- On October 10, 2021
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Happy thanksgiving!! My hope is that you are having a wonderful time this weekend! Whether you are spending time with family or enjoying time out in nature may it be a time of gratitude and joy!
Going forward I will send out a weekly letter that contains some announcements as well as the Scripture lessons, Music selections and the Reflection from the Sunday Worship Service. My hope is that if you are unable to be with us on Sunday – that you will feel connected. Each week, as we light the congregational candle and hold you in prayer, we hope for the day when we can all be together.
If you would like to have a pastoral visit – in person, by phone or over Zoom – please reach out and we will set a time to be meet.
Our 6-week study of the Book of James will begin on Wednesday, October 20th. We will be meeting at the church at 7:00pm. Our hope is to provide a virtual option over Zoom for those who are unable to meet at the church in the evening … stay tuned!
If you are interested in participating, please send me an e-mail expressing your interest sometime this week. When we see who wishes to be engaged, we will settle on a time and place to meet. In your response, please indicate your preference to meet in person or over zoom. And, as always, if you have other questions, please let me know.
Remembrance Day service of worship
Our Remembrance Day Service of worship will be held on Sunday, November 7th.
Covid-19 Double Vaccination Protocol
Under the guidance of the Presbytery of Brampton, Session has adopted a new double-vaccination protocol. What this means is that for the safety of the members of our congregation, anyone attending a service of worship will be required to be double vaccinated. The exception to this rule is children under the age of 12 for whom the vaccination is not available.
We will also continue to follow the public health guidance including keeping physical distance, not socializing inside the sanctuary and wearing masks during service. We also expect that anyone who is exhibiting symptoms or who has been travelling will remain home for the week.
I will continue to e-mail the Scripture lessons and Reflection each week. Additionally, I will attach links to the music that we will be using during the worship service.
With Thanksgiving & Blessings
Service of Worship October 10, 2021
Hymn # 802: For the Fruits of all Creation
Hymn # 528: Jesus calls us here to meet him
Hymn #775: Sent forth by your blessing
I am the Bread of Life
Scripture: John 6: 1-14, 25-35
6 After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias. 2 A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick. 3 Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples. 4 Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near. 5 When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?” 6 He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do. 7 Philip answered him, “Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.” 8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, 9 “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?” 10 Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all. 11 Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. 12 When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.” 13 So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets. 14 When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, “This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.”
25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” 26 Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.” 28 Then they said to him, “What must we do to perform the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” 30 So they said to him, “What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” 32 Then Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”
35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
Reflection: Spiritual Food for Spiritual People
“Let us pray.” began the minister at Sunday worship … and all those who were gathered lowered their heads in anticipation. “Loving and merciful God,” the minister continued, and the members of the small congregation nodded their bowed heads in agreement, “hear us as we offer our prayers of thanksgiving and confession.” And with humility and expectation the Body of Christ entered into conversation with God anticipating that God would hear and respond. (pause)
“Let us pray.” began the minister…. “What? Are you nuts?” “Pardon me.” responded the minister who had been asked to lead prayer at the opening of a new bank in their community. The minister looked toward the young man who had expressed his annoyance and displeasure, with a look that invited him to continue. “Why are we praying at the opening of a bank?” the young man asked, “In fact, why are people praying at all? God is long since dead,” he continued, “and there is no purpose, no reason, no need to pray to a God that does not exist.”
“Hmmm.” responded the minister, as he received the comments of the young man who did not believe in God. The minister knew that this young man was no different than countless other young men and women … and countless older women and men for that matter … who did not believe in a God who was present and active in the world. And, the minister considered, that if a person didn’t believe in God, well there really wasn’t any point in praying.
“Perhaps I am nuts,” continued the minister in response, “perhaps I am foolish to believe in a God who hears and responds to our prayers. But then again, maybe I am not!” Perhaps there is more to life and to living than what we can experience physically and rationalize logically.”
“Have you ever experienced wonder?” the minister continued. “Has your breath ever been taken away by the brilliance of the sunrise? Or frightened by the raw power of a thunderstorm? Or been in awe of something that you just can’t explain? Have you ever felt the excitement as you entered into a room of friends? These are the moments of life and living when we get glimpses of things that show us with certainty that there is something more. And it is in these moments that we give thanks to something that is both beyond our comprehension AND fully present in each moment of our lives.” Then the minister prayed for the opening of the bank and expressed hope that those working there would meet each customer they served with dignity and respect. (Pause)
“Let us Pray,” the minister began “Let us give thanks and praise to God for the bountiful harvest …” and the minister continued to lead prayers for the people who were gathered for worship on the Sunday of Thanksgiving. And the people who were gathered joined their prayers with those of the minister in anticipation that God would hear their prayers and in the hope that God would respond. For those who were gathered on that Thanksgiving Sunday had come to church with the expectation that they would experience the presence of God in their praying and by their sharing in the Body of Christ … for the people who had gathered were a spiritual people. (pause)
We who are gathered here today are also a spiritual people … and we gather today to have our spiritual selves fed.
“I am the bread of life,” Jesus said, “Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
Communion, the Eucharist, the body and blood of Christ is the food that nourishes and sustains our spiritual selves. (pause)
Most often when we think of Communion we think of the Last Supper: the meal that Jesus shared with his disciples on the night before he was handed over to be crucified. However, are their other ways for us consider and experience communion? I’d like for us to reflect upon what Communion is for a few minutes, as we prepare to share this ritual meal together.
I have been in many churches where communion is a somber event held for the purpose of remembering that it was humanity who was responsible for the betrayal of Jesus and that Jesus was the willing sacrifice who paid the price. Many of those gathered in those churches had no expectation of being nourished, as they have been taught that communion is simply and only a time to remember an event that took place one night 2000 years ago. Now at one level, this understanding of communion is accurate. It is basically the understanding of one of the great Swiss Reformers Ulrich Zwingli who argued that communion was simply a memorial of Jesus’ sacrifice: nothing more and nothing less.
What is interesting is that one of the key passages that he used to argue his case was taken from the Gospel of John. Why is this interesting you ask? Because in the Gospel of John there is no mention of a sharing of the bread and cup during the last evening that Jesus shared with his disciples. In John’s Gospel, Jesus washed the feet of the disciples and gave a new commandment – that we love one another. During that last supper there was no sharing of the bread and wine in the way recounted by the other Gospel writers. (pause)
However, what is also interesting is that the passage that we read today is the only miracle story – aside from the resurrection – that is contained in all 4 of the Gospels. Perhaps there is something in this story that can provide us a different perspective of what communion is and can be.
You’ve noticed that the story begins with the crowds who are searching for something. John tells us that they see the healing that Jesus performs, listen to the words that Jesus speaks and taste the food that Jesus provides. John tells us that Jesus satisfied the physical needs of the crowd. (pause)
I expect the young man, the one who the minister met at the opening of the bank, would hear this story from a place of not expecting to experience God: if God doesn’t exist, why would someone expect anything else. He would rightly, question the literal facts of the story, and dismiss that 5 loves and 2 fish could feed 5,000 … and have 12 baskets of leftovers beside. He would conclude that if there was a purpose of the story that it was beyond the physical aspects and meaning.
But we who are gathered here today are a spiritual people and we gather today to have our spiritual selves fed. With this expectation, we can experience and comprehend this story in a different way. We know that the meal that Jesus provided satisfied the physical needs of the crowd. And we comprehend that Jesus was nourishing the spiritual selves of the crowd as well.
So as we prepare to celebrate the Eucharist and share communion together, I invite you to notice one other interesting aspect of this story. How the actions of Jesus as he fed the 5,000 parallel the actions of Jesus recounted in the stories of the Eucharist during the Last Supper. John tells us that when the crowd was seated –
- Jesus took the loves and the fish,
- then he gave thanks to God,
- then he distributed the food
- then the people ate as much as they wanted
…. until they were satisfied.
However, this was not a meal to remember … this was a meal to nourish. And more, this was a meal that satisfied both the physical and the spiritual hunger of the crowd. (pause)
But alas as I continue to speak, I appeal to your logical and rational self … so let us conclude by entering into prayer as we prepare to partake in the spiritual feast that our God has provided.
Let us pray. Loving and merciful God, on this day of Thanksgiving, we ask that you open up our hearts to experience and comprehend the mystery of your presence. As we share communion, and taste the bread and wine, that our spiritual selves may be nourished and be satisfied.” Amen