Peace

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When I first think of peace, I think of calm, quiet, thoughtfulness, serenity. But during this Advent week of peace, the delightful abandon and boisterousness of a few young children, the high spirits and camaraderie of youth, and the smiles brought forth by young parents soothing a baby made me consider that living in security and safety can make “peace” loud and active.

Another preconception of mine is that peace has more to do with nations and governments than individuals.  But Karen reminded me that peace within all relationships--personal, familial, places of worship or work, friends—can be of great effect for peace within our souls.

So peace is multi faceted.  The candles glowing as we enter our sanctuary evoke the calmness of peace for me.

I anticipate advent weeks of Joy and Love, and look forward to reflections from other St. Andreans these weeks.

Billie S.

Hope

We have entered the Advent season.

We have lighted the candle of Hope.

I saw the fruits of hope in the shining eyes of my kids when I lighted the Christmas tree they have been hoping to see.

I felt the peace that hope can provide in your heart when, having written a long "to do" list on Friday (and hoping to effectively finish all on your list by the end of Sunday), you find yourself sitting in your bed and peacefully crossing things off your list.

Can we imagine how the people of God lived their day to day life (before the first coming) while waiting and hoping to see Jesus? How did they express their hopes?

And today, how do WE express the hope we have in God’s promises?

Today, we hope to have houses, jobs, children, promotions, honours, money, marriage, and so on and so forth.

Just for a moment, indeed, just for a season, just for this Advent season, I personally invite you to ONLY have the Hope of Peace, Joy, and Love.

Laurentine M.

Christ the King

In today's scripture reading, John 18:33-37, Jesus has been arrested and handed over to Pontius Pilate who is now questioning him. During today's sermon Rev. Dimock said something about this passage that really struck me. She said that although we call it the trial of Jesus in some ways it was the trial of Pontius Pilate. I had never thought of this before. In this passage, Pilate stands at a crossroads. He can give in to the crowd to protect his own interests. Or, since he's found no basis for a charge, he can choose to release Jesus. Although he finds no wrong with him, we know that eventually he will give in and crucify Jesus. He makes the choice he believes will protect his own interests.

During the course of our lives we may sometimes find ourselves at a crossroads where we have to make a choice between serving our own worldly interests and serving God. How often do we choose the world over God? Jesus chose to serve God and others fearlessly and wholeheartedly. I believe that to live in the kingdom of heaven is to know this kind of fearlessness. It is to know the freedom that comes when we are finally able to see past the illusions of worldly wealth and power and when we "do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul" - Matthew 10:28 (NKJV).

"Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.’ Pilate asked him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.’ - John 18:36-37 (NSRVA)

Melanie A.

Blessings

Today, November 18th, represents the day that our first son was welcomed to St Andrews church as a new member after being baptized this past summer. It was a blessing for our family to share this perfect moment of Love, Peace, and Joy, with our church community, and with our family and friends who came from Montréal for the event.

Sometimes, even most of the time, we are looking for God's presence; we are looking so far and sometimes missing that He is so near. He is simply reflected in friends who offer their time to share a special moment with you. He is simply reflected in friends who lovingly offer their time to help you cook for the reception. He is simply reflected in the words of the sermon you listen to and that give you tears of Peace. He is really as near to us as our hearts.

We certainly have special days and special moments in our life, and today was one of those. And we give thanks to our friends, to our community; we give thanks to God.

Laurentine M.

Lest We Forget

Ruth 1:16-17 New International Version (NIV)

16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.”

A message today of loyalty on and day of remembered loyalty.

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

Hebrews 11 New International Version (NIV)

Faith in Action

1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

A message of faith and peace on day we remember those who fought for these.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

‘Baptism assures us that we belong to God. In life and in death our greatest comfort is that we belong to our faithful Saviour Jesus Christ.’

Living Faith 7.6.5.

‘The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.’

A message of continuity and faith on day we remember those who paid the ultimate price, so we could have these.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

Stand and look to the cross on the table to the right in fading bronze to the left in browning bronze the names of our church family in WW1 and WW2, who served, who fought, who died to keep that sanctuary open, sacred and free.

Lest we EVER Forget.

Noral R.

REFORMATION SUNDAY

MARK 10: V. 46-52

For such a short reading there is a lot to ponder. As a blind person, Bartimaeus was on the margins of society. His cloak shielded him yet he threw it off. He called out to Jesus determined to get his attention. Perhaps he was used to being silenced but this time he persisted. Jesus asked Bartimaeus ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ His response was simple, clear and confident. Sometimes we are more blind than Bartimaeus. How often do we ask others ‘What can I do for you?’ How can I help?

It was interesting to learn from Rev. Karen that Bar means son of in Aramaic, a language similar to Hebrew and the common language of Palestinian Jews in Jesus’ day. Bar means son and timao means honor, so Bartimaeus means son of honor. The man’s circumstances (a blind beggar) stand at odds with his pretentious name (son of honour).

Jeanie H.