Wednesday, January10, 2024

Midweek Scripture Passage (Genesis 11:30)

Now Sarai was barren; she had no child.

With Sarai, a long history of women who could not bear children was recorded in the Bible. Rebekah, Rachel, Hannah and Elizabeth followed Sarai. From our meditation on Elizabeth we pondered about what it meant for women without children in a society where a woman's worth was judged based on her ability to give birth to a son or sons. God’s grace for them was to make the impossible happen so that though they might be beyond ages to be mothers, yet they were blessed in ways they never imagined. Sufferings they endured as barren women ended in rejoicing as God chose to bring about God’s salvation history through them. 

Something was not quite clear in my mind all day yesterday. As I was preparing for our first session meeting in 2024, my foggy mind did not clear up. It was difficult to figure out something that sat far in the recesses of my mind. I knew something was there, but I could neither see nor grasp it. Then it happened in the middle of the night. I could not sleep. Tossing and turning, I turned on a recording of a book written by Walter Brueggemann. The reader casually read a paragraph and these words hit me light a lightning bolt:

Our history always begins with the barren, with Sarah (Gen. 11:30), with Rebekah (Gen. 25:21), with Rachel (29:31) and with Elizabeth (Luke 1:7). Among those, always as good as dead (Hebrew 11:12), the wondrous gift is given. The inability to bear is a curious thing and we know that for all our science the reasons most often are historical, symbolic, and interpersonal. It is often news–good news, doxology–which brings the new energy to effect and the new future to birth.

On hearing these words, I sat right up. “Yes! Yes! Yes!” I should have known. The reader continued: 

So the inversion is the occasion for the poet to speak Israel ot a new future:

Sing, O barren one who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who have not been in travail! For the children of the desolate one will be more than children of her that is married, says the old. (Isa. 54:1).

As a preacher, prophet and teacher I have talked a great deal about new birth, new growth and new life of what the church should be. All our efforts seemed to have simply been poured into a broken drain resulting in nothing for a long while. Our inability to work for a new future worried us. Often we were like Hannah praying in desperation. Others looked at us with derision. At times, to them we appeared to them as if we were drunk just like Hannah was in the Temple. 

“Our history always begins with the barren…” How the author makes us see something that was always there under our own nose! Of course, he sat up in a previous chapter all about the grief and godly grief prophet Jeremiah was involved in for the people of Israel. We have gone through so much without realizing how we have been walking through grief as once a vibrant church in the past few decades–the sadness that begin before my arrival. Is this not our story? Were we not barren? Were we not ones who could not grow no matter what we tried?

Now the Lord has given us the future we have not expected, could not foresee and would not dare to ask for. It is the new day! It is the new song we are singing! God is good! The old has indeed passed away. The new dawn has come. Can you see that God has given us the good news of new birth leading us into the new future that we know nothing about and we were too blind to imagine?

2024 January & February

Annual Meeting: Sunday, January 28 following the service of worship

Annual meeting is the time of prayerful commitment. The 2024 budget represents our commitment to carry on God’s mission here. Our prayer is that this meagre effort will be blessed much by our Lord in ways that God is glorified and enjoyed by us and our neighbours through 2024. Please pray that God will guide us to discern God’s will as we make our commitment for 2024.

Valentine Dinner on Saturday, February 10 at 5 pm

Our annual Valentine Dinner will be taking place on Saturday, February 10 at 5 pm. The cost is $25. This is a fundraiser to do Christ’s ministry. Please mark the date. Invite your neighbours and friends. Tickets will be on sale soon.

Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper on Tue. Feb. 13, 4 pm-6 pm

This all you can eat Pancake Supper is back on Tuesday, Feb. 13. The cost is $5. 

This tradition goes back many centuries. To be ready for Lent Christians confessed their sins and used to fast. Fasting took many different forms. The word shrove comes from an old English word scrifan which means “hear confession.” Preparing for fasting in Lent, a tradition was developed to use up animal fats used for cooking. Since Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, many Europeans developed this yearly ritual of using up all fats in the house since most Christians refrained from eating meat except fish during Lent. Today, we do more as a time of fellowship and reminding ourselves to be ready for Lent.

Ash Wednesday Service on Wednesday, Feb. 14 at 10 am

Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent. Lent is the day we begin observing 40 days prior to Easter. This forty day observance is based on Jesus’ fast in the wilderness after his baptism prior to beginning of his ministry. Some Christians take this opportunity to do simple fasting. Others refrain from certain activities as we remember God’s love for us given through Jesus. In Roman Catholic and Anglican traditions, a mark of cross is put on one’s forehead by ashes made from palms used on Palm Sunday a year before to symbolize our repentance. In Presbyterian and Reformed traditions, we mark the start of Lent by worshipping. Please come and join us. Invite your friends.

Lent Devotions, every Wednesday on Wed. Feb. 21-Wed. Mar. 14

As part of being the body of Christ, we join with Christians around the world in devotion and prayer as we remember Jesus’ ministry and our faith in him. It is also an opportunity to refresh ourselves spiritually as we prepare for Easter.

Volunteers Needed

Greeting for Sunday morning service: Greeters are requested to be at the church by 10 am on Sunday they volunteer to greet. We need greeters starting Sunday, January 28. We already have greeters signed up for the next two Sundays.

Hall Set-Up on Sundays: We are looking for people who can come to church on Sunday mornings by 10 am to set up tables and chairs in the church hall. We need a minimum of 2 people each Sunday.

Refreshment Set-up: People who would like to set up refreshments so that after the service fellowship, people will enjoy snacks as they share time with one another. We have open spots for February Sundays. If you are setting up you need to be at the church by 10 am. You will not only put snacks out but also make coffee and tea.

Refreshment Clean-up: After everyone finishes refreshments, we need help with clean up. An empty sign-up sheet is waiting for your name to be written on.

Filing documents: 2 hrs/week for 3 weeks

We will set up the time that is convenient for you.

Cleaning Kitchen: 2 hrs/ week for 4 weeks


We will list more volunteer work next week.