The Lord bless you and keep you

“The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the Israelites: You shall say to them,

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

So they shall put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.” - Numbers 6:22-27, NRSVA

This day is brought to you courtesy of.....

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How would you complete this sentence? Rev. Dimock's sermon this morning gave me food (or fish?) for thought. Like Simon in the scripture reading from Luke 5:1-11 we have all had days when we did not catch any fish. We must not forget that the largeness and generosity in life is only available to us thanks to God so there is always time.   As Rev. Dimock pointed out, we may not always be ready for those moments when God is near.  Perhaps this happens during a time of stress or grief or when we are faced with a decision about what is the 'right thing' to do.  Help us to feel and welcome those moments when God is near.

Jeanie H.

Kirkin of the Tartan

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Today we celebrated the celebration of the legend of the Kirkin of the Tartan.

Legend goes like this,

On July 25, 1745, the young Prince Charles Edward Stewart, “Bonnie Prince Charlie” returned from exile in France and landed at Lochnanaugh in Scotland where he began to enlist the Highland Clans for an unsuccessful attempt to dethrone George II of England and to restore the Scottish throne to the Royal House of Stewart.

Following Prince Charlie’s defeat, the Act of Proscription — to subdue the vanquished Highlanders — banned the wearing of any sign of the Tartan, forbade any speaking in Gaelic, outlawed Scottish music, dancing, or the playing of the pipes.

During the 36 years following the Disarming Act of 1746 when the Hanoverian English government strictly enforced this ban, during the Sunday service Scottish Highlanders would touch the hidden piece of tartan cloth under their clothes when the minister gave the benediction or kirkin’, thus rededicating themselves to God and their Scottish heritage.

The likely actual story is perhaps more interesting.

The Kirkin’ o’ th’ Tartans service was created or “revived” during World War II by Reverend Peter Marshall, perhaps best known for the biographical book and film A Man Called Peter. Marshall was originally from southwest Scotland, and at one time pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. In 1943 he was the first Chaplain of the U.S. Senate. To encourage Scottish-Americans to sign up to fight on behalf of Great Britain, Peter Marshall recreated the Kirkin’ o’ th’ Tartans ceremony to instill pride among Scottish-Americans in their Scottish homeland. The ceremony was at that time held in Presbyterian churches of Scottish heritage across the US.

Our Church has always celebrated the roots that tie us back to Scotland. It is always a pleasure to have opportunity to enjoy the fruits of that connection. The Scottish Society of Ottawa helped us celebrate in style. With Tartans worn with pride, the lilt of the pipes and the sweet treats from Scotland.

The day was a celebration that enhanced our love of our varied and impressive history and roots. This coming month we get to further celebrate our diversity and roots. Feb 23, we celebrate Black History month with food from some of our newer members. If you have not tried their previous offerings you are in for a treat.

The nice thing is our reading this Sunday puts this very diversity into Christian perspective. 1 Corinthians 12:12–31

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[a] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

So we see in Christ that we celebrate our different origins as they bring about the whole of the body. It is in this we take pride, the strength of our roots makes the melting of our cultures the strong tree we remain.

Take this pride in Jesus name as we strengthen the ties that bind.

Noral R.

Gifts to share

We got a taste of today's sermon from Rev. Dimock's weekly congregational email:
"So think of it like this: that as we use our gifts together, giving ourselves for each other, then our common life, lived for the common good, is like a beautiful piece of music, soaring to the heavens and giving glory to God."

The message in 1 Corinthians 12: 1-11 is a favourite and resonates with me every day.  Like Corinth, Ottawa has diverse communities.   We all have gifts.  Our gifts are not tied to our status - although I wonder about that as I write it. 

I think of the gifts of students who don't believe they have any - or any status.  I think of the l'Arche communities around the world.  People with and without intellectual disabilities who share life in communities.  Mutual relationships and trust in God are at the heart of their journey together. They celebrate the unique value of every person and recognize their need of one another.  There is much to learn from their experiences.

Jeanie H.

All of our relations

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All my relations is an Aboriginal saying which loosely translates to "we are all related/connected"

Today, we were privileged to hear reflections from Rev Linda of St Marks Presbyterian Church Orillia and of her work with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Her thoughts tied nicely with the Gospel of Mark  that was read - a story of conflict, where Jesus was accused by his family and teachers of the law. This story of strife is not too different from the current state of our church.

The Presbyterian Church was responsible for 11 Residential schools prior to the 1920s. An institute that was supposed to love and be Christ’s example was responsible for so much strife among our brothers and sisters in the Indigenous communities.

A house divided against itself cannot stand. We must right the wrongs and seek forgiveness of our past. We must acknowledge the extreme hardships that we caused, learn from our mistakes. 

When we have compassion for the wounds of others, we will get closer to Jesus. And then we might hear him say "This is my family, all my relations".

Koko B.


Epiphany

This morning, I felt enthralled by The Star and light.
And when our organ’s star sparkled and turned as it was played, I was reminded of the joy and enchantment our daughter and I felt when seeing and hearing it during our first Christmas as members of St. Andrew’s.

Karen reminded us of the unlikely cast of characters chosen to be with Christ at his birth. People who were thought of as being on the fringes of society, animals and such a young mother. But people also filled with faith, and people ready to take risks to follow God’s leading and signs.

Throughout Advent, we prepared ourselves, our families and our homes for the coming of our Saviour. And for 2 short weeks, we have basked in the peace and light of the infant Jesus. But so very soon (next week in fact), our journey with Christ through his adult life will begin.

I pray that I, and that you, may have the courage of the Shepherds and the wisdom of the Magi, and St. Andrew’s and its people are able be lights in our community.

Billie S.

T’was just before Christmas

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The days before Christmas often seem a marathon to survive. We are filled with the spirit of giving but the fear of forgetting someone. We run often full out in an attempt to make the most of the time and obligations we have. It is a time of joy and anxiety. A time of blessings and commitments. This can be a time to cherish and a time to dread. Our Longest Night service does such a special job of helping those who may be feeling these conflicting emotions. A chance to share the joy and the fear in loving embrace of the truth of God’s love.

Today we celebrated with the children the work and Ministry of music led by Stacey. She has been one to take up the mantle of the children’s music through the Junior choir. She has put together a program that we are all very proud of. The choir has preformed at many events including our wonderful anniversary dinner. She will be missed and as Karen said she has been our gift.

Karen shared the story of Grandma Ida and Kate. A young woman unwed with child and the love and home she found in God’s church with Grandma Ida The story tells of the best of the Christian spirit both at Christmas and beyond. Where Granddam Ida showed her love and compassion not with judgmental words or arms length support but by taking the first step at welcoming to the church one in need and one who could have easily been politely ignored. Then by embracing the young woman with all her baggage in a loving embrace helping to ensure that the family that she needed was there for her.

All three of these things remind us that in this hectic, wonderful, scary loving anxiety filled time. That we sometimes forget to give the greatest gift of all God’s love to all including our selves.

May each of you extend to all the love and caring that Jesus taught us and welcome in that love for ourselves.

Gods Blessing on the birth of our Saviour.

Noral R.