Two of the three stages of this year’s ‘Storefront’ fringe festival have opened at St. Andrew’s! Have a look at the line up. Of particular interest in the line up may be ‘Josiah Henson’ and ‘Life Support’.

The festival website can be found at https://www.theatrekingston.com

Tulips painted by Karine Gabrini,
sent to Anne-Marie for Mother’s Day

This is a season of grace in so many ways, and it is the tulip on which my sermon thoughts focus this month of May. Last century there arose a brief overview of a classic Reformed understanding of God’s grace known by the acronym TULIP – and this week I continue with an exploration of ‘I’, representing ‘irresistible grace’.

The ‘grace’ part refers to God’s initiative in offering salvation, the ‘irresistible’ part refers to the assurance that God overcomes all human resistance to living this salvation – it is a perspective that can relieve Christians of any doubts about their salvation and allow us to live with the joy and strength born of assurance.

If you are in the area, we warmly welcome you to join us this Sunday.

During the service there is offered a nursery for infants and a programme for young children if desired. 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 wheel chair lift available in the doors of the church closest to the manse (the courtyard is entered from the driveway half way along the St. Andrew’s block of Clergy Street) and a wheelchair ramp is available by ramp and door along Princess Street.

If you have any questions, please call the church office Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. – noon, or email anne@standrewskingston.org Have a look at the Order of Service and bulletin below – the formatting is a bit off on screen, but I hope it is still helpful.

Download (DOCX, 130KB)

 

Painting by Piero della Francesca, 1448-50

I love how the visual arts can help me appreciate new dimensions of the gospel. Take this classic painting by Piero della Francesca, voted in a 2005 poll ‘Greatest Paintings in Britain’ to ninth place! Perhaps it is the sense of time-standing-still that captivates our eyes and interest in our hyper-active contemporary lives.

This scene is so important and inspiring that it is recorded in all four gospels of the New Testament. The baptism of Jesus at the Jordan River is the moment the public ministry of Jesus begins, a ministry that would continue through healing and preaching and embracing, even through crucifixion to resurrection and ascension.

What intrigues me is the tentativeness of John as he baptizes Jesus – look at the awkward position of John’s one leg and hand. Even more intriguing are the reactions of the three women/angels to the side of Jesus – they look perturbed, disturbed, even shocked. And the question confronts me … why this tentativeness, why this shock?

I know the answer may not only help me to better understand the baptism of Jesus, but my own. I look forward to this Sunday and the exploration of these questions.

If you are in the area, we would welcome you to join in the worship of God. Have a look at the Order of Service below (and the announcements – please consider each a personal invitation to join us in Christian worship, community and service), and some additional information about the service that follows.

Download (PDF, 458KB)

During the service there is offered a nursery for infants and a programme for young children if desired. 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 wheel chair lift available in the doors of the church closest to the manse (the courtyard is entered from the driveway half way along the St. Andrew’s block of Clergy Street) and a wheelchair ramp is available through doors along Princess Street. If you have any other questions, please call the church office Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. – noon, or email anne@standrewskingston.org

The snow howls, the wind blows. The church will be open for prayers and praise, but please journey only if it is safe. Remember the wonderful words of George Herbert, ‘Seven whole days, and not one in seven, will I praise thee’ Lord!

 

Christ among the Teachers (1896) by Vasily Polenov (1844–1927) Русский: Христос среди учителей

Wonderful are the moments when the ‘gospel of Jesus Christ’ becomes the gospel for you and me. I experienced yet another such moment as I came across this canvas by Russian artist Vasily Polenov. It shows the boy Jesus deep in conversation with teachers in the temple, during that trip to Jerusalem when he would tell his anxious parents ‘Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?’ – Luke concludes by saying ‘And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years …’ (Luke 2:52).

It is wonderful to be reminded how our Lord increased in wisdom during his earthly years, growing in a knowledge of his relationship with his heavenly Father, and of his calling to offer humanity a new beginning through life and even death. It is wonderful because it is a promise for his brothers and sisters that they too might grow in wisdom through their earthly years … that whatever my season or circumstance, I am still being grown in wisdom by the grace of God. It is humbling, and it is my greatest hope, in Christ.

While young, Polenov wrote that he dreamed of ‘creating a Christ who is not only expected but who has already come into this world and is making his way among the people’. Decades later, at the time of painting this scene, he wrote ‘I love the gospel tales beyond words. I love this naive and honest story, love this pure and lofty ethics, love this singular humanity which permeates the entire teaching, and finally I love this tragic, horrid but also grandiose finale’. To ensure the authenticity of his paintings, he had travelled through Palestine, Syria and Egypt. This painting was the first of what turned out to be a series that Polenov worked on for the next 13 years showing other scenes from the life of Jesus, finally totalling over sixty in number.

Christ is ‘making his way among his people’. And we welcome Christ as we are willing to be grown in wisdom. It is a journey, and it is good.

If you are in the area, and have the courage to set out in the snow and wind, we would welcome you to join in the worship of God. Have a look at the Order of Service below (and the announcements – please consider each a personal invitation to join us in Christian worship, community and service), and some additional information about the service that follows.

Download (PDF, 315KB)

During the service there is offered a nursery for infants and a programme for young children if desired. 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 wheel chair lift available in the doors of the church closest to the manse (the courtyard is entered from the driveway half way along the St. Andrew’s block of Clergy Street) and a wheelchair ramp is available through doors along Princess Street. If you have any other questions, please call the church office Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. – noon, or email anne@standrewskingston.org

 

After Rembrandt’s death in 1669, this canvas was found in his studio, unfinished. It is presumably one of the last paintings upon which he was working (with the figure in the background probably added later by someone else). It conveys a great strength of assurance, an assurance known by the artist and available to us.

The scene shows Simeon holding the Christ child. The biblical context is the Jerusalem temple at the time of the child’s ‘presentation’ or dedication to God, but the focus is fully upon the old man and the infant. As I gaze upon this man who knew his earthly days coming to an end, with his eyes closed and hands folded in prayer, I can also hear his words and feel his deep joy as he knew God’s promises of a new beginning for humanity fulfilled as he held that infant …

Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace,
   according to your word; 
for my eyes have seen your salvation, 
   which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 
a light for revelation to the Gentiles
   and for glory to your people Israel. (Luke 2:29-32)

As an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto I attended Rosedale Presbyterian Church, and every service concluded with the choir singing these words of Simeon. It was a wonderful reminder that what Simeon knew so clearly in that Christ child, we know even more surely in the fullness of Christ, living as we do this side of his life, death and resurrection.

We can wait in confidence and we can go in peace, knowing that God is faithful, and we have nothing to fear.

If you are in the area, we warmly welcome you to join in praise and worship of God. Have a look at the Order of Service below (and the announcements – please consider each a personal invitation to join us in Christian worship, community and service), and some additional information about the service that follows.

Download (PDF, 415KB)

During the service there is offered a nursery for infants and a programme for young children if desired. 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 wheel chair lift available in the doors of the church closest to the manse (the courtyard is entered from the driveway half way along the St. Andrew’s block of Clergy Street) and a wheelchair ramp is available through doors along Princess Street. If you have any other questions, please call the church office Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. – noon, or email anne@standrewskingston.org