Sunday Reflection

The fact that this story centers around a man controlled by demons can be a challenging issue for modern readers. The text has enough detail to make it very approachable for us, and it appears in the gospels written by Mark and Matthew, which suggests that it was widely circulated in the early Christian communities. All of this makes it very difficult to dismiss it outright as fantasy. If we set aside our own notions of what a demon is and focus on the man himself, we see someone who is cut off from his family and community, who has to be chained up in a place no one else will go for everyone’s safety, and who lives out his existence in horrendous conditions. While we may not use the term demon in the same way, we still have individuals who live like this today. Jesus not only heals this man physically and spiritually, but also teaches him and sends him back to his family to proclaim the message of the gospel! This provides tremendous hope for us on what a deeper relationship with Jesus means, but it is also a look at what the forthcoming kingdom of God will look like where the evil that crushes us physically and spiritually is defeated by the love and power of God and where our broken relationships are healed and restored. In the moment of our greatest need, Jesus will be there ready to meet us and heal us where we are.

• Have you ever experienced something that you could describe as a “demon”? Was your faith helpful in dealing with it?

• This man showed tremendous gratitude to Jesus by sitting at his feet and asking to become his disciple. Describe a time that you felt gratitude. What happened and how did you respond to that feeling?

Prayer: O Lord, make us have perpetual love and reverence for your holy Name, for you never fail to help and govern those whom you have set upon the sure foundation of your loving-kindness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (Resources are from Sermons that Work)

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Sunday Reflection

Sunday’s Reflection: God becomes known to us in three ways. God is the creator, without whom nothing would exist. We know God supremely and most fully in Jesus Christ, the human face of God, God in so far as he can be contained in a truly human life. And the God whom Jesus shows us is still with us and in us.

The theology of the Christian faith confesses that the one God exists primarily in three ways, which Church sums up by the doctrine of the Trinity, the three ‘persons’ in the one Godhead, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (also often referred to as Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier). This way of speaking does not explain the being of God but is the best human language can do to point to the mystery of who God is.

 This doctrine reminds us, as Christians, that the mystery of God is revealed to us in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and it invites us to explore this gracious mystery as disciples of this Jesus.

The church took several centuries to work out a reasonably acceptable way to express the complex relation of Father, Son, and Spirit. The nearly complete doctrine of the Trinity announced at Constantinople in 381 held that God is one Being (ousia) in three equal and consubstantial persons or hypostases: the Father uncreated, the Son uncreated but begotten, the Spirit proceeding from the Father (and, in the western version of the Creed, the Son). The Athanasian Creed states that “we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance”

  • How are you in relationship with God, with Creation, and yourself?
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Sunday Reflection

We commemorate Jesus Christ’s ascension into heaven by celebrating Ascension Day, which occurs on the Thursday, 40 days after Easter. This year, it took place on May 26. Many Canadian Anglican parishes already observe Ascension Sunday instead of Thursday.

The Ascension marks the conclusion of Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances. It is the final elevation of his human nature to divine glory and the near presence of God.

In the Book of Common Prayer, the lesson for Ascension Day is from the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 1, and here we specifically hear that Jesus appeared to his apostles for 40 days following his resurrection, and that he spoke to them of the kingdom of God. Jesus told them to be witnesses of him both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the world. As he was speaking, he was taken up and received into a cloud. They were then given assurance that Jesus will come again, even as he had then ascended from their sight.

Christ’s ascension into heaven, and the fact that it was witnessed, is important to us as Christians, because of the assurance that Jesus is alive, and has gone to sit at the right hand of God as an advocate and representative for us.

GRANT, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that like as we do believe thy only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ to have ascended into the heavens; so we may also in heart and mind thither ascend, and with him continuously dwell, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen. (B.C.P., 1962)

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Sunday Reflection

 Sunday’s Reflection:  1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them as their God; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; 4he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.” 5And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also, he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning, and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.” Revelation 21.

This passage describes the revelation of heavenly Jerusalem. A revelation or apocalypse is generally a first-person narrative in which the writer relates one or more visions about the future and/or the heavenly world. 

In the Revelation to John, particularly in today’s passage, we have an example of Christian visionary literature built on the foundations of Jewish apocalypses. The image of the divine throne and the precise layout of the heavenly city contain echoes of Ezekiel 1 and Ezekiel 40-42, while the new heaven and a new earth and the absence of weeping and crying are echoes of Isaiah 65.  Indeed, even the reference to the holy city Jerusalem supports an essentially Jewish frame of reference. References to the testimony of Jesus Christ and the seven churches of Asia suggest that the writer was a Christian prophet of Jewish origin. His historical context may have included both the destruction and loss of Jerusalem and the Temple by the Romans in 70 C.E., and persecution of the Jewish followers of Jesus. Some of the text of the Revelation to John is built on graphic images of destruction. Yet the text as a whole is a glorious act of worship, telling a story of God’s enduring presence in the salvation offered by Jesus Christ. The vision ends on a note of hope and faith.

Meditate on this poetry for a few moments. What do these words mean for you? How might you use them in your day-to-day context?

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Sunday Reflection

Sunday’s Reflection: Who is Jesus of Nazareth? It is a question that is at the very heart of our faith as Christians. Is Jesus the Messiah? We can hear this passage and rest assured that we have heard the voice of Jesus and so we follow him and, therefore, experience eternal life and the safety that comes with it. Having heard his voice, we know ourselves to be his sheep. From that perspective, this passage can be one of comfort and solace.

However, we could also hear this with concern—how can I be sure that I am following Jesus’ voice? In a world where things move so quickly and there are so many competing voices, how do we know that we are following Jesus’? Jesus reminds his audience and us that they should know that he is the Messiah because of his works. His works are always about restoration, liberation, inclusion, healing, and justice; they are the works that create a just community. As we seek to live into the Resurrection and to follow the voice of the Good Shepherd Jesus, we will know that we are following his voice when we are also working towards restoration, liberation, inclusion, healing, and justice from which flow abundant life.


Mother’s Day Message: “A man may work from dusk to dawn, but a woman’s work is never done.”

Undoubtedly, moms deserve to be celebrated because they’re always putting others ahead of themselves. Mother’s Day is the perfect opportunity to stop and reflect on all of her hard work.

Of course, Mother’s Day isn’t just a day for celebrating your own mother. It’s a day for honoring all the women in your life who support and nurture you, from your sister to your grandmother. It’s also a chance to wish a happy Mother’s Day to your mother-in-law, whose loving care helped shape the person you chose to marry.

Sometimes, the best way to thank Mom is with a simple and heartfelt, ‘Thank you’ and ‘I love you’. 

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Sunday Reflection

Sunday’s Reflection: This passage is full of rich details, isn’t it? Nathanael is from Cana; maybe he was the groom of the wedding? Peter is naked. The fire is a charcoal fire, not a wood fire. The number of fish is 153. We also know the story takes place early in the morning, which is the best time to catch fish. But none of these details is as important as the answer Jesus seeks: “Do you love me?” “Feed my sheep.” “Follow me.”

In Matthew 28:16 Jesus told the disciples to go to Galilee to wait for Him. Perhaps while they were waiting, they decided to pass the time fishing, since they didn’t know how long it would be until Jesus  came. Another possibility is that they are simply returning to their old lives. They were spending time together in common life, not only at religious meetings, which is good.

There is an important lesson for us to learn here. The things that are impossible with people are possible with God. Just like the disciples, we must learn to rely on God for everything and not our own wisdom, expertise, or strength. When we do ministry, we must rely on God. When we share the gospel, we must rely on God. We must rely on God for our salvation and for everything spiritual. We cannot be successful in anything without God’s help, even the things we consider we are the best at.

But notice that Jesus gave the disciples and us, not only Peter, but a job to do. Jesus said, “Feed my lambs, Tend my sheep, and Feed my sheep.”

The gospel today ended with these words, “Follow me.” What should you do? What should we do? 

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Sunday Reflection

John 20:19-31. This piece of scripture offers a tantalizing one-liner at the end: “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe…”

The last few years have left many of us shaken: war threatens again in Europe, COVID rates rise and fall, economic uncertainties continue to nip at our heels. We want reassurance: we want to touch the promised miracle, like Thomas was able to touch the resurrected body of Christ. We believe, but we struggle to find that peace that Jesus promised his followers when he appeared to him after the resurrection.

However, this passage shows us that our bodies matter: Jesus appeared to his friends enfleshed. Perhaps his body was not the same after his crucifixion and resurrection, but the fact he came embodied is not just coincidence: it’s a mark of our Incarnational theology. With his body, Jesus breathes on his disciples and touches them. He brings with his body his peace. As his modern disciples, it is our job to embody Christ’s peace and bring it to the world.

Where do you find the embodiment of Christ’s peace in your life? Where do you embody it for others? Where can you seek it out in places you haven’t before?

By: Kristen Ostendorf, The Episcopal Church. 

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Sunday Reflection

The detailed account of Mary Magdalene’s response to Easter morning in John’s Gospel feels relatable in numerous ways. She notices that something is wrong or unexpected, in the stone rolled away from the tomb. She notifies others, as the duties to which she is likely there to attend to can’t occur without a body. And when the others she gathers return to their homes, she remains and weeps, her grief of the last few days perhaps compiled at this moment of real, physical loss and confusion.

What we as the reader know has occurred falls outside of Mary’s ability to comprehend— all that makes sense at this moment is the body of her teacher being taken, a tragedy in itself. She is asked by the two angels and then by Jesus, whom she does not yet recognize, why she is weeping. In Jesus’ question of “Whom are you looking for?” is a call back to the first question Jesus asks in John: “What are you looking for?” (John 1:38). Again, we as the reader of this text might be able to make this connection, but Mary does not realize to whom she is speaking until Jesus calls her by name. In hearing her name in her teacher’s voice, Mary’s eyes are opened to who this person is. Jesus encourages her to not hold on to him, for his work of ascension is not complete, but instead to turn toward her brother and sister disciples to share the good news of what she has seen. We are called to remember that part of the resurrection is letting go of what has been so that the opportunity for something new to flourish is possible. How are you being called to be aware of the unexpected, beyond comprehension ways that the things you seek may show up in your life?

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Easter Message from Bishop John

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Sunday Reflection

Sunday Reflection: In this year’s lectionary, we do not have the triumphal entry into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. There is no waving of branches and declaring him the Messiah. Instead, this passage focuses on his torture and death. In the longer version, we do have the institution of the Lord’s Supper. Often the trial (Luke 23:1-25) is read aloud with members of the congregation crying in unison, “Crucify, crucify him!” (v. 21). It is by joining our voices together that we are recognizing our sinfulness and our complicity in sins, even when we did not commit them ourselves. Jesus, even as he is dying, is offering forgiveness. He says, “Forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). Who is Jesus forgiving? Although the immediate context references the people beating him and stealing his clothes, might there be others in that story who need forgiveness? Does Peter need to be forgiven for denying him? Do the people crucified with him need to be forgiven? Is this a blanket statement of forgiveness? This passage from Luke, especially if it is read aloud by the members of the church, reminds us that we take part in the act of crucifying Jesus. This Palm Sunday is one of recognizing the depths of our own sinfulness and our need for the forgiveness and grace Jesus offers us, even when we do not know we need it.

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