DH Update 17, Wednesday Wed. March 22, 2023

picture of Jesus carrying cross

Wednesday Meditation (Matthew 4:6)

“The the devil…saying to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written,
“He will command his angels concerning you”,
and “On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.” ”

A few years ago, there was a lot of talk about how detectives or investigators could manipulate people with lead-in questions to get answers they wanted. It was a simple trick. Ask a question by sowing doubt in the minds of people they suspect. Even if these people did not commit any crimes and deny with conviction any wrongdoing, by continually planting doubts and offering alternative possibilities with constant pressure, people would eventually begin to doubt their own stories and would start to consider their memory to be faulty, agreeing with detectives.

The tempter uses a similar approach. In the first temptation, the questioner begins with, “If you are the Son of God…” A very ordinary question, but one questioning Jesus’ identity very slightly. “If you are…” The first time someone hears it, this question is as harmless as it comes. The tempter does not know Jesus well or wants to clarify who Jesus is with the question, right? What harm could there be by asking Jesus to show who he truly is.

The second time this question is asked, the listener is being questioned far more carefully than before. The implication is, “Are you really sure? Don’t you need to find out?” or “How can you be so certain that you are really who you or others say you are?” With the same question, the devil sows doubt even more and really forces the answerer to think carefully about the statement.

“If” as a conjunction can make us think about our assumptions and understanding. “If” can lead us into a very different conclusion than the one we began with. By using “if” we get to second guess ourselves. More confusion is brought into one’s understanding with “if” than any other word we use. 

Slyly the devil asks Jesus to prove himself. In a way he is challenging Jesus’ identity and is asking for proof. Of course, the thing about “if” is that once we go down this road, there is no end to questioning led by “if”. Jesus is being asked to prove himself the second time. The identity is questioned far more carefully than before. We, too, are asked continually to prove to others and ourselves that we are Christians worthy of our faith. Our identity is being questioned. There is no reason for us to prove our identity to anyone. Our faith is in Christ, no ifs or buts.

Living: Loving

Depending on situations, living can be full of anguish, pain and suffering. Living can feel like walking through an endless mud road where boots get heavier and heavier with each step. Or living can be full of vibrant, renewing and joyful energy as we come to another spring after a long and dreary winter.

Change “i” to “o” in “live” to “love” and see how life can be so much more. Life is no longer simply an event full of boring and redundant activities, but full of excitement and anticipation. We come alive in a way that living is enjoyed and is filled with thrilling moments. Life becomes something that is worth living for.

Our church life has been like this for a long while. As we live a life of remembering that God is love, we grudgingly spend each moment loving. Because in loving, we experience life as full of gifts. Sure, we receive sad news and are faced with deep grief. Even in grieving, however, in loving, we anticipate eventual joy we shall share.

As a community of faithful people, living through COVID lockdowns caused many difficulties. Yet, we found many different ways to love to keep us connected as a community. Loving made it possible for us to be a church that found reasons to be.

Since November, we are learning to love in ways that we have never loved before. Loving newcomers, loving God by praising with different music, loving people of different religions and cultures as well as loving one another with a sense of purpose. 

I have been spending lots of time with people who are now calling or want to belong to Drummond Hill making this community their new home. As we do our best to share in love, both those who are new to us and those who have been here a while, we are beginning to find new ways to be loving as well.

Yes, it is easy when people can gather together and be part of our community. However, some are connected to us through the internet. Our meetings are taking place online when they can share in God’s love. Some are doing this during lunch hour. Others are sharing time long after their children have gone to sleep or their work is done. Sometimes, they come to us. Sometimes we go to them.

Last two nights, I spent evenings with a couple in Grimsby and with a band that is preparing to lead us worship at the end of April in the home of a band organizer on your behalf. In these encounters not only we learn about them, but also share who we are with them. Who knew that Drummond Hill could be their spiritual home to many? Loving makes all the difference as we continue to share God’s love in this community.

Easter Memorial Fund

A long time ago, on Easter Sunday, we used to decorate the sanctuary with Easter lilies. A member of groups would make a donation to buy a pot of Easter lilies and after the service, these lilies would be donated to the hospitals. Then, as hospitals refused to receive flowers on the account of allergies, these flowers were sent to seniors’ homes. Soon after, seniors' homes did not want them also. Eventually our buildings became fragrance free also.

This change that made us care for people with allergies made us continue our Easter tradition of donating flowers in a different way. The session began asking the congregation to donate the money to use as a fund for Christ’s ministry. Since about 10 years ago, we have been asking people to donate to the Easter Memorial Fund.

As we approach Easter, we are asking you to make donations in memory of your loved ones again. We have 3 Sundays before Easter. We will receive the donations until Easter Sunday this year.

Easter Bonnets are Back!

Are you feeling wacky? Pretty? Fun? Once again, this year, we are asking everyone to decorate their Easter bonnets and wear them on Easter Sunday. Be creative! Have fun glorifying and enjoying God! We will come up with a different judging method this year for wacky, pretty and fund categories.

Lent Project

This year’s Lent mission is for those who are suffering due to earthquakes in Turkey. There are cans on the refreshment tables. You can also donate through our church envelopes by indicating the donation. We have learned that due to economic sanctions put on by the many Western governments on Syria, it is impossible to send any aid to Syria directly without facing difficulties. We are very sad. We will continue to seek together with church organisations all over the world to figure out a way to help Syrians also.

Please pray that God will soften the hearts of Western leaders so that the people of Syria who are suffering because of earthquakes can be helped.

Helping the people of Ukraine

Thank you very much for responding to the call to help the people of Ukraine both in Ukraine and those who have been brought to the Niagara Region. Your donations have been greatly appreciated. We are continuing to collect clothes, kitchen supplies, and small appliances throughout the Lent until Easter.

Lent Wednesdays Devotions and Fellowship

Wednesday Lent Devotions are going well. Many are coming out to share in this journey with Christ in his passion, death and resurrection. In a way, Lent is the season for spiritual cleaning as we get ready to participate in the resurrection life of Christ.

We humbly follow Christ in this journey that takes us through passion, death and resurrection. We need all our efforts. Without spiritual sustenance, we will lose focus and our will to follow the Lord. Please come and join for these moments of devotion.