WCRC joins declaration to overcome Reformation divisions

Wonderful news from World Communion of Reformed Churches recently!

From the article: The World Communion of Reformed Churches has formally joined an ecumenical statement with Roman Catholics, Lutherans and Methodists aiming to overcome divisions between Protestants and Roman Catholics from the time of the Protestant Reformation.

“Today we are not only signing a statement, we are building a church together,” said the Rev. Najla Kassab from Lebanon in her sermon at the service in the Stadtkirche, where Luther used to preach.

Pope Francis, in a message read by Bishop Farrell, described the ceremony as “an eloquent sign of our commitment to walking together, as brothers and sisters in Christ, on a journey from conflict to communion, from division to reconciliation.”

Read the full item here.

Living generously

"Generously" is one of my favourite words. There's no fear in generosity, and no holding back. This morning we heard about the story of the Good Samaritan, and it felt like generosity and being generous was all over the service.

It started with the representative from The Open Table, explaining the generosity of the congregations in providing a taste of home for students throughout the school year by providing meals and fellowship. (Jonathan's t-shirt even said it: Live Generously) Then in the Scripture reading, the lawyer was talking with Jesus about what it takes to inherit eternal life, and Jesus was generous in his response: No tricks here, you got it right, Lawyer: To love God and love your neighbour. (Easy to say, a bit harder to do, we're soon to learn!)

But we read that the lawyer wanted more and asked "who is my neighbour?" and got a story in response. A man was travelling from Jerusalem to Jericho, got attacked by bandits, was robbed and beaten and left to die. Karen reminded us that the Priest and the Levite who did not help the wounded man were trapped between loving God and loving their neighbour. They served in the temple and they'd be unclean, unable to serve, if they touched this half dead man. They may have told themselves they were passing him by for the greater good - to continue their service to God and their fellow Jews.

But the Samaritan gave of himself generously. He didn't just bandage him up and leave him, he "was moved with pity." He brought him to an inn, he paid for his care, and he offered to come back and settle any debts. What resonated with me especially this morning was Karen's suggestion that the Kingdom of Heaven seems so much more tangible in the presence of this generosity. A beautiful thought to take with me throughout the week.

Rev. Karen dismissed us with a benediction similar to Jesus' own, to "Go, and do likewise." We were instructed to see Jesus in those around us, and to allow Jesus to be seen through ourselves. What a calling to live generously!

Maureen R.

Moderator calls for prayer

As the fires rage in British Columbia, the moderator, the Rev. Peter Bush, invites the people of The Presbyterian Church in Canada to pray.

God of mercy,

We pray for the people of the British Columbia interior impacted by these fires—Williams Lake, Cache Creek, Ashcroft Indian Reserve, 100 Mile House—and other places impacted but whose names we do not know.

In mercy, look down upon those who have lost property, we cannot imagine what it is to lose everything in a fire.

In mercy, look down upon those who have left everything behind and do not know if they will have anything to return to, we cannot imagine what that feels like.

In mercy, look down upon those who are driving out through smoke and danger.

We pray for firefighters—we are astounded by their courage, their skill, and their stamina. Keep them safe in extraordinarily dangerous situations. Be with their family and friends, who support them and worry about them.

We pray government officials and emergency planners that they would have wisdom, patience, and calm while all around them there is chaos and uncertainty.

We thank you for communities like Prince George and Kamloops and others that are welcoming evacuees from the fire, give the leaders and citizens of these communities caring hearts, welcoming smiles, and good spirits to show hospitality to the thousands who are arriving on their doorsteps.

God of the weather, we ask for rain with no lightning and cooler weather with no wind.

We bring before you all those connected with the Presbyterian Church’s Cariboo Ministry who are impacted by this fire, and all those Presbyterians who may have the opportunity to show hospitality—let them know that they are loved and prayed for by your church.

In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

—The Rev. Peter Bush, Moderator of the 143rd General Assembly

For updates from Rev. Shannon Bell-Wyminga (Cariboo Region), visit presbyterian.ca.


As wildfires remain active in British Columbia, please pray for affected communities and first responders. Donations may be made to PWS&D in support of physical and emotional recovery for those impacted by the fires. Mail a cheque to the office, give through your church, donate online, or call 1-800-619-7301. Please mark donations for “BC Fires.” Learn more at WeRespond.ca/bc-wildfires.

 

Sunday July 16

'We're not grateful because we’re happy, we’re happy because we’re grateful”.  These words from Huda’s children’s story really struck a cord with me.  It’s so easy to get caught up in the rush of everyday life, to let stress overwhelm us and make us unhappy, and to forget to be grateful for the good things in our lives. 

Listening to Karen’s story about the woman who was ill but still found so much to say thank you for made me stop and think.  Do I remember to say thank you enough in my prayers?  Do I remember to show appreciation to God for all the good things he’s blessed me with?  Listening to today’s sermon I realized that so many of my prayers are requests for help and there are far fewer “thank you”s than there should be.   When good things happen, like the nine men in today’s lesson, I often forget to stop and feel gratitude, and to say thank you to God.  When Karen had us stop and think about the good things that happened to us in the past month and to remember things we had to feel grateful for I was reminded that there are so many ways in which Jesus meets us here where we live.  The co-worker who provides sympathy and support on a bad day, the neighbour who surprises you with produce from his garden, a child’s laughter, a perfect sunny Saturday full of birdsong and buzzing insects, ripe strawberries … 

When I left church this morning the world seemed a brighter place than it had when I arrived.  Although nothing had changed, everything had changed.  I realized that God’s world is always here with us and can always be found if we remember to look through the lens of gratitude. 

Melanie A.

For the Beauty of the Earth

Each week we discuss the sermon or lessons but oft forget the music that is very much part of our praise.

This week I would reflect upon some of the hymns we sang and the true value of the words of our music as part of the service.

One of the standout hymns was number 631, Jesus hands were kind hands.

We start by remembering the truth of Jesus and the kind hands and healing work of his hands. We rejoice at the strength of those hands, helping those who have fallen and blessing and keeping the children small. Such gentleness and yet such strength.

How do we honour and keep this faith?
We ask the following

Take my hands, Lord Jesus, let them work for you;
make them strong and gentle, kind in all I do;
let me watch you, Jesus, till I'm gentle too,
till my hands are kind hands, quick to work for you.
Take my hands, Lord Jesus, let them work for you

Can there be more hopeful request?

My favourite of the day was 434, For the Beauty of the Earth

On such a day as today can there be better praise and thanks than

For the beauty of the earth,
for the glory of the skies,

We oft forget as we revel in the day that this land is brought to you by God.

Christ, our Lord, to you we raise
this, our hymn of grateful praise.
For the wonder of each hour
of the day and of the night,
hill and vale and tree and flower,
sun and moon and stars of light,

Can there be a better way to celebrate that which is given than by seeking the glory of that given?

For the joy of human love,
brother, sister, parent, child,
friends on earth, and friends above,
for all gentle thoughts and mild, [Refrain]
For yourself, best gift divine,
to the world so freely given,
agent of God's grand design:
peace on earth and joy in heaven.
Christ, our Lord, to you we raise
this, our hymn of grateful praise.

May we relish the music and words of the day together on Sunday to reflect, rejoice and recommit to that which we believe, lets us remember and say thank you for the words or the lessons, teaching of the sermons and blessings of the music.

Christ, our Lord, to you we raise
this, our hymn of grateful praise.

Noral R.

Bent Out of Shape

When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God.
— Luke 13:13

How do you see the world? The woman in the synagogue likely saw only Jesus’ feet. She was freed from her physical affliction but we all know people who live difficult lives and whose spirits are crippled.

Many people carry these heavy burdens which can hunch them over with a loss of hope. God noticed this woman in the synagogue. As Rev. Karen stated that is how God works - with compassion. Perhaps our challenge this summer will be to seek out those who are weighed down with life’s burdens, recognize this and offer compassion. It may be hard for someone to shed their emotional armour and reach out to others.

Let us hope we see the world as Jesus did, recognize those who are burdened and offer a healing hand.

Jeanie H.