Worship: Sunday, March 29, 2020

What, When, Why – The destruction of the temple

Worship from the Manse

I’m sharing the short form of my message as well as my mind map I created as I built this message.

Gospel Lesson:  Mark 13: 1-8 The Destruction of the temple foretold

  • Disciples point out the large stones of the building
  • Jesus tells them that the temple will be destroyed
  • WHEN? In fact – the temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE

Perhaps Jesus was using the temple as a metaphor for himself?

  • 4 disciples questioned Jesus about when this will happen
    • Jesus tells them to beware – people who claim to be who they are not
    • Wars, rumours of wars
    • Earth quakes, famine

What about today? Birth pangs

  • Tear down to build up
  • Build up to create something new
  • Our bodies sometimes lay us low for a while.  We rest, we renew.  Then, we arise.  Refreshed and with new energy to face the dawn

What about us today?

  • We still ask why bad things happen to good people; why this virus, why now?
  • We ask when will it end?
  • We ask what is the reason, the purpose.

We may not know all the answers today.  Perhaps we’re not meant to fully understand.

However, look at what is accomplished, the new blessings we are seeing.

  • Found new ways to worship
  • Found new ways to reach out to people
  • The church, the people, have been mobilized in new and meaningful ways

There is hope!  This is what our faith brings for us. 

Will you find hope this week?  What are the blessings that you are seeing for the very first time?

How can you continue to grow and be the temple?

Amen.

Below is the Mind Map I created in preparation.  I use this tool most weeks.

You mean I can’t go out?

No one likes to be told to stay home. Our lives in general are about being with others; sharing each others joys, sorrows, and so much more. So how do we manage?

In reality fresh air and sunshine is a good thing even when we are staying away from others.

What does life look like right now? The stores are restocking but many people are buying up more than they need. There’s whining about our favorite restaurants being shut down with pick up or delivery only. There’s moments when we decide to go out because we are tired of being stuck at home. Resist the urge to go shopping. Resist the urge to meet up with friends.

So what do we do? There is so much richness in our Sabbath time – our time apart. More time to write, to plan the summer garden, to tidy up the back of the cupboard, to read, to paint, to craft, and so much more. Of course most people’s ideas of a stay-cation are not about being home. What if we re-framed those thoughts?

What does staying home look like to you?

Today I am:

  1. knitting and spinning
  2. playing piano
  3. watching some classic movies
  4. spending time with Nick
  5. taking care of the bunnies
  6. household chores

But wait – this is a normal Tuesday for me.

What’s on your list today?

Stay safe and well dear friends of the earth. God bless.

With a song in my heart

What a wonderful morning.  The sun shines brightly, the blue jays are active, and on the surface everything seems fine.  However, visual cues are not always a reflection of what’s in a heart.

A smile, a laugh or giggle may seem normal and positive but the under-current, what lies beneath can prove to be tumultuous.  The waves of emotion that come and go with grief, sorrow, and sadness can be set aside for short periods of time but without the healing the grieving brings that grief can surface unbidden.

I believe that Sabbath time can help each one of us to re-connect with the Holy and with our faith.  A few moments throughout the day focusing on gratitude, acknowledging the pain, then moving through that pain to a depth of faith that lifts us out of the valley.  Of course those times may be very short and few, far between but with each moment we can be brought closer to the Divine.

How do I live through these times?  With a song in my heart.  Sometimes a song of faith to lift me up or a sad song to help me feel the depth of despair.

Here’s one of my “go-to” songs:

What song is in your heart today?

 

Many blessings to you on this the day that has been given to us.

The big question

The question I’m most often asked is “are you still happy here?” The here is in the Denbigh area and serving the local Pastoral Charge. Both Nick and I feel at home in Denbigh. We like the hills, lakes, and being away from the noise and traffic of the city. The people are caring and kind.

Small communities are close knit. I’m still learning where people live and who is related to whom. A family is created even if none exist.

The downside of living here is being on the eastern side of Toronto with much of the family living on the west side. The distance can be tough but not impossible.

There’s a test of faith that goes along with both sides of this coin. As a Minister there are boundaries that need to be maintained. Having a sense of what’s appropriate when I share from my personal life and when to phrase things in vague ways which can become very important in small communities.

Faith is tested too when you wish you were closer to the family; grandchildren and loved ones.

Where faith fails, doubt creeps in. Perhaps this is a normal part of living or aging. Preparing for meetings and weekly worship services I find myself digging deeper for answers and a sense of peace that comes from searching for the quiet centre.

How do you identify your faith? Does your faith grow during times of sorrow, fatigue, or uncertainty?

 

 

It is well

It is well with my soul..

A favourite hymn sung by a favourite choir.

When I think of my faith and the rock that faith is built upon I wonder why there are times that these words escape me.

  • when I’m feeling lonely
  • when my body aches
  • when friends struggle
  • when violence over-comes the world
  • when wisdom seems to be at the bottom of the list for so many leaders

In times like this is could sing “blessed hope” “it is well”.

What is your soul feeling today?  What kind words will you speak to remind you of who you are?

“Even so, it is well with my soul”.

Peace and blessed be.

Barbara

 

Wondering Wednesday: Living the Gospel

How do we live out the Good News, the Gospel?

stuck in the snow

How do we move forward when all around is feels like sinking sand or deep, cold snow?

Our Gospel Message from Mark 2 shares a story of hope in over-coming the impossible.  Moving when we’re stuck and feeling out of control is not easy, simple, and sometimes not possible.

Our faith can grow from what seems impossible.  Hope turns to deep rooted faith when we dare to take a step.

What step will you take today?