Some of us began our journey to Easter this past Wednesday with ashes on our flesh in the shape of a cross. All of us in Christ are marked by blessing.
I remember how moved I was by one item during a display of the Dead Sea Scrolls in Ottawa some years ago. This was a priest’s amulet or bracelet, and on it were recorded words of scripture. This was identified as the oldest recorded quotation of scripture, older than any scroll fragment. I presume this was due to the fact that the bracelet was made of silver and therefore was more durable than any piece of parchment. The point for me was, however, that these oldest words of recorded scripture were not words of law or commandment, of ritual or obligation, but … of blessing – ‘The Lord bless you and keep you … ‘ (Numbers 6:22-26).
Now it strikes me as equally awesome that the first words of Jesus, in that great compilation of his teaching known as the Sermon on the Mount in the gospel according to Matthew, begins also with … blessing. These weeks of Lent we will dwell upon these words and this promise, beginning with ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’ (Matthew 5:3).
If you are in the area, we warmly invite you to join in the worship of God. There is a nursery and a programme for young children offered during the service. There is even a monthly congregational lunch after the service this Sunday! Parking can be found in the public surface lot just behind the church off Queen Street and on the streets around (the time of day restrictions north of Queen Street do not apply on Sunday). Have a look at the Order of Service below, and the invitations to join us in community and service … you would be welcome!