A Thinker’s Questions

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Learning for Life: 9:30 am 
Worship Service: 11:00 am

Bulletin: September 16, 2018

NewsletterSeptember 2018

Scripture Readings: Ecclesiastes 1:1-111 Cor 1:18-30John 1:1-5, 9-14Psalm 19:1-4a; 7-9

Songs:

Annabel Robinson

The Hebrew Bible was not put together with the same order of books as we are used to. From now until Advent we will be looking at the section that the Jews called the “Scrolls” (Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Esther).

We start with Ecclesiastes. It’s refrain is “Meaningless, meaningless! Everything is meaningless!” The sun rises and sets and goes round and round, we human beings are born and die and there is nothing new under the sun.

The writer, in Hebrew “Qohelet,” examines everything “under the sun,” and tries every imaginable experience. At the end of it he comes to the conclusion: “Respect and obey God! That is what life is all about.”

If we’re honest, many of us have felt that way. But is that a Christian view of life?

Like Jesus

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Learning for Life: Resumes September 16 
Worship Service: 11:00 am

Bulletin: September 9, 2018

NewsletterSeptember 2018

Scriptures: 2 Peter 3:10-18; Psalm 31John 15:1-11

Songs:

Rev. Ron Phillips

The apostle Peter’s advice to a church struggling against heresy was, “beware that you are not carried away with the error of the lawless and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory…”. How is your life of following Jesus? Are you growing? Or drifting? We’ll go deeper into Peter’s advice, check our own course, and hear God’s urging us to grow afresh.

In Between the Beginning and the End

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Learning for Life: Resumes in mid-September 
Worship Service: 10:00 am (during summer)

Bulletin: September 2, 2018

NewsletterSummer 2018

Scriptures: Revelation 7:9-14 (to John); Psalm 138John 16:27-33

Prayer of Confession

Songs:

  • Crown Him With Many Crowns
  • Whiter than Snow
  • O Boundless Salvation

Rev. Joel Russell-MacLean

In the beginning, everything was good.
In the end, everything will be good.
The only problem is, we live “in between”.

Jesus revealed a picture of what it means to follow him. In the Revelation to John the men and women who follow him wear robes washed white in blood.

That is pretty far from what I experience in life. However, for thousands of Christians around the world today, that is reality.

Jesus removed the veneer of the wealth and good living of the Roman Empire and exposed the hidden rot of that world.

Perhaps wealth and a high standard of living, and all the outward signs of overall progress and improvement these days, similar conceal the struggle we truly face these days. Perhaps this contradiction is behind the nagging sense many have that things aren’t quite what they seem, or that “there must be more to life than this.”

At the same time, in the west, many are observing a decrease in resilience alongside an increased sense of entitlement.

Jesus also revealed that he expects life to challenge us: he calls those who follow him conquerors. It is a title that implies a struggle. It implies opposition. Are we up for it?

These are Jesus’ words, passed down to us by his friends, “In this world you face trouble. Take heart; I have conquered the world!”

“On the way from the Renaissance to our days we have enriched our experience, but we have lost the concept of a Supreme Complete Entity which used to restrain our passions and our irresponsibility. We have placed too much hope in political and social reforms, only to find out that we were being deprived of our most precious possession: our spiritual life. In the East, it is destroyed by the dealings and machinations of the ruling party. In the West, commercial interests suffocate it. This is the real crisis.” – Alexandr Solzhenitsyn

The Beginning and the End

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Learning for Life: Resumes in September 
Worship Service: 10:00 am (during summer)

Bulletin: August 26, 2018

NewsletterSummer 2018

ScripturesPsalm 65Revelation 22

Songs:

Rev. Joel Russell-MacLean

For 2000 years the church has read The Revelation to John with all its startling and complex pictures. There is one constant century after century, one vision that continues to comfort and strengthen Christians.

As our world continues to turn, as time flows on, and we are always changing, it is Jesus who is revealed to we who are moving.

Travellers need a fixed point in order to navigate and so Jesus was lifted up and always remains in view in the present.

“Time past and time future
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.” (Elliot)

Jesus is the beginning and the end. But Jesus is not an abstract concept. Jesus is a being, a person.

Therefore the church’s prayer, the closing word of The Revelation to John, is not “let there be heaven on earth”.

The church’s prayer is, “Come, Lord Jesus.”

Nothing is Too Big to Fail

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Learning for Life: Resumes in September 
Worship Service: 10:00 am (during summer)

Bulletin: August 19, 2018

NewsletterSummer 2018

ScripturesRevelation 17 & 18Psalm 121Luke 21: 25-34

Songs

  • Be Thou My Vision
  • I Lift My Eyes Up
  • He Hideth My Soul

Rev. Joel Russell-MacLean

Rome was famously known as “The Eternal City”. To those crushed under its power, as many Christians had been, it must have seemed like Rome would indeed last forever.

John wrote, “In Rome was found the blood of prophets and of saints and of all who have been slaughtered on earth.”

Fair enough if many were encouraged by the vision of Rome’s collapse.

But John’s’ point wasn’t to gloat. In fact, he included the laments of Rome’s benefactors. “Alas, alas, the great city, Babylon, the mighty city! For in one hour your judgment has come.”

Instead, Jesus was giving those who loved him an advance warning, “Come out of her, my people, so that you do not take part in her sins, and so that you do not share in her plagues.”

What exactly would that mean? How would a Christian have “come out” of the Roman Empire? How we answer affects us today.

For today we are also surrounded by institutions that seem too big to fail, with victims around the world in the interests of trade and order.

But there is still only one “Eternal City.”

What does it mean for us to “come out” of the empires of our time? big to fail, with victims around the world in the interests of trade and order.

But there is still only one “Eternal City.”

 
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