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These warm and wonderful days of summer we continue our journey through Paul’s letter to the Philippians with our Minister. The words this morning are of great encouragement (Philippians 2:1-18). There is a healing and a hope waiting for us to explore (further) and enjoy (more fully) … in Christ. This is not a matter of achievement or accomplishment, but is all gift … of God. ‘Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who is at work in you’ (Philippians 2:12-13).

There is assurance but also exhortation in this passage of Paul’s letter. As I was preparing my words for the sermon this Sunday, I remembered a parable told by William Barclay. It focused on a child who chose to continue playing in a small sand box when the joys of an entire ocean beach were just steps away. The Scottish Presbyterian Bible commentator was pointing to the fact that so many Christians seem to become content with what they know and resist growing into faithful maturity, perhaps with struggle but for good. Not one of us can be satisfied with anything less than the fullness of life promised, the salvation of God.

Since May, a group of Queen’s students associated with InterVarsity Fellowship have been living in the heritage manse of St. Andrew’s, creating an intentional missional community at the corner of Princess and Clergy. This morning Deirdre and Alix will be with us, and share some of their hopes and prayers.

Have a look at the order of service below, and if you are in the area, you would be welcome to join us in the worship of God. A sanctuary of beauty. Classic hymns of praise. A time of reflection and renewal. Even some special music from the St. Andrew’s recorder class! There is ample parking on the streets around, and in the public surface lot just behind the church off Queen Street. And during the service there is a supervised nursery for infants and young children.

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Have a look at our congregational newsletter for the month. (It is meant to be folded into three, so you need a bit of imagination to understand its layout!) Please consider each announcement a personal invitation to join us in Christian worship, community and service.

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We will be gathering outside, upon the grass and beneath the branches, to offer our weekly service of worship in ‘God’s cathedral’ (as Celtic Christians of old used to say) of creation.

Since we began this ‘tradition’, we have explored God’s Word for us by focusing each year on a different theme – ‘trees’, ‘birds’ and ‘garden’. This year we will consider how God speaks to us through the rivers of scripture and our lives – the rivers of Eden, of Babylon, of baptism, of the Holy Spirit. Our special guests will be choristers of the Tyendinaga Church Choir, whose contributions will include singing ‘The Lord’s my Shepherd’ in Mohawk.

If you are in the area, we would welcome you to join us. Have a look at the order of service below. Bring your own lawn chair or blanket if you wish, but chairs will also be available. During the service, the children will be invited to participate in a church ‘scavenger hunt’ led by Laura. And after the service a BBQ for all!

Hope you can join us.

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A new exhibition at the Agnes Etherington Arts Centre of Queen’s University focuses upon the 50 years of amazing gifts by Alfred Bader, and features a painting by Luca Giordano, ‘Jacob’s Dream’.

Luca Giordano, Jacob’s Dream, around 1694-1700, oil on canvas. Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen’s University, Kingston. Gift of Alfred and Isabel Bader, 1988 (31-003)

This canvas prompted within me a return to the biblical story (Genesis 28:10-22) and a discovery of the various ways it has spoken to God’s people through the ages – a medieval riff upon the spiritual disciplines of ‘ascending’ into God’s presence; a Reformation emphasis upon the grace of God’s faithfulness to God’s promises; a subversive hope given to African-Americans enslaved; an assurance given to Alfred Bader himself when interred as an ‘enemy alien’ in this land; a reminder in a secular society that ‘Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it’. I wonder how this story speaks to you at this point along your journey?!

Join us if you are in the area – you would be welcome. There is a nursery with certified child care for infants, and a programme for young children during the service. There is free parking on the streets around and in the public surface lot just behind the church off Queen Street.

Have a look at the order of service, and the announcements … and join us!

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The Scottish theologian Thomas F. Torrance has called the Trinity ‘the fundamental grammar of God’. The phrase reminds me that the Trinity is not just the way we talk about God. The Trinity is the way God is.

The one God is a community, composed of Father, Son and Holy Spirit in the classic words of the Scriptures and creeds. The one God is a community of love – the Lover, the Beloved and the Love itself that they share (as described by Jurgen Moltmann). And the love that this divine community is within itself … is a love that overflows from itself, known by human beings like us in divine acts of creation, salvation and inspiration.

Last Sunday we explored how the first act of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was the creation of the Church, the drawing of women and men into community by which they could grow into the divine community that is God. This Sunday we will explore how the love that binds Christians together is by definition a love that also overflows, from the church into the lives of neighbours and nations.  The scriptural text for the sermon will be a passage that invokes all three ‘persons’ of the Trinity and describes the commission to mission – the Risen Lord saying to his friends ‘As the Father sent me, so I send you’, then breathing upon them the Holy Spirit (John 20:19-23).

We will be singing great hymns like ‘Thou whose almighty word’, ‘O Spirit of the living God’ and ‘Glory be to God the Father/Son/Spirit’, and the choir anthem will be Tchaikovsky’s ‘Cherubic Hymn’ with the well-known words ‘Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty! Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee. Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty, God in three Persons, blessed Trinity’.

If you are in the area this Sunday, please join us. We would warmly welcome you. There is a nursery for infants and a programme for children during the service. There is ample free parking in the public surface lot just behind the church off Queen Street and on neighbouring streets (time of day restrictions are not enforced on Sundays).

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