The Things That Make for Peace

Listen to the sermon Joel Russell-MacLean

Learning for Life: 9:30 am

• The Gospel of Mark — How Jesus relates to our lives

Worship Service11:00 am

Bulletin: April 14 Palm Sunday
NewsletterApril 2019

Scriptures: Psalm 118, Philippians 2.5-11, Luke 19.35-48

Songs:

Rev. Joel Russell-MacLean

What leads to peace?

The angels proclaimed, “peace on earth,” at Jesus’ birth. After his resurrection, Jesus blessed his friends and said, “My peace, I give you.”

In between, Jesus modelled and taught his friends to eat with others, to forgive and be reconciled, to make restitution, to give away wealth in the interest of relationship, to be humble people and to take responsibility for failure, not to judging others, to treat “outsiders” with love, to love their neighbours, to pray, and to fast.

None of this sounds radical or surprising but there was one more thing about how Jesus lived.

Jesus was obedient to his death on the cross. Obedient to whom? There was no law that instructed Jesus to die for others.

Jesus was born as a human, the form of a servant of God. There is knowing right and wrong and then there is serving the creator.

Jesus’ last prayer to God before his execution was, “Not my will, but yours.”

This takes us back to the very beginning, to the early days of humanity’s story in scripture, to the first moment when humanity realized they had a choice and could serve themselves and not their creator. The first man and woman chose to disobey God. Peace on earth became a momentary thing in history and in creation.

Jesus looked at the city in which he would die and he wept, “If only you knew the things that make for peace.”

The Cost of Relationships

Listen to the sermon Joel Russell-MacLean

Learning for Life: 9:30 am

The Gospel of Mark — How Jesus relates to our lives

Worship Service11:00 am

Bulletin: April 7th
Newsletter: April 2019

Scriptures: Psalm 103, 2 Corinthians 4.5-10, Luke 19.1-9

Songs:

Rev. Joel Russell-MacLean

A number of popular dramas and comedies have been based on riches to rags stories over past few years such as “Arrested Development” or CBC’s “Schitts’ Creek.” (Watch the The Dowager Countess of Grantham confronted by her changing world.) These stories assume that poor and rich are not in communion with each other. Part of the appeal is laughing at those who have fallen.

In a dramatic moment in the gospels, Jesus met Zacchaeus, one of the despised and wealthy tax collectors. To the shock and even disgust of the crowd, Jesus announced that he would eat at Zacchaeus’ home. Eating at Zacchaeus home meant an offer of new relationships.

Meeting Jesus changed Zaccheus.

Zacchaeus responded to Jesus’ offer of friendship by vowing to make restitution. He would repay anyone he had wronged financially as well as reduce the disparity between his wealth and that of his neighbours’ through charity. He was taking steps to be reconciled to his neighbours.

Jesus often told stories about social upheaval and created teaching moments about dramatic social reversals. The goal was not to laugh at anyone or to enjoy the suffering of others. As with Zacchaeus, Jesus was actually creating a new community and uniting people normally divided.

Accountable to God, Loving Toward Others

Listen to the sermon Joel Russell-MacLean

Learning for Life9:30 am
The Gospel of Mark — How Jesus relates to our lives

Worship Service11:00 am

Bulletin: March 31
NewsletterMarch 2019

Scriptures: Psalm 19, Colossians 3:12-17, Luke 18.9-14

Songs:

Rev. Joel Russell-MacLean

What is humility?

Jesus told a story about a man who went to pray, convinced in himself of his own rightness. He stood apart from others because they had it all wrong. 

All of us have met people like this, people who tend to be critical and callous, acting somewhat set apart from others. Perhaps sometimes we also slip into this behaviour.

The man judged people who were doing things that we would be upset with as well: theft, violence, cheating on a spouse.

How do you talk about people when they do things you know is wrong, even evil? Do you remember your own failings? Do you see them as a fellow human?

How do you pray about it? 

According to Jesus, humility is essential to be truly human.

Another man went to pray as well. He too stood apart from others but he did so waiting to be reconciled.

A humble person understands that they are connected to other people and to God. This leads to accountability. An honest connection to God means admitting that God, who sees everything, has seen us fail morally.

A humble person knows their place:

God is the one who can restore relationship once it has been broken.

The man who was convinced in himself did not ask God for anything. As a result, God really had no part in his life. 

Humility might also turn out to be far more effective than self-esteem in reducing anxiety and increasing well-being. In his letter to the church in Colossae, Paul connected humility with the virtues of compassion, kindness, gentleness and patience. He implied that the main way we grow in humility is by forgiving others.

Love, Paul wrote, binds these virtues and habits together and Jesus’ peace rules in our hearts.

Inviting Others for Dinner, the Jesus Way

Listen to the sermon Joel Russell-MacLean

Learning for Life9:30 am
The Gospel of Mark — How Jesus relates to our lives

Worship Service11:00 am

Bulletin: March 24
NewsletterMarch 2019

ScripturesPsalm 19.7-10Colossians 3.1-10; Luke 14.15-24

Songs:

Joel Russell-MacLean

Pieter Bruegel, “The Peasant Wedding”

How often are we eating meals together around a dinner table? How often do we include guests?
Eating with others was important to Jesus.
Jesus’ used meals as a time of healing and teaching. What is more, Jesus intentionally created a new community around meals. He brought together people who would never otherwise associate with each other. Read through “Luke” and “Acts” in the New Testament and notice how often Luke focuses the story or teaching around meals.
At one of these meals, Jesus told the story of a host who instructed his servants:
“Go out and compel people to come in, so that my house may be filled.”
They went out into the streets, inviting whoever they found. Would you try that in your neighbourhood? Inviting our peers and friends into our home is a much more comfortable plan.
Jesus’ vision of a new family made up of people of all kinds is too compelling to ever be forgotten. Some people keep this practice alive. When we make meals with others a priority, we are extending the church into our homes and into our lives beyond Sunday.

 

The Abundance of the Earth; the Fullness of Christ

Listen to the sermon Joel Russell-MacLean

Learning for Life9:30 am
• Gospel of Mark

Worship Service11:00 am

Bulletin: March 17, 2019
NewsletterMarch 2019

Scriptures: Psalm 42:1-5; Colossians 2.6-10; Luke 12.13-34

Rev. Joel Russell-MacLean

 
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