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Sunday Summary

The Wonder Of It All

The Wonder of it All Audio

I was sitting on the back deck working on my laptop, constantly aware of the racket coming from the cedar bush beside me every time a mother or father bird, (it’s hard to tell them apart) came to feed the little ones in the nest. They were like a choir all singing “feed me, feed me.” And as soon as the feeding was over and the adult bird — if we can call them that — flew away, there would be complete silence. It’s almost as though the parents told the kids to keep quiet when we leave because there are cats around.

I had looked at the nest the day before and wondered how birds whose lives may only span two to four years know how to build those things. They’re nothing but twigs and spit of some kind I guess, but they tend to stand up to the best mother nature can throw at them on a stormy day.

Two days later I was back at my back-deck office and I heard a thunk beside me and there was one of the choir, taking its first steps into the world by dropping down on the deck. It looked so frail as it kept up its shrill call for the parents to now find it as it was no longer with its other brothers and sisters in the nest.

Some of the things we take for granted around us are worthy of more significant thought when we take a moment to consider the miracles that seem to be all around us.

Mom and Dad make a nest and then commit to feed the little ones until they can strike out on their own. The little ones take a leap into the unknown and immediately know that they can somehow gain some lift if they just begin to flap those new wings of theirs.

On a grander scale how do Monarch butterflies know to migrate the 4800 kilometers from Mexico to Canada every year? How do they know where they are going and what propels them? How do Grey whales know when it’s time to begin the long swim from Canada’s waters also to the south? That’s a 16,000-kilometer round trip.

I think sometimes all we are left with is “In the beginning God”. This wonder of DNA, this miracle of genetic learning that becomes inherent in each new generation, taking on the lessons learned by previous ones and then somehow, passing on the knowledge for others to just know what to do.

I wonder if we take the wonder of God’s creative plan for granted.

(Pam has just stuck her head out the back door as I am writing this to tell me that there’s a baby robin on the front deck. Maybe they are gathering to find out what I’m saying about them.)

As I was saying, perhaps we take the wonder of creation for granted.

The early Jewish scholars penned the story of creation in a manner to give God the ultimate glory. They didn’t try to go into the scientific evidence, they just wanted to make the statement that God is behind it all.

The Psalmists often spoke of creation being alive. In one of the Psalms we ascribe to David we read.

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.

Psalm 96: 11-12

Isaiah was thinking in a similar vein when he wrote:

You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.

Isaiah 55: 12

(I know some of you can hear the melody that accompanies that chorus that we sing at College Ave. Just make sure you clap in the right spot.)

When the Pharisees told Jesus to tell His disciples to shut up, Jesus said that if they were quiet then even the stones would cry out in honour of Him. Luke 19:40

We may tend to see these as poetic license, giving inanimate objects human qualities or we may see God’s creation as brimming with energy, also awaiting the redemption of the world.

If this later idea appeals to you then you’re in sync with what Paul said in his book to the church in Rome when he declared the following.

“For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”

Romans 8: 20-22

Bruce Cockburn sings of creation basically humming under the feet of Jesus as he’s walking by. In his song entitled “Hills of Morning” he sings of the wonder of being even just a particle of God’s light. Near the end of this song he sings a line that has been suggested by many as another of his most quotable lyrics about the wisdom of the world.

If you haven’t already, go back and listen to this song and pick up the references to being a particle of God’s light, and his cryptic reference to those who don’t believe in tomorrow.        

If you have heard it already, go back and listen again now that I’ve suggested what you should be listening for.

Being in a relationship with God is not an unusual experience. The writer of the book of Ecclesiastes writes in Chapter 3, following those classic lines about there “being a time for everything under the heavens”, that “God has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart”.

God has created the wonder of nature. God has placed the desire for us to know God in our hearts, and as Bruce says:

You can take the wisdom of this world and give it to the ones who think it all ends here

Hills of Morning – Bruce Cockburn

And so, we thank you God for the wonder of creation that you have gifted to us. We’re sorry for the lack of love and care we have given it over the years. As we recognize this failure of ours, we pray for your guidance as we take on the roll to be not only lovers of nature but people who are willing to care for nature as well.

We thank you that we are able to enjoy a loving relationship with you as the joy of eternity rings in our hearts.

Pastor Lloyd

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Sunday Summary

What, me Worry?

What-Me-Worry

I’ve been thinking about worrying lately.

Not as an abstract idea but something closer to home.

What do I worry about, and I do worry.

Can’t number the times I have spoken on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount where He encouraged us to not be anxious about anything. Don’t worry about the most basic things of life, like what we’ll wear or what we’ll eat or what tomorrow may hold.

Jesus said to not worry because God takes care of the birds in air and lilies in the field and so it goes without saying that we’re more important than these.

Here are some of His thoughts from what we refer to as the Sermon on the Mount from Matthews Gospel.

 “Therefore, I say to you, don’t worry about your life, what you’ll eat or what you’ll drink, or about your body, what you’ll wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds in the sky. They don’t sow seed or harvest grain or gather crops into barns. Yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth much more than they are? Who among you by worrying can add a single moment to your life? Matthew 6:25-34

I’m sure if we had been present to hear Jesus say these words, while sitting on a hillside on a nice sunny afternoon, surrounded by our friends we might have been one of those saying Amen, Preach it Jesus.

I’m never going to worry again.

But then we’d have to get back to our regular daily lives and probably we would worry.

Worry about our children and grandchildren.

Worry about bills to pay. Worry about our health.

Things that are natural to worry about. (If I can get away with saying this.)

For us right now this Virus is cause for worry. I’ve heard it often said that It’s hardest on those who are 70 or older. If that’s the case, I only have another month and I’ll really have to start getting serious about worrying.

So, are we less than we should be as Christians if we admit that we have moments when we can be consumed with worry? Is Jesus disappointed when we can’t get past the things in this life that bring us to a state of concern?

John described Jesus as being full of grace and truth. There’s consolation in these words when we recognize that we’re not fully able to live in Jesus words of encouragement.

Full of grace.

But still, it’s worth thinking about worry and all of the negative consequences that can accompany that emotion. Therapists tell us that it can take years off of our lives. Then there are the “self-help” authors who rightfully remind us that most of the things we waste time worrying about never happen. We pay an emotional price and it’s all for nothing.

Perhaps it can be a good exercise to go back and try to understand the audience Jesus was speaking to. These were people without any social nets such as unemployment insurance or healthcare. These were people living under occupation, the heavy hand of the Roman Government who used crucifixion as a means of keeping everyone in line. These were people with limited resources who had to pay heavy taxes to the Romans out of their meager finances. And Jesus says don’t worry. Don’t worry about the necessities of life, or about what may or may not happen tomorrow and He gives them a reason for accepting this as a way to live.

In one of my favourite Peanuts cartoons, Charlie Brown, Lucy and Linus all come upon a rather discouraged looking Snoopy and they all say the same thing. “Be of good cheer Snoopy, yes, be of good cheer.” I may have missed the message in this cartoon had I not read an article about Charles Schulz, who created Peanuts for 50 years and the message he had buried in this short story. He said, may times our words of encouragement hold no meaning, there’s no weight behind our best wishes.

Be of good cheer sounds good but the question could be, why?

Jesus added weight to his teaching about not worrying when He says because your Father, your Father, the God of all abundance and supply has all of these concerns taken care of.

That needs to be our fallback when the cares of this life begin to weight heavy. The Jews in Jesus congregation were under occupation. We’re living under occupation. Not by an army with swords and lances, but by a virus that most of us never saw coming.

So, in this time of concern and anxiety and worry, Jesus says don’t worry about all of the things that can give us cause to worry, but instead He ends this lesson with the encouragement to seek God’s truth and direction and the rest of the important needs in life will be met.

I think Jesus was saying this is a different way to live in the world, as opposed to living in a state of anxiety and worry which includes so many of us and as I have confessed, me as well sometimes.

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Sunday Summary

The Three Amigos

Since January 2011, when I joined David at College Ave, I have been involved in joint services with Bonnie Pilkey and Jane Van Patter of Dundas Street United and St David’s respectively. These were usually around Lent and Advent. With Bonnie set to retire later in June and Jane to do the same in October, we thought it a nice idea to have one last joint service. Here it is in three parts, giving us one last opportunity to enjoy what has been for all of us a rich experience.

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Sunday Summary

Pentecost

Pentecost

It’s Pentecost, a significant day in the Christian Church.

Jesus told his followers to wait in Jerusalem for something amazing to happen. What that something was must have been a mystery as Jesus spoke of being baptized in the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1: 4-5)

Jesus spoke often about His sending the Spirit to take over His work. In John chapters 14 and 15 Jesus makes reference to the Spirit’s presence in our lives providing guidance, instruction, understanding of the truth and ultimately of pointing us to Himself.

We see Pentecost as the beginning of the church age. Not that the Holy Spirit wasn’t active in the lives of God’s people until then, but it was different.

Image of College Ave Church

In the Old Testament we have God being present with the nation of Israel in a specific place. First was the Tabernacle which was a tent like abode which suited their wilderness experience as the tent could be moved. Eventually Solomon built the Temple and God’s presence was understood to abide in the Holy of Holies, within the center of the Temple.

The Holy of Holies was behind curtains and only the high priest would enter once a year, sprinkle the mercy seat with blood to secure forgiveness for the nation as a collective act.

The Temple was everything. When the Babylonians conquered the nation of Judah in 588 BCE, they tore down Solomon’s magnificent Temple. Not that they didn’t appreciate beautiful architecture, but it was to show that Babylon’s god’s were superior to the God of the Israelites.

When Jesus comes along, the Temple has been rebuilt and we read of Jesus spending time there, teaching and healing. That’s where God did things. But Jesus got into trouble by telling the religious leaders that the Temple would be torn down and he would restore it again in three days. Of course, the temple he spoke of was Himself, but it was seen as blasphemous talk and an attack on the very centre of Judaist worship.

There’s more to this than meets the eye. Jesus was saying that the importance of the Temple was about to change. God’s Spirit was going to abide in God’s people and not in a building, as beautiful as that building might be.

When Jesus was crucified, we read in Matthew 27:51 that the veil of the Temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom. The significance of this was that experiencing the presence of God wasn’t going to be restricted to the High Priest once a year.

Therefore, the instruction to go to Jerusalem and wait, something that is usually hard for most of us to do.

Wait for God to do a new thing. And Pentecost was a new thing.

That’s the heritage we enjoy as God’s people. An intimacy with God through His Spirit that can lead, comfort, guide, secure and teach and so much more.

I overheard someone say the other day that the Government had shut down all the churches.

No!

The Government has shut down all the buildings, but really to be fair, Covid-19 has shut down all the buildings. But the church remains active because we are the church, the people who believe that Jesus died and was resurrected so that there would be a group of people who attest to the love and grace of God.

That’s the amazing thing I mentioned earlier.

Wait for the Holy Spirit to come and make your life different.

 People who live, not for their own benefit and gain, but for the good of others.

That’s the calling that we need to endeavour to live up to.

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Sunday Summary

Dealing with Disappointment

If you’re keeping track, this is the seventh Sunday of Easter. Hard to remember Easter. It’s the Sunday that wasn’t, as far as an Easter service is concerned.

Next week is Pentecost and then the Church begins counting the Sundays after Pentecost taking us all the way into September. Some indications are that we may not be gathering for worship again until September, and that’s a disappointment.

Which brings me to the subject of my reflection for this Sunday.

The final event recorded in Acts chapter 1, before we get to Pentecost in chapter 2, has the eleven remaining Apostles dealing with the issue that Jesus had chosen 12 of them and with the death of Judas, there was desire to replace him and get the number back to twelve.

We might wonder about the importance of twelve. Jesus may have been making a connection with the nation of Israel, the people to whom he first came. Jacob had 12 sons and these eventually made up the 12 tribes of Israel and so the remaining disciples may have believed that there was a need to return the number of Apostles to the original 12.

We read in Acts 1: 12-26 that there were 120 followers of Jesus still meeting in a room in Jerusalem when the issue of choosing a replacement is first broached by Peter. (Interesting to note that 120 is 10 times 12, which may also have been a number significant to them.)

The decision is to nominate two who are recognized as having been followers of Jesus from the beginning. Interesting to note again that although Jesus had an intimate relationship as teacher with the “twelve” we refer to as his disciples, there was actually a much larger contingent of both men and women who followed him from the beginning of His ministry. These we can properly refer to as Jesus disciples as we can for the millions of followers from His resurrection until today. If we count ourselves as followers of Jesus, we are numbered among His disciples.

The Apostles however, were the 12 distinct men that Jesus chose to work with and to imbed His teaching so that they might continue His work following His ascension.

So, the trivial pursuit question is, “How many Apostles were there?’ You know the answer if you have been listening when I have played with this before. You would logically say 12 and I would say no, there were 13 if you count Matthias, and then I would confuse you further by saying that there were actually 14. In Paul’s letter’s he claimed Apostleship because of the intimate relationship he claims to have had with Jesus even though Jesus had already ascended into heaven.

How many disciples were there? The correct answer for the win and the jackpot is probably fourteen.

But I digress.

Two are chosen, Matthias and Barsabbas. They pray for guidance, cast lots, which may be another means of saying they had a private ballot vote, and Matthias was chosen and Barsabbas was not.

So, the question implicit in this reflection is how did Barsabbas handle the disappointment of not being chosen, not being the first choice of his other friends?

With that, how do we handle disappointment, especially the disappointment that

Covid-19 has brought into our lives, and there’s lots of it.

I mentioned the Easter Sunday that wasn’t. Of all the services to have to cancel, Easter is the celebration that marks the Christian Church. It’s the grand celebration, even more important than Christmas. And we missed it, because we had to.

I’m often asked when we can expect to get back to church. I have no idea and there’s a great disappointment in having to admit that. On a family note, Pam and I have two wonderful granddaughters in Niagara and the best we can do is Facetime, which is a blessing in itself, but it can’t compare with seeing them and hugging them.

I won’t create a great list. I’m sure you can fill in the issues that are bringing disappointment to you and your family and friends.

Back to the question of how Barsabbas handled his disappointment. First off, it’s interesting to note that Matthias is not mentioned again in scripture. Then again, neither are most of the Apostles once we get past the Gospels. What happened to the second name on the ballot, the loser? Well he shows up again, later in the Book of Acts when the church in Jerusalem decides to send a couple men to accompany Paul on a trip back to Antioch to bring words of encouragement to that congregation. They choose Silas and Barsabbas and describe them as leaders in the church. 

Barsabbas obviously got over his disappointment and continued leading the Jerusalem congregation. What a great example for us. It’s easy to want to throw our hands in the air and give up or as some are advising, to just get back to life as we knew it. Cronid-19,

Let’s pretend it hasn’t happened.

I’m sure Barsabbas had opportunity to sit with his grandkids and share with them that he was almost chosen as Apostle number 13, but it didn’t matter to him. He was dedicated to Jesus and was willing to carry on and do whatever God had in store for him.

He’s a great example, although unrecognized by many of us, as a man who dealt with his disappointment and continued serving his Lord.  

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Sunday Summary

May the Force Be with You

It’s the Victoria Day weekend. Although it’s hard to think that having Monday as a day off has any special appeal just now. The name of the day has morphed to the May 2-4 weekend, refereing to the 24th day of May that has been the traditional day of celebration. For some the term 2-4 has to do with Bud Lite or any other number of beers available in a 24 pack. I wonder what Queen Victoria would say?

2 Thessalonians 3:16. Now may the Lord of peach himself give you peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all.

Another day in May has taken on a new significance. It’s the 4th of the month. The original Star Wars episodes brought us the term “May the Force be with you”. I can still see Obi-Wan Kenobi giving guidance to Luke Skywalker to trust in the guidance of the “Force” in that final battle between good against evil.

If I can use that term again, it has morphed into “may the 4th be with you.” I emailed a reflection on May the 4th and invited any who couldn’t connect with the term to ask for an explanation. A couple of you were willing to admit to having missed the world of Star Wars.

Back in 1977 when Pam and I came out of the theater, having watched the first episode, I couldn’t help wondering what it would be like, as a Christian, to have that sort of connection to the “Force” in our lives, the force of God, the Holy Spirit.

Jesus promised us that we would have a special relationship with the Father through the Spirit and made that promise to his followers. They were told to hang around Jerusalem (see Acts 1: 4-5) for a few more days so that the Holy Spirit could flood their lives with power and connection. That event did indeed happen, and we celebrate that day in the church as the Day of Pentecost.

Earlier, in discussion with His disciples, Jesus promised them that his going away was a good thing for them. Once he was gone, he could send the Spirit to be everywhere at once as opposed to being locked in one place as He was in His human body.

I wonder if we need that sense of God’s presence now, as much as any other time on our lives, as we live through this pandemic.

Paul picked up on the theme of what we might expect from God’s Spirit if we allowed ourselves to live God’s way. He wrote the following and Eugene Peterson decided to give us a new take on His words. It’s a beautiful rendition for those of us who have heard these words so many times before. A new look at what we call the “fruit of the Spirit” can be a good thing.

“But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.” Galatians 5: 22-23

The suggestion is that when we open ourselves to God’s Spirit there are gifts available to us. Nothing we have to struggle for. They are God’s gifts to us.

Things like, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Hard not to fall back on the words we have always used before. However, perhaps we should go back once again and read how Eugene has coined the phrase, just so that we don’t get so familiar that we miss the impact of what The Spirit has for us.

We have a long way to go before we get back to the 4th of May. A long way to go before we get back to life as it was, if indeed we ever do. Nice to know we don’t have to wait for that day to come again before we can meditate on the truth that the Force wishes to be with us. It’s the promise that Jesus made to his followers, those who walked with Him in Judea, and the rest of us who have chosen to follow Him.

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Sunday Summary

The Mother of Jesus

I guess I should begin by saying Happy Mother’s Day to all our Moms.

There is an episode in Jesus’ life that is only mentioned in John’s Gospel. It has to do with wine and potential embarrassment and Mary, who is only mentioned in the Gospel as ‘the Mother of Jesus’ but ends in what we refer to as the first miracle of Jesus’ public ministry.

You will remember the story I’m sure. If you need a refresher read it again in

John 2: 1-11. For that matter we should all read it again.

There’s a wedding, a big event in the village of Cana. Some have suggested that it involved family members of Mary and therefore Jesus as well.  That explains her being actively involved in solving the problem that arises.

That problem is the embarrassment of running out of wine before the two or three day celebration is over.

When Mary gets word of this she goes to Jesus and says, “they have run out of wine.” Pretty straight forward statement. To which Jesus replies, in what seems to be a rather caustic retort, “what does that have to do with me”. He also adds that “it’s not time for me yet”.

The next statement we read from John is that Mary tells the servants to do whatever He says. If you take a moment to read between the lines, it would seem obvious that there is a dialogue between Jesus and Mom that is not shared with us. Why is she so optimistic that Jesus is going to say something when He has just dissed her?

Thanks to Anita I’ve just been introduced to a new film series on the life of Jesus called “The Chosen”. It’s available on You Tube or as a downloadable App. In the episode about the wedding, after Jesus tells her to go away because he is not yet ready, she says…” If not now, when”?

This leads eventually to six, twenty or thirty gallon jars being filled with water. It’s an interesting insight into this rather formidable task that the wedding manger says. “it’s wine we’ve run out of not water”.

We know that the story ends with Jesus turning the water to wine and the manager of the wedding event saying that this is a most unusual situation. The Bride and Groom and family have left the best wine for last which is usually the time to serve the “plonk”, a term our son uses for the quality of wine Pam and I tend to buy.

There are a number of spiritual lessons that we can gather from this. One I like is when we allow Jesus to be our source for the needs we have. Jesus provides the best. The best wine, the best answers.

The other wonderful lesson is that the loaves and fish Jesus used to feed 5000 and then 4000 respectively generated an additional 12 and 7 baskets after everyone was satisfied. Could the message be that God is the source of abundance? I know it’s a lesson similar to another recent reflection, but it bears repeating. Not necessarily an abundance of finance but of grace and truth and love and perhaps I should add patience as we continue to live thru this isolation.

However, the incentive for this reflection is Mother’s Day and “the Chosen” has given me a new admiration for Mary as an example of a giving, compassionate and take-charge woman.

When she understands the consequence of a wineless celebration, she gets Jesus’ attention and then when He decides to sidestep the issue, she reminds Him of His purpose, that this is as good a time as any to step up to the plate and reveal His special God given status.

I know this day is about honouring our Mothers, but I wonder if we should spread the net a little wider and honour the many women who have had an influence on our lives. Women like Mary who knew what was needed to make things happen to make our lives and perhaps the lives of our families better.

Might I suggest that we think of someone outside of our family circle and either give them a call to say thanks or purpose to send a card of thanks acknowledging their contribution to our well-being.

Pastor Lloyd

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Sunday Summary

Fish For Breakfast

As we move further from that great day of Jesus’ resurrection, we look at an interesting event involving Jesus and some of the disciples. We read in John 21: 1-14 that the disciples are back home near the Sea of Galilee where it all began for them and they’re bored. They know Jesus has been brought back to life, but He has this frustrating habit of turning up in their midst and then disappearing.

Peter is the one to say, “let’s do what we have done most of our lives. Let’s go fish.” (Not to be confused with the only card game Pam knows how to play). And so seven of them set out in their boat to catch a serious quantity of fish. There’s a livelihood to be made in fish.

We’re told that they fished all night and caught nothing. As the night wore on, I can just imagine the frustration in the boat. Perhaps you have sat in a boat awaiting the exhilaration of catching a big one only to have to come home and pretend that it was worth it, being out on the water, even though nothing happened. Telling everyone about the one that got away.

As the dawn breaks there’s a guy standing on the beach stating the obvious. “You haven’t caught anything have you?” I can hear Peter making comments under his breath. Then the stranger says, “try fishing from the right side of the boat.” “What’s with this guy, right side, left side, it’s all the same” But it isn’t, when they try pulling in the net there are too many to haul into the boat and then John says. “It’s Jesus!”

Then Peter put on his clothes, because he was naked, and swam to shore. I’m not making this up. That’s what the Biblical record says. Peter was naked. Were all seven of them naked? That’s not an image we necessarily have to keep in our minds.  

Peter leaves his buddies to do all the work of hauling to shore this load of fish that number 153. When they all gather around the Lord, He has a fire going and asks for some fish to prepare breakfast for these friends of His who have labored all night.

There are all sorts of theological discussions concerning the numerical count of 153 fish. Whatever we discuss, it’s all conjecture. But number of fish aside there are a couple lessons that we can gain from this story.

The first is to be attentive to what Jesus may be saying to us. It’s easy to write off as unimportant the words from a stranger on the shore about where we might find fish. Perhaps it’s easy at times to write off that voice we hear, telling us of a better way, as just a crazy thought that is easy to ignore. Perhaps those promptings are really the stranger on the shore, Jesus, giving us the guidance we need to help us get through a disappointing night of anxiety.

The other lesson comes from our understanding that God is the source of abundance for our world. When Jesus took the loaves and fish to feed 5000 and then 4000 there was an overabundance left after everyone had been fed.

At both of those events he took the bread, broke it, blessed it and gave it to the disciples for distribution. Here we read that he took the bread and then the fish and gave it to them.

Sounds very similar to His actions at the last supper. He took the bread, broke it, blessed it and gave it to his disciples. It’s like having confidence in the faithfulness of God to meet our needs out of the abundance of God’s grace and love.

Jesus told us to rely on our Heavenly Father for our most basic needs in this life. In that great concentration of Jesus’ teaching found in Matthew 5 through 7 He addressed the anxiety that can so easily overwhelm us, especially in this time of Covid-19. Jesus said to not be caught up in anxiety about the span of our lives, having the right clothes to wear or what’s for breakfast. All of our needs are in God’s care as are the birds of the air. True life is about coming to an understanding of the Father’s great concern for all of us and when we focus on this reality everything else will just fall into place.

Enjoy your next breakfast as a gift from Jesus and give thanks for the blessing that we enjoy out of His abundance.

Pastor Lloyd

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Sunday Summary

Three On The Road

I never miss the opportunity to share this story each Easter season.

Two men walking on a road, despondent about the events of the last few days in Jerusalem. Joined by a stranger who overcomes any concerns about his intentions by entering into a discussion about their apparent discomfort.

A stranger who seems to play with them at first by pretending he’s oblivious to the recent happenings.

A stranger who becomes somewhat belligerent by calling them dim-witted.

A stranger who insults, but them amazes them with his insight into what has actually happened in Jerusalem. Their own scriptures lay it all out that the Messiah would suffer for the world, not wield a sword for a temporary victory over Rome.

A stranger who again would feign having somewhere else to be until he’s tempted to stay a while for wine and cheese.

A stranger who turns out to be the one they have been discussing all day.

The one who died and is now alive.

A stranger who sends them back to Jerusalem with this great news.

It’s a wonderful story, adding to the wonder of Easter Sunday. Whenever I prepare this message, I can’t help but see the players in my minds eye. See the two men, see Jesus, see their amazement once they recognize the stranger for who he is.

Beyond the great story however, there are lessons to be learned from their experience.

A question often asked in Bible discussions is “why didn’t they recognize Him?” There are a number of answers that would be best discussed when we can meet together again in the Parlour for a study.

A spiritual lesson for all of us might consider how often we walk down this road of life, with Jesus at our side, and we don’t recognize Him.

We’re actually not looking for Him because we have everything under control. We don’t really need Jesus’ help, because we are totally self-sufficient, until we’re not. Then we’re likely to ask where Jesus actually is in our dilemma and anxiety.

Jesus promised to be with us until the very end of the age. (Matthew 28: 20).

He also promised that The Spirit would be our help and guide. (John chpts 14 & 16).

We should learn to recognize the presence of God in our lives as we are all facing dilemma and anxiety in this age of Covid-19.

The other interesting lesson is that once Jesus decided to tune these two in, he didn’t get involved in a heavy discourse about the meaning of it all. Instead he as much as said, you guys should know all this. They were Jewish men who would have all been versed from childhood in their scriptures. Therefore, the dim-witted comment. Jesus takes them back through the teachings of the books of Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophets that all painted a picture of a suffering Messiah.

We can assume that the truth was beginning to dawn on them. However, it took one more experience to open their eyes. When Jesus took the bread and wine and served it to them it took them back to a time of Worship and then it all came together.

The truth included in our scriptures along with the experience of worship can bring it all together for us. Can open out eyes to the presence of the Eternal One, able to help us through any difficult experience.

I know we don’t have the opportunity to worship together, but the reading of a select passage followed by a time of meditation on is truth can give us that experience even if it is an individual moment of worship.

Finally, you have to love the moment when they get back to the other disciples, unable to hold back the news for even a moment longer that Jesus has risen to have the other disciples say “ya we know, Peter told us already.” Life can have its moments, can’t it.

This story ends with Jesus appearing to them all. Being present in the room when this happened had to make the run back to Jerusalem well worth the effort.

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Sunday Summary

Easter Morning

Christ is risen

He is risen indeed.

That’s the common greeting in many of the emails and texts I’ve received over the last few days. It’s good to be reminded that this is what Easter is all about.

If there had been no mention of Jesus’ birth in the Gospels, we would not be that worse off. I’m sure of culture would have come up with another opportunity to drive our consumer society with reason to buy gifts and light our homes.

If there were no Easter, no risen Christ, then the faith we practice, as believers in Jesus’ resurrection, just wouldn’t exist. Easter is the most significant day in the Church calendar. Perhaps that’s why today is the most difficult day to be staying home and living in isolation.

But consider this. We can’t join together at College Ave but Jesus can join each of us where we are.

In John’s Gospel we read in chapter 20 that on that first day, the day of resurrection, Jesus suddenly shows up in the room where the disciples are trying to hide away from the Jewish authorities. I mentioned in an earlier reflection that He didn’t knock because He didn’t want to frighten them. None the less, they must have been shocked to see Jesus suddenly standing there.

It’s interesting to note that the first thing Jesus says is “peace be with you”. The word shalom is a common Jewish greeting. If this had happened in Canada, He might have said “hey” or “howdy” in the southern states. But no, Peace is more than the common greeting of the day, it’s the message they need to hear. It’s also the message most of us need to hear.

In an earlier discourse with His disciples Jesus elaborated by saying “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. I give to you not as the world gives. Don’t be troubled or afraid.”

Don’t be troubled or afraid. I’m sure that’s what Jesus’ followers needed to hear and I’m sure his comments about not being troubled or afraid would have resonated in their minds.

Perhaps that’s the message many of us need to hear today. Jesus showed up in the room where they needed him the most, stood in their midst and said “PEACE”.

Happy Easter

Pastor Lloyd

PS.

In Kevin and Heather’s Easter greeting, that I sent out last night, they mentioned not being able to sing “Christ the Lord is Risen Today.” It has always been my favourite Easter carol, if I can call it that.

I’m thinking that if I send you the lyrics it may get planted in your minds for the day as well. It’s an old hymn from the pen of Charles Wesley but retains a beauty in both its melody and words.

Christ the Lord is Risen Today
Christ the Lord is ris’n today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heav’ns, and earth reply, Alleluia!
Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the vict’ry won, Alleluia!
Jesus’ agony is o’er, Alleluia!
Darkness veils the earth no more, Alleluia!
Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!