Skip to main content

on the road

I leave for London, England tonight at 7:50 pm. Dean (whose flight leaves tomorrow night after work) and I are going to attend the wedding of a good friend on Saturday in Egham. I am still amazed at how the plans have come together for this trip. At times all the details and flights and arrangements seemed almost impossible to untangle, starting with our not able to fly together due to one flight being through Aeroplan and the other one the most convenient for Dean's work schedule. It is also a challenge to try to see London and friends in neighbouring cities without a car and within a limited Canadian budget.

In the end, everything has worked out better than I imagined. We are going to be moving around a lot, traveling to 5 different locations and meeting up with friends every day, going to places I would never have thought to include in our little trip. Unexpected delightful detours! Through the helpful suggestions of various people, we now have a self-directed walking tour we can follow during our 2 days in London, and the hotel we are staying at happens to be a 23 minute walk from Westminster Abbey, so we will try to catch the Evensong service there on Sunday. We always like to take in a church service on our travels when we can - it is interesting to worship the same God in a different setting than we are used to, n'est pas? And come on, one just has to go to Westminster Abbey while in London, right?

Today I am packing and wondering again at what an amazing world we live in. I count it a privilege to be able to travel to other countries and connect with old friends again. It is always a learning experience to see how others live. One of the greatest honours we have in this life is to be able to stay in someone's home, because for a few days we become part of their family and those times remain among my most cherished memories. I don't know exactly what I will encounter on this trip, but I know that I will be a richer Matte when I return, even if my bank account may beg to differ.

This is Dean walking along a country road near Digdeguash, New Brunswick.


Popular posts from this blog

the songs we sing

NOTE: I am going to make some pretty strong statements below, but understand that it is my way of taking an honest, hard look at my own worship experience and practice. My desire is not to be overly critical, but to open up dialogue by questioning things I have assumed were totally fine and appropriate. In other words, I am preaching to myself. Feel free to listen in.


When I am in a church meeting during the singing time, I sometimes find myself silent, unable to get the words past my lips. At times I just need a moment of stillness, time to listen, but other times, the words make me pause because I don't know that I can sing them honestly or with integrity. This is a good thing. We should never mindlessly or heartlessly sing songs just because everyone else is. We should care deeply about what we say in our sung, communal worship.

At their best, songs sung by the gathered body of Christ call to life what is already in us: the hope, the truth, the longing, t…

comedic timing

One of my favourite jokes goes like this:
Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Interrupting cow
Interrupting cow w---

Timing is important in both drama and comedy. A well-paced story draws the audience in and helps it invest in the characters, while a tale too hastily told or too long drawn out will fail to engage anyone. Surprise - something which interrupts the expected - is a creative use of timing and integral to any good story. If someone is reading a novel and everything unfolds in a predictable manner, they will probably wonder why they bothered reading the book. And so it is in life. Having life be predictable all of the time is not as calming as it sounds. We love surprises, especially good surprises like birthday parties, gifts, marriage proposals, and finding something that we thought was lost. Surprises are an important part of humour. A good joke is funny because it goes to a place you didn't expect it to go. Similarly, comedic timing allows something unexpected …

singing lessons

When I was a young child, a visiting preacher came to our country church. He brought his two daughters with him, and before he gave his sermon, they sang beautiful duets about Jesus. They had lovely voices which blended well. The preacher, meaning to impress on us their God-given musical talent, mentioned that the girls had never had any singing lessons. The congregation nodded and ooohhed in appreciation. I was puzzled. I didn't understand how not learning was a point of grace or even pride. After all, people who have natural abilities in sports, math, writing, art, or science find it extremely helpful to study under teachers who can aid them in their development and introduce them to things outside their own experience. Being self-taught (though sometimes the only option available to those with limited resources) is not a cause for pride or celebration. Why? Because that's just not how the communal, relational Creator set things up.

I have been singing since I was a child. …