Kars, ON, Canada
Archive - 2017
This Week at Worship
Sunday, February 18, 2018
And a lovely Friday to you.
We marked Ash Wednesday this week - February 14 to be exact - and have begun our Lenten journey to Jerusalem, to the Cross of Good Friday and the promise of new life on Easter Sunday. It is a 40 day journey that we are taking (actually it's 46 days but we don't count Sundays during Lent as they are seen as "little Easters.") Whether you have given something up for Lent or taken something on, may you know you do not walk alone thru the wilderness to the Cross. We all make this journey together with Jesus walking at our side.
Our scripture readings this Sunday are from the Book of Genesis, Chapter 9, verses 8 thru 17 and the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 1, verses 9 thru 15. In our first reading, we hear of God's covenant made to Noah, to all his descendants and to us. It is a covenant made by God without condition to be with God's people throughout eternity. In our reading from the Gospel, we hear once again of Jesus' baptism and how Jesus was in the wilderness, tempted by Satan.
It is a long weekend for some (at least those who do not work for the federal government) and I do hope to see you in community this Sunday as we sing, pray, listen and reflect on God's call to us as we journey to Jerusalem. Wherever you may be this weekend, may you experience much laughter and love both in the giving and receiving and take time to give thanks to God for the blessings we have. And, not to bribe you into coming to church this Sunday (grin), but, but, but....do note that there might just be a Lenten gift for everyone this Sunday. Remember last year's where I gave away money (my luck ran out - no money this year)? This is just to say, maybe you ought to take up a Lenten practice of coming to worship each Sunday of Lent. You never know what surprises might me in store.
Have a blessed weekend.
-- Rev. Grant McNeil
Sunday, February 11, 2018
And a happy Friday to you.
This Sunday, February 11, we gather at Trinity for Joint Worship at 9:30 a.m. As we worship, sing, pray and give our thanks to God, we also listen for God's call to us as we undertake the annual meeting of Trinity United. Let us come together this Sunday.
For people on email, you would have received the Annual report sometime last week. Please bring a copy of the report with you - on paper or on your mobile devices, so that we may undertake the business of the church.
Our Scripture readings are fitting for an Annual Meeting and the challenges facing Trinity United and our Pastoral Charge. The first reading is from 2 Kings 2:1-12. After many years as God's agent and champion of God's ways, Elijah's life draws to a close. Our second reading is from the Gospel of Mark 9:2-9. Jesus is on a mountain top with three of his disciples. While there, they encounter Moses and Elijah. Peter longs to stay on the mountain top but they descend. Our readings make me wonder where do we choose to live - in the past, and what we recall as days of glory; or on the mountain top of despair and worry or do we want to come down the mountain as Jesus does, to live and minister among the people. Where and how should we live out our faith and proclaim the Good News this day and in the days to come? Come, let's listen, talk and explore together.
Blessings on your Friday.
A few important notes:
1. Breakfast-tomorrow-Saturday, February 10. Roll out of bed, brush your teeth and come on out to St. James community breakfast. Good food. Great conversation. Please join us from 8 thru 10 a.m.
2. Lent begins, February 14, Ash Wednesday. Please join us at one of the two services we offer Ash Wednesday - either 3 p.m. or 6:30 p.m. Both services are joint services and take place at St. James.
-- Rev. Grant McNeil
Sunday, February 4, 2018
It's a brand new month. Already, the second month of the year.
This Sunday we gather at Trinity at 9:30 and St. James at 11 to give our thanks to God, to learn, pray and to feast at God's table in the Sacrament of Holy Communion. All are welcome.
Our scripture readings are from Isaiah, Chapter 40, verses 21 thru 31 and the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 1, verses 29-39. In our reading from the Prophet Isaiah, written when the people were in exile, the writer speaks of the power of God. It is a reminder that no government, no person, no empire is more powerful than God who is active in all creation. In our Gospel reading, Mark continues to show that Jesus is the Messiah by telling us more about Jesus public ministry.
A couple of items of note:
1. Trinity - we do not have any one leading Sunday School this Sunday. Might someone offer to teach if children are present? Please let me know if you might.
2. The 2017 Annual Report was circulated via email yesterday (available here). Do note that next Sunday - February 11 - joint worship at 9:30 a.m. at Trinity for the Trinity Annual Meeting.
Have a great Friday and relaxing weekend. See you on Sunday.
-- Rev. Grant McNeil
Sunday, January 28, 2018
And a beautiful Friday afternoon to you.
This Sunday we are called to gather at Trinity (9:30 a.m.) and St. James (11 a.m.) to sing, pray, listen and hear God's living words for us and to be in relationship with one another and the Holy. Please join us.
Our Scripture readings this Sunday are from the Book of Deuteronomy, Chapter 18, verses 15 thru 20 and the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 1, verses 21 thru 28.
In our first reading, we hear a "sermon" from Moses to the people as they prepared to enter the promised land. In our reading the people hear how to know God's will in the face of an uncertain future. They are promised a prophet, a human, who God will inspire and through whom God will speak and act. In our second reading, the Gospel writer shares with us the early days of Jesus' ministry. In our reading we hear of the first miracle Jesus undertook while teaching in the Synagogue. In the coming weeks we will hear of more miracles of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark. For Mark, Jesus' miracles go hand in hand with his teachings. While we are drawn to the miracle story in this reading, our reading is not so much about the miracle. Rather, it's more about Jesus' teaching. There is one verse that jumps out at me. That verse is verse 24 which reads in part "What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us?" Let us explore God's Living Words for us together this Sunday.
Wherever you may be this day and over the weekend, may you be held in the and compassion of God.
-- Rev. Grant McNeil
Sunday, January 21, 2018
Good morning. If there's a weekly email, that means I am back. Indeed I am, having had a great two weeks of Sabbath rest devoted to hiking, swimming, snorkelling, watching monkeys (including wee baby monkeys), beautiful birds and so much more. We also swam with a shark (unintentional); ate with a boa constrictor (very unintentional) and I took my first ever yoga class. Off the beaten path we went and had a most excellent time.
This Sunday we gather in community to learn, sing, pray and hear God's Living Words for us. Our scripture readings are from Jonah, Chapter 3, verses 1 thru 5 and verse 10. Jonah is very much a reluctant prophet. Earlier, God called him to "Go at once to Nineveh ... and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before me." Jonah tried to escape by sailing to the ends of the earth but God has punished him by having a large fish swallow him. In this morning's reading, God calls to Jonah a second time and Jonah answers God's call. Our Gospel reading is from Mark, Chapter 1, verses 14 thru 20. Last week, we heard an account of the calling of the first disciples from the Gospel of John. This week, we hear a second call story from Mark with Jesus calling Simon, Andrew, James and John to leave their lives behind to follow him. And, just like that, they dropped whatever they were doing, and began new lives in following Jesus. They left the known of being fisher people to an unknown life, unknown future. Fish are a theme in our reading and I can't resist: "Where does a fish keep her money? In a River Bank." "Where do fish sleep? In a river bed!" Go right ahead and laugh or groan with me!
I look forward to seeing you on Sunday as we explore together God's Words for us this day.
Have a wonderful Friday evening and weekend.
-- Rev. Grant McNeil