Wednesday Meditation October 18, 2023
(1 Thessalonians 1:7)
so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.
As I write this, Gaza is being turned into rubble. Thanks to Americans backing Israelis, killing of people in Gaza has become part of regular news. In the meantime, some people are once again making this political fight a religious war. Is it? I am only certain of one thing: those who claim this is a long standing religious power struggle are conveniently washing their parts in this atrocity that is taking place now.What example do we set as Christians in the world? Paul thanked Thessalonian Christians for becoming examples to believers elsewhere. Can others say the same about us? What should we be like as Christians to demonstrate to the world that we as Christians are not here to stir up and start up killing sprees against people of other religions and that as Christians we are here to share God’s peace with all.
Yesterday, the news of a 6 year old boy being stabbed to death in a suburb of Chicago was everywhere. The boy’s mother was also stabbed, but was released from the hospital. They reported this hate crime with facts. What many of them did not tell us was that indeed the old white man and the 6 year old boy had a wonderful relationship. According to the boy’s father, they were good neighbours. The old man brought toys for the boy, built a treehouse and allowed him to play in a makeshift pool. The Palestinian family was renting the downstairs from the old man. How tragic that the news of the war in Israel made this old man fear for his life enough to kill a young boy.
Currently we enjoy many good relationships with Afghan and Turkish asylum seekers. Many of them are Muslims. We provide English lessons. They come, share laughter and their difficulties with us. It is wonderful to see how these displaced people are now our neighbours. Some young mothers bring their infants with them to learn English. You should see how these little babies melt everyone’s heart by simply being who they are.
More news from Gaza means more sadness in our hearts. Yet, there is one way we can overcome the accusations of this Gazan atrocity as a religious war. One simple thing we can do is by being Christ’s hand that shares his unconditional love with those who are entrusted to us. It does not matter whether they are Muslims, Jews or Christians. As long as we share love with one another, we become examples to all others as Paul thanked Thessalonians. There is no need to fear when we approach others, especially strangers with love.
One thing I am sure of is that our church has become a safe place for many of them to gather and spend their time in our facilities. They come eagerly in the mornings to learn how to become part of Canadian life. There have been many fear mongering suggestions regarding how dangerous these newcomers are. What we learned from them is that they are more like us every day as we get to know them. They risked their lives so that their children may find a stable and prosperous life just like many of our parents came with the same goal. They came to find life. They did not come to take life away from us. They put their lives on line so that we may open our arms and welcome them in Christ’s name. This is the only way we can ensure that what is happening in Gaza does not happen anywhere else. Welcoming as Christ welcomes everyone is the only way we demonstrate to the world that the evil of killing is not religious. Yes, we can truly be the example of people who seed life in places of death like Gaza and elsewhere because of our faith.
Loonies, Toonies October…
October is our fundraising month for local mission works. We have done many things. For example, we are continuing to provide English classes from Wednesday mornings through Friday mornings. We are also adding more ways of helping those who are in need. This week we added a daycare for infants so that mothers can learn English.
Thank you for sharing what God blessed you with generously.
We are planning a fundraising concert with Mike, Joan and friends on Friday, November 10 at 7 pm. Please mark your calendars. We ask you to spread the word about this concert. Invite your friends and neighbours.
Putting our future in God’s hand
In the past few years we discerned, pondered and planned together what God has in store for us. Many innovative and exciting possibilities have been discussed. It is time for us to realize that the rubber is meeting the road and that we are ready to move into the future. That is, with the session’s guidance, the congregation is facing the future head on.
We are clear that the ministry of Jesus Christ is making us new. We are no longer simply a group of people who come together for Sunday morning worship. We are a community of Christians with all kinds of activities bringing very different people together. We share God’s love with one another.
Our worship services ought to include all age groups. We are thankful that God is continually building us with many age groups that have been missing for a while.
We plan in ways God will lead us to a brand new future with many new people. We are already seeing how God has changed us in these few years.
How are we to do it, you ask?
We will start as a new congregation using our resources. We will gather together and begin a discussion on how to express our new way of being. We will set a specific plan to become a new Christian community in the spring.
In the meantime, we will continue our way of sharing God’s love with our neighbours by starting more ways to bring people of all ages.
We need your prayers. We are excited to unfold this new way as we prepare for the new life in the spring of 2024.