It is very hard some days for me to switch off completely from the life and ministry we share at Cedar Park. Today is my Sabbath; I should be baking pumpkin muffins, or winterizing my garden today, but I have thoughts,prayers, feelings about yesterday’s worship rumbling around my being this morning, some of which I want To share in this blog space before I get going with the muffin tin!
Gospel, “Good News” about the life of God lived among the people of God, as we learned, felt and experienced yesterday through the Gospels according to Janice, and Sam and Ernie, are not just stories of jubilation,triumph, joy. In fact such good news all the time would be bland and unbelievable. More and more we are discovering that Gospel is woven with yarn spun from pain, sadness,hard work, anguish and heartache. It is when such weft is threaded through the warp of goodness, God’s grace shown through compassion, kindness, prayer, presence…..that a tangled skein of trouble becomes a whole cloth, woven in almost equal measure with the colours of sadness AND joy, brokenness AND wholeness, grief AND consolation.
It takes great courage and trust for our worship life together to reflect the wholeness of this Gospel cloth, and I am profoundly grateful to yesterday’s Gospellers for having that courage to trust. To all of us who found our own stories of redemption echoed in Janice’s art or in “Dawn’s story,” we experience worship together that was real, and whole, and for me at least ,worship that has lingered long in my soul. Which is good. Gospel.
For those needing to follow this course via the web, go to the Bible 101 page, where you’ll find some updates from the sessions on Old Testament and new Testament. See you there!
Tomorrow’s Bible 101 group launches into an exploration of the New Testament. If we follow the pattern of the past 3 weeks, the session will be full of surprises and “ahas!” I can’t wait to share this discovery time with those who come…. and if you haven’t yet ventured out to one of these sessions, this would be a good one to try. We begin at 9:15 am in the Church Sanctuary, and finish (formally) at 11 am – though the conversations may carry over into the parking lot!
To whet your appetite, check out this article by Marcus Borg, on the Huffington Post website: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marcus-borg/a-chronological-new-testament_b_1823018.html
See you tomorrow!
In a few hours, we will gather for an all-ages worship Celebration of the Canadian Thanksgiving. In a sense, every Sunday worship is thanks-giving, to God, for….well pretty much everything. So, why pick out one day in the year and call it Thanksgiving? I am not going to get into the histories of American and Canaudan Thanksgiving, or get side-tracked by turkeys and pumpkins, but rather I am going to look at the lectionary Old Testament reading, from Deuteronomy 8:7-18.
The plot of the book of Deuteronomy has Moses leading the escaped slaves across the wilderness of Sinai towards the Promised Land. Knowing that he himself will not live long enough to enter the land himself, Moses sits the people down to teach them all what he know about God, and the relationship God wants to keep with the people. In this section, Moses tells a desert-dusty people to imagine the fruitful land God is leading them towards, one with olive trees, and pomegranates, and vineyards, and streams that flow year round…. A land of blessing and abundance…..we don’t have to imagine it, because we live in such a place. But Moses is worried; he’s lived with these people long enough to fear that once they arrive and settle in the land, they will forget that all if it is a gift from God. A land given to be cared for, sustainably, and the fruits of which are meant to be shared with all, especially the poor.
He pleads with them, “Don’t forget! Don’t forget God in the midst of your wealth and well being!” Wise words to those of us living in this land of abundance. The injunction to remember and be thankful is one we do well to heed.
Tomorrow, then, we will remember, and we will “make” thanks together in a number of hands on activities during worship.
See you Sunday!
Last Sunday we launched into our Fall Worship Series “The Gospel according to Everyone”. With photos taken by Cedar Parkers gracing the worship slides, we were also blessed with the visual feast of Kitty Lamb’s paintings. For Kitty, painting is a way to connect creatively with creation and with Scripture. As she said in her “Gospel” – having been raised Baptist, the Biblical text is often something that comes to mind when she’s painting.
Cathie Weldon shared her gospel, of God finding her in the midst of the destruction on her family’s wooded property in New Brunswick, caused by Hurricane Arthur. Sometimes we expect God to be in the whirlwind (a reminder of the prophet Ezekiel), but in this situation, God was present in 24 jars of homemade strawberry jam, and the caring gesture of a neighbour.
This coming Sunday, our Gospellers will be Peter Forton – whose professional work is in investment and equity fund management – who will tell us of a God-given shift in his career to use his skill alongside Canada’s Aboriginal peoples. Alongside Peter will be the Gospel talents of bread bakers and music makers, as we celebrate Worldwide Communion Sunday.