Reflections on Remembrance Day & Sunday Reflection

Reflections on Remembrance Day: Love is more than words; it’s more than a feeling; more than doing what’s easy and convenient. Love means getting down in the hold with someone to give them what they really need. It means getting dirty and being inconvenienced and it sometimes means “laying down your life for a friend” (John 15:13).

When we celebrate Remembrance Day, at churches and in arenas and at cenotaphs across our land, we remember that others laid down their lives so that we might be able to live with the freedom that we now enjoy. But the price was steep. In Churchill’s finely tuned words it was paid “in blood, sweat and tears”.

As Canadians, we are so blessed to live in a peaceful country. But we have not been shielded from the horrors of war; while, for some of us, our view comes from media – often a report of a soldier lost in some far away land; for others it is the terror that wracks a mother, a wife, a husband, a child, whose loved one is a life time away, wearing our flag – fighting in a place so far away as to be unreal, and sometimes losing a life for ideals that although bigger than any one individual, may bring small consolation to those attending a grave.
While in a peaceful and peace loving nation such as Canada, we are not immune from paying a price for our commitment to building a better world. Today, our hearts are with the families of fallen soldiers, and we pledge our support to those who return home, sometimes fractured in body in soul.
It is important that we remember that hate can build when power is found by suppressing the rights of any part of our population. In many ways, the battle lines have shifted – from more narrowly focused battles between countries, to conflicts between ideologies whose borders shift and change. A war between those whose hearts and views are open enough to wish more for all people, and those who would strip away rights, subjugate women, use rape as a tool of war and control, hold a power not freely given from a people, but stolen used for self-aggrandizement, for ego, for wealth.
Remembrance Day is a day to reflect on our shared values and individual histories, and on what we can learn from the past. Today, we ask each other to quietly reflect on what this day means to you, to honour those with the courage to engage when justice demands it, and most of all, to thoughtfully reflect on the role you can play in building a more just and peaceful world.

Prayer: Lord God of hosts, you clothed us your servant Martin with the spirit of sacrifice and set us in the midst of your Church as a guide in the path of holiness. Give us grace that we may be clothed with your righteousness in the dwellings of peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Sunday Reflection:  The gospel today continues a long line of reminders in Luke that we do not place value in the correct places in our earthly lives. The Sadducees were an aristocratic Jewish sect during Jesus’ time, often contrasted with the Pharisees. Historians describe the Sadducees as often being rude to their peers. As the passage indicates, they did not believe in the resurrection of the body or of the soul. They lay a trap for Jesus by invoking the Torah’s requirement that if a man should die before having children, one of his brothers should marry his wife. It was hoped that the woman would have a son so that the man’s family, and property holdings, could continue.

Yet Jesus deftly avoids the trap the Sadducees set for him by challenging the grounds for the question. Jesus reminds us that heaven will not be like earth. We are not able to comprehend just how different heaven will be from our earthly existence. We will not take the things we value with us into the afterlife. It reinforces Luke’s earlier messages about the importance of sharing our earthly abundance with the poor and suffering.

  • How do you picture God’s kingdom in heaven? How does it compare to your earthly life?
  • What parts of your earthly life do you value too highly? (Sermon that Works) 

 

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Sunday Reflection & Rector’s Corner

SUNDAY REFLECTION: All Saints

All Saints had its origins in the fourth century, when churches in the East began to celebrate “the feast of the martyrs of the whole world” on the Sunday after Pentecost. Several Western churches adopted this festival and kept it on various dates in April or May, but in the early Middle Ages the church of Rome assigned it the much later date of November first and broadened the feast to include all the saints. Western Christendom has followed this custom ever since. Saints are Christians who in various ways, often against great odds, showed an extraordinary love for Christ. The Holy Spirit acted in their lives so that they chose to bring aid to the needy, justice to the oppressed, hope to the sorrowful, and the divine word of forgiveness to sinners. For the sake of Christ, they were servants to the people of their day; and the service they rendered in the past makes them examples to the rest of the people of God throughout history. The Church also believes that our life on earth has eternal consequences; and so our remembrance of what the saints were is directed to what they are. It is the Church’s conviction — a conviction often expressed in the Anglican tradition — that the saints continue to be our partners and fellow-servants before the face of God’s glory. We pray for our present needs, and the saints pray with us — not as if their prayers were better than our own, but because they are still bound to us in mutual service as members of the one body of Christ. For this very reason, we may say of the Church’s saints what the Letter to the Hebrews says about the Old Testament saints — that they and their service shall not be perfect until all of God’s friends have answered the invitation of Christ and arrived at the banquet of glory. For that is the ministry of the saints in heaven as on earth: to help others become partners in the salvation of God. (For All The Saints) 

Rector’s Corner: 

WELCOME!  Let me take this opportunity to welcome back The Reverend Peter Smyth who will lead our worship services for this morning. Please extend your warm hospitality and kindness to Peter. Thank you!

 

2019 ADVENT CALENDAR: A Companion

Sign-up for a daily email in Advent with meditations from Archbishop Melissa and spiritual directors in the diocese.

Each day will include a selected image, hymn, or poem that evokes the actions of Advent: waiting, longing, anticipating, expecting, and preparing. The art is a means for awakening our imaginations to renew our journey through Advent once more.

Advent is usually the season to once again celebrate the coming birth of Jesus. Yet the scriptures and hymns also point us to the central event we are expecting in Advent: the future coming of Jesus Christ.

This is the time of fulfillment, the time of the kingdom in all its wholeness, the time of final judgement which brings justice and mercy to all.

This is the event we await in Advent. Sign-up for the daily email by visiting this website https://www.vancouver.anglican.ca/diocesan-resources/2019-advent-calendar. It’s free to subscribe. Emails will begin December 1, 2019.

About the contributors: Archbishop Melissa Skelton will offer the meditations for each Sunday in Advent. Each meditation will include a question for reflection that you can mull over for the day. Over fifteen different spiritual directors from throughout the diocese will offer the weekday reflections. Spiritual directors are lay and ordained people who have trained and are skilled in the ministry of listening, especially listening for the movement of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the people they companion. Spiritual direction has a long and rich tradition in the Anglican church.

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Sunday Reflection & Rector’s Corner

Sunday Reflection: ‘“Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart… For context, the section that appears before this parable in Luke’s Gospel is helpful, and we see that today’s reading forms the second part of a teaching that began in chapter 17: “The days are coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it” (Luke 17:22). Jesus’ teaching on the value of persisting in prayer is not to say that we should badger God until we get what we want, like the widow. Rather we are invited to consider that if even finite humans are capable of getting around to justice (even if for the wrong reasons), how much more is God ready to establish the justice of God’s kingdom? Today’s readings paint a picture of a God who has promised to establish a world where all live justly and in an intimate relationship with God. They encourage us to stand firm in our faith in that promise while continuing to pray for its fulfillment. Every Sunday, we pray, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done.”
What does it look like to persevere in praying for this in ways that are specific to your community? (Sermon that Works) 

Rector’s Corner:  Let me take this opportunity to welcome The Reverend April Stanley who will lead our worship services for this morning. Please extend your warm hospitality and kindness to April. Thank you!

Next Sunday, our worship services will observe All Saints and All Souls day. Prayer requests may be sent to the church email address, or you can leave a note to the prayer request box in our Sunday bulletin.

Sts. Simon and Jude: Apostles

Prayer: 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.

2019 ADVENT CALENDAR: A Companion

Sign-up for a daily email in Advent with meditations from Archbishop Melissa and spiritual directors in the diocese.

Each day will include a selected image, hymn, or poem that evokes the actions of Advent: waiting, longing, anticipating, expecting, and preparing. The art is a means for awakening our imaginations to renew our journey through Advent once more.

Advent is usually the season to once again celebrate the coming birth of Jesus. Yet the scriptures and hymns also point us to the central event we are expecting in Advent: the future coming of Jesus Christ.

This is the time of fulfillment, the time of the kingdom in all its wholeness, the time of final judgement which brings justice and mercy to all.

This is the event we await in Advent. Sign-up for the daily email by visiting this website https://www.vancouver.anglican.ca/diocesan-resources/2019-advent-calendar. It’s free to subscribe. Emails will begin December 1, 2019.

About the contributors: Archbishop Melissa Skelton will offer the meditations for each Sunday in Advent. Each meditation will include a question for reflection that you can mull over for the day. Over fifteen different spiritual directors from throughout the diocese will offer the weekday reflections. Spiritual directors are lay and ordained people who have trained and are skilled in the ministry of listening, especially listening for the movement of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the people they companion. Spiritual direction has a long and rich tradition in the Anglican church.

James Hannington 29 October, Bishop of Eastern Equatorial Africa, and His Companions Martyrs, 1885 — Commemoration 29 October

We remember James Hannington, the first Anglican bishop of Eastern Equatorial Africa, who was murdered with most of his company while trying to enter Uganda in 1885.

Hannington was raised in a wealthy Congregationalist family but in his youth conformed to the Church of England, went to Oxford, and chose to enter the ordained ministry. He combined two qualities which Victorians found especially attractive in their clergy — he was a first-class athlete as well as a priest with heartfelt religion. After five years in an English curacy, he volunteered his services to the Church Missionary Society for work in the Victoria Nyanza district. When the Society decided to organize this district into the diocese of Eastern Equatorial Africa, Hannington was their choice for first bishop. He was consecrated in June, 1884, and a year later was heading inland from Momba’sa with a large party of European and African Christians.

He hoped to open a more direct route to the people around Lake Victoria and, after two months on safari, decided to divide his party and proceed with a smaller group. Five days later, the bishop and his companions reached the eastern shore of Lake Victoria.

In the meantime, news of Hannington’s approach had reached Mwanga, the king of Buganda, who immediately ordered the European party to be seized. Hannington and his companions were ambushed, captured, and then subjected to privation and torture for over a week. On October 29, 1885, they were butchered. The bishop’s last words were: “Go, tell Mwanga I have purchased the road to Uganda with my blood.”

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Sunday Reflection

Sunday Reflection:

‘“Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart… For context, the section that appears before this parable in Luke’s Gospel is helpful, and we see that today’s reading forms the second part of a teaching that began in chapter 17: “The days are coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it” (Luke 17:22). Jesus’ teaching on the value of persisting in prayer is not to say that we should badger God until we get what we want, like the widow. Rather we are invited to consider that if even finite humans are capable of getting around to justice (even if for the wrong reasons), how much more is God ready to establish the justice of God’s kingdom? Today’s readings paint a picture of a God who has promised to establish a world where all live justly and in intimate relationship with God. They encourage us to stand firm in our faith in that promise while continuing to pray for its fulfillment. Every Sunday, we pray, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done.” What does it look like to persevere in praying for this in ways that are specific to your community? (Sermon that Works) 

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Sunday Reflection & Rector’s Corner

Sunday Reflection: ‘If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and planted in the sea”, and it would obey you.
This is a good opportunity to ask, What is faith, anyway? Jesus is saying that faith is not, fundamentally, something we quantify. Keep in mind that verse 6 is prompted by the apostles’ petition, “Increase our faith!” (verse 5).
Jesus’ response suggests that the apostles’ request is misguided. He pivots from the question of quantity to the question of sufficiency. Faith “the size of a mustard seed” is sufficient for even the most demanding tasks of discipleship. The mustard seed was known both for its miniscule size (1-2 millimeters in diameter) and for the contrastingly large, unruly bush that it produced. It was therefore the perfect metaphor for small beginnings leading to big results. But again, the point of Jesus’ metaphor (now quite mixed) is not to quantify faith as much as to affirm its power. God works through a modicum of faith to empower us to forgive even the most annoyingly repetitive sinners.  By approaching each ordinary task as an opportunity to live their faith, they discovered the extraordinary depth of God’s love for them and for the seemingly ordinary (but quite extraordinary!) people around them. (By: Ira Brent Driggers) 

Rectors’ Corner: We want to take this opportunity to thank our heavenly Father for allowing and giving us this wonderful time and opportunity to celebrate St. Michael’s 60th founding anniversary. I also want to take this chance to say thank you for your stewardship and participation that took place in the church recently.

We are very much overwhelmed by the support we received right from our Archbishop to the organizing team that made it possible for us to have the celebration to take place.

We appreciate for all those who took part and the resources that were used, we say thank you to the church members, families and friends, and our Lord who is in heaven who knows how much we feel right now.

We thank the church community for supporting us in prayers and all the warm greetings they all have sent to us.

We say thank you and God bless you. Yours in the Lord.

Louie+

 

Francis of Assisi: 4 October-Memorial. The thirteenth-century Italian whose greatest honour was to be known as il Poverello, “the little poor one of Christ.”

He grew up in a very wealthy family and seemed to have not a care in the world until he was twenty years old, when a chance encounter with a leper left him appalled by his own uselessness. Soon afterwards he heard Jesus speaking to him from a painting of the crucifixion over the altar of a local church. He threw away his wardrobe and renounced his father’s wealth in order to care for the poor and the crippled. In 1208 he heard the commission which the risen Lord gave to his apostles, “Go, make all nations my disciples,” and knew that it was also addressed to him. Francis began to train his followers for the task of making Jesus truly known and loved among the ordinary people of Italy. Out of this movement developed the Order of the Lesser Brethren, commonly called the Franciscans.

Francis cared deeply for his new Order, but he also grew restless as it became an established institution of the Church. He distanced himself from its day-to-day life and eventually went his own way as he strove to imitate Christ’s total obedience to God. Two years before his death he was granted a sign which manifested this desire. One September day in 1224, he had a vision of the Crucified borne on the wings of a seraph. As the vision withdrew, the wounds of Jesus appeared in Francis’s own flesh — the scars like nail-wounds on his hands and feet, and in his right side a scar like a spear-wound. These marks, called the stigmata, remained on Francis’s body until his death two years later.

 

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Sunday Reflection & Rector’s Corner

Sunday Reflection: Every human situation was, for Jesus, an opportunity to grow in wisdom.  The point of this passage is in the commendation of the dishonest steward, not for the moral quality of his behaviour, but for his worldly prudence in using the things of this life to ensure his future in this life. The parable makes us think that we get into messy situations, and this person was trying to do his best. Probably letting the debtors off the huge interest and on what was owed, and which had been got in corrupt dealings! God is bigger than any of our small laws and rituals.
The message as well is to use money in the service of God, ‘tainted though it is’. We know how our wealth and prosperity can lead to greed or corruption, or to improving the lives of others. As with all we have, all is gift and to be used for the common good.
Possessions are a responsibility. Their use is a test of character, values and stewardship.
This expectation is only the first step towards the stewardship of the Kingdom of God. The true expectation of a good steward is complete trust and faith in the power of God for everybody regardless of the circumstance. This is what serving God and God alone looks like.

What does stewardship look like in our present ministry at St. Michael’s? What is stewardship in your daily life?

Rectors’ Corner: Next Sunday, we will celebrate our parish’s 60th anniversary. Perhaps, it is worth reflecting to look back and count the many blessings that God has given each and everyone of us through Jesus Christ. My hope is that St. Michael’s has been and will continue to be a place for our nurture and spiritual encouragement. We still have a few more days to re-connected with people who have been part of St. Michael’s congregation.

I hope to see you all next Sunday and celebrate this joyous occasion in the life of our parish.

On another note. When you have received a copy of our parish newsletter, “The Messenger”, I would like to hear some of your feedback with regards to the articles or information about our Sunday attendance and financial status. I would ask the leadership of our parish to call a parish meeting before the end of this year. I wanted to know from you, members of the parish, on how best we could continue our parish ministry. I think it is important to weigh the viability and future ministry of our parish congregation.

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Sunday Reflection & Rector’s Corner

Sunday Reflection: “At that time, the tax collectors and sinners were all crowding round to listen to Jesus.They want to listen to Jesus.This is a sign that they do not feel condemned, but rather they feel accepted by Jesus.Jesus had told them to accept the excluded, the sick, the possessed and to gather them for the banquet.
“Which one of you, with a hundred sheep, if he lost one, would fail to leave the ninety-nine and go after the missing one until he found it?” Before giving a response, Jesus must have looked around to see who was listening to Him to see how they would have answered.“Yes, he will go after the lost sheep!”
Jesus wants us to become aware, conscious of the Pharisee or the scribe which is in each one of us.
Jesus makes them and us know: “If you feel that you are a lost sinner, remember that for God you are worth more than the other ninety-nine sheep. And in the case that you are converted, know that there will be “greater joy in heaven for a sinner who is converted, than for ninety-nine just who do not need conversion.”
Is there a person responsibility in looking for and finding lost sheep, or is it just an institutional one – just for the Church and priests and Deacons?
Prayer: God of power and mercy,only with Your help can we offer You fitting service and praise. May we live the faith we profess and trust Your promise of eternal life.

Rectors’ Corner: Welcome Back to The Reverend Peter Smyth! Today, Peter will preside and preach on both of our Sunday Worship Services. Again, please extend your warm welcome and hospitality to our guest clergy.

As we come closer to our parish 60thanniversary, my hope and prayer is that members of the parish have re-connected with people who have been part of St. Michael’s congregation.  I encourage you all to invite families and friends to come and celebrate with us on Sunday, Sept. 29th.
While we can do this is a variety of ways, I still think that the most effective way to invite people to come to St. Mike’s anniversary is by word of mouth.  Please make an intentional effort by giving someone a phone call, or if possible, a personal visit.

On another note. When you have received a copy of our parish newsletter, “The Messenger”, I would like to hear some of your feedback with regards to the articles or information about our Sunday attendance and financial status. I would ask the leadership of our parish to call a parish meetingbefore the end of this year. I wanted to know from you, members of the parish, on how best we could continue our parish ministry. I think it is important to weigh the viability and future ministry of our parish congregation.

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