Sunday Reflection

WHO WANTS TO BE AN EVANGELIST? I wonder how many of us are willing to be God’s hands and feet to the world.  Perhaps, the concept about ‘evangelism’ has become a scary word for some of us.  It could be that evangelism is something we do not want to be associated with. However, looking at our mission statement, we have affirmed, as members of this congregation, that, “St. Michael’s Church seeks to know Christ and make Him known by continuing in the Apostles’ teaching and fellowship and exercising our faith by integrating justice, love and compassion in all ministries.
I wonder what does this mission statement mean to us, and, what is your idea of an evangelist today?
As Anglicans, we acknowledge that God is calling us to a greater diversity of membership, wider participation in ministry and leadership, better stewardship in God’s creation and a stronger resolve in challenging attitudes and structures that cause injustice.
What does it mean to you to have been commissioned by God and share His saving grace to all people? The Venerable Louie Engnan, Rector.

Pastoral Statement Regarding Flight 752

The Most Reverend Melissa Skelton, January 13, 2020

Dear People of the Diocese of New Westminster

At St. Christopher, West Vancouver on the morning of January 12, we celebrated the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus. I was privileged to be a part of the baptism of four Iranian-born people and the confirmation of those same men and women along with a larger number of Iranian-born Christians who are thrilled to have found the Anglican Church of Canada and St. Christopher’s. Before the liturgy began, one of the women to be baptized and confirmed read the following message to everyone gathered in the church (I have edited in the most minimal way).

“First of all, we are really thankful to people and government of Canada for their sympathy about the recent plane crash in Iran. A special thanks to Mr. Trudeau for his great efforts to push the Iranian government to clarify the painful facts for us. We would like to ask him to continue his attempts to bring peace to our country and to our region in this critical situation .

As you know, today is a great and unforgettable day for all of us. On this day, let’s pray for all people around the world to avoid war. There is nothing more odious than war, and the Iranian people hate it. Death and murder, demolition and ravage, bleeding, poverty, crying—all of these are the only results of it.

Let’s pray that all people live in a more peaceful world. And let’s pray that God and Christ bless the innocent people who were on that plane as well as the Canadian and Iranian people.”

I write to share these touching words with all of you and to join with the newly baptized and confirmed at St. Christopher’s in asking you to pray for all who died in the terrible tragedy of Flight 752, a plane shot down as it left Tehran. Please pray for their families and friends, for a cessation to the conflict in the Middle East and for a lasting peace both there and in other conflicted regions of the world.

May you and those you love continue to receive the light of Christ during these Sundays after the Epiphany,

+Melissa

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Sunday Reflection

What is baptism? Baptism is the sign of new life in Christ and unites Christ with his people. When we become baptized we make a commitment to follow Jesus Christ. We let go of our old ways of seeing others and ourselves. We learn to see one another through the eyes of Christ. We make a conscious decision to respect others and ourselves, to grow in our ability to live in harmony with others, and to forgive. We have a responsibility to resist evil in our own lives and to work to transform our society into a caring family centred on Christ’s passionate love for the world. At the time of baptism, the person is formally received as a member of the church, and may receive Holy Communion (or Eucharist).

What if I wish to become an Anglican but am already baptized?

Baptism in any Christian church or denomination in the name of the God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, is accepted by the Anglican Church of Canada. Anglicans do not re-baptize. Any baptized person may become a member of our church by regularly attending an Anglican parish and contributing to its life and ministry. In some parishes individuals new to the Anglican Church may wish to acknowledge Anglican membership publicly by participating in the services of confirmation or reception.

The Five Marks of Mission: All baptised are expected to live-out the following Marks of Mission. 1-To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom. 2-To teach, baptise and nurture new believers. 3-To respond to human need by loving service.  4-To seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation. 5-To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.

Resources are from the Diocese of New Westminster, Anglican Church of Canada.

 

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Sunday Reflection

Reflections on Epiphany Sunday:  Today in our parish we celebrate an episode which is recorded in the Gospel according to Matthew — the epiphany or “manifestation” of Christ to “wise men from the East.”

They were supposed to have special insight into the ways of nature, interpreting dreams and reading the stars in order to determine the will of their gods. But then the appearance of a strange star in the heavens manifested to them the birth of “the one who is born king of the Jews.”

In Matthew’s view, true knowledge of salvation was from the Jews, but it was a knowledge now available to the Gentiles as well. The star of Bethlehem was an evangelical symbol. Because it manifested Christ to the wise men and brought them to worship him, it represents the proclamation of the Gospel to the pagan nations outside Israel.

If the star of Bethlehem symbolizes the Gospel, the wise men symbolize something equally important — the obedience of the Gentiles, in contrast to the anxiety of the rulers and official teachers of Israel. The wise men started with nothing more than their learning in the ways of nature; and yet this same learning enabled them to respond to the light of divine revelation. The Christian tradition has seen in this story a sign of hope for everything that humans know and endeavour by the light of nature. For it means that no truth or wisdom in the created order is contrary to the revelation of God in Christ. On the contrary, so far as humans are obedient to the light they possess by nature, God will complete it and manifest its fulfillment with “the truth as it is in Jesus.”

(For All the Saints – The Anglican Church of Canada)

Prayer: Everlasting God, the radiance of all faithful people, you brought the nations to the brightness of your rising.  Fill the world with your glory, and show yourself to all the world through him who is the true light and the bright morning star, your Son, Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen. (Evangelical Lutheran Worship:  Leaders Desk Edition 2006)

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Sunday Reflection

“Jesus Is Named” Luke 2:15-21

According to Saint Luke, Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day after his birth, as the Law of Moses required. This is an event of tremendous religious importance for Jews. Circumcision entitles the newborn male to share in “the promise of mercy” which God “made to Abraham and his children for ever.” For this reason, Jewish custom sees it as the most suitable occasion for giving the child his name and thus a distinct presence in the community of God’s people.

Luke the evangelist made nothing of these Jewish beliefs in his account. He mentioned the circumcision of Jesus for one reason only: it fulfilled the last word of the Annunciation, when the angel told the Virgin Mary that the son she would bear should be named Jesus. Therefore, instead of commemorating the Circumcision of Christ, the Church observes the Gospel’s emphasis and celebrates January first — the eighth day after Christmas Day — as the Naming of Jesus.

Jesus is the Greek form of a Hebrew name, Yeshu’ (or Joshua), meaning “Yahweh saves.” And that fact has immense significance for the Church.

According to the Book of Exodus, God spoke to Moses out of the burning bush and called him to bring the Hebrew people out of Egypt. Moses asked the divine voice, “What is your name?” And God answered with the word “Yahweh,” which means “I am who I am.” Because this name was laden with all the holiness of the Almighty, the people of Israel developed the custom of never speaking it; whenever they met it in the text of Scripture, they spoke the Hebrew word for “Lord” instead. But when Mary gave birth to her child, “I am who I am” entered human life as “I am the One who saves.” God’s name became speakable for humans, because all the saving power of the Almighty was embodied in “the name of Jesus.” To take this name upon our lips — and still more, to manifest this name in our lives — is to become what Jesus is, human life in intimate communion with God.

“God spoke of old by the prophets; but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son.” Hebrews 1.1–2

Prayer: Eternal Father, we give thanks for your incarnate Son, whose name is our salvation. Plant in every heart, we pray, the love of him who is the saviour of the world, our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting.

The Venerable Louie Engnan

Rector, Saint Michael’s Anglican Parish, Surrey

 

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Sunday Reflection

Sunday Reflection: We begin with the genesis of Jesus in this gospel. We read this scene as an Advent text, but Matthew tells us here that it is Jesus’ birth narrative. It ends up working, because Matthew isn’t focused on the birth itself, but rather the identity of the one being born. Matthew’s focus is Christological.

Another unique feature of Matthew’s text is his focus on the role of Joseph. In Luke’s gospel, the focus is on Mary as the active parent and the one in dialogue with the angel of the Lord; in Matthew, we get a glimpse of Joseph’s side of the story. Matthew emphasizes the faithfulness of Joseph in the role of Jesus’ birth and presents him as a righteous man.

Matthew tells of Joseph’s journey as he finds out Mary is pregnant and tries to dismiss her quietly. Matthew records the angel of the Lord visiting Joseph to reveal the divine predicament in which they found themselves. Matthew’s gospel gives us a rare glimpse into the life and faithfulness of Joseph as he, in faith, takes Mary as his wife and serves Jesus as his earthly father and even accepts responsibility for naming him according to God’s command. We don’t see or know much of this man from the gospels. This week, it is worth slowing down and really paying attention to how Matthew portrays Joseph and what we can learn from him about faithfulness and obedience. What do you think it was like for Joseph raising Jesus, knowing that he was not his biological child?

Why do you think Joseph is overlooked in scripture? From what we read in Matthew, what can we learn from him? Amanda Payne, Sermon That Works 

 

We encourage everyone to bring your family and loved ones to our Services.

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Sunday Reflection

Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. James 5

As a child, I used to strategically unwrap my Christmas presents that were placed under the tree well before Christmas. I would carefully maneuver the tape off the edges and neatly unfold the wrapping paper on the ends hoping my deed would go undetected. I had a meticulous procedure and the steady hand of a brain surgeon. After I had taken inventory of the goods, I would then, with just as much care, reassemble the wrapping to leave no trace. I had no patience for the coming of Christmas morning. One could say that I was not a fan of Advent.

In the book of James, we see patience as the focal point. There are two words that I disdain greatly, especially when they are used together and directed at me: “Be patient.” My first thought is, “Easier said than done, do you realize you are talking to the Christmas present bandit?” But James gives us a new way to approach patience, which inspires hope even to Christmas present bandits. The hope that James describes for patience is not achieved by looking upward to some heavenly salvation, nor is it looking inwards to some sort of spiritual illumination, but instead he asks us to look at each other, directly and squarely in the faces of our neighbors.

The patience James is proposing is given by the Holy Spirit and deeply rooted in faith, but it is achieved through community. He exhorts us to strengthen our hearts as a community. We learn patience in suffering as we participate in a common life of faith with one another: not by grumbling, not by backbiting, but by watching and caring for one another.

Although patience is grounded in faith and is undoubtedly a gift of the Holy Spirit, James shows us that patience is also cultivated by deep compassion and love toward one another. Patience means sitting all together, looking longingly at the presents under the Christmas tree, and not grumbling that they can’t be opened right now, but rather strengthening each other’s hearts, in the hope that the day is drawing near when the greatest present of all will be revealed.

Who do you consider your community of faith? Who do you consider your neighbor? How can you nurture and encourage patience within these relationships? In what areas of your life do you see a lack of patience (e.g. finances, marriage, friendships, parenthood or relationships)? How can you allow God to stir your heart and expose bountiful grace and mercy? ✦ Amanda Payne, Sermon that Works.  

We encourage everyone to bring your family and loved ones to our Services.

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Sunday Reflection and Events

In the wilderness, where the wanderers and outcasts dwell, a furious John the Baptist rejects a group of priests coming for baptism and admonishes them to “bear fruit worthy of repentance”—an obvious refusal to be convinced by the Pharisees’ and Sadducees’ display of righteousness, even though they are considered to be the holiest groups in society during that period.

More than the outward displays of piety, baptism calls for a repentant heart. More than an obligatory adherence to temple law and order, baptism is an act of offering and surrender unto God. Thus, the rejection of the Pharisees and Sadducees can be understood in light of the baptism of Jesus. By his willful act to be baptized by John later in the text, a new and holy priesthood is realized.

I wonder if the season of Advent can be a fiesta for the coming of Christ, wherein the community of faith gathers in eager anticipation of him.

How do we “bear fruit worthy of repentance”? John the Baptist is considered to be the forerunner of Jesus Christ. How does the season of Advent challenge us to “prepare the way” for him?

2019 LEN SHEPHERD CHRISTMAS LUNCHEON: On Monday, December 16th 2019 at 1pm, the Tri-Parish Ministry of St. Helen’s, Church of the Epiphany and St. Michael’s will participate in their Christmas Luncheon.  We already have enough volunteers to help with set up, food finishing, serving and cleanup. We have also donated some money, desserts and gift bags for approximately 35 residents. We will also have caroling like last time. If you wish you can donate some monies to cover the cost for the luncheon.  Talk to Father Louie for further details.

2019 ADVENT CALENDAR AND RESOURCES: A daily email with meditations from Archbishop Melissa and Spiritual Directors of the Diocese during Advent will be available. Each day will include an Image, Hymn, or Poem that reflects Advent themes as well as a brief reflection. The sign up web link is, 2019 Advent Calendar | Diocesan Resources | Anglican Diocese of New Westminster

Advent and Christmas Special Events

 Dec. 15th – 10:00am – Service of Lessons and Carols

Dec. 22th – 10:00am – Christmas Pageant and Holy Communion

Dec. 24thChristmas Eve Service: 7:00pm – Carol Singing

7:30- Holy Communion and Candle Lighting Service

Dec. 25th – 10:00am – Christmas Morning Eucharist

We encourage everyone to bring your family and loved ones to our Services.

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