Kars, ON, Canada
Archive - 2017
Archive - 2018
This Week at Worship
Sunday, February 17, 2019
Happy Friday to you. What a beautiful day it is. The temperature is above freezing and there was rain this morning! Not freezing rain. Just good old rain. This is good. Or, this is how desperate I am to take comfort in what feels like a warm day. But, this beautiful day will pass and we'll be back to proper winter weather. Enjoy it while you can is my motto for the next few hours at least.
This Sunday we gather to worship and be in community with one another: St. James at 9:30 a.m. and Trinity at 11 a.m. Do note there is no Sunday school at Trinity as it is a long weekend for some lucky folks. Younger folks are encouraged to be present at worship itself.
Our scripture readings are from Jeremiah, Chapter 17, verses 5 through 10 and the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 6, verses 17 through 26. I am not yet sure what to make of our Scripture readings. In our first reading, the Prophet Jeremiah, speaking and acting on behalf of God, announces a series of curses and blessings on God's beloved people. We hear a similar theme in our Gospel reading which offers Luke's version of the Beatitudes. Unlike the Beatitudes offered in the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 5, Luke's account of Jesus' Beatitudes also contain woes. Calling the poor, the hungry, those who mourn and the reviled, blessed, Luke records Jesus proclaiming woe to the rich, to the full, to those who laugh, and those who are popular. Ouch. Really? Let's get together to explore God's Living Words for us this Sunday.
Do note that next Sunday, February 24, worship is Joint at Trinity, 11 a.m. Trinity annual congregational meeting will immediately follow an abbreviated worship service. Please plan to attend.
May you be blessed with a great day and weekend wherever you may be. -- Rev. Grant McNeil
Sunday, February 10, 2019
And a happy Friday to you. May it be a good day.
This Sunday we are invited to gather to worship, sing, pray, be in relationship with one another and God, learn and hear God's Living Words for us at St. James at 9:30 a.m. and Trinity at 11 a.m. I hope to see you on Sunday. Everyone is welcome for we gather at God's house.
Our Scripture readings are from the book of the Prophet Isaiah , Chapter 6, verses 1 through 8 and from the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 5, verses 1 through 11. We again hear call stories. Stories in which God's people respond to God's call to follow and to serve.
In our reading from Isaiah, verse 8, Isaiah writes, "Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I; send me!" The same theme is picked up on in our Gospel reading, Jesus' call to Simon (later called by the name Peter), and to James and John, to put down their nets and follow Jesus in ministry in the world. Just ordinary people, hearing the call of God and responding to that call by following Jesus. We've heard these call stories many times over the years. We can probably identify times in our lives when we have felt "called" to leave things behind and move in new directions. Just ordinary people hearing God call to us to move in new ways.
As I reflect on our readings for this Sunday, I think back to last Sunday and God's call to us. I offered the following "The Good News this day is that God does not just bless and love us who come to worship. God blesses and loves all people. All people! Those that are whole. Those that are broken. Here and everywhere. We are called by God to do the same as hard as it might be." As we ponder that "call," this Sunday I am reflecting upon how we might make that our reality. How might our church be "A Place of Mercy; A Place of Healing" for all people. That everyone might experience, for at least one hour in their week: acceptance, compassion, mercy, healing love, peace and grace. Wouldn't that be a wonderful place to spend one hour? Let's gather together this Sunday to hear God's Living Words for us.
I note that St. James Community breakfast takes place tomorrow - Saturday - from 8 to 10 a.m. Wonderful conversation, great coffee and tea, laughter and a hearty breakfast. Bring your family, friends and neighbours for a time of community-making. Free-will offering.
Blessings on your day and weekend.
P.S. If you subscribe (or don't) to the United Church Observer magazine, do know they also have an on-line presence. Great stories. Great reading. All available here: https://www.ucobserver.org/
-- Rev. Grant McNeil
Sunday, February 3, 2019
Good afternoon this beautiful first day of February. I trust you have had a fine week. Before I launch into the weekly email, a special note for Trinity folks - we have water and functioning bathroom facilities! Thank you Trevor for working hard to resolve the problems. Regular Trinity worship will take place this Sunday.
We are invited to gather at worship this Sunday at St. James at 9:30 and Trinity at 11 a.m. We shall sing, pray, hear God's living words, be in relationship with one another and with God and Celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Communion. Please join us.
Our Scripture readings this Sunday come from one of my favourite books (okay I do have many) of the Bible - Jeremiah, Chapter 1, verses 4 through 10 and the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 4, verses 20 through 30. I have commented in the past that Jeremiah was some strange dude - known to walk around naked, breaking clay pots, yelling at the people that doom is coming their way. Our reading from Jeremiah is a call story - God's call to Jeremiah to go out into the world to serve God and work to get God's people to re-turn to God. In our Gospel reading we get the second part of a two-part story that began last Sunday (the first part can be found here: https://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu/texts.php?id=109#gospel_reading). To say that Jesus preaches a barn-burner sermon doesn't do his words justice. He does that and so much more. And, surprise - the people he preached to were greatly ______? You fill in the blank. Let's gather together this Sunday to hear God's living words and to explore what they mean for us today.
Blessings on your Friday and weekend. Wherever you may be or may be traveling to, may you journey with God.
-- Rev. Grant McNeil
Sunday, January 27, 2019
What a beautiful morning it was when I began writing this note. The sun actually felt warm today. After a storm-filled week, this morning was an absolute delight. Last Sunday we did have worship at St. James - 10 hearty folks came out and we sang, read, prayed and engaged with the Gospel reading sharing our thoughts on it. It was worship that was intimate, wonderful and sacred. Trinity worship was cancelled due to the storm as it only got worse. And with the winter storms, board meetings ended up being cancelled as well. But back into our routines we have moved.
St. James worships this Sunday at 9:30 a.m. and Trinity at 11 a.m. Hope to see you there.
This Sunday our Scripture readings are from the Book of Nehemiah, Chapter 8, verses 1-3, 5-6, 8-10 and the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 4, verses 14-21. It is not often we hear from the Book of Nehemiah. This passage records the day when, after the completion of the restoration of Jerusalem's walls, the people gather to hear the words of the Law read for the first time since their return. The physical restoration of Jerusalem stands as a symbol of and prelude to the spiritual restoration of its people, which will arise from a renewed relationship with God.
Our Gospel reading is a two-part story. We hear the first part this Sunday and the second part on February 3. In the first part, Jesus is launching his public ministry. After teaching in several synagogues around Galilee, he arrives in Nazareth, "where he had been brought up." As Luke tells the story, this is the first place we hear Jesus' teaching - and so the scene functions as a kind of manifesto at the outset of his ministry. Indeed, apart from what he says to his parents as a twelve-year-old earlier in the story, these are the very first words we hear from Jesus in Luke's Gospel. And powerful words they are including: "...he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor....Then he began to say to them, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."
May we join together this Sunday to explore God's Living Words for us and to sing, pray and be in community.
Blessings on your day and weekend wherever you may be and go.
-- Rev. Grant McNeil
Sunday, January 20, 2019
I am back and it's good to be back. A few weeks off to enjoy Sabbath rest, to swim, soak in the sun and simply be in awe of creation is sometimes just what the body and soul need after a wonderful but busy Season of Advent and Christmas. I've missed you all and look forward to seeing your friendly faces on Sunday morning. To all who led worship in my absence and attended to the pastoral needs of OKPC, my gratitude.
This Sunday our Scripture readings are from Isaiah, Chapter 65, verses 1 thru 5 and the Gospel of John, Chapter 2, verses 1 through 11. Our Isaiah reading reminds the listener that even when the facts on the ground are terrible, God can surprise God's people with a new beginning. In our Gospel reading we hear how Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding banquet. It is the first of the seven public signs around which John organizes his account of Jesus' ministry. The "miracle" at the Wedding at Cana is an opening answer to the question, What is Jesus' mission all about? Grace upon Grace: An Abundance of Grace!
I end this short note with congratulations to Kathryn and Ken Holman on the birth of their first granddaughter, Julie, born January 8! A brand new sister for Malcolm. God bless you all.
P.S. Have a wonderful weekend.
-- Rev. Grant McNeil