Archives for posts with tag: Winnipeg

One of the great personal stories about Winnipeg’s Grey Cup win was about who the hero of the game was. In football the hero is almost always the quarterback who calls and executes the plays—and usually makes the biggest salary of any player. The quarterback is also usually imported from the United States. In fact, the last Canadian quarterback to win the Grey Cup was Russ Jackson way back in 1969.

Most of the best players in the Canadian Football League are Americans so they have special rules about having a certain number of Canadian players on every team so as to give them a better chance. Thus, in the Grey Cup game they have two awards: one for the best player and one for the best Canadian player. This year, for the first time ever in the 107 year history of the league, both awards were given to the same person—Andrew Harris. He is not a quarterback (which was a role uniquely shared by two players on the team) and not only is he Canadian but he is also a hometown boy from Oak Park High School in Winnipeg! Many fans probably know his parents and others went to school with Andrew; he is truly one of them. A humble hometown boy became the national hero.

How like the story of Jesus. The people scoffed: “Can anything good come from Nazareth? He can’t be that special. We know his mother and father!” (John 1:46; Luke 4:22) Yet this was our Messiah. Who would have thunk it? God became one of us, a humble hometown boy who became the Saviour of the world.

“Jesus, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a human, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:6-11)

I was on an extended speaking trip to Steinbach and Winnipeg, Manitoba from April 26 to May 6. I was born in Steinbach, Manitoba in a hospital that is no longer standing. I spent the first six years of my life on a small farm about seven miles north and one mile west of Steinbach and returned to Steinbach for a few years of college as a young adult. Then from 1988 to 1994 I was a youth pastor in Winnipeg. Most of my extended family still lives in or around Winnipeg. It did not occur to me until I boarded the plane that this was the first time I had done any public speaking in Manitoba since we moved away 19 years ago! Many mixed emotions accompanied me as I visited family along with my multiple speaking engagements. The interesting thing was that I made connections with people there from at least five different parts of my life: family from my childhood, a former college friend, a member of the church where I was youth pastor, people I’d been on committees with, a friend made while we lived in Saskatchewan who now lives in Steinbach, a few friends and colleagues from Alberta days who are now in Winnipeg, and of course many new connections as a result of my ministry there. I did miss my loved ones back home, but it was a rich time. And as I say, I’m finished my rambling ways, but when they spread my ashes over the Pacific it will be prairie dust! Thanks to all of you for your hospitality and inspiration.

I know that this list of names may not mean much to many of my blog readers, but each name represents an important person, whether it was a fleeting conversation or an ongoing and deepening relationship with me. Adam, Karen, Sophie & Eric Robinson, Rev. Jake Harms, Don Rempel Boschman, Helga, Darryl Neustadter Baerg, Doug Fast, Mom and Dad Penner, Curt & Bev, Carole, Mom & Dad, Arlene & Art, Jen & Cory, Glenn, Karen & Steven, Bonnie, Jordan, Adam, Kylie, Charissa, Jeremias, Miranda, Joshua, Dennis Reimer, Mick Neufeld, Cal Dueck, Ken & Els, Jack Heppner, Henry Martens, Dennis Zelinski, Ben Unrau, Richard Giesbrecht, Darrel Dyck, Murray Doerksen, Cam Rempel, Mr. & Mrs. Krahn, Hans Schroeder, Abe Wiebe, Marv Baergen, Victor Kliewer, Val Rempel, Byron Rempel Burkholder, James Neufeld, Lamont Reddig, Marv Thiessen, Peter Rempel, Thomas, Gilbert, and a few people from the first retreat at St. Benedict’s whose names escape me now.