Last weekend we carefully sowed some climbing nasturtium seeds for a sunny spot at the front of our house. It has become something of a family tradition. While waiting (im)patiently for them to sprout, this week I thought of the parable of Jesus, told in Matthew 13:3 – ‘Listen! A sower went out to sow …’ And then I thought of the wonderful painting by Vincent van Gogh (1888) …

the-sower-sower-with-setting-sun-1888

Following the parable, there is an exhortation to examine what sort of soil we might be for the growth of the gospel (Matthew 18-23). But the emphasis of the parable itself  (Matthew 13:4-9) is upon the sower – the generous broadcasting of the seed, and the abundance of the ultimate harvest (Matthew 13:4-9).

This is a wonderful season in which to rejoice in the generosity of God and the extent of God’s grace in our lives and world, and to be reminded that God is at work to bring all things together for good. Join us in the worship of God this Sunday! A nursery for infants and a programme for children is offering during the service. The intersection of Princess and Clergy is now closed to traffic, but there remains ample parking along Queen and in the public lot behind the church off Queen. Have a look at the Order of Service and announcements below, and particularly the notes by our Director of Music, John Hall.

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I have been raised in the wisdom that it is with the Victoria Day weekend that it is safe to plant our gardens without fear of frost. This photo is one I treasure – it is of my father being instructed by his father in the ways of sowing a vegetable garden, much as my father would later instruct my brother, sister and me. It will be fun to sing that great hymn together, usually reserved for harvest time – ‘We plough the fields and scatter the good seed on the ground, but it is fed and watered by God’s almighty hand’.

But this weekend my thoughts roam beyond annuals to perennials, to the trillium, to be precise …

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This Sunday is not only part of the ‘May Long’ but is also ‘Trinity Sunday’, and it is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate not only our provincial flower but also the very character of God, the Three-In-One.

One of the formative books of my first years in ordained ministry was Jurgen Moltmann’s The Trinity and the Kingdom of God, with an insight that the doctrine of the Trinity helps us understand God as a community of life and love – Father, Son and Holy Spirit; the Lover, the Beloved and the Love itself between them and spilling forth from them. Picking up the story of Pentecost, I recognize that among the great spectrum of the Spirit’s continuing work, it is the creation of community that is perhaps the most meaningful. Living in community as the Church not only brings us closer into the Divine Community, but becomes a gift to share and work in the world beyond.

Join us in the worship of the triune God and in Christian community this Sunday! There is a nursery for infants and a programme for young children during the service. There is free parking along the streets around and in the city lot just behind the church off Queen Street. And have an advance peek at the Sunday bulletin … you might even start humming a couple of the hymns in advance!

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Pentecost! Flames of fire dancing over head and a wind blowing with holy breath!

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A couple of weeks ago I shared an image that had helped me move from a spatial into a more organic understanding of the ascension of Jesus: consider a human body, a body submerged in water, with the water deep and dark and rough, with the body tossed and vulnerable … but as long as the head remains above the surface of the water, the oxygen flows into the lungs and through the veins, and the body lives. Ascension is one of the great celebrations of the Christian year, for Jesus Christ is alive, and as long as he lives, the body lives – he is the living head of the living body, the Church.

This morning is another of the great days of celebration for Christians, a time when we name that breath which comes to us from the Risen Lord, the Holy Spirit. At baptism, we are connected to Jesus Christ, so his death becomes our death and his life our life, but it is the Holy Spirit that keeps us alive in Jesus Christ. ‘Repent, and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’ As those disciples were made into the church on the day of Pentecost, so by Holy Spirit have we been knit together and, no matter how submerged or struggling, kept alive as the body of Christ, the Church.

By the work of the Holy Wind/Breath/Spirit, the Church is not only created, but sustained. The final phrase of the great second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles … ‘And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved’ … we see and celebrate this morning, as St. Andrew’s receives new members.

If you are in the area, please join us. There is free parking on the streets around and in a public lot on Queen just west of Clergy. During the service a nursery for infants is offered, as well as a programme for children. If we begin our worship by singing prayerfully ‘Revive your work O Lord’, we will conclude it joyfully singing ‘We are God’s people … born of the Spirit’!

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St. Andrew’s has received notice from Canada Summer Jobs that we will be involved in offering three students employment this summer. The three positions are geared towards preparing for the 200th anniversary of the congregation in 2017.
We are now calling for the following applications:
– historical interpreter: a student able to produce materials to support the celebrations
– artistic interpreter: a student interested in producing artistic expressions of the heritage and witness of the congregation
– media and communications co-ordinator: a student able to explore the many avenues by which the celebrations might be communicated in the wider community.

For position descriptions and requirements are found in the attachment below – spread the word! Due to the delated notice of award, the timeframe is restricted – applications are due Sunday May 22, forwarded to info@standrewskingston.org

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Tulips along the limestone wall of the St. Andrew's Manse.

Tulips along the limestone wall of the St. Andrew’s Manse.

In ‘Presby-land’, we call this ‘Christian Family Sunday’. We will read together a passage from our contemporary Canadian statement of Christian faith, Living Faith, that speaks about the dynamics of our families, both of blood and of church, within the frameworks of God’s grace – have a look inside the Order of Service attached.

God knows, we need to remind ourselves that God not only ‘names’ these families of ours (Ephesians 3:14) but remains at work in them, sometimes with us and sometimes in spite of us, for healing and renewal, and, even in our failure, for new beginnings.

The tulips growing alongside the Manse remind me of the gospel promise that we are ‘being rooted and grounded in love’ – the tense is present! Whatever our family constellation, age or faith, God IS stretching and growing us for greater, deeper relationships. The sermon will pick up on the lyrics of Henry Ware in our Book of Praise – they begin ‘Happy the home’ and continue ‘when God is there’. The conditional nature of the phrase is not whether God is present in our homes, only whether we acknowledge God’s presence, and allow the calmness, generosity and forgiveness of Christian faith to shape our relationships.

Join us in prayer and praise this Sunday if you are in the area. There is a nursery for infants and a programme for children. There are also hearing-assist devices and an accessible washroom available.

A Prayer for this Week
O God our heavenly parent, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named; we trust to your loving care the members of our families, both near and far. Supply their needs, guide their footsteps; keep them in safety of body and soul; and may your peace rest upon our homes and upon our dear ones everywhere; through Jesus Christ our saviour. (after Frank Colquhoun)

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Have a look over our monthly newsletter (it is harder to read on screen than in its tri-fold paper version, but I hope you can get the idea), and join us in Christian worship, community and service as you are able – you would be welcome!

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From every corner and congregation, Christians will shout this Sunday with particular joy and praise. Jesus was not only born as one of us (Christmas); he has not only died and risen from the dead for us (Easter) – Jesus has ascended to God, returning to the glory from whence he came, opening a way for us to follow by the grace of God. I love how the scene recorded in scripture (Luke 24:50-53, Acts 1:6-11) has been transposed by Woonbo Kim Ki-chang into a scene in Korea, for Koreans.

by Woonbo Kim Ki-chang

The Ascension of Jesus by Woonbo Kim Ki-chang

At the time of the Reformation of the Church in Europe of the 16th century, Jean Calvin declared we have in the Ascension ‘one of the chiefest parts of the Christian faith’ … for all, whether of Galilee, Korea, or Kingston! It will be good to gather on Sunday to receive a presentation by the church school, to sing and pray and praise, to explore the promise of the Ascension for us and celebrate a time of communion with the risen, ascended Lord of Life. If you are in the area, join us!

And if you are interested in more Korean Christian art, check out this article on ChurchPop https://churchpop.com/2015/06/15/if-jesus-had-been-korean-20-rare-paintings-of-the-life-of-christ/

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