I am having a hard time keeping my fingernails presentable for meetings and pastoral visits. As spring gives way to summer, I continue to enjoy ‘working’ in the garden. It is a season of great joy but also of some frustration, as I am reminded that weeds flourish as well as anything I plant and tend. And I recall a parable of Jesus, about weeds growing in a field of wheat. The issue was that if the weeds were pulled, the sprouts of wheat would be pulled along with them. When the landowner was asked ‘Do you want us to gather the weeds?’, the answer came ‘No, let both of them grow together until the harvest’ (Matthew 13:24-30).
These words speak to me of life far beyond my small city garden plot. What are we to do about all the evil in this world? As I hear these words today, I believe Jesus is highlighting that there is a danger in focusing too greatly on what is wrong – we have a proven tendency to slip into self-righteousness and battle evil in ways that only increase evil in the world. Perhaps much more faithful to God and respectful of others might be a focus upon persevering to do good in the very face of evil. This is all the stronger an imperative when we acknowledge that we are ourselves that field in which weeds and wheat are growing together – in his commentary Jean Calvin wrote ‘To my mind, the intention of the parable is simple. So long as the Church is on pilgrimage in this world, the good and sincere will be mixed in it with the bad and the hypocrites. So the children of God must arm themselves with patience and maintain an unbroken constancy of faith among all the offences which can trouble them.’
Have a look at the Order of Service below, and if you are able, join us. Come and consider the good, and be renewed in strength for life.
(There is a nursery for infants during the service. We will be introduced to our St. Andrew’s 2015 summer tour guides, Chloe Grande and Annie Dilworth. And our special appeal for the refugees of Syria continues with over $1500 already received …)
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Kingston is celebrating First Capital Day, the day in 1841 that then-Governor General Lord Sydenham declared Parliament open in Kingston, the new capital of the Province of Canada. Children are participating in the history of their city as they gather in a central park alive today with historical reenactments of some of the citizens of eras past.
The Rideau Canal was already one of the distinguishing characteristics of Kingston by that time, completed in 1832. As was St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Kingston, erected 1822.
View of the Great Cataraqui Bay or South Entrance of the Rideau Canal with
Kingston in the distance – taken from the Mountain East of the Locks at Kingston Mills, 1830
Thomas Burrowes fonds
Reference Code: C 1-0-0-0-77
Archives of Ontario, I0002196
The flowing waters of the canal remind us today of certain promises of Christian baptism. As the canal was built to protect this land from invasion from the United States, baptism reminds us that we are held with a love that will not let us go. As the canal became a main transportation route, baptism is also all about movement, the continuing experience of God’s Spirit upon us and through us for the good of others. As the canal today is known mainly for the recreation it offers, baptism’s declaration of God’s grace brings joy.
If you are in the area, join us in worship of God, in praise and with our prayers for others. Have a look at the Order of Service below. There is a programme for children and a nursery for infants offered during the service.
p.s. Thanks to all who are busy baking pies today – 67 pies have been ordered for pick up tomorrow, Saturday June 13 at the church, 1:30 – 3 p.m. All proceeds of the pies and envelopes will go to support Syrian refugees who have had to flee their homes for other corners of their land or neighbouring nations, through ACT Alliance and work of partners (International Orthodox Christian Charities, Middle East Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation).
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St. Andrew’s will be opening its doors from mid-June until the end of August as part of The Doors Open Ontario initiative to welcome and engage visitors to St Andrew’s Church during the summer tourist season. The doors will be open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10 a.m to 4 p.m
Five years of violence in Syria continues. Millions of Syrians have had to flee their homes for other parts of the country and into other countries. All are suffering, Christians and Muslims alike. We continue to pray for peace and new beginning. And to accompany our prayers, the Session of St. Andrew’s has asked each household to consider a special offering in June to support the provision of food and temporary shelter to these refugees in the Middle East. Our support will be channelled through PWS&D and ActionByChurchesTogether (ACT – working with the Middle East Council of Churches, the International Orthodox Aid Association and World Lutheran Federation).
A member of the congregation, Martha van Allen, is offering to assist with a giant pie sale to accompany this appeal. We will be offering the pies to the community beyond the congregation, so lots of pie bakers are needed (contact Donna Delacretaz for information – all that is needed is that you can bring a certain number of pies to the church by Saturday, June 13). You can also assist by ordering a pie or two by Sunday, June 7, for pick up on Saturday June 13 – $10 for your choice of lemon meringue, cherry, blueberry, strawberry rhubarb, raspberry, and apple. Sign up on the bulletin board at the church or leave a message with the Church Office 613-546-6316 or email email@example.com.
Ovide Bighetty “Creating a New Family”
One of a series of paintings called “Kisemanito Pakitinasuwin” – The Creator’s Sacrifice – commissioned by the Indian Metis Christian Fellowship of Regina, of the Christian Reformed Church.
Sunday May 31st, 10:30 a.m.
I am returning from service as a member of the Ecumenical Jury at the Cannes Film Festival. It was a feast for the eyes on the screen, and I look forward to sharing some reflections of this experience in June. I begin this first Sunday back however with a reminder that the Bible uses listening, not seeing, as the predominant image for the way human beings come to know God, and grow spiritually (Think of the voice of the Holy One heard at the time of our Lord’s baptism and the beginning of his public ministry – ‘This is my own dear son – listen to him’ (Mark 9:7). ‘Listen’ to the scripture lessons in the Order of Service that follows: Psalm 85, Isaiah 46, John 4).
Listening involves a disciplined silencing of the self so the Other can be known. It is a dynamic as important to us in human community as in relationship with the Holy One – in listening we grow in understanding and in intimacy.
Next week the closing ceremonies of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission will held in Ottawa. The TRC has been an opportunity for many Canadians, and many Christians, to listen to the experience of native sisters and brothers – it has not been easy, but it has been right and good. We join in prayer this morning for a new beginning in our relationship, one born of listening and of respect.
Last week on Pentecost we remembered that Christ calls out to each of us in our own languages to join his new, reconciled family and become ministers of reconciliation in this land. This week in Ottawa, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada will come to close. This ending is a new beginning – it represents the promise and responsibility of reconciliation. Throughout the Commission’s work, thousands of Indigenous people have bravely shared their stories of residential schools. These schools broke Indigenous families apart and were built on assumptions that Indigenous people and cultures were inferior or savage. The Pentecost vision of unity in Christ is broken. But Indigenous people have begun the journey of reconciliation by daring to tell their stories. Healing has already begun. (Christians) across Canada have listened. The painting you see on the screen was created by the late Cree artist Ovide Bighetty in a Stations of the Cross series of paintings called “Kisemanito Pakitinasuwin” – The Creators Sacrifice. This series was commissioned by the Christian Reformed Church’s Indian Metis Christian Fellowship in Regina. The painting is called “Creating a New Family” as Jesus connects John to his mother Mary. Our hope today is for a church and a nation that honours and celebrates the contribution of our Indigenous neighbours to our shared lives – may we be the new family that God calls us to be.
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While our minister serves on the Ecumenical Jury at the Cannes Film Festival, we will be lead in worship this morning by members of the Women’s Missionary Society. The theme will be Mission Awareness.
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