‘Get on board, little children, get on board. There’s room for many a more’ (African American Gospel Song)
Each month, a congregational newsletter is printed that lists the activities and opportunities of this community of faith. Have a look. We warmly invite you to join us as you are able, as we begin a new congregational year in Christian worship, study and service at the heart of this city.
(The format of this newsletter looks a bit strange on this digital screen – just imagine it as a double-sided tri-folded paper document!)
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This is an image from the catacombs of Callixus in Rome, from the mid second century A.D. It portrays the prophet Jonah, under a shelter of vine leaves, seemingly resting from his labours.
It is good this weekend of all weekends to rest, to rest from our labours and acknowledge God’s labours. If you are in the area, we warmly invite you to join us for a service of worship in the beautiful and historic sanctuary of St. Andrew’s. (Have a look at the order of service below for a preview. There is a nursery for infants offered during the service, and ample parking can be found in the municipal surface lot just behind the church off Queen and on surrounding streets – note that the time of day restrictions on Clergy north of Queen are not in effect on Sundays.) If you are not able to join us in person, you might consider joining in this prayer, placing our labours in the context of God’s labours …
God of wholeness,
you have created us bodily,
that our work and faith may be one.
May we offer our worship
from lives of integrity;
and maintain the fabric of this world
with hearts that are set on you,
through Jesus Christ. Amen.
Janet Morley (contemporary)
The interesting thing about the scene from the catacombs above, to be highlighted in the sermon, is that Jonah is not in fact at ease but rather is angry (Jonah 4). He is frustrated and upset over how God could be so gracious to include not only God’s particular people but all people, even the Ninevites. Perhaps our greatest challenge in life is to accept and participate in God’s work of embrace and inclusion in this world …
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In chapter nine of the novel Moby Dick, the American 19th century author Herman Melville described a congregation of seafarers singing …
The ribs and terrors in the whale,
Arched over me a dismal gloom,
While all God’s sun-lit waves rolled by,
And left me deepening down to doom.
I saw the opening maw of hell,
With endless pains and sorrows there;
Which none but they that feel can tell—
Oh, I was plunging to despair.
In black distress, I called my God,
When I could scarce believe him mine,
He bowed his ear to my complaints—
No more the whale did me confine.
With speed he flew to my relief,
As on a radiant dolphin borne;
Awful, yet bright, as lightening shone
The face of my Deliverer God.
My song for ever shall record
That terrible, that joyful hour;
I give the glory to my God,
His all the mercy and the power.
It is a great poem and would be a great hymn to sing this Sunday as we continue to follow the story of Jonah. The prophet has been shipwrecked, swallowed by a whale, and spat up upon the shore … at the direction of God. ‘My Deliverer God’ indeed!
But the point lies in what follows. Jonah’s deliverance has not been for some open-ended continuation of his life but for a specific calling within God’s sovereign purposes – ‘Get up, go to Nineveh that great city and proclaim there the message that I tell you’ (Jonah 3:2).
The Gate of Mishqi, Mosul Iraq (about 7 B.C.)
We will begin the new week considering the dynamics of this calling of Jonah, and the calling we know in Christ. We would welcome you to join us this last Sunday of August. Have a look at the Order of Service below, and if you are in the area, we invite you to sing and pray and listen and reflect with us. There is a nursery for infants offered during the service. And there is ample parking on the city surface lot off Queen Street just behind the church and on neighbouring streets (note that the time of day restrictions north of Queen are not applicable on Sundays).
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For better or for worse, the Minister is back. And so is the prophet Jonah.
This Sunday we read chapter two. It is only one of four chapters, and it could be argued that it is somewhat peripheral to the main point of the whole, but this is the scene that that comes to mind when most of us think of Jonah.
I love this ceramic plaque hand made by Amir Rom, a graduate of the Bezalel Art Academy in Jerusalem. I am reminded that the scriptural account speaks of ‘a great fish’ not a whale. But more importantly, this artist wonderfully conveys what scripture describes as the experience of Jonah – less a prayer to be rescued from the depths of the ocean, much more a cry to be restored to relationship with the Lord from whom he had fled. It is a cry that many of us have found on our lips at one time or another.
If you are in the area this Sunday, please join us in the worship of God. Have a look at the Order of Service below. During the service a nursery for infants is offered. There is free parking in the surface city lot just behind the church off Queen Street, and on the surrounding neighbourhood streets (note that the time of day restrictions are not in effect on Sundays).
We look forward to welcoming you, in the name of Christ.
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La Barque de Jonas by Marc Chagall, 1977
Musée National Marc Chagall, Nice, France
We continue to follow the great parable of Jonah, with this morning’s readings asking questions about the relationship between sovereignty of God and human freedom.
Having received a call of God, Jonah flees. He runs to the nearest port, he finds a berth on a ship going to the end of his world. God does not smite Jonah, God does not coerce this called one, neither does God abandon him. But God does pursue Jonah, with a storm, to allow Jonah the opportunity to re-evaluate his life (Jonah 1:4-17). The sovereignty of God known in the gracious persistence of God, which as Christians we believe we have seen most fully in Jesus Christ who came running after us when we had turned our backs on God, and has promised to remain with us till we acknowledge our good and God (Matthew 28:18-20).
I love the way Chagall has drawn the ‘great fish’ that will save Jonah – the marine creature is the same size as the human creature! Impossible that the one will swallow the other! The artist asks me to consider the ‘impossible’ persistence of God’s concern and care for us.
If you are in the area, join us for a summer hour at the beginning of this week of grace. Have a look at the order of service – great hymns, great gospel! A nursery for infants is offered during the service, and there is free parking in the city surface lot off Queen Street just behind the church and on streets around (note that the time-of-day restrictions on streets north of Queen are not in effect on Sundays).
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What a great story into which to delve these weeks of summer! Bring it out of the nursery where it has for too long been relegated. Open it again as an intentional part of holy scripture. Bring it into the sanctuary and consider it anew as a revelation of the Holy One and of humanity. We begin this Sunday with the opening verses, ‘Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah …’ and await a word for our own lives.
Join us if you are in the area. There is free parking on the streets around and in the city surface lot just behind the church off Queen Street. A nursery is offered for infants, if desired. Have a look at the order of service below, and please consider each of the announcements as a personal invitation to grow in faith and community and life.
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Photo Credit – Ian MacAlpine, Kingston Whig-Standard
An article about the current renovations to the sanctuary of St. Andrew’s Kingston. Thanks, Ian MacAlpine of the Kingston Whig-Standard, for sharing this good news!