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Worship and Work Must Be One
FALL 2020
3 Connection
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  By the Rev. Ian Ross-McDonald, General Secretary,
Life and Mission Agency
Contrary to the expectations of many, a crisis like the one presented by the COVID-19 pandemic did not result in nightmarish societal break- down marked by violence, self- interest and chaos against a hells- cape resembling scenes imagined by Hieronymus Bosch. Rather, we experienced a remarkable amount of calm, mutual concern, generos- ity and creativity. In place of social unrest and vigilantism, we made masks, banged pots and pans to express thanks to essential workers, hung rainbows in our windows as a sign of hope and baked sourdough bread. What eventually drove people to the streets was not a new set of social dis-ease, but an acknowl- edgement of the pre-existing cracks, flaws and systemic failures that were always present and becoming increasingly difficult to ignore. Rac- ism, brutality in the home and on the streets, corrupt leadership, climate violence and the unjust distribution of resources have come into higher relief in the crucible of the last few months.
Someone said recently that since March their prayers have become more specific, urgent and filled with as much anger at the state of things as gratitude. They went on to say that those things that sometimes sound so trite—like justice, love and peace—have never felt more relevant and crucial. Their prayer mantra has become, “Your kingdom come.”
Heroes and Pedestals
Re: “When Your Hero Falls Off His Pedestal,” by the Rev. John Con- gram, Summer 2020 edition
Guilt, repentance and asking “for- giveness” in 2020 for historical wrongdoing by a “hero/heroine” with
We pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven” each week corporately and every day individually. The frequent repetition of the words may dull us to the prayer’s threats and earth- shattering implications. The prayer is a clear acknowledgement of the danger and tragedy present in the world. Equally, it is a confession that our neighbourhoods, churches, schools, workplaces, relationships, homes and hearts are not as they should be and are all in deep need of reform and renovation. The prayer is not a petition for some far-off fu- ture utopia, but a cry of resistance against the status quo. To pray that God’s reign be extended and estab- lished in the world is asking that the breadth and depth of God’s love per- meate our present circumstances as well as our institutions and systems. It is a plea that the world reflect not only God’s glory and beauty, but also God’s principles and politics in the here and now.
To pray the Lord’s Prayer is to ask that our lives change and that we become different than we are. John Calvin wrote, “that the commence- ment of the reign of God in us is the destruction of the old man (sic)” so that we may be “renewed to another life.” The same is true of this world: the reign of God begins with the destruction of the systems and pat- terns of things as they are in order to be receptive to better ways that more and more reflect God’s dream for the world. Again, Calvin writes (in the exclusive language of his time) his commentary on the prayer that “the substance of [the Lord’s]
prayer is, that God would enlighten the world by the light of his Word, and would form the hearts of men, by the influences of his Spirit, to obey his justice, and would restore to order, by the gracious exercise of his power, all the disorder that exists in the world.”
At the request of congregations, presbyteries and committees, the de- nomination advocates for justice, and works for the correction of the disor- der in the world. Recently, groups and members of the church have asked for more support as they engage in justice and advocacy. Documents created by the International Affairs Committee of the General Assembly can be found at iac. The work done by the church through Presbyterian World Service & Development can be researched at The denominational staff have also begun reorganizing and gathering materials in new ways to help suppor t congregations and in- dividuals who want to call for change in the world. A collection of the de- cisions and statements by General Assemblies and resources on mat- ters of social concern have been col- lected into a chain of web pages at Additionally, an archive of letters writ- ten to politicians on contemporary topics can be found at presbyterian. ca/statementsandletters.
All these resources can all be
used for educational purposes or to create templates for people who wish to exercise their discipline of serving God faithfully in the world as well as in their prayers.
 Through Presbyterians Sharing, we are carrying out Christ’s ministry in our communities and around the world by serving, leading and connecting.
a statue knocked off a pedestal is a sad disregard for human history.
The Bible—a sacred, holy text— chronicles the deeds of great human “heroes,” and the bloodshed some caused. These “heroes” paved the way for the world we inhabit today. Will Bibles be burned, too?
Knocking down statues of political figures (once considered heroes) and burning pictures of “heroes” seems to satisfy anger—but it does not/will not erase their contributions to history.
In Canada this year, statues of great historical figures are being de- faced and destroyed. One such stat-
ue was of Canada’s first Prime Minis- ter, John A. Macdonald. Macdonald, with his government, united Canada from coast to coast two hundred years ago. Macdonald was “knocked off a pedestal,” but his legacy, good or bad, will always be with us.
—Ida Fedor-Baan
  A gift can change a life. Visit the online Gifts of Change catalogue at

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