DH Update 15, Wednesday Wed. March 8, 2023

picture of Jesus carrying cross

Wednesday Meditation (Matthew 4:4)

“One does not live by bread alone,
     but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

As Christians we do our best to live a life of balance in most matters. Whether in work or play, caring for one another or strangers, we do our best to manifest God’s love in ways each person, including myself, flourishes in life. As Presbyterians, whenever we talk about ‘doing everything in moderation,’ we are speaking of living life that achieves equilibrium between private and public life.

Most of us know that each person has capacity for both good and evil and that part of our spiritual task is to live life choosing love over hate, compassion over indifference, mercy over punishment, grace over grotesque and peace over war. This struggle to live on the right side often led us to reject those whom we consider evil, sinful and bad. It also forced some devout people to repudiate and renounce parts of themselves as unacceptable. In extreme cases some Christians literally mutilated their bodies in order to find themselves in God’s favour.

The temptation is to make life a choice for bread or God’s Word. Jesus refuses to reduce life as a choice between bodily (physical) and spiritual needs and between the secular or sacred. For life to be as God intended, bread and God’s Word are essential. Jesus’ response to the tempter makes sense to us because we see in it a way to be who I am and how I should be balancing life in both religious and secular spheres. To us, being Christians is to hold both, rather than choosing one over the other or keep the religious while rejecting the secular. In this remark by Jesus, we find a path to love the world instead of dividing the world into either good/safe/appropriate (religious) or bad/dangerous/inappropriate (secular) places.

In Lent we do our best to hold both bread and God’s Word together. Finding this balance, loving God and the world (or neighbours), is joy and delight. When we find it, we find what it means to live fully. By fully accepting ourselves as ones called in Christ is to experience unlike any other. We come to love ourselves as God loves us. That is when we find the love God gives to each one of us is fully realized and we are able to embrace the world in love as Christ did and continues to do in his ministry. Sinners, yes! Imperfect in many ways, yes! Fully loving ourselves in spite of sins and failures, yes, as God loves us. Loving the sinners around us, yes! Loving the imperfect as well as those who are unlovable, yes! Loving the world, following Christ, yes!

Miracles all around us

Anniversary Sunday

Last Sunday I experienced a miracle. Presbyterians don’t speak like this. We are very sceptical of any talk of miracles like this, but I witnessed a miracle. Not a big one. Not one that many people can talk about. But something that glorified God. Remember in Gospel John, when Jesus was asked by his disciples, “Who sinned? This man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered them, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him.” Miracle is nothing more or nothing less than God’s work revealed in our world. It can be something supernatural. It can also be something very mundane. Often people speak of miracles as supernatural events which have no rational explanations. However, for Christians, whether an event can be explained rationally or not is not the point.

Miracle is something that reveals God’s work in a surprising way. It could be explained or defies having any reasonable explanation.

Again, last Sunday a miracle happened. As usual, some felt it as an uplifting event. Some were glad to be part of the event as they witnessed. Some were effusive of the event itself, glorifying God. Some were thankful. Some were excited. Some wondered if the event was the right kind of thing. A few had second thoughts about it and did not particularly care for it.

One mark of a miracle is those who are not part of the in-group witness something extraordinary while those who are part of this in-group are not clear what took place. These outsiders get excited to be part of something unexpected. They rave and praise God for their experience.

Last Sunday worship was such an event. There were more people present who were not our regulars. Indeed, we had to add tables to accommodate everyone for lunch even though some did not stay for refreshments. Those outsiders were very excited and jubilant. Here are some of what we heard:

“The whole service was uplifting. I have been to many churches, but this was really uplifting and I am glad I came.”

“Everything was perfect. I now know what worship is. This was just great.”

“It was totally different than anything I experienced. I am very thankful that I came.”

“In our country, often we are told that we are sinners. Today, I heard the good news that is very different. I really am thankful that I came. We didn’t expect this.” “I am so happy I am here.”

These are only a few samples of what people said. The worship was buoyed by people who were truly enjoying the service. We give God thanks for all those God’s people who were sent by God to us to rejoice together. We pray that the glory we gave God last Sunday will continue to help us experience something unexpected. Something that opens our eyes to God’s presence in a new way.

Easter Bonnets are Back!

Once again, this year, we are getting ready for Easter. As part of our preparation, we are asking everyone to decorate their Easter bonnets and wear them on Easter Sunday. Be creative! Have fun glorifying and enjoying God!

Lent Project

This year’s Lent mission is helping people who have suffered earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. There are cans on the refreshment tables. You can also donate through church envelope by indicating the donation.

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

We have begun. Yes, we have been walking with Christ in this Lent Journey. Until Easter, every Wednesday at 10:30 am, we are coming together for devotion and fellowship. These gatherings may not sound like much, but it is our spiritual refreshments that sustain us in between Sunday feasts to fortify us as we follow Christ.

Following Christ is a spiritual 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.