Sunday Reflection & Rector’s Corner

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments “John 14:15. It seems that Jesus has set a conditional statement prior to His Ascension to the Father. Perhaps, we, people of the resurrection, could look at this statement more of a reassurance to our faith. What do I mean by that?
If we are to ask the same question, do some church people set conditions before they engage themselves into the mission of the church. Do we say, “God, I will serve in the parish choir if you promise a successful career for me and my children.”
I do not think that Jesus questioned the faithfulness of His disciples.  This passage reaffirms the love Jesus shared with them throughout their shared public ministry. It is also an assurance that LOVE will continue to keep them together in the next phase of their faith journey.
Some of us may have asked why we keep on coming to our parish church. Why do we need to express our faith in God through common worship? I think we have to express our love to God and our love to one another through constant witnessing of God’s love and proclaiming His word and Sacrament.
We are a people of the resurrection. We are a people called out by God to proclaim His Kingdom and to love one another. It is our love for Jesus Christ that will keep His commandments in our hearts.
But it does not stop there. When we make our way to the altar and receive holy communion, we re-commit ourselves to build-up the kingdom of God. Then, ultimately out of the doors of the church where the real work begins. We are all called to be witnesses to the God we know – and our lives, our beings, our very essence should always reflect that. What is God calling us to proclaim in words and action? How can we be a channel of God’s love for all people?

Rector’s Corner: I continue to ask your prayers for our church family and friends, especially for our brother Hermon Pereira.

I also ask your prayers for Bishop Melissa Skelton, Tony Picher and all delegates to the Diocesan Synod this coming weekend.

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Sunday Reflection

“Do not let your hearts be troubled.” John 14:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid”, he says a little later. John 14:27 Words of comfort to the disciples at the Last Supper.  We would surely prefer to not be troubled or afraid, but the world we live in gives us plenty to be troubled about and afraid of.  If we’re not troubled or afraid, at least sometimes, we’re not paying attention.
Our Psalm for this morning [Ps. 31]: “In you, O Lord, have I taken refuge…” And another Psalm: “My soul clings to you…” In you, O Lord, have I taken refuge…my soul clings to you, O Lord.  The main thing in our religion is not the ‘what’ or the ‘how’ or the ‘when’, it’s the You-You with a capital Y.  We cling to You, we take refuge in You, O Lord.
Our religion, at its best, is about God, about our relationship to God.  But religion per se is not God.  “In you, O Lord, have I taken refuge,” the Psalmist says-not in my religious practise, not in my religious beliefs.  In you, O Lord, have I taken refuge.  It’s the “you”, it’s God himself that is the object of our searching, the object of our desire, the culmination of our deepest aspirations.  Religion is how we got there.  A means to an end.  That which points to something greater.
If there is a You component of our faith, a You we cling to, a You we take refuge in, there is also a We.  We come before the You as a We.  We come before the You as a We even when we’re alone.  We’ve been given to one another in the Body of Christ, as the Body of Christ.  We don’t stand along.
Can we cling to the We? Can we take refuge in the We?  We are less than God, to be sure.  But as the Body of Christ the We has a very special place in the scheme of things. We who have been given to one another as the Body of Christ—and if we are the Body of Christ, we are the presence of Christ to one another.  Even if he seems to have gone missing.

You, We – Br. Mark Brown, SSJE 

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Sunday Reflection & Rector’s Corner

Sunday Reflection: On this Fourth Sunday of Easter, we encounter the Good Shepherd who is really the beautiful or noble shepherd who knows his flock intimately. In all three liturgical cycles the Fourth Sunday of Easter presents a passage from John’s Gospel about the Good Shepherd.

This ideal image of the shepherd finds its fulfillment in Jesus Christ. Today’s Gospel passage presents to us one of the deepest mysteries of the human spirit.  Faith, the ability to hear and to follow a call, is a gift to Jesus and a gift to the followers of Jesus.  Why are some capable of hearing that which leads to faith?  Why are some capable of recognizing the Father in the words of Jesus?  The only answer presented is that faith is a gift.  Our God and his Son are shepherds that care for us and know us and even love us in our stubbornness, deafness and diffidence. Do we really rejoice in hearing the voice of the Good Shepherd?

Rector’s Corner: I would like to thank you all for supporting our spring potluck fellowship last night. Special thanks to James and Jaithra for sharing the work they do for their home parish in India. It was indeed a blessing for St. Michael’s to know more about your mission and ministry as one big Christian family in this world.

The 117th Synod of the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster will be on May 26 and 27 in Vancouver. Our brother, Tony Picher, is our official Synod delegate. If you have concerns related to the life and works of our parish, please get in touch with Tony. Our hope is to take these concerns to Synod. I also ask you to pray for our Bishop, The Right Reverend Melissa Skelton, and all delegates to Synod as we continue to discern God’s calling to our ministry.

This year’s Tri-Parish Eucharist and Picnic will be on June 18th at Bear Creek Park. Come and Join us for a day of prayer, food and fun!

 

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Sunday Reflection

Athanasius: Bishop of Alexandria, Teacher of the Faith, 373 – Memorial, 2 May

Athanasius is one of the great heroes of the Christian tradition. As bishop of Alexandria from the year 328 until his death forty five years later, he defended the faith of the Church against a heresy known as Arianism.

The Arians taught that God’s only Son, the Word who became flesh as Jesus Christ, was not truly divine. Athanasius realized that this doctrine undercut the Christian assurance of salvation, because it meant that humans had no way of sharing in the very life and glory of God. But because the Word who became flesh was indeed true God, “one in Being with the Father,” all may enter into his own eternal union with the Father and the Holy Spirit. That is why Athanasius was so harsh against the Arians — he was fighting for the reality and the fullness of our salvation.

But the Arians had the support of several Roman emperors, and many other bishops saw nothing wrong in trying to reach a compromise which the Arians could accept. Athanasius stood firm — at times he even seemed to stand alone, and “Athanasius against the world” became a by-word of the age. He endured five periods of exile, yet his popularity among the citizens of Alexandria was so great that the Emperor once had to recall him in order to avoid insurrection in the city. The Church itself finally vindicated his stalwart witness, and it is due to him, more than to any other teacher, that we still have the Nicene Creed.

Prayer: O God, by the grace of your wisdom your blessed servant Athanasius stood fast against all error and false compromise in defense of the true divinity of our Saviour Jesus Christ. Stir our hearts to ponder your Word, and grant us never to faint or fear in our proclamation of your saving mystery; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is one with you and the Holy Spirit, true God, now and for ever. Amen.

“The Word was with God, and the Word was God; and the Word became flesh and lived among us.”  John 1.1, 14 (For All the Saints, The Anglican Church of Canada)

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Sunday Refection

The Anglican Church of Canada

39 Articles of Religion

IV. Of the Resurrection of Christ.

Christ did truly rise again from death, and took again his body, with flesh, bones, and all things appertaining to the perfection of Man’s nature; wherewith he ascended into Heaven, and there sitteth, until he returns to judge all Men at the last day.”

Reflection: A week ago we celebrated the Resurrection of Christ. A Part of our liturgy was the renewal of our Baptismal Vows and the blessing of Holy Water. Have you ever wondered why we have been doing this ritual on our Easter day worship service?

I would like to believe that we are an Easter church. Whenever we profess The Apostle’s Creed and say, “He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again.” is a constant declaration of what we believe in as baptized Christian. It is also an affirmation of our faith as a church. We are a people gathered, transformed and sent to proclaim the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

First, we are an Easter church because we proclaim that Christ has died, Christ is risen and Christ will come again. We use these words to declare our belief. This is our Christian identity.

Second, we are an Easter church because we are a loving and serving community. We use actions to assist people on how they could deeply understand the love of Jesus Christ for all of us. Our faith should not only serve our spiritual needs but also the needs of people that we meet every day.

These two-fold Christian spirituality that we possess are gifts from God in order to carry-out our mission. It starts in our prayer life and ends in places where God sends us. We are nurtured in the Eucharist to bring the goods news of the resurrection. We are also commission to be agents of transformation in society. “This Jesus God raised up, and of that all of us are witnesses.” Acts 2:32.

What do you think should be our prayer in terms of being an Easter church?

Fr. Louie

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Easter Message

The angel said, “Go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘Jesus has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.” Matthew 28:7N.R.S.V.

Some stories need to be told again and again. So it is with the story of Easter, a story that reminds us that we belong to God and that Jesus is out ahead of us, calling us to God’s future, writes a managing director at Leadership Education at Duke Divinity.

As a parish congregation, we do not just come to our church and worship. After we have received the body and blood of Jesus Christ, we are expected to proclaim through our words and actions the love of God on our life. Then, we participate in the mission of Jesus Christ by telling our own stories. Your stories are spiritual testimonies that should inspire people to re-strengthen their faith to God.

Bishop Melissa Skelton wrote: The story of Easter is about this: God’s loyalty and love will never fail. God’s liberating power, as strong as an earthquake, continues to break open every sealed tomb, to lay low every guard posted to keep the lid on, and to vanquish every Empire that would hold us, or others in thrall.

I believe that Easter is about telling our own faith story to people that we meet in our daily lives. The message of the resurrection is that we are called by God to make public the love of Jesus Christ in our journey. Just like the woman in Matthew’s gospel, she was asked by an angel to tell Jesus’ disciples that ‘Jesus has been raised from the dead’ This is my message for you. Go and tell people the name of Jesus Christ! Amen.

Alleluia, Christ is risen! The Lord is risen Indeed, Alleluia!

Happy Easter!

                                                                         The Revd. Louie Engnan

                                                                         Rector, St. Michael’s, Surrey

 

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Sunday Reflection & Rector’s Corner

Question: Ask God for help in being aware of the choices you are making which contribute to the suffering of others. What actions could you take to transform that suffering?

In the Rite of Holy Baptism, the candidates are first presented by name.  They are then asked a question, “What do you seek?”  At the time of their response, they say, “I do” and they are asked to make baptismal vows.  This is an electrifying and very powerful moment in the baptismal rite when it is used in its fullness.  The candidates make three renunciations of evil in all its forms.  “I renounce them.  I renounce them.  I renounce them,” as they face to the west.  Then they are invited to turn, to turn to the east, toward the rising sun, as they are asked to turn to Christ as their Savior, to trust in his grace and love, and to obey Him as Lord.  “I do.  I do.  I do.”

We’re committed, right from the first by God’s love, to this awareness of the world as it is, not as we would have it.  We are reminded each Lent on Ash Wednesday, in the litany of penitence, how we can become complicit in the evil which we have renounced, or become lax in the ways in which we follow Christ.  We confess our appetites and desires that in various ways ignore others and exploit other people.  We also speak of our carelessness and pollution of God’s environment and creation, and our lack of concern for others who are to come.

We’re called to this new awareness, this Christ awareness, that we may be transformed, and we transform the world to God’s vision.  Ask God for help in being aware of the choices you’re making which contribute to the suffering of others.  What actions could you take to transform that suffering? 5 Marks of Love by Br. Jonathan Maury

Rector’s Corner

I invite you and your families to come and participate in our Holy Week Services. While it is true that we live in a society that is predominantly secular, we just cannot discount the fact that Jesus came into the world for us and manifested the true meaning of love and forgiveness. Let this inspire us to pray and act as God’s loving and compassionate children.

Everything that we believe in and do together as a faith community, has meaning because of the Resurrection.

Holy Week and Easter Day are ideal moments to once again invite our family and friends to worship with us in our parish of St. Michael’s, Surrey.

Let us Pray: Holy and immortal God, as we enter into this holy week turn our hearts to Jerusalem, so that, united with Christ and all the faithful, we may enter the city not made with hands, your promised realm of justice and peace, eternal from age to age.  Amen.

A Prayer Book for Australia 1995 alt.

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