Sunday — Holy Eucharist: 9:30 a.m. St. George’s; 11:15 a.m. St. Margaret’s
Monday — 1:00 p.m. St. George’s
Interim Priest-in-Charge: The Rev. Canon Dr. David Barker
Contact the Parish
Sunday — Holy Eucharist: 9:30 a.m. St. George’s; 11:15 a.m. St. Margaret’s
Monday — 1:00 p.m. St. George’s
Interim Priest-in-Charge: The Rev. Canon Dr. David Barker
Contact the Parish
Palm Sunday – March 25: 9:30 a.m. at St. George’s, 12:15 p.m. at St. Margaret’s
Maundy Thursday – March 29: 7:30 p.m. at St. George’s
Good Friday – March 30 at St. George’s: Inspirational Music 10:30 a.m.; Service 11:00 a.m.
Easter Sunday – April 1: 8:00 and 9:30 a.m. at St. George’s; 11:15 a.m. at St. Margaret’s
Toonie Lunch at St. Margaret's on Tuesday, March 20. All welcome!
The Highlands Pregnancy and Family Support Centre requires several 2nd-stage rear-facing car seats. If you can donate one that is not expired and has never been in an accident, please call 705-457-4673.
We will prepare for Palm Sunday by making Palm Crosses Friday, March 23 at 10 a.m.at St. George’s. Please join us for coffee, fellowship and the making of the crosses. For more information call Phyllis Bishop 705-457-2867 or Carol Browne 705-457-4551.
There will be a quiet time—a prayer vigil—at St. George’s beginning after the Maundy Thursday service and continuing overnight and all day Friday. Anyone may sign up on the green poster on the door. More than one person may sign up in the same time slot, and you may sign up for more than one slot if you wish.
To hear some of the finest Christian classical music tune in to CKHA 100.9 Canoe FM on Palm Sunday, March 25 at 6 p.m. for music for Holy Week hosted by Bill Gliddon. The Concert Hall Program will feature a Christian musical celebration of Easter on April 1.
St. George’s Lenten Series continues Tuesdays and Wednesdays through till the week before Easter.
Based on Fr. David Barker’s forthcoming book A Story Simply Told: the Lives of Five of the Best-Loved People of the Bible, the series aims to be a simple way to learn more about some leading Bible characters: Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David and Mary. Each week, Fr. David will introduce you to one person, tell their story along with slides of famous works of art, and offer some inspiration for our daily lives, all in only one hour.
Please see the poster to the right for more information, including days and times for sessions.
The women's AWARE retreat will be held May 4-6 at Elim Lodge near Buckhorn. The theme is 'Come to Jesus' with speaker the Rev. Christine Watts. Information available on the table at the back of the church or online here,
IN THE LIBRARY: Mama Maggie, by Marty Makary and Ellen Vaughn
This is the previously untold story of one woman's mission to love the forgotten children of Egypt's garbage slums. It tells how she gave up her life as a business woman and university professor to serve children living on dumps outside Cairo. You will be inspired as you read this story of resilience, purpose and capacity to love.
St. George's Compassion Canada child, young Yafreisy Delgado De La Rosa, lives in Los Montacitos, the Dominican Republic with her father. A photo of Yafreisy is posted on the bulletin board. If you would like to write to her, contact Kathy Burk at 705-457-2357. Please keep this family in your prayers.
Bring in your dead AA batteries and help save a life! Students at Haliburton Highlands Secondary School, joining with the Zinc Saves Lives campaign, want to help you super-recycle your batteries. More than 450,000 children die every year from complications associated with zinc deficiency. A tiny AA battery contains enough zinc to save the lives of six malnourished children. Your recycling will reduce the amount of electronic waste going to landfills and save lives. You may bring your double-A batteries to the Source and Home Hardware in Haliburton, or place them in the yellow container on the table in the St. George’s church hall. For more information on the campaign, please click here.
Open to all seniors: The VON SMART exercise program helps with balance, strength and flexibility Classes held in Haliburton at Echo Hills 1 p.m. Thursdays; in Minden in the Hyland Crest auditorium 11 a.m. Wednesdays.
The Pregnancy Care & Family Support Centre needs additional volunteers as they move forward in their newly-expanded space,. The centre would not be able to operate effectively without the dedicated service of volunteer staff. They require an 8-hour-per-month commitment and provide comprehensive training. To begin the application process or to find out more, please call Executive Director Julie at 705-457-4673. As Julie says, "If you have a passion for life, let's talk."
God is active in all of our lives and in our community. We just need to pay more attention. Here's the challenge: look for God at work in your home, out in the community. When you notice God’s work or feel His Presence, write it down. Think on these amazing things and, when you feel ready, try to share with your church family. You will be offered an opportunity to share at some point in the Sunday service. We are God's witnesses and need to help one another grow in our faith and draw closer to our Lord. Testimonies prove a wonderful way to do that!
Perhaps you’ve heard of the highly effective Jesus Film, first released in 1979. Those behind the project explain they have always and ever been about one thing: everyone seeing Jesus. Teams visit areas all over the world, sharing the ‘greatest story ever told’ in more than 1,400 languages. They report that more than 490 million people have come to Jesus after watching their films.
A project team member recently shared a wonderful story that began on a recent Jesus Film mission trip to London.
While walking through a beautiful rose garden in Hyde Park, this fellow and his team talked and prayed about whom they should approach. Who was waiting to hear the good news?
As they prepared to sit down on the grass, a group of young Middle Eastern women not far away suddenly motioned to them to come and share their park bench. As if that weren’t surprising enough, it turned out the women were visiting from the very country the team had just been talking about ... a country the team ‘reporter’ had never ever met anyone from in England.
God was so clearly guiding and working through all of them. You can read the whole story here … a story which continues months later when the team member visits the Middle Eastern country and re-encounters one of the young woman. God's ways never cease to amaze!
A miracle meeting with Middle-Eastern Muslim women in London — The Jesus Film Project
The Anglican Alliance, which helps coordinate Anglican churches and agencies to work for a world free of poverty and injustice, has launched Freedom Year, a year-long focus on anti-slavery initiatives.
“Human trafficking is a grave crime against humanity,” Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby reminds us.”It is a form of modern-day slavery and a profound violation of the intrinsic dignity of human beings. This outrage should concern each one of us, because what affects one part of humanity affects us all.
“If we are to combat this evil then we must work together to prevent the crime, support the survivors and prosecute the criminals. The knowledge that churches have of their local communities puts them on the frontline in this campaign.”
It happens abroad we know, and even in many communities close to home. We must pray for change, learn more about human trafficking and modern slavery in the world today, and take action to end it.
A Freedom Year booklet, available here, contains monthly themes and activities to “help us to take action, and encourage us join the fight against human trafficking and modern slavery, both locally and globally,” the Alliance says.
Please join us in welcoming interim priest-in-charge the Reverend Canon Dr. David Barker. He has already been a cherished member of St. George’s for a number of years, serving in the choir and often ‘doing services’ when former priest-in-charge Anne was away.
Fr. David was ordained in 1970 and has served as Assistant Curate at St. Wilfrid’s, Islington (1975); Incumbent in the Parish of Minden (1977); the Parish of Washago (1980); St. Mark’s, Midland (1985); St. Timothy’s, North Toronto (1998); and St. Simon-the-Apostle, Toronto (2007). In 2012 he, with his wife Shirley, retired to West Guilford. He served as interim priest-in-charge of the Parish of Bobcaygeon, Dunsford and Burnt River in 2016 and 2017.
David graduated from the University of Toronto in 1972 with a Bachelor of Arts, and in 1975 from Trinity College with a Master of Divinity. In 1995 Seabury-Western Theological Seminary awarded him a Doctor of Ministry (in Preaching) and in 2003 Archbishop Terence Finlay appointed him Canon of St. James’ Cathedral.
We have started a page where you can link to his sermons on YouTube, with his first and second talks already up!
Sunday proved a heart- and spirit-warming service for the church full of people from St. George’s and St. Margaret’s (and visitors from elsewhere) for Pastor Anne’s final service in the parish.
Anne recounted her own Christian history—from her christening as a child through her conversion as a young woman, her call to ordained ministry while both studying and serving in the Canadian Armed Forces reserves, and on into the fulfilment and wonder she has found helping others grow closer to God. As, she says, she has grown throughout her time of serving God and others.
“It has been a privilege to be with people in both the best and worst of times,” she explained, with tears in her eyes. She then launched into what she believes are the five basic directions in our human journeys.
The first is inward … as we receive God’s love, His word, and meditate on scripture.
The second is a reaching outward, as we do our best to share, serve, love and help correct the wrongs in the world around us.
The third direction in our journey is upward. We gather together to gaze upward and praise God, pray, worship and study. As a fourth direction, we look toward God’s people down here on earth: we do what He enables and calls us to do to build communities of loving believers.
Finally, there is the onward journey. Each of us will go forward and onward in different directions, as God leads and directs.
“Since this is my last time to share some good news,” she announced, “I will.” She then quoted both Old and New Testament scriptures on the necessity of using our own voices, inner or outer, to call on the Lord for salvation.
“And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved,” we read in Joel 2:32. Then, in the New Testament we have one of the most famous verses on evangelism in scripture. “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom. 9-10).
Anne then urged all those who had never made a full commitment to Jesus to do so. It basically comes down to ‘sorry, please and thank-you’, she said. She then led those who wanted to share in resurrection life to follow her in prayer with: “I’m sorry for the life I have lived, the sins I have committed. Please, Jesus, come into my heart and life. Thank you!”
Before communion, several in the congregation shared their own ‘God Sightings’ from the week—an important part of most services. The initiative encourages people to pay more attention to the movements of God in their daily lives, note when they feel His Presence or see Him working, write it down, and then share it with the church family. Testimonies contain tremendous power to encourage and bless others. Eyes of faith can often reveal what is beneath and beyond the reality that we see.
Several stood to tell of God working in the lives of their families and friends. Organist and choir director Bill Gliddon shared a wonderful story of what happened a few nights before Christmas when he had been working late in his ‘upper room’ in the church.
He heard the church door bell ring, and went down to find the father of the Syrian refugee family living next door, standing there with a plate of warm Syrian delicacies. The Muslim man had noticed a light in the choir room above, knew Bill must be there late, and came to offer some sustenance. (You can read an informative story from the Haliburton Echo about the family here: Welcoming the Wisos: How a small committee brought a community together).
Please pray for the Wiso family as they continue to settle into their new lives in Canada.
Please also pray for Anne as she moves forward and onward, for David Barker, interim priest-in-charge, and for the process of finding a new priest.
by Anne Moore
How time flies! Is it really Advent, the season of waiting and preparing for Christmas, already? There is so much to do at this time of year: decorating and baking (well, not me actually!), visiting and feasting, choosing just the right gifts and wondering what gifts might be received.
In the midst of this flurry of activity, and, generally, numerous flurries of snow(!), simple questions might pop into our heads: ‘Is this what it’s all about?’ or, ‘Is there something more?’ or even, ‘Have I gotten something wrong here?’ Perhaps, after the food is eaten and the gifts unwrapped, you ask yourself, ‘Is there a gift out there somewhere that would really satisfy me?’ If we are honest with ourselves, that is what we want in life—something that can meet our needs, help us with our problems and decisions, bring comfort, happiness, peace.
The good news is that there is such a gift. It is custom-made just for you and is given by someone who knows exactly what you need right now. It gives you more than anything money can buy. And it comes from someone special, who knows you and loves you deeply, and who wants only the best for you.
Does that sound like a great gift? Does it sound too good to be true? I assure you that it is true because I received that gift 39 years ago. God, who created each one of us, who loves each one of us individually, perfectly, and without any conditions attached, sent His only Son, Jesus, to live as an ordinary human being on earth. We celebrate His birth at Christmas.
‘So what?’ some may ask. In the Bible there are four different writers’ interpretations about Jesus’ life. We call those stories the gospels, which translates to, 'good news.’ Matthew and Luke probably heard the stories second-hand; Mark and John told their own stories. They all wrote about what Jesus said and did, what He was like, and how He died. That’s all fairly normal for a biography. What is not normal is they went on to tell how He was alive after He died! The event which Christians call the resurrection changed the world, the course of history, and can also change us if we accept the gift He offers.
Jesus is God’s gift to us. As the Son of God, He can give us freedom from our fears and worries, forgiveness of our past, healing of our bodies, minds, and relationships, and the assurance of God’s unconditional love for us. We can be free, safe, and fully alive like never before. We don’t need to do anything special to receive this Gift from God; we don’t have to be good (God isn’t like Santa); we simply have to accept this Gift. Unwrapping it involves learning about Jesus and learning how to follow Him. We call that ‘church,’ which is hanging out with a bunch of people who are also in various stages of their learning.
As we learn to trust Jesus we will come to the point where we want to give Him a gift—that gift is our lives as obedient followers.
I pray for each of you as you begin, and continue, following our Saviour whose birth we are about to celebrate.
Hello. My name is Jesus Christ. Many call me Lord! I've sent you my resume because I'm seeking the top management position in your heart. Please consider my accomplishments as set forth below.
† I founded the earth and established the heavens (see Proverbs 3:19).
† I formed man from the dust of the ground (see Genesis 2:7).
† I breathed into man the breath of life (see Genesis 2:7).
† I redeemed man from the curse of the law (see Galatians 3:13).
† The blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant come upon your life through me (see Galatians 3:14).
† I've only had one employer (see Luke 2:49).
† I've never been tardy, absent, disobedient, slothful or disrespectful.
† My employer has nothing but rave reviews for me (see Matthew 3:15-17).
Skills and Work Experience
† Some of my skills and work experience include: empowering the poor to be poor no more, healing the brokenhearted, setting captives free, healing the sick, restoring sight to the blind, and setting at liberty the oppressed (see Luke 4:18).
† I am a wonderful counsellor (see Isaiah 9:6). People who listen to me will live in safety and security and will not fear evil (see Proverbs 1:33).
† Most importantly, I have the authority, ability and power to cleanse you of your sins (see 1 John 1:7-9).
† I encompass the entire breadth and length of knowledge, wisdom and understanding (see Proverbs 2:6).
† In me are hidden all of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (see Colossians 2:3). Hidden … yet accessible to the heart which welcomes me in.
† My Word is so powerful; it has been described as being a lamp to your feet and a light to your path (see Psalm 119:105).
† I can even tell you all of the secrets of your heart (see Psalm 44:21).
† I was an active participant in the greatest Summit Meeting of all time (see Genesis 1:26).
† I laid down my life so that you may live (see 2 Corinthians 5:15).
† I defeated the archenemy of God and humanity and made a show of them openly (see Colossians 2:15).
† I've miraculously fed the poor, healed the sick and raised the dead!
† There are many more major accomplishments, too many to mention here. You can read them on my website, located at: www dot the BIBLE. You don't need an Internet connection or computer to access my website.
Believers and followers worldwide will testify to my divine healings, salvation, deliverance, miracles, restoration and supernatural guidance.
Now that you've read my resume, I'm confident I'm the only candidate uniquely qualified to fill this vital position in your heart.
To summarize, I will properly direct your paths (see Proverbs 3:5-6), and lead you into everlasting life (see John 6:47). When can I start? Time is of the essence (see Hebrews 3:15).
[original creator of this bit of genius unknown, to us at least]
By the Rev. Canon Anne Moore
The writer of Psalm 34 wrote, “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips.” Billy Graham once wrote, “If I were to list all the things for which I’m thankful, I’d never have time to eat my turkey dinner!”
Can you say the same? Sometimes when I am the leader for a ‘quiet day’, I will hand participants a sheet of foolscap and ask them to write down as many thanksgivings that they can think of. The thoughts often start quite quickly but then begin to slow. Then, after more thought, the list becomes easier and easier and longer and longer. And that is the way it ought to be: what a wonderful world God has given us to share.
If you are feeling blue, give thanks. If you are feeling overwhelmed, give thanks. If you are on top of the world, give thanks. If you can’t sleep, don’t start worrying about your present situation or worrying that you will be tired in the morning. Instead, give thanks.
At all times and in all places, giving thanks is the way to change our mind-set, and then our behavior.
Billy Graham also said, “We live in a confused and chaotic world, and at times we might be tempted to give in to despair. But God loves us, and only Christ can transform our hearts and turn our despair into hope. Is He the foundation of your life? If not, make this a day of true thanksgiving, as you invite Christ to come into your life and save you.”
If you have done that, you will know true joy. You will hardly be able to stop praising God, especially for sending Jesus to save us by His death on a cross. Please don’t expect that your troubles will suddenly leave, but, with God’s Holy Spirit working through you, you will discover that you have clearer direction and an expanded capacity to deal with them.
Giving thanks for all of you.
Pastor, preacher, writer and evangelical leader John Stott always aimed in his teaching and writing to bring people back to the concrete reality of Jesus' life and sacrifice. He held hard to the conviction that the central message of the gospel is not the teachings of Jesus, but Jesus himself, the human/divine figure.
The following quote from his book Issues Facing Christians Today perhaps best brings this to Light, with the needed dose of saving salt.
"Our Christian habit is to bewail the world’s deteriorating standards with an air of rather self-righteous dismay. We criticize its violence, dishonesty, immorality, disregard for human life, and materialistic greed.
‘The world is going down the drain,’ we say with a shrug. But whose fault is it? Who is to blame? Let me put it like this. If the house is dark when nightfall comes, there is no sense in blaming the house; that is what happens when the sun goes down. The question to ask is, ’Where is the light?’
Similarly, if the meat goes bad and becomes inedible, there is no sense in blaming the meat; this is what happens when bacteria are left alone to breed. The question to ask is, ’Where is the salt?’
Just so, if society deteriorates and its standards decline until it becomes like a dark night or a stinking fish, there is no sense in blaming society; that is what happens when fallen men and women are left to themselves, and human selfishness is unchecked.
The question to ask is, ‘Where is the Church? Why are the salt and light of Jesus Christ not permeating and changing our society?"
When he died in 2011, Billy Graham wrote of his dear friend: "The evangelical world has lost one of its greatest spokesmen, and I have lost one of my close personal friends and advisors. I look forward to seeing him again when I go to Heaven."
A principal framer, with Billy Graham, of the landmark Lausanne Covenant, Stott’s more than 40 books have been translated into over 72 languages and sold in the millions.
Close to 500 people from the various churches in town gathered on a recent sunny, pleasantly cool Sunday for the 10th annual ecumenical service in Head Lake Park. As glorious as it was to join with brothers and sisters in Christ, all also had no doubt of God’s hand steering the surrounding ominous clouds away till the gathering began to wrap up. A clear weather miracle in this our summer of either deluge or excessive heat!
United Church minister Harry Morgan reminded listeners he had given the sermon at the first service 10 years ago, so figured it was high time to do it again. He proceeded to elaborate on his now-famous contention, “We will all be 'United' in heaven,” by adding we will also all be Baptist (since we’re all baptized), Anglican (since we all speak English), Faith (well yes, we have it), Pentecostal (we all live in the church age, initiated with the Day of Pentecost), and Catholic (in its literal non-churchy meaning of universal, all-embracing).
Anglican priest Anne Moore read what are likely the strongest scriptures on the topic, from Ephesians and John.
Paul, writing to the church in Ephesus, urges readers to live “in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace: one body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Eph. 4: 1-6).
Jesus reminds us in John 17 of his constant intercession for believers to live in unity with each other, as well as with him and with God:
“I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me.” (John 17:20- 23).
"How about we call ourselves the Church in Haliburton?" Harry wondered, "sort of like the Church in Ephesus—one common name?"
“The effectiveness of our outreach and evangelism is directly related to our unity,” he emphasized. "Leaders of the churches in Haliburton gather for prayer every two weeks, we all get along and are friends."
The next ecumenical gathering for the churches will be a Praise Service on Wednesday, September 27, at the United Church. Watch here for more details.
Jesus used another illustration. He said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who planted good seed in his field. But while people were asleep, his enemy planted weeds in the wheat field and went away. When the wheat came up and formed kernels, weeds appeared.
The owner’s workers came to him and asked, ‘Sir, didn’t you plant good seed in your field? Where did the weeds come from?’
He told them, ‘An enemy did this.’
His workers asked him, ‘Do you want us to pull out the weeds?’
He replied, ‘No. If you pull out the weeds, you may pull out the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. When the grain is cut, I will tell the workers to gather the weeds first and tie them in bundles to be burned. But I’ll have them bring the wheat into my barn.’
— Matt. 13:24-30, God’s Word Translation
In a recent sermon on the parable of the wheat and the tares, the Reverend Anne Moore compared the workers’ reaction to their employer’s answer (‘the enemy had done this’)—their desire to do something immediately to get rid of those weeds—to our own observations and imperatives when we see evil in the world.
The cancer returns; the job is eliminated; the relationship ends; depression sets in; a loved one’s life is cut short; a congregation is divided; war forces thousands to flee as refugees; the world turns its back on people in need. 'Why doesn't God DO something?’ we agonize.
Simply by expressing that we prove we know there are evil forces in the world we cannot eliminate or control, she noted. We have the sense this is not what God intended, and that sense can be near unbearable. So we may be tempted to explain the evil by assigning it to some greater design of God.
'Don’t worry, it’s still part of God’s plan;' or 'He never gives us more than we can handle;' or 'His purpose for this will reveal itself in time.' Yet all these explanations, meant to be comforting or helpful, end up blaming God for tragedy.
“God does not will evil for us in any way, shape or form," Anne assured listeners. "Our tragedies are not part of God’s plan. God never, ever, wants us to suffer. When we do, when tragedies strike, it is the result of evil, not God. God created us, loves us, and as Paul wrote, God works for the good in all things.”
Remember, ‘an enemy has done this!’ as the farmer in the parable reported to the workers wondering about the weeds.
But the question remains: Why doesn’t God do something? This parable, and others, don’t provide a direct answer, Anne admitted. What they do show is that God’s sovereign rule over the world proves not quite as straightforward as we sometimes imagine or wish.
She offered some excellent questions posed by Bishop N. T. Wright as helps in thinking this through.
Would people really like it if God were to rule the world directly and immediately? Every thought and action would be weighed, instantly judged, and, if necessary, punished using the scales of His absolute holiness. If the price of God stepping in and stopping a campaign of genocide was that He would also have to rebuke and restrain every other evil impulse, including those we all still know and cherish within ourselves, would we be prepared to pay that price? If we ask God to act on special occasions, do we really suppose that He could do that simply when we want Him to, and then back off again the rest of the time?
Instead of answering the why’s, the parable really presents the need to wait. Yes waiting is difficult, but like the farmer, we must wait for harvest time.
The obvious truth is we cannot control God. We wait, and we pray, for the harvest.
As Jesus more fully explains the parable to his disciples, the point of waiting becomes even clearer. He himself, Jesus says, is the ‘farmer’—the one sowing the good seed. The field is ‘the world’; the good seed are children of the Kingdom. The ‘tares’ (weeds) belong to the devil’s domain, and the enemy sowing them is Satan (Matt 13: 36-43).
So the point of ‘delayed judgement’? Many more will be saved!
Note: An alternate translation for tares or weeds—‘darnel’—is likely the best, adding remarkable depth to Jesus’ parable. Wheat and darnel usually grow in the same production zones and look almost exactly the same until the kernel-containing heads of the plants form. Even then, the differences are slight. Some call darnel ‘false wheat’, others wheat’s ‘evil twin’. Its official name, L. temulentum, comes from a Latin word for 'drunk' since when people eat its seeds, they get dizzy, off-balance and nauseous. High doses cause death.
By Bill Gliddon, St. George’s Church organist and choirmaster
Do you know the origins of the word ‘mass’, as in the service celebrating the Eucharist, or Holy Communion?
The mass is the central worship service of mainline Christianity, and the word used in the Roman Catholic and Orthodox traditions, and quite often in the Anglican and Lutheran churches.
It derives from the very early days of Christian worship, when the priest ended the service by declaring, in Latin, “Ite, missa, est”, which, when translated into English, basically means: “Go, you are sent out”. So in a real sense, ‘mass’ means ‘mission’.
At the conclusion of a worship service in which we pray, hear God’s word, sing praises and receive the ‘life-giving sacrament’ ordained by Jesus at the Last Supper, we are sent back out into the everyday world to be ‘missionaries’!
This is exciting news from Jeff and Carole Way, missionaries to Zimbabwe who recently returned to Canada due to difficulties fullfilling visa requirements. You can read our earlier stories here: Love in action: the Way family's adventures at Eden Children's Village, Zimbabwe and Update on the Way family and their mission in Zimbabwe.
Special report by Jeff and Carole Way
We are aiming to be back at Eden Children’s Village by January 2018. We had been living there over the past two years on temporary visas; to live there long term the government requires that we bring US$100k in assets with us. Our plan over the next six months is to raise these funds (in the form of a truck (that we desperately need there anyway), plus our regular monthly living expenses.
Zimbabwe has just been declared the poorest country in Africa (it was one of the richest in 2000!) and this is having an impact on Eden as more and more children are abandoned by parents who are unable to care for them. The need for more homes is urgent. Eden really needs Jeff’s help to build them. As a licensed practical nurse, Carole plays a vital role at the medical clinic, especially helping with baby delivery. More and more people arrive daily at the clinic looking for medical attention. Eden is desperate for Carole to return.
Not only is the need great, we just can't wait to get back! The goal to serve at Eden hasn't changed: God has called us to be there, so we will do everything we can to return. God is so much bigger than the many issues plaguing Zimbabwe and we are trusting that He will work on our behalf to get us back there, where we will work on your behalf to serve the poorest of the poor, the abandoned and orphaned children. If the situation is too dangerous for us to return in January we will pursue a partnership with Eden and other orphanages outside of Zimbabwe until it is safe to return.
Have you wondered what life must be like in rural Africa? We’d like to show you! We want you to feel connected to us and our life in Africa so we’re going to tell you some true stories, African style. Every other day over the next few months we’ll be offering one-minute snapshots of real-life living in the poorest country in the world.
Over the next few weeks we’d love to invite you to join with us as we make our way back to Zimbabwe. Perhaps you have heard the African proverb, 'If you want to walk fast, walk alone. If you want to walk far, walk together.' We want to walk far with YOU. We want to share this experience with our friends in North America.
Ecumenism. Does the idea of another well-intentioned interfaith event or mostly-ignored theological commission on the topic excite, annoy, or put you to sleep? Does the very concept seem improbable? Whatever you think or believe about ecumenism, we can’t ignore the fact Jesus wanted this, prayed for this, for all of us who call ourselves believers. Eugene Peterson's The Message puts it well:
The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind—
Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
So they might be one heart and mind with us.
Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me.
The same glory you gave me, I gave them,
So they’ll be as unified and together as we are—
I in them and you in me.
Then they’ll be mature in this oneness,
And give the godless world evidence
That you’ve sent me and loved them
In the same way you’ve loved me.
A new book on the topic, The Ecumenism of Beauty (edited by revered art historian Timothy Verdon), presents it from an entirely more broachable and beautiful angle: the arts. Published to coincide with the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther attaching those 95 reformational theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle church, the book brings together artists and thinkers from Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, and Protestant traditions. With accessible writing and gorgeous full-colour images, it does do some wrestling with the historic tension between art as icon or idol. Mostly it simply shows how art, like genuine faith, entails an encounter, not an intellectual discussion or argument.
The book’s contributors—artists, scholars, and clergy—share the belief that beauty and art can bridge differences, unite people in 'shared admiration’ and possibly become an instrument of communion among separated Christians. They will also take part in a symposium organized to commemorate the Reformation’s 500th anniversary later this year, with sessions to be held in Paris, Strasburg, Florence, New Haven (CT), and Orleans (MA).
A few months ago, I sent out a query to many of you regarding worship. As I wrote then, it's a word we Christians bandy about, and too often without much thought or—God forbid—much heart. Could that be the problem, I wondered? Just what do we, you, mean by it anyway?
The post I hoped you would click on and consider was What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘worship’? And so many of you did!
One reply, from a brilliant friend and dentist who for years has gone way beyond the call of duty with her many charitable and yes, worshipful activities, is worth sharing more widely. Her concern and passion over the fact so many of us ‘bandy about’ the word without even beginning to grasp, let alone practice it, is palpable.
By Karla Iyonmahan, DDS
It is a word that should bring to mind a kind of lifestyle, a way we go about handling our affairs, our relationships with people and with Him. Without question it must be undefiled, pure, and give glory, honour and reverence to our most merciful, adoring (of us) God.
You know, the God who went out of His way to sacrifice living in His heavenly realm, to enter ours, in order to set us (‘the captives’) free. The One who, no matter what, keeps us as ‘the apple of His eye’. The One who has stated, repeatedly, in His Love Letter to us, that He will provide for us, will never leave us stranded, never forsake us.
If it is still not clear, He is the same One Who stated that He will deliver us in times of trouble, because we have set our love on Him. (Psalms 91: 14, 15). You DO remember Him now, right?
So there is no reason to be callous. No reason to not give Him your whole-hearted worship; a humbleness, a grateful, ‘bowing down in the heart’ kind of unwavering adoration that exhibits your utter amazement and awe for all that He has done, and for the Love He held for you even when your back was turned toward His outstretched hands.
One should never attempt to simply ‘bandy about’ when it comes to the worship of a God that has given literally everything, including Himself, to YOU.
Is there an ounce of pure worship in you?
By the Reverend Canon Anne Moore
“When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.” (Mark 14:26)
Jesus was a singer. During that very first Lord’s Supper, or the Passover meal we now commemorate as Holy Communion, there would have been songs. We know that those 150 psalms printed in our prayer books were originally sung. Some are even called ‘songs of ascent’, sung as people walked up to Jerusalem for the festivals.
It is hard work walking in dust, sand, rocks and heat, so the concentration required to sing together got people’s minds off the discomfort and effort of the walk. Perhaps they sang in a chant-like form they could march to, to keep them going and not lag behind. We used to do that in the army: anything to get our minds off the pain!
What Jesus sang that night were most likely the Hallel psalms (Ps. 115-118). In the ritual of the Passover meal, these four Psalms are normally sung as the fourth and final cup was being filled. They are songs of praise, thanksgiving and expressions of trust and make a fitting conclusion to the Passover celebration. They also would be a fitting preparation for what we call the Passion that Jesus was about to endure. [As Rabbi Loren Jacobs, senior rabbi and founder ofthe Messianic Congregation Shema Yisrael explains, the Hallel Psalms focus on God’s saving power—Ed.]
Among the words:
“The Lord is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation. There are glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous: ‘The right hand of the Lord does valiantly; the right hand of the Lord is exalted; the right hand of the Lord does valiantly.’ I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord.”
The words must have comforted Jesus as he knew the cross lay just ahead. The final Hallel Psalm (Ps. 118) contains these meaningful words:
“Open to me the gates of righteousness that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord. This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it. I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.”
Jesus was about to enter gates only the righteous could enter. We thank him that he has become our salvation—the chief cornerstone, the building block for all time and all people.
In the years following Jesus’ death, those words must have also been a comfort to the disciples when they sang the same songs, remembering singing them with Jesus but also now knowing what a comfort they must have been for Jesus that night. And how appropriate. Perhaps they sang them to themselves as they prepared for their own horrible martyrdoms.
Singing is now an essential part of Christian worship. James wrote: “Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise.” Singing is spontaneous for those who are cheerful; and Christians, in spite of their circumstances, are to be cheerful people! Even John in his vision of heaven recorded in the Book of Revelation sees the saints, the martyrs, constantly singing praises to God before the throne.
Of course we don’t know what the tunes would have been for these songs. But it was important for early Christian writers to record the words. Scholars have listed various of these early Christian songs from scripture, although they would not really be recognizable to us as songs. One example given is from 2 Timothy 2:11-13:
“The saying is sure: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he will also deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.” That doesn’t sound like a song to me!
Or how about Philippians 2:5-11:
“Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross. Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Or 1 Timothy 3:16: “He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.”
I see these as more like a creed, a statement of belief. If we compare these Scripture passages to the words of some of our songs, we come up short. Much as I detest the tunes of some of our old standard hymns and their old-fashioned language, they taught good, solid theology. I love modern Christian music. I listen to it a lot. I came to faith in Jesus because of the singing of what some people like to call ‘happy clappy’ music.
If our music is to proclaim God’s glory and be of benefit to unbelieving listeners, we must be careful what we choose to sing in our worship. We also need to make sure the music does not distract from the message conveyed. This isn’t the easiest thing to do. If you want to have a conflict in the church, just try changing the music!
The question needing to be asked regularly is: “Why are we singing?” Many times the answers may be: ‘because it is so pleasing to me’, ‘because I like the tune, it reminds me of…’, ‘the words are meaningful to me.’ Underlying those answers but difficult to articulate may be the idea that the music gives me a particular emotion. However, these are all wrong answers because each puts ourselves at the centre. In effect, it’s all about me, my tastes, my life.
So let’s try again. Why are we singing? Why did Jesus sing? What did he sing? The Psalms are songs given to King David and others, had stood the test of time, recognized all the emotions humans have, but lifted up God in praise, proclaimed God’s laws, and always had God as the focus.
As Paul wrote to his friends in Colossae:
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Col. 3:16, 17)
We know what psalms are. While we can’t be certain what Paul meant by hymns, they may well be expressions of praise written by early Christians. Spiritual songs are probably more about testimony. They would have expressed in song what God has done for us.
An example may be in the Book of Revelation where the redeemed gather in heaven before the throne of God.
“They sing a new song: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slaughtered and by your blood, you ransomed for God, saints from every tribe and language and people and nation; you have made them to be a kingdom and priests serving our God, and they will reign on earth.’ Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels surrounding the throne and the living creatures and the elders; they numbered myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, singing with full voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honour and glory and blessing!’ Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, singing, ‘To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honour and glory and might for ever and ever!’” (Rev. 5: 9-14)
Spiritual songs bursting forth from Spirit-filled, joy-filled believers: what beautiful praise of God. Are we doing the same?
Jesus was a singer. Those who know him will sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. As the psalmist wrote: “Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth! Sing to the Lord, bless His name; tell of His salvation from day to day.” (Psalm 96:1,2)
By the Reverend Canon Anne Moore
Easter is almost upon us and we begin to ponder that great mystery: when Jesus’ followers arrived at the tomb on that first Easter morning, they found that the stone had been rolled away. They couldn’t understand and looked for logical answers. Then two angels appeared, asking, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here. He is risen!” This scene at the empty tomb expresses the uniqueness of Christianity among other religions. Jesus Christ is the only living, risen Saviour.
A conversation between a Christian missionary and a Muslim teacher illustrates the point. The Muslim wanted to impress the missionary with what he considered to be the superiority of Islam. So he said, “When we go to Mecca, we at least find a coffin, but when you Christians go to Jerusalem, your Mecca, you find nothing but an empty grave.”
To this the believer replied, “That is just the difference. Mohammed is dead and in his coffin. And all other systems of religion and philosophy are in their coffins. But Jesus is risen, and all power in Heaven and on earth is given to Him! He is alive forevermore!”
Yes, the empty tomb testifies of a risen Saviour. It assures us of our own salvation if we reach out to Him. I invite you to join in worship during Holy Week to prepare for the greatest event in the world, and on Easter, the Day of Resurrection, to celebrate with joy.
“I just had to meet these people who gave him this box,” Mary said. “And I had to find out who would send a box full of gifts from another continent and not know where it is going to show love to people they would never meet. This kind of love does not exist in Islam. I knew these must be God’s people.” —Mary Mutumba
Clinton Mutumba didn’t like it when his Koran instructors at the nearby mosque caned his legs when he mispronounced the Arabic words. So one day he announced to his mother Mary he no longer wanted to go.
“Where will you go?” she asked him.
“I want to go to church,” he told her. “The Lord will tell me where.”
Mary recounts being surprised by his response, but agreed to let him go.
Shortly afterwards, one of Clinton’s friends was told by his pastor to invite a friend to a special event at their church. So he invited his buddy Clinton who of course said yes, figuring that had to be God telling him where to go.
When he got there, he received a free gift-filled shoebox from Operation Christmas Child, a present that had traveled by sea all the way from the United States to Kenya—a fact he would later learn and tell his mother.
When single mom Mary and her son Clinton moved to the town they now live in, all the people in the neighbourhood were Muslim. Hoping for a community that would help her, they became Muslim too. It turned out to be different than she’d expected.
After the shoebox distribution, mother and son attended their separate places of worship for months. Clinton began weekly classes of The Greatest Journey, a 12-lesson discipleship program designed by Samaritan’s Purse for shoebox recipients. The Jesus he learned about there wasn’t just the prophet Muslims call ‘Isa”, the one he’d been taught about by the imam and in the Koran. Each week he’d return home and tell his mother what he’d learned during class, and each week she became more curious.
“Who are these people who didn’t even know him who gave him a gift and are taking time to teach him?” she wondered. More important, she became curious about the Jesus who compelled them to do this.
First Clinton, then his mother, came to know and trust Jesus as God’s Son, and their Lord and Saviour.
“I decided since that time that I would serve the Lord,” Mary said. “That love I received, I want to express that same love to other people.”
(Clinton’s story appeared originally here)
Five Helps for the New Year by Bishop Michael Ramsey
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