Sunday, April 16

Easter Sunday morning at St. Andrew's was a wonderful celebration despite the rain, with the lilies towering high in the sanctuary.  This Easter, what most struck me was the phrase "the power of resurrection."  Thinking through to the core of the Easter story, this year I was particularly moved by the notion that the resurrection story is a narrative about power, and how power can come from surprising things, and through surprising things. 

Easter, of course, is about surprises: the surprise of the empty tomb, the surprise that no earthly power, not the Roman Empire, not the leadership in the Temple, could ultimately defeat the purpose of a life spent in passionate and humble service, with integrity.  In the Biblical story, the tale is about Jesus, but in some ways the Easter story is a story for all times and for all of us.  The notion that one's life's work, even if ended unheralded, even if unrecognized, can speak forward powerfully into the future is compelling and applies more broadly than just to ancient Jerusalem.  The power of the resurrection that I am most drawn to is the idea that love is stronger than death.

He is risen indeed.

Rebecca B.

Praying for Egypt in the wake of terror

prayersforegypt.jpg

The PCC is mourning the tragedy that took place in Egypt after two churches were bombed during Palm Sunday worship services. The terror attacks led to the deaths of at least 44 people, with over 100 injured. Please pray for healing and peace.

Reflection from the Moderator

“We had prayers in church this Sunday for the Christians in Egypt, where terrorist bombs took the life of dozens of Palm Sunday worshippers. Coptic Pope Tawadros II was very nearly a victim of one of the blasts. Just a few weeks ago, my son Jacob and I attended a service of worship in Jerusalem, at the Holy Sepulchre, at which Pope Tawadros presided. Two weeks from now, I’ll be speaking at Markham Arabic Presbyterian Church, many of whose members are Egyptian Christians, as are those at Almanarah Presbyterian, where I was so warmly welcomed earlier this year.

“These tragedies in Egypt may seem far away, but we are united with these brothers and sisters in Christ. Please remember to pray for them, and for all Christians this Holy Week, particularly for those in lands where to be a Christian is a dangerous thing.”

—The Rev. Douglas H. Rollwage, Moderator of the 142nd General Assembly

From the Presbyterian Church in Canada

Hosanna in the highest!

There was much movement and excitement as the service commenced this morning, and it took me back to my childhood. I loved proceeding in with the minister singing hosanna and waving the palms. It was such an exciting experience as we imagined Jesus riding in on the donkey and people laying down their cloaks and waving their palms.

As I have gotten older I still get excited to witness the Palm Sunday procession and imagine what it would have been like to welcome Jesus into Jerusalem, however, I now recognize the enormity of this day that leads us into Holy Week. The clearing of the communion table is moving and symbolizes many things for me. Most importantly it reminds me to remove the busy parts of life during this week to reflect on its meaning and to grow closer to God who gave his one and only son for us.

 

My song is love unknown,
my Savior’s love to me.

Love to the loveless shown,
that they might lovely be.
Oh, who am I that for my sake,
my Lord should take frail flesh and die?

 

 

Colleen G.

Sunday, April 2

Photo: EJP

Photo: EJP

Walking through parables this Lent has been very interesting. What's really stood out to me over these last few weeks in Matthew is how Jesus was really trying to impress on the disciples that the Kingdom of Heaven is different. Really different. It's not a race to win and it's not climbing the ladder. It's definitely not pushing others down so you can step up.

Instead, we've learned the kingdom of heaven is service to others. It's gratefully accepting the gifts you've been given and sharing them. It's not me first, it's Christ first. Today we talked about Jesus "Whatsoever you do for the least of these..." a phrase is pretty well known around here because of our statue in the Wellington garden.

Our last hymn was, All hail the power of Jesus' name, where the soaring chorus commands: Crown him, crown him, crown him! It felt incongruent, holding in my head both the picture of our begging Jesus statue and glorious Jesus and the angels falling prostrate.

But maybe that's the point of the parables, to shake how we thought the world worked until the new way finally gets into our heads and into our souls. I don't really get it all yet, but I do understand the part of serving others, that was pretty clear.

...for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me. (Matt 25:35-36)

Maureen R.

Sunday, March 19

Rev. Karen said the Parables are gifts and Matthew 20:1-16 delivers. As an educator, I often heard that the problem is that they got the same as us and they don't deserve it. They didn't work as hard, they got an extension or someone helped them. They don't deserve the same as we get, do they?

The workers in the vineyard felt this way. In recent months, I have heard this same sentiment when it comes to refugees arriving in Canada. I read somewhere that 'what counts in the kingdom of God is not seniority or years of service but diligence of heart...'

We are all equally precious to God and whether we were first or last God's grace is there for all of us. "It is not merely the time that we put in. It is the heart that we put into the time we have."

Jeanie H.

Sunday, March 12

Today, in the midst of lingering winter chill, I attended church in the midst of lent.  I did not have an opportunity to hear the sermon, but I did have an opportunity to teach Sunday School. For me today, the overall theme was one of how winter is a time of hidden growth, not of stagnance, not of death but of restorative dormancy.  I was pleased to hear our youngest child, our son, read Psalm 32 in church, and also pleased also to teach kids I have known since they were toddlers in Sunday school.  It has been a few weeks since I taught and I was particularly struck today but the growth and maturation of the kids, not just mine, but of all of them, how well they can now read, and how well they can understand what they read. Many of them independently described the meaning of lent to me with compelling lucidity. The kids are, with Tracey, preparing a song for Easter, and it is as invigorating as it is tiring to spend time with them.  I am very grateful to Christine for all of her work with the children this past year, and look forward to welcoming Huda back as well.

Rebecca B.

Online Study - The Screwtape Letters

Join us through the Lenten Season as we explore C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters. We will look at this book both as a daily Lenten devotional, accompanied by relevant Scripture passages, for each of us to read, reflect and pray over as part of your journey to Easter and as a group discussion where we can share reflections, thoughts, and ideas about the themes and issues raised in the book. In this way we get the best of both personal and community reflection to feed us through Lent. The book is available free on the www.gutenberg.ca website; search for the title.

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