymns in church.  They only sang the psalms.  Hymn-singing and carol-singing was seen as a very radical thing to do.

At times, Charles and John Wesley would encounter great opposition as they went around singing and preaching the gospel.  In February 1747 at Devizes, the two brothers were attacked by a mob which surrounded their house, broke the windows, tore off the shutters, and flooded the house with water pumped from a fire engine.  In response, Charles wrote a hymn which they sang as they left town.  Sometimes the beautiful songs themselves would tame the unruly mob, and turn them away from violence.

Hundreds of thousands of lives were affected by these two musical brothers.  Some historians credit the Wesleys with having prevented the French Revolution from reoccurring in 18th century England.  Instead England went through a spiritual revolution that greatly improved the lot of the working class.  At that time, adults and even children could be legally hanged for 160 different offenses –from picking a pocket to stealing a rabbit.  In London, 75% of all children died before age 5.  Among the poor, the death rate was even higher.  In one orphanage, only one of 500 orphans survived more than a year.  Alcohol abuse was rampant, even among children, with over 11 million gallons of Gin consumed in 1750.  Charles and John Wesley believed that changed hearts could lead to a changed society.  Their impact on 18th century society was phenomenal in the areas of health, politics, prisons, economics, education, music, and literature.

Few people realize that the carol Hark the Herald Angels Sing took over 120 years to finish.  The tune that we now use to sing this carol was actually composed by Felix Mendelssohn in 1840.  Fifteen years later, an English musician W.H. Cummings applied Mendelssohn’s music to Wesley’s carol.  Felix Mendelssohn was a Jewish believer in Jesus who is famous for reintroducing Johann Sebastian Bach to the musical world, as well as for his oratios Elijah and St. Paul.

As we sing Hark the Herald Angels Sing each Christmas, let us do so with a new thanksgiving for the sacrifices and dedication of those who have given us the heritage of Christmas Caroling.  My Christmas prayer is that the words ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Glory to the Newborn King’ may touch the hearts of many men, women, and children during the Holidays.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

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

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

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, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, 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, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. 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 $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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“I Don’t Believe in God…”

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Today’s new atheism has been popularized by Richard Dawkins, the late Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, and Sam Harris.  Contemporary atheism reminds me of Alexandre  Dumas’ book ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’.  You may remember Jim Caviezel/ Edmond Dantes’ cry while in Chateau d’If prison: “I don’t believe in God”.  Edmond had suffered so deeply and so unfairly for so long that he had given up on the concept of a loving and just God.  His ‘cellmate’ Abbe Faria poignantly replied to Edmond: “God believes in you.”

Alexandre Dumas lived through many French revolutions during which belief in God became distinctly out-of-fashion or even dangerous to one’s health.  Dumas experienced much disappointment in his life, and was frequently either breaking the heart of a female acquaintance or having his own heart broken.  Yet in the midst of many setbacks, Dumas had a fascination with the God question that comes across in his over 250 novels, travel pieces, memoirs, and theatre productions.  Best known as author of ‘The Three Musketeers’, ‘The Man with the Iron Mask’, and ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’, Dumas had a remarkable ability to touch deep into people’s souls.  As his friend Victor Hugo said after Dumas’ death, Alexandre “fertilizes the soul, the mind, the intelligence; he creates a thirst for reading; he penetrates the human genius and sows seeds in it.”

In the Dumas biography ‘Genius of Life’, we are told about young Dumas’ tragic loss of his father:

“Why should I not see (my father) any more?”

“Because God has taken him back”

“…I’m going to heaven”, said young Dumas, “I’m going to kill God who killed my papa.”

 

Dumas, being an avid reader, learned much sacred history from the Bible that later shaped many of his plays.  Dumas encouraged the studying of ‘the bible as a religious, historic and poetic book’. At one point, young Dumas was given funding in a will to go to seminary and become a priest.  This overwhelmed him, and he said “I am running away, because I do not want to be a priest.”  Receiving his first communion had a profound impact on Dumas: “When the host touched his lips, he became dizzy, burst into sobs, and fainted.  It took him three days to recover from this…Dumas would never again approach the communion table, except at the hour of his death.”

Our reactions to suffering and injustice can make or break us, turn us bitter or better.  So often we are insensitive to the deeper issues of life until we have personally ‘hit the wall’.  Edmond Dantes the Monte Cristo hero recalled that

‘the prayers taught him by his mother discovered in them a hidden meaning hitherto unknown to him.  To the happy and prosperous man, prayer is but a meaningless jumble of words until grief comes to explain to the poor wretch the sublime language that is our means of communication with God.”

 

Edmond Dantes miraculously escaped from prison and found hidden treasure on the Island of Monte Cristo.  Using resurrection language, Dumas commented,

“When (Edmond) was at the height of his despair, God revealed himself to him through another human being.  One day he left his tomb transfigured miraculously.

 

But Edmond was consumed by a need for revenge that threatened to destroy his own new freedom.  “I must have revenge, Mercedes!  For fourteen long years have I suffered, for fourteen years wept and cursed, and now I must avenge myself.”

Dantes admitted to Mercedes: “From being a kind and confiding nature, I made myself in to a treacherous and vindictive man…If you ever loved me, don’t rob me of my hate. It is all I have.”  She wisely responded, saying, “Let it go Edmond. Let it go.

Edmond’s reappearance after so many years in prison called forth this memorable statement from Mercedes:

“Edmond, I know there is a God above, for you still live and I have seen you. I put my trust in him to help me…Unhappy wretch that I am, I doubted God’s goodness… Cowardice was at the root of all my actions.”

Edmond responded to her deep repentance by saying: “you have disarmed me by your sorrow…God had need of me and my life was spared.”

At the end of the book, Edmond faces the Christ-like choice of mercy or revenge.  He painfully chose mercy which set him free from the root of bitterness that was eating him alive.  Mercedes commented: “I repeat once more, Edmond, it is noble, beautiful to forgive as you have done.”

Dumas said in ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ that ‘the wretched and miserable should turn to their Saviour first, yet they do not hope in Him until all other hope is exhausted.’

My prayer for those reading this article is that we not totally exhaust ourselves before we finally admit our spiritual need.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

– previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

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

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-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, #102-15168 19th Ave, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

– 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’, #102-15168 19th Ave, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

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 $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca