Releasing the Demons ~ A contemporary tapestry by Андрей Мадекин (Andrei Madekin), of Moscow Russia

This morning we return to our journey through the Gospel according to Mark, and we begin with an oft-neglected passage. It is the scene in which a man possessed by evil spirits is freed by Jesus, with the spirits leaping from the man into a herd of pigs that then jump into the sea and to their death (Mark 5:1-20). It is ‘neglected’ perhaps because we do not feel as comfortable speaking about ‘evil spirits’ as did the first Christians, or indeed Christ. But perhaps this is all the more reason for us to ponder the scene. And besides, the scene concludes with a call that is extended to all of us – to return to our daily lives freed for life in praise of God and service of others.

When I looked for a piece of art with which to focus my meditations, I found this work by Andrei Madekin. Though most references to the artist were in Russian, I learned that Madekin comes from a family of textile artists, and after graduation from the Moscow Institute of Applied Technology he has created over 40 large tapestries (over three square meters each) since 1990, many on biblical themes and scenes. Quite wonderful!  

If you are in the area, we warmly invite you to join us on this Sunday. Certified child care is offered during the service and a programme for young children also. After the service this Sunday a monthly congregational lunch is offered, so please linger if you can and allow us to introduce ourselves more fully.

There is free parking on the streets around (please note that the time-of-day restrictions on Clergy Street north of Queen are not in effect on Sundays) and in the surface civic lot just behind the church off Queen Street. There is a wheelchair lift inside the doors to St. Andrew’s Hall from the church parking lot mid way along Clergy Street, and hearing assist devices are available upon request from an usher. 

Have a look at the Order of Service and bulletin below, and consider each hymn and prayer and announcement a personal invitation to join us in Christian worship, community and service.

Next Sunday we will continue our journey through Mark with two scenes focusing upon Jesus’ interaction with two women (5:21-43), and conclude the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity with our own prayers for the Church of Christ, Orthodox, Protestant and Roman Catholic.

Rest on the Flight into Egypt by Luc Olivier Merson (1879)

I remember hearing a story about a philosophy professor who set an end-of-term examination with only one question, and in fact with only one word: students were given blank paper and two hours to answer the question ‘Why?’.

Part of what makes us human is the ability to ask ‘why?’ and to struggle with possible answers. This week our humanity has been stretched as we have asked why … in the wake of an international assassination, why is violence claimed to be more effective than diplomacy? in the midst of burning wildfires and melting icecaps, why must creation suffer so terribly? as we grieve for the many who died in the plane crash, why do the innocents suffer? 

It is human to ask ‘why?’. For me, an even greater question is ‘how?’ How is God involved in the violence and the suffering of this world? How am I to live as a Christian in which the evil prosper and the good suffer?

It is in light of the ‘how?’ question that I have been exploring our gospel reading for this Sunday (Matthew 2: 13-23), of Mary and Joseph and the infant Jesus in flight to Egypt.

I only recently came across this painting by Merson, and I have been very moved by it as this week has unfolded. Joseph is lying exhausted on the hard ground. The donkey desperately searches for a blade of grass or two in its hunger. The infant Jesus is held in the arms of Mary, fleeing for their lives to a foreign land. How does God relate to human suffering? God chooses to be in the midst of it. 

If you are in the area, we warmly invite you to join us on this Sunday. Certified child care is offered during the service and a programme for young children also. There is free parking on the streets around (please note that the time-of-day restrictions on Clergy Street north of Queen are not in effect on Sundays) and in the surface civic lot just behind the church off Queen Street. There is a wheelchair lift inside the doors to St. Andrew’s Hall from the church parking lot mid way along Clergy Street, and hearing assist devices are available upon request from an usher. Linger for a time after the service and enjoy a congregational potluck.

Have a look at the Order of Service and bulletin below, and consider each hymn and prayer and announcement a personal invitation to join us in Christian worship, community and service.

Next Sunday we will resume our journey through the gospel according to Mark.

The cover of a plaster sarcophagus in the catacombs of Rome circa 200’s A.D., with the inscription “Severa—may you live in God”

As I prepared to continue this series on the ‘journeys of grace’, I thought first of course of the journey of the magi, those ‘gentiles’ and ‘foreigners’ being led by a star to the Christ of God in that manger of Bethlehem. It is a story that speaks so movingly of the great embrace and sovereignty of the Holy One.

But then I saw this image of an early Christian tomb, and was struck by the presence of the man behind Mary and the Child. It is Balaam, the gentile and foreign diviner whom God raised up to speak to the King Balak of the Moabites. In one of his oracles, Balaam says ‘I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near – a star shall come out of Jacob’ (Numbers 24:17). On this sarcophagus lid, Balaam has been brought forward several centuries to stand by the Child of Bethlehem, and there he points to the star. Balaam now declares that this child is the Anointed One of God promised long.

What if we were to think of this scene anew, imagining that the star now represents Christ? If the star of old led the magi to the Christ Child, where might the Living Lord be leading us today? Where is Christ to be found in our lives, in this world?

If you are in the area, we warmly invite you to join us on this Epiphany Sunday. Certified child care is offered during the service and a programme for young children also. There is free parking on the streets around (please note that the time-of-day restrictions on Clergy Street north of Queen are not in effect on Sundays) and in the surface civic lot just behind the church off Queen Street. There is a wheelchair lift inside the doors to St. Andrew’s Hall from the church parking lot mid way along Clergy Street, and hearing assist devices are available upon request from an usher.

Have a look at the Order of Service and bulletin below (just click the link to download), and consider each hymn and prayer and announcement a personal invitation to join us in Christian worship, community and service.

And next week join us as we continue our journey as we ponder the flight of the Holy Family to Egypt.

Simeon with Infant Jesus – Petr Brandl (1668 – 1735)

After all the excitement and activity of Christmas, a time to treasure and to reflect. We hear again about the wonderful journey of Simeon, who was guided to the Temple by the Holy Spirit and there beheld the infant brought by Mary and Joseph – and with him we can sing, ‘Lord, you are now dismissing your servant in peace … for my eyes have seen your salvation’ (Luke 2:22-40). But to what do you think Simeon is looking in this painting by Petr Brandl?

While our minister continues with sermons on ‘journeys of grace’, our singing will be accompanied on the grand piano by Annabelle T., and Benjamin V. will play “Vivace from Violin Concerto in D minor” by J.S. Bach on his violin after the reading of Scripture.

If you are in the area, we warmly invite you to join us. Certified child care is offered during the service and there is free parking on the streets around (please note that the time-of-day restrictions on Clergy Street north of Queen are not in effect on Sundays) and in the surface civic lot just behind the church off Queen Street. 

Have a look at the Order of Service and bulletin below, and consider each hymn and prayer and announcement a personal invitation to join us in Christian worship, community and service. 

Download (PDF, 557KB)

And join us Sunday January 5, 10:30 a.m. for an Epiphany service!

William Kurelek

Carols, readings and candlelight!

And also another wonderful painting of William Kurelek, inviting us to make the birth of Christ real in our cities, in our lives. Notice how the infant reaches out to the one homeless beneath the Parliament Buildings at the heart of our nation …

Have a look at the Order of Service and if you are in the area, we warmly invite you to join us. (The document is set up to have a fold in the middle, with the second page being therefore the first … but I am sure you will figure that out!) There is ample parking available in the city surface lot just behind the church off Queen Street, and along the streets adjacent, particularly north of Queen Street.

Download (PDF, 167KB)

And next Sunday morning, 10:30 a.m., we will hear again the beautiful Song of Simeon as he holds the Christ Child (Luke 2:22-40).

 

This painting by William Kurelek comes from his collection entitled Northern Nativity.

During the Depression of the 1930’s, William was 12 years old. When he later looked back to that year, he remembers it as a hard time, with men riding boxcars, searching for work to send back support for their families, lining up in soup kitchens and knocking at doors for food for themselves. He also remembers how that year at school they had started rehearsing for the annual Christmas concert and how at Sunday School he had heard again the Christmas story … and Throughout that December when he was 12 years old William had these Christmas dreams. A few were long; others were more like pictures that flashed on very briefly. But they all started and ended with the questions – If it happened there, why not here? If it happened then, why not now?

From these childhood dreams came this wonderful collection of paintings. This particular canvas is entitled In The Mountains. It is a very Canadian scene, set amongst the majestic Rocky Mountains. There is a lodge, with skiers enjoying their Christmas vacation on the slopes, receiving group lessons, and on the balcony conversing. And in the foreground, Mary and Joseph are arriving on a difficult mountain trail. On this Fourth Sunday of Advent, this painting caused me to ponder anew the journey of Mary and Joseph to ‘the inn’, and also the unwanted journeys of challenge and struggle in our lives.

If you are in the area, we warmly invite you to join us. Certified child care and a programme for young children are offered during the service and there is free parking on the streets around (please note that the time-of-day restrictions on Clergy Street north of Queen are not in effect on Sundays) and in the surface civic lot just behind the church off Queen Street. 

Have a look at the Order of Service and bulletin below, and consider each hymn and prayer and announcement a personal invitation to join us in Christian worship, community and service. If you have any questions about forthcoming events and opportunities, please call the church office Tuesday – Thursday, 9 a.m. – noon, 613-546-6316, or email anne@standrewskingston.org

Download (PDF, 461KB)

And join us Christmas Eve, 7 p.m., for an hour of carols and readings in the beauty of the historic St. Andrew’s sanctuary. At the conclusion of the service, as the lights are dimmed, each person holds a candle with the flames dancing as stars in the cupola overhead, and together we sing ‘Silent night, holy night’.

An hour of God’s promises in scripture and God’s worship in music, lead by the Choir of St. Andrew’s. A time to be still, to reflect, to be renewed. If you are in the area, we warmly invite you to join us. Certified child care is offered during the service and there is free parking on the streets around (please note that the time-of-day restrictions on Clergy Street north of Queen are not in effect on Sundays) and in the surface civic lot just behind the church off Queen Street. And after the service, please linger for an informal congregational lunch in St. Andrew’s Hall – it is potluck so bring something if you can … but your presence will be the best contribution! Have a look at the Order of Service and bulletin below, and consider each hymn and prayer and announcement a personal invitation to join us in Christian worship, community and service. If you have any questions about forthcoming events and opportunities, please call the church office Tuesday – Thursday, 9 a.m. – noon, 613-546-6316, or email anne@standrewskingston.org

Download (PDF, 557KB)

And join us on Sunday December 22, 10:30 a.m. for a service for the Fourth Sunday of Advent, which will include a contribution by the children and youth of the congregation.