Sunday Reflection & Rector’s Corner

How then shall we live? —Effacement, LUKE 3:7-18 “Living in the Edge”

Reflection: In the fall of 2004 I talked with my spiritual director about experiences of effacement in transitional places. Effacement meant for me oblit­eration, losing or never having visibility. As we sat in prayer with the word “effacement,” its other meaning rose to consciousness. During the transition phase of birth the cervix undergoes a natural process of the shortening and thinning of the uterine walls as they dilate during labour. The cervix is effaced. It transforms from a holding wall to a channel for birth.
Shortly after, the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami occurred on December 26, 2004. When television reporters spoke with the leader of the Canadian victim identification team in Phuket, Thailand, I wept. He was the obstetrician who had attended our second child’s birth. The next day I wept again as I read through emails from PWRDF partners in India and Sri Lanka, in the midst of devastation that killed an estimated 227,898 people. Tens of thousands of mothers, fathers, sons and daugh­ters had been swept away and effaced by the tsunami. One PWRDF partner was active in fact-finding missions among tsunami refugees, where there were reports of rapes, molestation and physical abuse of women and girls in unsupervised rescue operations. Pregnant women and nursing mothers were particularly at risk of brutal effacement.
The two truths of effacement shifted inside me. I wept again at the possi­bility that an obliterating tsunami effacement might at the same time be birthing something new. I scarcely dared say it aloud, let alone write it.
The root metaphor for God’s compassion comes from the Hebrew word rechem or “womb”. The womb from which compassion flows receives a seed. Kenotic tears from grieving eyes water the implanted seed. Into what do those seeds grow? To what will we give birth, all of us? We are all in transition together, effacing into a vulnerable future seeded with promise. Christ is here at the heart of the pain and compassion. (Adele Finney)
Prayer:  O Wisdom, from the mouth of the Most High, you reign over all things to the ends of the earth: come and teach us how to live. Lord Jesus, come soon!

Rector’s CornerThis year, our parish will introduce a Christmas Eve Service for Children at 4:30pm. Our goal is to open an opportunity for both parents and guardians, kids and young people, to enjoy church together in a slightly new way. We will have singing, prayer, re-telling of the Christmas story, and Holy communion for adults. You can even bring your kids in their pajamas. So, come with the whole family and have some fun time on Christmas Eve. Spread the News and hope to see you and your loved ones.

It’s not too late to register to our advent Daily Reflections, “Living the Edge”.I have found this booklet refreshing. It assists me with my personal preparation for Christmas. It has offered me some quiet time during the day to reflect on the words of God. I encourage all members of our community to use this time to prepare ourselves for the coming of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.

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Sunday Reflection

Prepare the way: Kenosis. LUKE 3:1-6 “Living in the Edge”

It is important to understand the context of scripture when we seek to understand it in our time and place. From what you know of this political and religious roster, what does it tell you about the time and place into which Jesus was born?

The Greek word kenosis means self-emptying, being poured out.  It is the pattern of Christ’s own ministry, as expressed in Philippians 2:5-7a Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself…

Reflection: I am aware of one quality in particular necessary for cross-cultural ministry: the ability to undergo a self-emptying of one’s own cultural presuppositions, one’s own [quick] judgements, one’s own power. In Biblical terms this is kenosis, the pattern of Christ’s own ministry (Philippians 2:1-11)…there is…willingness and ability to listen and learn and ultimately, an ability to affirm people very different from oneself…The self-emptying makes possible new patterns of friendship and ministry, community, worship, and theology.

The Right Reverend Terry Brown

Prayer: God of timeless grace, You fill us with joyful expectation. Make us ready for the message that prepares the way, so that with uprightness of heart and holy joy we may eagerly await the coming of your Christ.  Who reigns with you and the Holy Spirit now and forever.  Amen

Notices

2018 Tax Receipts: Donations & Offerings that you want to be included in your 2017 tax receipts must be in the offering plate by Christmas Day, Dec. 25, 2018 to count as a 2017 donation. Thank you so much for your Stewardship of Treasure. Blessings!

Church Decorations: We Have started decorating our church sancturary for the Christmas season.  If you wish to help out, please phone the office and we will have something for you to do

Church Clean-up You may have noticed that we have a lot of dry leaves within the church property.  We would appreciate it so much if you could offer some of your times to help with the clean-up.  Talk to Andy or Clark on how you could be of help.

Sunday, Dec. 30th: There will be two Church Services this Sunday, 8:30 and 10:00am

 

 

 

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Sunday Reflection

1 Thessalonians 3:9-13

This letter is written by Paul to one of the early church communities. I wonder, in our position as members of the Anglican Communion, how often we think this way of our fellow churches. I suspect the practice of writing encouragement to one another has ceased, partly because we are in a world where written letters are not the fastest forms of communication – and partly because we simply forget to encourage and thank God for one another. Following God’s call is difficult. We need to lift one another up, to encourage one another in our callings, even when we don’t immediately see eye to eye.

  • How might we lift up one another?
  • In what ways can we encourage one another in our callings and ministry?

May we abound in love for one another and have our hearts strengthened in holiness. 

Luke 21:25-36

It is hard for me to read this gospel lesson of the signs of the coming of man and not connect it to some of the doom and gloom teachers and preachers who love to talk about the end of time and draw lines in the sand over who will be saved. After reading it through a few times, though, I find this passage not to be about living in fear but rather about standing in our truth as Christians. Jesus’ instructions are not to spend time worrying and preparing for this coming, but rather to “stand up and raise your heads” when these things come to pass.

  • Are we ready to stand strong in our faith? Why or why not?
  • “Heaven and Earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” How can we hold more firmly to the everlasting words of Jesus and let go of the things that will pass away?

(From Sermons that Work)

 

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Sunday Reflection

Background on three Biblical books

The Gospel of Mark

This gospel was written by one of Jesus’ disciples, Mark, also known as John Mark.  He was writing his gospel primarily for the non-Jewish audience, the Gentiles.  It is said to be written between the years of 50 – 70 A.D. and written in Rome.  Keep in mind that Emperor Nero’s horrific persecutions happened in the 60’s A.D. Many believe this gospel to be the first of the four gospels written.  Mark includes many of Jesus’ miracles in his gospel; many are repeated in the other three gospels.  Many scholars feel that the most important point of this gospel is that Jesus overcame the power of death by resurrecting from the tomb.  This resurrection proved that no power can rule over him and He is the Son of God.

The Book of Hebrews

There is no one definitive author of Hebrews according to scholars. Possibilities are Paul, Barnabas and Apollos.  It was written for the Jewish Christians living outside of Palestine and possibly in the 60’s A. D., similar to the time of the Gospel of Mark.  The book focuses on how Jesus fulfilled the Law of Moses (sacrifices, sanctuaries, and priesthood), and how He fulfills the new high priest requirements also mentioned in this Law.  Keep in mind this book was written for Jews who have become Christian and are used to the Law of Moses but are learning how there is more than this Law and how Jesus goes beyond the sacrificial ways and strict laws given in the Law of Moses.

The First Book of Samuel

This might be the easiest of the three books to date as there are references in the book.  There are references to the death of King Solomon in 930 B. C. and the division of the kingdom of Israel into Israel & Judah (I Sam 11:8).  This is the easy part.  Who wrote this book is not so clear but scholars feel it is written with help from Samuel, Nathan and Gad (a personal prophet of David). This book was also once one book along with the Second Book of Samuel as they were part of the Hebrew Bible.  When the Bible was translated into Greek, it was divided into the two separate books. This book focuses on Samuel’s anointing of Saul as king but Saul soon forgets how God put him on the throne and things change.  By the end of 1 Samuel, God is preparing, through Samuel, to have David made king.

 

 

 

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Sunday Reflection

Sunday Reflection: Does Remembrance Day have less meaning if hardly anyone has anything to remember? None of us have any personal memories of the first world war, and fewer of us each year have memories of the second, but both will have had their effect on us.  Many people will have memories, or at least will remember reading of more recent conflicts, in Rwanda, in Iraq and in Afghanistan. We will know of fathers or grandfathers, aunts, uncles or great uncles who fought, and perhaps died, in World War One and this is even truer when we think of World War Two and more recent conflicts.  All this is part of what we remember today. Christians remember Jesus: in communion, we “do this in remembrance of him”. “Nothing’s forgotten; nothing’s ever forgotten.” Remembrance goes deeper than what each of us individually remembers. There’s a great pool of memory in this country, and around the world that won’t let us forget.  Of course, in that great pool of memory are all the terrible things that have happened and cannot be made to un-happen as well as all the great and good things that have happened.  Bad and good still have their effect today, and all can properly be remembered, as we today on Sunday November 11th, remember the courage and the cost of war. “Nothing’s forgotten; nothing’s ever forgotten.”

Mark 12:38-44The big givers may see their name in lights; but for you, Lord, the big giver is the one who gives from the heart. You do not count the coins but the generosity. Nobody would even know that the widow put anything into the collection box. The coins were small and would make no noise – the large sums were well heard! Jesus recognized her offering, gift and sacrifice. He pointed this out.  Our own work for the Lord may be simple and unknown to all but a very few.  It is known to God and in God’s sight. Remember St Ignatius’ prayer, ‘Take, O Lord, and receive my entire liberty, my memory, my understanding and my whole will.  All that I am and all that I possess you have given me: I surrender it all to you to be disposed of according to your will.  Give me only your love and your grace.  We are told to Love God and our neighbour.  ‘Love God!’ This seems easy. ‘Love your neighbour!’ This is harder. ‘Love yourself!’ This seems alien to the Gospel, but there is a healthy self-love that acknowledges God’s creative love in ourselves. God sees all that is made, including me, and says it is very good. Can I accept this gift happily?  Do I appreciate the qualities that can be found in the widows (and other poor) of my world?  What values do I use to measure success? Are my thoughts on success in tune with God’s? Reprinted from Sacred Space.

 

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Sunday Reflection & Rector’s Corner

Sunday Reflection: Today many churches will celebrate the feast of All Saints’ Day, when we remember the lives, work and ministry of all of the saints of the Christian faith. In many congregations, parishioners will also observe the feast of All Souls’ Day or All the Faithful Departed, by reading the names of those who have died who are not recognized as saints by the church, but are saints in the lives of those who knew and loved them.

The tradition of remembering the saints began in the early fourth century as a way to lift up the example of the lives of the saints for the support, encouragement and emulation of believers. For those of us gathered together in worship today, All Saints’ Day is a reminder of the great cloud of witnesses encouraging us to follow the teachings and example of the Jesus of the gospels in our daily lives.

John 11:32-44. Jesus is moved to tears. In a display of his full humanity, Jesus grieves the loss of his friend, Lazarus. To make matters worse, in the middle of his grief, Jesus is flooded with questions, perhaps accusations, that he could have saved Lazarus. That has to hurt. Jesus proceeds, still deeply grieved, to resurrect Lazarus and in so doing renews the faith of Mary, Martha, and the other members of the crowd. The passage is especially pertinent at the celebration of All Saints’ not because it deals with death, but because it is a passage that epitomizes eternal life, the promise that God has made through Christ to each of us. Jesus says, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” The faith of Jesus’ followers was rewarded in this miraculous event. We may never have seen anyone raised from the dead, but there are other ways that we experience the glory of God: a child’s birth and baptism, the unconditional love of our families, friends, and neighbors, and most of all, through participation in the Eucharist.

  • When has God’s glory been revealed to you? Was it a large “aha” moment or a still, small whisper in the night?
  • How is God’s glory manifested in the remembrance of the lives of the saints? How do you know?

Collect: Almighty God, whose people are knit together in one holy Church, the mystical Body of your Son, grant us grace to follow your blessed saints in lives of faith and commitment, and to know the inexpressible joys you have prepared for those who love you; through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

“Living in the Edge”: 2018 Advent Resource – is a series of daily reflections for individuals and weekly gatherings for small groups. Reflection and facilitation guides for small groups will be provided. You can sign up for daily in-box delivery for FREE. You can also register to receive a printable pdf booklet with the daily reflections (for your personal use) and small group gatherings. The booklet is free for individual use.

This Advent Resource is now available online. Please visit http://www.vancouver.anglican.ca/diocesan-resources /2018-advent-resource.

The Order of the Diocese of New Westminster (ODNW): Congratulations to Donna White on your acceptance into the ODNW! You have made a great contribution to the life and ministry of St. Michael’s Anglican Church.  Your faithful service to the missionary work in developing our parish congregation shows your wisdom and foresight. I know you will continue to work hard in the many years ahead, and even harder to inspire us into the work God has entrusted to you. May you continue to find joy and satisfaction in your ministry.

Remembrance Sunday: Next Sunday, our worship services will focus on Remembrance Day. As most of you are aware of, it is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth of Nations member states since the end of the First World War to remember the members of their armed forces who have died in the line of duty.

I encourage everyone in the parish to invite your families and friends as we pray to God and give honour to all who have fallen.

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Sunday Reflection & Rector’s Corner

Saint Simon and Saint Jude 28 October Apostles — Holy Day: Today we commemorate Saint Simon and Saint Jude, whose names appear in the New Testament on every list of the twelve apostles.
Simon was called “the Zealot,” which suggests that he once belonged to a Jewish resistance movement. Animated by religious fervour, the Zealots used any means, even terror, to overthrow Roman rule and revive Jewish independence. Simon originally may have followed Jesus in hopes that he would “restore the kingdom to Israel.”
Jude “the son of James” was also called Thaddeus. One of the Letters included in the New Testament is ascribed to him; and we hear his voice in Saint John’s account of the Last Supper, where he is distinguished as “the other Judas, not Iscariot.” Judas Iscariot was the disciple who betrayed Jesus, and the fact that Jude shared the traitor’s name made Christians reluctant to ask for his prayers. For this reason, Jude is considered the patron saint of what is shunned by the world, especially lost causes and those who suffer from incurable diseases.
The western Church remembers Simon and Jude togetherbecause, in the seventh or eighth century, the church of Rome acquired some relics of both apostles and placed them in a single shrine. October twenty-eighth is probably the anniversary of the dedication of this shrine.
With so little information to go on, our commemoration of Simon and Jude may be compared to their patronage of lost causes and hopeless cases. It is a little victory against the odds of history. For Christ is often made known by deeds which are recorded nowhere else but in the eternal remembrance of God; and by honouring Simon and Jude today we share in God’s own mindfulness of their apostolic zeal.
Collect:  Almighty God, we thank you for the glorious company of the apostles, and especially on this day for Simon and Jude. As they were faithful and zealous in their mission, so may we with ardent devotion make known the love and mercy of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (For All the Saints)

2018 ADVENT RESOURCE: “Living in the Edge” Living in the Edge is a series of daily reflections for individuals and weekly gatherings for small groups. Reflection and facilitation guides for small groups will be provided. The small groups are based upon gospel-based discipleship supported by the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples.  The Advent meditations are also web-based and offer nourishment for daily individual reflection at home. Through the scripture readings we can explore our edges and ask John the Baptist “What should we do?” and sing of transformation with Mary.

Adele Finney wrote this advent resource. She was born into a fifth-generation farming community. Important “edge” places of learning for her have been in the theatre as actor and playwright, in the intentional Christian Community Friends of Jesus in downtown Toronto, and in spiritual direction. To sign-up for the daily Advent reflection delivery to your inbox, please visit our diocesan website at
http://www.vancouver.anglican.ca/diocesan-resources/2018-advent-resource. A printable pdf booklet will be available for download on November 1st, 2018.
Last Week’s Celebration: I want to take a moment to extend my sincerest appreciation to all parishioners, families and friends who joined me in celebrating my ordination anniversary. Thank you for the part that you have played in making this such a special event. It was such a lovely worship service, and I am truly blessed to be surrounded by the people of St. Michael’s. I appreciate all the support and prayers you have offered to me.

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