Sunday Reflection & Rector’s Corner

Sunday Reflections: The repeated journey to the well, is a real toil, which is why she wants to stop coming to draw her water. But it is not hard to deduce that she is weary about plenty of other things, as well. Weary of men (you have had five husbands and the one you have now is not your husband – John 4:18). In other words, “I’ve made a mess of love, and partnerships, and sex and I can no longer be bothered taking my fellow human being seriously.” Weary of religion (our ancestors worshipped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem –  John 4:20). In other words, “Who can be bothered taking religion seriously, with all these stupid disagreements?”

But then, something changes for this broken woman, for whim “nothing is as I would wish it to be.” Something changes at the well, when it is “about noon.” For at the well is someone else, weary and in need, but whose weariness comes not from cowardice but courage-the courage to live out a God-given vocation, one that will lead inevitable and inexorably to Jerusalem and the Cross. (by The Very Rev. Dominic Barrington, Living Well through Lent, pg. 35.)

Rector’s Corner: I have received some feedback about the changes made with regards to our Sunday gatherings in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. Again, these measures were put in place to help one another be safe, and keep our church community protected from the spread of this virus.

Below please find a treasure of prayer resources that you may use during the COVID-19 outbreak. These selections are courtesy of Archdeacon Richard Leggett.  All come from the Evangelical Lutheran Worship:  Occasional Services for the Assembly (2009).

Anxiety, apprehension, fear [OSA, p. 401] Almighty and merciful God, you are the only source of health and healing; you alone can bring calmness and peace.  Grant to us, your children, a consciousness of your presence and a strong confidence in your love. In our pain, our weariness, and our anxiety, surround us with your care, protect us by your loving might, and permit us once more to enjoy health and strength and peace; through Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen.

Chronic illness [OSA, p. 288] Loving God, your heart overflows with compassion for your whole creation.  Pour out your Spirit upon Nand all people living with illness for which there is no cure, as well as their families and loved ones.  Help them to know that you claim them as your own; deliver them from fear and pain; and assist us in ministering to their needs; for the sake of Jesus Christ, our healer and Lord.  Amen

Health care providers [OSA, p. 298] Merciful God, your healing power is everywhere about us.  Strengthen those who work among the sick; give them courage and confidence in all they do.  Encourage them when they are overwhelmed with many pressing needs or when their efforts seem futile.  Increase their trust in your power to bring life and wholeness even in the midst of death and pain and crying.  May they be thankful for every sign of health you give, and humble before the mystery of your healing grace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

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Sunday Reflection & Rector’s Corner

“Courageous in God’s Eye”

(by The Revd. Theodora Nmade Brooks)

Whenever we witness or are told about an incredible act of courage, we celebrate and cheer the individual(s).  But often as we do so, deep within us is a silent insistent voice telling us that we are NOT as strong or courageous!  It is easy to assume that, unlike us, these heroes are gifted.  Holy Scripture is full of heroes, people whom we think had incredible spiritual gifts that we mere mortals do not have.  Or so we think.

The definition of courage is, “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.”  If this is the case than we can breathe a sigh of relief because this definition expands our narrow understanding of who can be a hero and who is courageous.  What we do not see in the media, nor does our inner critic consider, are those agonizing moments when you and I toss and turn questioning God, questioning our next steps, trying to rationalize and agonizing over whatever situation in which we find ourselves.   Do we really think Abraham immediately started packing when God told him to leave his community?  Did Nicodemus go to see Jesus that night because it was his only free evening?  “No” to both questions.

They had to face their doubts and fears and that took courage! The assurance from God we find in Psalm 121 reads like a mantra someone in ancient times repeated over and over in order to face their own fears, and to this day we continue to recite it in times of fear and doubt.

Friends you may not make the news but you ARE courageous! Do you remember times when you felt so alone, agonizing nights when the walls were the silent witness to your prayers, confusion, sense of hopelessness, and tears? What about those times when you dreaded making a certain call or having THAT conversation? It takes a whole lot of courage to be in a tough place and deal with hard decisions and circumstances. Abraham did not immediately call the moving company, nor did Nicodemus confidently walk over to Jesus’ house.  They struggled, and thank God they did!

As we continue our Lenten journey, take time to remember those times in your life when YOU struggled and forgive yourself for not seeing how strong and courageous you were! There were not cameras, only silence; no confetti, just our tears; no adoring crowds, only our fears and insecurities. Yet, that’s alright because in the eyes of God we are courageous, strong, and quite capable of withstanding fear and difficulty! Yes, a person running into a burning building and bringing out a child is courageous and a hero. But guess what? So are you!

 

Rector’s Corner: Welcome back to The Revd. Sue Foley- Currie! Thank you for leading our Sunday Services. I encourage you all to extend your usual hospitality to our former minister.

Our People’s warden and I met with a “potential” new member of our parish congregation. I thought we had a very fruitful and prayerful meeting. We have discussed a few topics related to family relationships and to our church life. Perhaps, you may consider joining our pastoral team and offer some support, prayers and presence to people who need spiritual counsel particularly this Lenten season.

I also would like to share with you about our Wednesday Mid-Day Prayer. We started last week and to me it was a rewarding moment to pause for a few minutes in the middle of our busy lives and pray to God. We invite you all to join us next Wednesday, 10:00am, in the church sanctuary.

I have had the time to visit again a member of our parish. Please continue to offer healing prayers for all people mentioned in our prayer list. Please continue to keep them in your thoughts.

If I may remind you, our parish vestry passed a motion to start looking into the possibility of hosting a community garden in the church grounds. Next Sunday, Parish council meets. If you have any thoughts about this, please send them to the wardens or to any member of church council.

Again, to protect ourselves and other people in the church, please wash your hands when you come in to the church prior to communion. Please avoid intinction (the action of dipping the bread in the wine/chalice at holy communion) as part of our safety measures. Thank you!

Louie

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Sunday Reflection & Rector’s Corner

“Wilderness” (by The Rt. Revd. Mariann Edgar Budde)

Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Matthew 4:1

The wilderness is a place of trial and vulnerability.  It wasn’t an easy place for Jesus, and it isn’t an easy place for us whenever we find ourselves in a wilderness of our own.

Sometimes we go to the wilderness of our own accord because we know that it’s time to make a change.  So, we muster our courage and call the doctor to schedule a physical, reach out to a relative we haven’t spoken to in years, or pray for the grace to forgive ourselves for something we’ve done.

Other times the wilderness comes to us, without warning.  The telephone rings and suddenly life as we’ve known it is over.  I don’t believe that God causes those unwelcome wildernesses to appear, but I know that God is there to see us through, and that he provides us with the courage it will take to navigate the unfamiliar and sometimes frightening terrain.

Through is an important concept when it comes to the wilderness, for it is not our final destination.  We travel through the wilderness on our way to somewhere else.  But before we leave, the wilderness has a pearl of great price to impart.

The first wilderness temptation is to try and get out as quickly as we can.  It’s an understandable response, given our discomfort, but it guarantees that we will learn nothing from our experience.  We leave the wilderness unscathed and revert to our old patterns in life.

The second wilderness temptation, however, is to stay too long.  In particular, after an experience of grief or trauma, the wilderness can become a familiar place where little is required of us. Yet invariably, there comes a moment when we must decide to leave the wilderness, even when we don’t feel ready for life on the other side.

Wilderness is a place of transformation.  We need to stay long enough to allow it to change us, or to accept the change that is thrust upon us.  However, we get there, we go to the wilderness to learn what we must learn and accept what we must accept.  Then it’s time to find the courage to move on.

Jesus learned a lot about himself in the wilderness, and we learn a lot about him.  What we learn is that Jesus will always put God’s will first.  He will never use his power to overwhelm or bully us. Ours is a Saviour who knows our vulnerabilities because he took them on himself.  He knows our wilderness, has been there himself.  And he offers us the courage and the strength that comes through vulnerability as we make our way through the wilderness to transformation that’s promised to us on the other side.

 

2020 Annual Vestry Meeting: I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to all of you for participating at our recent Annual Vestry Meeting. It was indeed a day filled with prayers, fellowship and conversations that makes St. Michael’s thrive and fulfill its mission as a faith community. Again, I appreciate the effort of all who made our annual vestry meeting a success.

Ash Wednesday: I would also want to thank our parishioners for participating at our Pancake Supper and Church Service. May the start of the Lenten season give us some time to continue practising our prayers, bible reading and fasting.

Family Breakfast: Many thanks to our parishioners who supported our Tri-Parish Annual Family Breakfast. It was truly a blessing to the three churches to continue and work together in the name of Jesus Christ. We will let you know of our next collaboration.

Pulpit Exchange: Next Sunday, March 8, 2020, The Reverend Sue-Foley Currie and I have agreed to do a pulpit exchange. She will be leading both our Services here at St. Michaels’s and I will be at St. Mark’s Anglican Church, Ocean Park. Again, please extend your warm welcome and hospitality to our former minister.

Prayer Meeting: Just a friendly reminder that our parish will host a prayer meeting on Wednesday at 12:00 noon. We will be meeting in the sanctuary.

Lenten Devotionals: There are a few devotional resources for your personal meditation (or small group gathering) that are now available to use during this Lenten season. Most of them are FREE. Here is the link to follow.

https://www.vancouver.anglican.ca/diocesan-resources/lent-2020-resources

Yours in Christ,

The Venerable Louie Engnan

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Sunday Reflection & Rector’s Corner

Sunday Reflection: Jesus’ fearful disciples watch as he is transformed and shines with heavenly glory. What relationship can there be between Jesus’ transfigured glory revealed on this mountain and our spirituality as His followers? And what does it mean for us, Christian-Anglicans to follow a leader in our present church situation?

The transfiguration marks the midpoint in a series of scenes that define who Jesus is. At both his baptism and transfiguration the heavenly voice announces that he is God’s son. These two important events are captured in our celebration of the season of Epiphany.

The transfiguration claims his identity, and is already a future revelation of His Lordship sending out his disciples then, and all of us today, to teach and baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

The transfiguration scene resonates with reference to the Old Testament. It recalls Elijah’s encounter with God on the holy mountain. It brings to mind the revelation at Mt. Sinai and the cloud of God’s glory overshadowing both the mountain and the tent where Moses met with God. And it evokes Malachi 4, in which God commands the people to remember Moses’ words and says that Elijah will be sent on a mission of restoration before the day of the LORD.

The word of God comes to them now, not as a thunderous voice from heaven or letters written on tablets of stone, but in the words and actions of Jesus. The Son of God speaks to them as one human speaks to another, and they rise and follow him.

What would a mountaintop experience with God look like to you?

God commands the disciples to listen to Jesus. As we approach Lent, what are some ways we can be better listeners to Christ?

Pastoral Visitation: I am pleased to share with you that I had a good visit with a church member and a church family as well. They seemed to be in good spirits. They also wanted you to know how much they appreciate our prayers. Again, let us continue to offer our prayers for each and everyone one of us especially that we are now entering the Lenten season.

Lenten Resources: This Lent, choose from a number of recommended resources to take the journey from Ash Wednesday to Holy Week (February 26 – April 11, 2020). Choices include small group gatherings or individual study and they are available online and in print. You can check it out at, Lent 2020 Resources | Diocesan Resources | Anglican Diocese of New Westminster

2020 O.D.N.W.: The members of St. Michael’s “Order of the Diocese of New Westminster, O.D.N.W.” met for the purpose of nominating a parishioner to this year’s event. They have completed the nomination process and upon concurrence of our vestry, we will be endorsing the nominees’ name to the Archbishop’s Office.

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Sunday Reflection & Rector’s Corner

Sunday Reflection

The gospel today begins to turn the perspective of the disciples outside of themselves. They are not disciples for their own sakes, and their own actions, but for the sake of those around them as well. There is an accountability, a responsibility to the other for the sake of good of the community.

We know that when we live out a part of a Gospel, we are always preaching the name of Jesus Christ. This should be a reminder to all baptized. It is in Matthew that Jesus says, “23 So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.”

Nothing we do as Christians, as believers, should be separate from our worship life. It should be an action of what we pray to God, and to what we continue to read and reflect from holy scriptures. When we consider the people around us, perhaps then our actions might very well be shaped by the teachings, life and mission of Christ.

Spirituality is also about preaching the actions of our individual faith and as a community to the individuals we meet and have interactions during the week. What we do during the week should reflect on or give witness to the life of Jesus Christ. Christian revelation is also a manifestation of whom you are in relationship to God and to all of God’s people. When we start thinking and understanding that our actions not only reveal who we are but also the communities of which we are a part, we begin to feel the fellowship of what it means to be an Anglican member at St. Michael’s.

  • When you are praying or before coming to church for worship, what helps you to listen to God’s call through this passage from St. Matthew?
  • What does it mean for you to be blessed or happy? What brings you joy, peace, and hope in serving Jesus?

Parish leadership Team: I invite members of our parish to serve in the leadership team of St. Michael’s. Should you feel called to this ministry, you can talk to the Wardens or send a note to the church email at, saintmichaels@telus.net

Thank you! We would like to thank Father Paul Illical for leading our 10am worship service. Again, please extend your warm welcome and hospitality to our former rector.

2020 O.D.N.W.: The members of St. Michael’s “Order of the Diocese of New Westminster, O.D.N.W.” met last week. They are now in the process of endorsing a parishioner to be nominated for this year’s investiture service.

Lenten Resources: This Lent, choose from a number of recommended resources to take the journey from Ash Wednesday to Holy Week (February 26 – April 11, 2020). Choices include small group gatherings or individual study and they are available online and in print. You can check it out at, https://www.vancouver.anglican.ca/diocesan-resources/lent-2020-resources

 

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Sunday Reflection & Rector’s Corner

Sunday Reflection: “You are the salt of the earth…. You are the light of the world.” Don’t think this is about somebody other than you. Jesus isn’t talking to particular individuals. He’s talking to the crowds that have followed him from Galilee, the ten cities known as the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan. That means they’ve come from everywhere. They’ve come to see this one they’ve heard about. They’ve come to listen and learn, to be healed, and to have their lives put back together. They’ve come in search of meaning, direction, and purpose.

You and I stand among that crowd. We’re one of them. We’ve come today to see this one we’ve heard about. We’ve come to listen and learn, to be healed, and to have our lives put back together. We’ve come in search of meaning, direction, and purpose. Jesus’ words are as true and applicable today as they were two thousand years ago. “You are the salt of the earth…. You are the light of the world.”

Jesus doesn’t stop there, however. There are profound implications to being named salt and light. It means that we are to flavor the world. We are to season and transform human activity in such a way that it reveals God in this world. It means we are to help people better see God’s life in theirs. It means we are to enlighten the dark places of the world. You and I are the means by which God flavors and illuminates life and the world. If last week, the Feast of the Presentation, Christ’s gospel showed us to be God-receivers, this week Christ’s gospel shows and calls us to be God-givers, God-sharers.

Where is the salt and light in your life? What does it look like? How does it show up? There are probably as many expressions and manifestations of salt and light as there are people. Ultimately though, they always look like the life of Jesus Christ.

“You are the salt of the earth…. You are the light of the world.”

Michael K. Marsh, St. Philip’s Episcopal Church 

I have received a couple of requests to restart a bible study group in our parish. In consultation with the people’s warden and some parishioners, we will offer a mid-week gathering. One of the designs would be a bible study get together. Further details will be shared to you soon. Any suggestions are welcome.

You may be aware that in the past, we have had medical emergencies occur in our parish. Parish Council members have considered purchasing an Automated External Defibrillator (A.E.D.) for our church. It would be included in our 2020 Parish budget. If you wish to make a donation towards this project, the parish will be grateful to your contribution. Then, we will conduct a training on how to use an A.E.D.

Next Sunday, Father Paul Illical will lead our 10am worship service. Please extend your warm welcome and hospitality to our former rector.

I invite members of our parish to serve in the leadership team of St. Michael’s. Should you feel called to this ministry, you can talk to the Wardens or contact me at your convenience at, saintmichaels@telus.net

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Sunday Reflection & Rector’s Corner

The Presentation of the Lord: Luke the evangelist tells us that Jesus was presented in the house of God, as the Law of Moses required. He also records how the Christ-child was greeted by Simeon and Anna, two figures who represented Israel’s longing to see the Redeemer promised by God. The evangelist gave Simeon a song to sing, the Nunc dimittis, which acclaims Jesus as the saving Light of God. To symbolize the enlightening truth of Christ the western Church developed the custom of blessing candles on this feast — hence its other title, Candlemas.

The chief title of today’s feast, “The Presentation,” comes from the ancient Jewish law that every firstborn son had to be dedicated to God’s service. But the Law of Moses allowed parents to redeem their child by offering something else instead. In Jesus’s case, Mary and Joseph offered the redemptive substitute which the law appointed for the first-born of poor parents, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” Thus, paradoxically, the Redeemer himself was redeemed.

Many Christian writers have delighted to see the deepening of this paradox in the story of Simeon. In the fourth century, Ephrem of Edessa wrote: “When Simeon the priest received Christ into his arms and presented him to God, he understood that he was not offering Christ, but was himself being offered.”

In celebrating the feast of the Presentation, the people of the Church become like Simeon, who cradled the infant Light of salvation in the crook of his arm and knew him to be as fragile as a candle-flame. In baptism, in meditating upon Scripture, and in the Eucharist Christians cradle the same Light and take responsibility for the life of Christ in our world. And yet the paradox continues. Even as they hold Christ in their hands, they may discover that they are really in the crook of Christ’s arms, being presented by him in the sanctuary of God’s joy and glory. (The Anglican of Canada/For All the Saints) 

Rector’s Message: If you are wondering about the ongoing Outbreak of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-CoV) in Wuhan, China on what the church is doing in connection with our conduct of public worship, particularly the administration of the holy sacrament (bread and wine), last week, Archbishop Melissa Skelton announced during our regular clergy day meeting at the Synod office that she, together with some other people in our diocese, are now in the process of writing specific guidelines about the conduct of our public liturgy during this time. The safety of our congregation is the top priority of our church and we do not want our churches to be a place of transmission of this virus or any other disease that may impact the health of any one of us. We will inform you once we received the guidelines from the Archbishop’s office.  We would also like to ask your prayers for all the people affected by this virus. May God heal those people. And, that we may be safe and be protected from this outbreak.

You may be aware that in the past, we have had medical emergencies in our parish. Parish Council members have considered purchasing an Automated External Defibrillator (A.E.D.) for our church. It will be included in our 2020 Parish budget. If  you wish to make a donation towards this project, the parish will be grateful for your contribution. Then, we will conduct training on how to use an A.E.D.

I invite members of our parish to serve in the leadership team of St. Michael’s. Should you feel called to this ministry, you can talk to the Wardens or contact me at your convenience at, saintmichaels@telus.net

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