In Days to Come

Learning for Life: 9:30

Worship Service: 11:00 am

Bulletin: Bulletin October 13
Newsletter: October 2019 Newsletter

Scriptures: Micah 4.1-5, Psalm 46, Mark 6.34-44

Songs:

Joel Russell-MacLean

The prophet Micah described a world where war was no longer a consideration. He put it memorably,

“They shall beat their swords into plowshares,
 and their spears into pruning hooks.”

Micah was a prophet in Judah. He had witnessed the powerful Assyrian Empire obliterate several neighbouring nations including Israel. Assyria had also invaded Judah and besieged Jerusalem. Micah did not pray his poems for peace into being on lazy sunny afternoons in a commune. His vision of a new way of living arose out of the fire and blood left in wake of military violence. Even though he had seen such horrors, he boldly claimed a day was coming when war would come to an end, and everyone would have a place of their own and plenty of food.

Sometimes hunger leads to war, and almost always war leads to hunger. However, an abundance of food has not always meant the absence of war. Something much more profound is required.

“Come, let us go to the Lord, that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.”

Micah used poetry to direct our imagination toward what the world could be if we would turn to God. Centuries later, Jesus acted out a picture of a new world. He sat a crowd of thousands down in groups, and fed them until all were full.

Jesus will return and bring an end to all war, and neighbourhoods, farms, and cities will thrive once more. As a church, we continue to act out a picture of what the world will be whenever we share, whenever we make peace, and whenever we turn to God to be taught.

Rebuild the Ruined Cities

Listen to the sermon Joel Russell-MacLean

Learning for Life: 9:30

Worship Service: 11:00 am

Bulletin: Bulletin October 6
Newsletter: October 2019 Newsletter

Scriptures: Amos 9.7-15Psalm 69Mark 10.28-31

Songs:

Joel Russell-MacLean

Teotihuacan

 

Woe to Those at Ease

Listen to the sermon Joel Russell-MacLean

Learning for Life: 9:30

Worship Service: 11:00 am

Come out! Lebanon Ministry Celebration luncheon following worship.

Bulletin: Bulletin September 29
Newsletter: October 2019 Newsletter

Scriptures: Amos scripture readingPsalm 10; Mark 10.41-45

Songs:

Joel Russell-MacLean

We have been treated this week to scenes of a sixteen year old passionately scolding national leaders and representatives on some of the largest public platforms. Being confronted on camera by a composed, well-spoken teenager from another country does not seem to be a situation a world leader would seek out. How to respond?

The prophet Amos had a similar impact. Amos was a farmer and rancher and came to Israel from their neighbouring country, Judah. He bluntly exposed the treatment of the most vulnerable and the injustice and corruption that infected everything. He warned Israel their wealth and security could not last given how they were living.

Few of the elite in Israel’s capital enjoyed listening to a farmer from another country telling them how things ought to be done.

Amos preached at the same time as Hosea. Hosea focused more on worship, international politics, and marriage and fidelity. Amos narrowed his attention to the impact wealth was having on how people were treating each other.

The problem was the way the people treated spirituality and worship was intertwined, interconnected with problems in the neighbourhoods, in national behaviour, and in their own lives. And these problems were going to lead to the collapse of the nation and to terrible suffering.

God back then and now is paying attention to how people use money and possessions. God is always likewise paying attention to how the most vulnerable are treated.

Seeking Control? Or Loyalty to God?

Listen to the sermon Joel Russell-MacLean

Learning for Life: 9:30

Worship Service: 11:00 am

Bulletin: Bulletin September 22
Newsletter: September Newsletter

Scriptures: Hosea (select verses); Psalm 50; Matthew 9.10-13

Songs:

Fullmetal Alchemist

Joel Russell-MacLean

God desires kindness and loving loyalty in human relationships, not duty bound people who believe God owes them. 

Now, my children have suggested that I ought to pay them when I’ve mercilessly inflicted such cruelty as dish washing, lawn mowing, or vacuuming. Now, I’ve always loved this idea. Sure, let’s put a dollar value on everything you provide – and I’ll do the same! Food, rent, utilities, driving, clothing, my chores around home, internet and so on… Then each month we can add up what you are owed, and I’ll add up what I am owed, and we can just see who pays whom.

They have never taken me up on this offer.

The truth is however, the thing I desire of my children is not really help with chores nor perfect behaviour. With my sons and my daughter, I don’t want a relationship defined by a list of rules and tasks and rewards and consequences.

As a Father, the thing I desire is love.

It is interesting to consider that a checklist does have an appeal: if I do this, and this, and this, then I’ve done my duty, right? Then this person can say, “I’ve done my part, now you provide what I’m owed.” In this sense, idolatry can therefore be understood as any attempt to replace our Creator, a being who has a will and purpose, with a system that can be manipulated.

For people born of the scientific age, it is tempting to think that all aspects of life – and death – can be controlled and manipulated. For others, magic and rituals are used to control the unseen forces that direct events and nature.

As for us, with Hosea, “we will say no more, ‘Our God,’ to the work of our hands.”

We will not exchange the glory of knowing God for the shame of holding material things

Teyve from “Fiddler on the Roof” captures our longing for loving relationships exactly when he hesitantly asks his wife in song, “Golde, do you love me?” Their duet covers all the things they “do” for each other. The husband keeps returning to the question underneath everything else, “but, do you love me?” (watch the duet here).

 

The God of the Old Testament

Listen to the sermon Joel Russell-MacLean

Worship Service11:00 am

Bulletin: Bulletin September 15
NewsletterSeptember Newsletter

Scriptures: Hosea 10 – 11, Psalm 103, Luke 19.41-44

Songs:

Joel Russell-MacLean

This week we begin our series on the Minor Prophets.

 
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