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St. Mary Magdalene Anglican Church

Vancouver,  B.C.

Diocese of New Westminster

Anglican Church of Canada

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Worship Times


Sunday Eucharist

10:30 am




Wednesday 7:00 pm


Centering Prayer

Thursday 2:00 pm


January 7th The Baptism of Jesus, 2018                                             John Marsh


Genesis 1:1-5; Psalm 29; Acts 19:1-7; Mark 1:4-11







I have seldom baptised an adult; one of the few times I prepared an adult for baptism, part way through the preparation, the candidate said:


“You know, I’m starting to think that you’re out of your mind!” I replied, saying, “You don’t know how close you are to the truth.”


The comment was close to truth not because I’m ‘nuts’ – I am - but because it is close to the truth of baptism, the baptism of repentance. Repentance, in Greek ‘metanoia’, means ‘going beyond your usual mind’ in both an intellectual and an existential sense.


Put more colloquially, it means ‘going out of your mind’.


The baptism of repentance is going out of your mind, going beyond the usual way, opening to the way of Jesus which is going beyond, embracing the way of call, calls of compassion, hospitality and justice making, calls which disrupt and deconstruct the status quo; a ‘going out of your mind’ which opens to the depth of chaotic possibility – the deep over which spirit hovers – vibrates – broods ­- enticing life, creation, our life.


And so, as one out of his mind, I want to talk of tongues and prophecy, I want to disrupt and deconstruct the status quo by how we speak, by how we act.


As followers of Jesus we are baptised into an alternative mind, an alternative way of living…


As followers of the way of Jesus, we are baptised into spirit which hovers over us drawing forth an alternative manner of speech and living…


I am aware that to speak of tongues and prophesying is not normative speech in most Anglican circles but perhaps we need to move beyond our usual confines…


Truth to tell, tongues can be construed, must be reconstrued, as a mode of discourse which refuses to conform to conventional definitions and rationalizations.


Tongues – alternative speech – exposes an otherness otherwise hidden, an alternative speech which exposes the cloaking and dissembling of inconvenient truths, an alternative way of expression which does not devolve in to the inanity of being solely defined as charismatic expression…


The way of Jesus is an alternative way – an alternative way of speaking, an alternative way of singing, an alternative way of naming, an alternative way of praying - that nurtures compassion, promotes wellness and serves justice making.


Prophecy is that bold speech, that alternative sight, which challenges systems of oppression and marginalization both personal and systemic.

Prophecy is that alternative way of life - a way of enacted love, action and commitment in service to others…




So, Trina, I want you, as one baptised – in fact, I want all of us as ones baptised, to testify…


I want you to testify that are you are out of your mind, that you’ve gone beyond the confines of convention…


I want you to testify with your life that you refuse the accepted script, the expected discourse, that you speak of compassion, justice and right relations in a world caught up in endless justification and rationalization…


I want you to testify, in word and deed, that you walk an alternative path, another way in which ‘the road less travelled’ is, in fact, the path before all…


I want you to testify, in word and deed, to the ‘tehomic’ depth of possibility within life, as spirit continues to hover over creation and brood within you.¹


I want you to testify and, in the spirit of St Francis, if necessary use words…




¹Tehom is the Hebrew word for deep, depth, the deep over which spirit hovers.