Sunday Reflection & Rector’s Corner

Sunday Reflection: ‘If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and planted in the sea”, and it would obey you.
This is a good opportunity to ask, What is faith, anyway? Jesus is saying that faith is not, fundamentally, something we quantify. Keep in mind that verse 6 is prompted by the apostles’ petition, “Increase our faith!” (verse 5).
Jesus’ response suggests that the apostles’ request is misguided. He pivots from the question of quantity to the question of sufficiency. Faith “the size of a mustard seed” is sufficient for even the most demanding tasks of discipleship. The mustard seed was known both for its miniscule size (1-2 millimeters in diameter) and for the contrastingly large, unruly bush that it produced. It was therefore the perfect metaphor for small beginnings leading to big results. But again, the point of Jesus’ metaphor (now quite mixed) is not to quantify faith as much as to affirm its power. God works through a modicum of faith to empower us to forgive even the most annoyingly repetitive sinners.  By approaching each ordinary task as an opportunity to live their faith, they discovered the extraordinary depth of God’s love for them and for the seemingly ordinary (but quite extraordinary!) people around them. (By: Ira Brent Driggers) 

Rectors’ Corner: We want to take this opportunity to thank our heavenly Father for allowing and giving us this wonderful time and opportunity to celebrate St. Michael’s 60th founding anniversary. I also want to take this chance to say thank you for your stewardship and participation that took place in the church recently.

We are very much overwhelmed by the support we received right from our Archbishop to the organizing team that made it possible for us to have the celebration to take place.

We appreciate for all those who took part and the resources that were used, we say thank you to the church members, families and friends, and our Lord who is in heaven who knows how much we feel right now.

We thank the church community for supporting us in prayers and all the warm greetings they all have sent to us.

We say thank you and God bless you. Yours in the Lord.

Louie+

 

Francis of Assisi: 4 October-Memorial. The thirteenth-century Italian whose greatest honour was to be known as il Poverello, “the little poor one of Christ.”

He grew up in a very wealthy family and seemed to have not a care in the world until he was twenty years old, when a chance encounter with a leper left him appalled by his own uselessness. Soon afterwards he heard Jesus speaking to him from a painting of the crucifixion over the altar of a local church. He threw away his wardrobe and renounced his father’s wealth in order to care for the poor and the crippled. In 1208 he heard the commission which the risen Lord gave to his apostles, “Go, make all nations my disciples,” and knew that it was also addressed to him. Francis began to train his followers for the task of making Jesus truly known and loved among the ordinary people of Italy. Out of this movement developed the Order of the Lesser Brethren, commonly called the Franciscans.

Francis cared deeply for his new Order, but he also grew restless as it became an established institution of the Church. He distanced himself from its day-to-day life and eventually went his own way as he strove to imitate Christ’s total obedience to God. Two years before his death he was granted a sign which manifested this desire. One September day in 1224, he had a vision of the Crucified borne on the wings of a seraph. As the vision withdrew, the wounds of Jesus appeared in Francis’s own flesh — the scars like nail-wounds on his hands and feet, and in his right side a scar like a spear-wound. These marks, called the stigmata, remained on Francis’s body until his death two years later.

 

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Sunday Reflection & Rector’s Corner

Sunday Reflection: Every human situation was, for Jesus, an opportunity to grow in wisdom.  The point of this passage is in the commendation of the dishonest steward, not for the moral quality of his behaviour, but for his worldly prudence in using the things of this life to ensure his future in this life. The parable makes us think that we get into messy situations, and this person was trying to do his best. Probably letting the debtors off the huge interest and on what was owed, and which had been got in corrupt dealings! God is bigger than any of our small laws and rituals.
The message as well is to use money in the service of God, ‘tainted though it is’. We know how our wealth and prosperity can lead to greed or corruption, or to improving the lives of others. As with all we have, all is gift and to be used for the common good.
Possessions are a responsibility. Their use is a test of character, values and stewardship.
This expectation is only the first step towards the stewardship of the Kingdom of God. The true expectation of a good steward is complete trust and faith in the power of God for everybody regardless of the circumstance. This is what serving God and God alone looks like.

What does stewardship look like in our present ministry at St. Michael’s? What is stewardship in your daily life?

Rectors’ Corner: Next Sunday, we will celebrate our parish’s 60th anniversary. Perhaps, it is worth reflecting to look back and count the many blessings that God has given each and everyone of us through Jesus Christ. My hope is that St. Michael’s has been and will continue to be a place for our nurture and spiritual encouragement. We still have a few more days to re-connected with people who have been part of St. Michael’s congregation.

I hope to see you all next Sunday and celebrate this joyous occasion in the life of our parish.

On another note. When you have received a copy of our parish newsletter, “The Messenger”, I would like to hear some of your feedback with regards to the articles or information about our Sunday attendance and financial status. I would ask the leadership of our parish to call a parish meeting before the end of this year. I wanted to know from you, members of the parish, on how best we could continue our parish ministry. I think it is important to weigh the viability and future ministry of our parish congregation.

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Sunday Reflection & Rector’s Corner

Sunday Reflection: “At that time, the tax collectors and sinners were all crowding round to listen to Jesus.They want to listen to Jesus.This is a sign that they do not feel condemned, but rather they feel accepted by Jesus.Jesus had told them to accept the excluded, the sick, the possessed and to gather them for the banquet.
“Which one of you, with a hundred sheep, if he lost one, would fail to leave the ninety-nine and go after the missing one until he found it?” Before giving a response, Jesus must have looked around to see who was listening to Him to see how they would have answered.“Yes, he will go after the lost sheep!”
Jesus wants us to become aware, conscious of the Pharisee or the scribe which is in each one of us.
Jesus makes them and us know: “If you feel that you are a lost sinner, remember that for God you are worth more than the other ninety-nine sheep. And in the case that you are converted, know that there will be “greater joy in heaven for a sinner who is converted, than for ninety-nine just who do not need conversion.”
Is there a person responsibility in looking for and finding lost sheep, or is it just an institutional one – just for the Church and priests and Deacons?
Prayer: God of power and mercy,only with Your help can we offer You fitting service and praise. May we live the faith we profess and trust Your promise of eternal life.

Rectors’ Corner: Welcome Back to The Reverend Peter Smyth! Today, Peter will preside and preach on both of our Sunday Worship Services. Again, please extend your warm welcome and hospitality to our guest clergy.

As we come closer to our parish 60thanniversary, my hope and prayer is that members of the parish have re-connected with people who have been part of St. Michael’s congregation.  I encourage you all to invite families and friends to come and celebrate with us on Sunday, Sept. 29th.
While we can do this is a variety of ways, I still think that the most effective way to invite people to come to St. Mike’s anniversary is by word of mouth.  Please make an intentional effort by giving someone a phone call, or if possible, a personal visit.

On another note. When you have received a copy of our parish newsletter, “The Messenger”, I would like to hear some of your feedback with regards to the articles or information about our Sunday attendance and financial status. I would ask the leadership of our parish to call a parish meetingbefore the end of this year. I wanted to know from you, members of the parish, on how best we could continue our parish ministry. I think it is important to weigh the viability and future ministry of our parish congregation.

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Sunday Reflection & Rector’s Corner

Sunday Reflection: It is extremely significant that we consider this passage as we draw near to St. Michael’s 60thAnniversary. Jesus offered himself to all of us. He also was honest from the very beginning of his preaching about what it means to be involve in his mission. What Jesus asks for is first place in one’s heart. That is what successful discipleship requires.
A disciple is a learner, and the primary teacher in life is Jesus. This total loyalty is significant, given the challenges of mission work then and now. If his followers care more about other priorities than about Jesus, He made it very clear that we are not worthy to be His followers. Discipleship is not possible if Jesus is not the center of our life.
Discipleship is basically allegiance. To follow Jesus is to rely on him. Learning from Jesus means following him in spite of being rejected by other people. Discipleship is serious business to Jesus. To be a disciple and complete the task, we must count the cost. It is a good idea to actively be part of a church community and come to terms with God. But that means we must humbly come to him on his terms. Successful discipleship requires that God be first.

Do you build in time to pause and to re-evaluate habits and commitments and how we might live in a more Christ-shaped way?

Rectors’ Corner: We are just three weeks away from our parish 60th anniversary. My hope is that by this time, we, members of the parish, have
re-connected with people who have been a part of St. Michael’s congregation.  I encourage you all to invite families and friends to come and celebrate with us on the 29th.
While we can do this is a variety of ways, I still think that the most effective way to invite people to come to St. Mike’s anniversary is by word of mouth.  Please make an intentional effort by giving someone a phone call, or if possible, a personal visit.
On another note. When you have received a copy of our parish newsletter, “The Messenger”, I would like to hear some of your feedback with regards to the articles or information about our Sunday attendance and financial status. I would ask the leadership of our parish to call a parish meetingbefore the end of this year. I wanted to know from you, members of the parish, on how best we could continue our parish ministry. I think it is important to weigh the viability and future ministry of our parish congregation.

 

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Sunday reflection & rector’s Corner

Sunday Reflection:The Pharisees closely watched Jesus during the course of his ministry, and the gospel today is not the first time Jesus would have encounter this group of people.

Jesus is very observant of the behavior of the dinner guests (14:7).

Their problematic snobby and exclusive behavior prompts Jesus to share a parable with them. Jesus observed that as the guests arrived they scrambled for front row seats closest to the host, in the VIP section.

Jesus makes an important point in the parable. People who uplift themselves will be humbled, but those who humble themselves will be exalted (14:11).

Also, in the Gospel of Luke, meals provide central settings for Jesus’ mission. The language of food, in general, serves as a basis for Jesus’ teaching. Eating is a sign of life and celebration. This is no different to what we do during St. Michael’s potluck fellowship. Food has religious connotations as well because it can be a tool to build community. Jesus “blessed” food and prayed for it daily.

This is a strong foundation in praying The Lord’s Prayer. How do we see the relationship of humility and the gift of food? How can we continue to build relationship around humility and fellowship? How can we exercise humility before God and people?

Rectors’ Corner: In my continuing quest to learn more about the history of our St. Michael’s Church, I came across this article written by Amy Barker on the occasion of The Consecration of St. Michael’s Anglican Church by The Right Reverend Thomas David Somerville, Bishop of the Diocese of New Westminster, on Tuesday, December 14, 1971, at 8:00pm.

My goal in sharing to you the beginnings of St. Michael’s, as written by Amy Barker, is to inspire and renew your love, faithfulness and commitment to our congregation. Also, please know that there will be an official write-up that would be published in “The Topic” (Diocesan Newsletter) and “Michael’s Messenger” (Parish Newsletter) this month. The article below does not, in any way, contradict what you will read in the next issue of the newsletters. This is another perspective that may assist you reminisce the past but at the same time work even harder to keep St. Michael healthy and vibrant. Happy reading! Louie (on Home page)

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Sunday Reflection

Sunday Reflection: Fire is a multivalent biblical image. It can represent the presence of God – think pillar fire in Exodus (13:17-22) and the tongues of flame at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). Fire also represents purification — Zachariah (13:9) and Malachi (3:2-3) each refer to God’s intention to purify Israel like a refiner purifies silver by fire. Jesus embodies the presence of God which simultaneously judges and purifies. Baptism also is used in the New Testament to represent both judgment and purification and was connected with fire by John (3:16-17). The baptism of which Jesus speaks seems clearly to be an event that dominates every moment of his mission. The One who embodies the presence of God is not simply meting out the fire of judgment and purification but bears it also himself.
The kingdom of God he proclaims represents a new order governed not by might but by forgiveness, not by fear but by courage, and not by power but by humility. We find the courage to look forward to discern the opportunities and challenges of our own ministry, joining our hopes and fears, and to serve as disciples of Jesus Christ. What imaginative renewal do you hope for in our St. Michael’s community?

 

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Sunday Reflection

Sunday Reflection: Jesus seems to say to the young man desperately wishing to draw him into his family quarrel, “You’re paying attention to the wrong things!” Jesus tells them to “perceive,” and then follows with, “Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions” (v. 15). By saying this, Jesus indicates that this goes beyond objective reality or rationalizations of the mind. He wants the young man and the crowd to feel the meaning within their bodies, and to know in a different kind of way.

This does not necessarily seem to be a lesson centered on sharing, but the rich man in the parable uses the word “my” five times in the span of just two verses: “my crops,” “my barns,” “my grain,” “my goods,” “my soul” (v. 17-19). Then, he knocks down his old barn and builds a bigger one to hold his stash. Luke stresses the importance of an equitable society, so the truth to be perceived comes directly from Jesus’ use of the word abundance. Luke drives this point home when God says, “You fool!” (v. 20), echoing Jesus’ opening sentiments to the young man. God seems to say, “Your eyes are so narrowed on your material accumulations, you cannot see the destruction your greed rains upon you or the others around you.”

 

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