Decisive events ...

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Who has experienced these decisive events and how have they shaped our lives?
They bring newness to our lives and are gifts - although sometimes it may take us a while to realize this.  Abraham and Moses lived through decisive events that they did not expect.  God wanted Peter to realize that the Gospel is for everyone and not just those who followed the rules.
His message is to love one another, to reach out and to demonstrate true care for others.
Sometimes if we act in God's love then the rules follow.

Jeanie H.

Mother's Day and Christian Family Day

On this Mother’s Day and Christian Family Day, Rev. Karen shared with us the story of Tabitha, called Dorcas who truly was a woman of faith and discipleship.  As she was telling this story and reflecting on the important role that women play in our lives, it was impossible for my beloved Nan not be a resounding thought in my mind.  As we have our first Mother’s Day without her, I am blessed that I was graced by her presence, love and devotion for so long.  If I think of a woman of faith in my life no question do I think of Nan.  It almost seems fitting that I was called on to write this week’s blog, and as I sit to type this post, I am reminded of the many times I sat down to write Nan letters.  So, in honour of a woman that blessed me with her guidance in my own faith and never-ending love, I wanted to share my memories on this Mother’s Day. 

 I have to say it is hard to sum up 95 years of a woman that, I feel was ahead of her time.  This strong and faithful servant that was involved in many ways within her church throughout her life from the choir, W.M.S, church school teacher to countless other hats she wore.  She was also so much to many people: a companion, a caring aunt and cousin, a loving daughter, a faithful sister, a devoted wife and mother (even was referred to as mom by many others) but to me she was best known as Nan. Our letters would be about anything and everything of what was happening in life or a random thought that I wanted to get her perspective on.  As I came back to my faith over the past few years, it was Nan I went to.  I will always admire how she lived in grace -- her faith through her actions -- I hope to carry on all that she taught me.  While she taught me this, I also learned that through her faith she got strength for life’s hardships.  While it is impossible to sum her up in words, I am blessed by the very special memories we shared from sleepovers, to surprising her with visits, to reading the bible together, to our letters, to sharing her last Communion with her and to just sitting quietly in each other’s company.  I am forever thankful.

Colleen G.

The Lord`s Breakfast

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Today's Sermon was from John 21:1-19

Jesus appeared to his disciples at the beach and had breakfast with them beside a charcoal fire, this was the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after his death. 

John 21:15-19(Good News Bible)
15 After they had eaten, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you love me more than these others do?" "Yes, Lord," he answered, "you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Take care of my lambs." 16 A second time Jesus said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" "Yes, Lord," he answered, "you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Take care of my sheep." 17 Third time Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was sad because Jesus asked him the third time, Do you love me?" so he said to him, "Lord you know everything; you know that I love you!" Jesus said to him, "Take care of my sheep. 18 I am telling you the truth: when you were young, you used to get ready and go anywhere you wanted to; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will bind you and take you where you don't want to go." 19 (In saying this, Jesus was indicating the way in which Peter would die and bring glory to God.) Then Jesus said to him, "Follow me!"

The last time Simon Peter was close to a charcoal fire was when he denied Jesus three times and now his open confession of Love for Jesus. Every act of confession needs to be centered around the Love of Jesus, we as the sheep are called to spread the love of God to the world. 

Eric D

To start anew

Today's message centered around the appearance of Jesus to His disciples after the resurrection.  Karen described the disciples as experiencing "fear, doubt and darkness" as a result of the crucifixion, as hiding behind walls.  We might also think that they felt discredited and isolated from their own community and culture as the followers of someone who overturned much of the Old Covenant.  What was left for them if Jesus was dead?  But the resurrected Jesus broke down the walls and gave a new sense of community from which no one was excluded by their identity or their experiences.

I am reminded of the story of Thomas Edison after a fire destroyed his vast laboratories.  Viewing the disaster the 67 year old Edison said, "Thank goodness all our mistakes have been burned up.  Now we can start anew in the morning."  All of the travails and dilemmas and contention that must have confronted the disciples during Christ's life were now behind them, and they could see His victory in the end.  And no matter how battered they may have felt on Good Friday, they could now start anew, reaching out, their confidence and devotion to Christ offering living proof of the resurrection.  And so it is for us, when overcast by doubt or fear or darkness, to start anew, with the same belief in that victory.

Rob R.

Easter Lilies

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There is something so special about Easter Liles. We deliver these beautiful flowers not to remember the death but resurrection of our Lord Jesus. They bring joy and the truth that our God has taken us in His hands. They give us a chance to spread his word and share his hope and resurrection through service to others.

Lilium longiflorum

    Somewhere while the Easter lilies

    Swing their perfumed censers white,

    Softened rays of sunlight falling

    In lines aslant, and warm, and bright,

    Shall gild the altar, nave and chancel;

    Rest with tender roseate ray

    On the font, enwreathed with lilies

    For baptismal rites today.

    Another pilgrim on the journey

    From the cradle to the tomb,

    Shall receive a name and blessing

    While the Easter lilies bloom.

    — Mrs. S.R. Allen[8]

 Lilium longiflorum is known as the Easter lily because in Christianity, it is a symbol of the resurrection of Christ, which is celebrated during Eastertide. The "lily has always been highly regarded in the Church", as Jesus Himself referenced the flower, saying "Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these" (Luke 12:27).[3] Moreover, according to pious legend, "after Jesus' death and resurrection, some of these beautiful flowers were found growing in the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus went to pray the night before His crucifixion. The popular Easter lily we use today to celebrate the holiday is referred to as ‘the white-robed apostles of hope.’

 The bulb of these flowers buried in the ground represents the tomb of Jesus and the glorious white trumpet-like fragrant flowers which grow from the bulbs symbolize His life after death. The snowy white color stands for the purity of the Divine Savior and the joy of the resurrection while the trumpet shape signifies Gabriel's trumpet call to rebirth and new life.

 The magnificent white lily known as the Easter Lily has long stood as a symbol of purity, hope, innocence and peace. Also called the Bermuda lily, the Trumpet lily, and Jacob’s Tears, the Easter lily is a biblical flower commonly associated with the resurrection of Christ.

 It is thus absolutely appropriate that we on this day of rebirth celebrate a baptism.The new birth in Jesus name. We take on the responsibility of the soul baptized that they may know the peace and rebirth of the Lord and the keeping of God's promise.

Psalm 118 17

I shall not die but live and declare the deeds of the Lord.

Isaiah 65

23

They shall not labor in vain,
or bear children for calamity;[a]
for they shall be offspring blessed by the Lord—
and their descendants as well.

24
Before they call I will answer,
while they are yet speaking I will hear.

 Baptism is the ritual use of water as an outward sign of inward purification in Christ (forgiveness of sins), of our adoption into God's family, of our ingrafting into Christ, and our admission into the Church. In the Presbyterian Church, a person may be baptized by sprinkling with water, by pouring water, or by immersion under water. In some other churches, only baptism by immersion is allowed. In accordance with our Lord's command in Matthew 28:19, baptism is always performed "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit".

 Luke 24:1-12 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Resurrection of Jesus

24 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in, they did not find the body.[a] 4 While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. 5 The women[b] were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men[c] said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.[d] 6 Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.”

Lets us celebrate not the Death but the promise kept of eternal life.

In Jesus memory.

Noral R.


Palm Sunday

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This Sunday was Palm Sunday, so we celebrated Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem with a joyful service with all 3 of the choirs participating (the Children’s choir, the Bell choir and of course the Choir).

When I read the passage about the Lord choosing the young donkey that had never been ridden as His mount, it brought tears to my eyes. Of course Jesus loved animals too! Jesus could take a colt who had never been ridden and ride it through the screaming crowds without ever having to “break” the colt. The colt would sense the calming love of his rider and know that he had nothing to fear though the crowd screamed ever louder. Normally even an experienced mount is tested to its limit in a raucous crowd of thousands. My wife and I lost our dog of 18 years and what a comfort it is to know that our Lord understands our grieving for our dog.

I recently led a course in our Wednesday evening studies on the parables of Jesus, so not surprisingly everything now reminds me of the parables. This Palm Sunday I thought about the parable of the Sower. Every seed that Jesus had sown in His short Earthly minister seemed to line the road to Jerusalem that day. The palms, like the newly sprouted seeds of the parable, turned the Earth to green. Jesus like every farmer or gardener knew that not all of the seedlings would flourish, indeed in the next week at times it looked like none would survive, but like every gardener the green sprouts are celebrated for the moment without thoughts of the weeding and watering that lies ahead. So we celebrate with pure joy of Spring with the green palm leaves this Sunday.

George B.

Palm Sunday

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Today we were treated to a play on Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Zacchaeus, Bartimaeus, a woman healed by Jesus, a child and Judas all made an appearance and gave their own impressions and experiences of Jesus. Bartimaeus spoke of the contrast between Pontius Pilot’s procession into Jerusalem and Jesus’ procession. One was all solemn pomp and circumstance. The other was a celebration, humble and full of joyful chaos with the waving of palm leaves and cries of “Hosanna!”.

Nothing highlights better the contrast between the Kingdom of Heaven and the world we live in than the differences in these two processions. Pontius Pilot’s procession was a display of imperial power, representing hierarchy, a division of the rulers and the ruled. Jesus’ procession represented a breaking down of this hierarchy and a recognition of the value of the marginalized. Palm Sunday is a time not just to celebrate his joyful entrance into Jerusalem but to remember the message he was bringing with him, and what he was soon to die for.

Melanie A.