This Sunday is what is called ‘Mission Awareness Sunday’. We celebrate the initiatives we support together with nearly a thousand other Presbyterian congregations across our nation through ‘Presbyterians Sharing’ – from Actions Réfugiés in Montreal and Hummingbird Ministries in Vancouver from partnerships with the Church of Central Africa (Presbyterian) in Malawi to the Hungarian Reformed Church of Sub-Carpathian Ukraine .

There is another part of ‘mission awareness’ however that is more foundational. Mission is not something that is done elsewhere or by others, mission is foundational to the Christian way. An essential dimension of the Christian life is sharing the life and love we have received in Christ, each of us and all of us together.

Bosch (1)

This morning we welcome the Rev. Dr. Glen Davis to the pulpit of St. Andrew’s Kingston. Glen was born in Cape Breton, NS, and studied at McGill and Presbyterian College. He and Joyce spent 15 years serving in the Korean Christian Church in Japan where they learned to speak Korean and Japanese. Glen then worked for 18 years at the national office of the PCC where he served as International Ministries Secretary and General Secretary of the Life and Mission Agency. He and Joyce served 7 years as co-ministers of Knox PC in Agincourt, after which they moved to Vancouver where Glen taught Presbyterian students at the Vancouver School of Theology for six years. He served as Moderator of the General Assembly in 2000, and is now working part time for the Presbyterian College, Montreal.

Glen writes “Mission” is a dirty word, at least for some who don’t want to have anything to do with it! For others, mission is optional, and we can leave it in the capable hands of the Women’s Missionary Society. But really, mission is another word for discipleship, because it’s all about following Jesus. To be a follower is to be a disciple. To be a disciple is to be involved in one way or another in God’s mission to the world he loves so much. And, for the Christian, that is not optional; it is mandatory.

So, if you don’t want to feel just a little bit uncomfortable, perhaps you should not come to St. Andrew’s this Sunday. Glen Davis will be preaching on “The God Who Calls”.

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Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon, England. It was here that William Shakespeare was baptized, and later buried on April 23, 1616. As many around the English-speaking world will be celebrating ‘the Bard’ this coming week on the 400th anniversary of his death, I thought it appropriate to explore how his life and work might deepen our understanding of the gospel today.

To set the context for Shakespeare, our sung music will include ‘All people that on earth do dwell’ and ‘Come, my Way, my Truth, my Life’, as well as organ music ‘Clarifica Me Pater’ by contemporaries William Kethe, George Herbert and William Byrd. I will focus upon his Sonnet #146.

Poor soul, the centre of my sinful earth,
Why feed’st these rebel powers that thee array?
Why dost thou pine within, and suffer dearth,
Painting thy outward walls so costly gay?
Why so large cost, having so short a lease,
Dost thou upon thy fading mansion spend?
Shall worms, inheritors of this excess,
Eat up thy charge? is this thy body’s end?
Then soul, live thou upon thy servant’s loss,
And let that pine to aggravate thy store;
Buy terms divine in selling hours of dross;
Within be fed, without be rich no more.
         So shalt thou feed on Death, that feeds on men,
         And, Death once dead, there’s no more dying then.

As with so many of his works for the stage, whether of comedy, history or tragedy, Shakespeare’s sonnets present our human frailties and failures with amazing perception and deep sympathy. This particular sonnet speaks movingly of our innate human yearning for something ‘more’ – the poet speaks of mortality but also of the ‘soul’, and points to life after death.
The yearning is real and universal, but ultimately delusive.  The grave is the end of human life, body and soul … were it not for gospel of the resurrection of Christ and of Christian. With skill, beauty, and honesty, Shakespeare invites us to think about living in the light of eternity, where ‘there’s no more dying then’. And in so doing, he brings us directly to the grace of God in Christ and to Christian faith and life – ‘But thankes be vnto God, which hath giuen vs victorie through our Lord Iesus Christ. Therefore my beloued brethren, be ye stedfast, vnmoueable, aboundant alwayes in the worke of the Lord, forasmuch as ye knowe that your labour is not in vaine in the Lord‘ (I Corinthians 15:57 as found in the most popular English translation of the Bible during Shakespeare’s life and for a century afterward, the Genevan Bible).

And this may explain why we may pick up a volume or see a play of Shakespeare occasionally, but we gather at the beginning of every week in praise of God! Join us if you are in the area this Sunday. There is free parking along the streets around and in the city lot just behind the church off Queen Street. During the service there is a nursery offered for children, and a programme for children. And consider the announcements of the weekly congregational bulletin as personal invitations to join us fellowship and study as well as worship.

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The resurrection of Jesus from the dead – awesome! The appearance of the risen Lord to his friends in the garden outside the empty tomb, and in that room of Jerusalem – amazing! But with the return thereafter to daily lives in the realm of the ordinary, what difference would all this make?

This is the question we explore as we are told how several of the first disciples had returned to their fishing (John 21:1-14) . The scene opens as they find themselves doing more of the same with less and less satisfaction, fishing all night without a single catch. It is exactly as many would presume, that the resurrection of Jesus changes little for us, here and now. The scene concludes, however, with the disciples sitting on the shore with their Risen Lord, joyfully sharing breakfast ‘with their faces to the rising sun’. The gospel is not only that Jesus was raised, but that he is risen … that the Risen Lord is with us … and that by his presence, this ordinary places and days of ours are filled with both assurance and possibility.

Some of you will have gathered how much I appreciate the way artists can illumine the promises of God recorded in Holy Scripture. As I searched for art through the ages that had explored this scene, I was fascinated how many renditions there were of the miraculous catch of fish, and of Peter jumping joyously into the water in his excitement as he recognized Jesus … and how few paintings I could find showing what I believe to be the greatest promise of the scene, the sharing of food and friendship and faith on the shore. And so I thank God particularly for American artist Mike Meyers, and his work ‘Breakfast at Dawn’, and the words he attached to this painting on his website:


‘This is more than a sunrise breakfast. It is morning worship. God’s people abandon the work of the day, gather together to break bread and be near the Lord again. In this circle, Christ makes himself known to us, teaches us, and forgives our sins. Christ feeds us and calls us to act in love for the world. Today, the circle spans around the world. In fact, this painting was commissioned by a patron living in Singapore. The Resurrected One calls us, from all shores, to come together and dine in grace. Wherever you are, may you answer the Lord’s loving call and join in the feast. Happy Easter.’ Mike Moyers

Join us in worship this Sunday, including Holy Communion with the Risen Lord!

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What creativity! I think it is brilliant to ‘image’/imagine the Resurrection as a London tube station.

The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is indeed a definite ‘place’, situated in a particular human location and historical time. And it is also somewhat ‘underground’, in that it might be totally hidden from ordinary sight, though totally real.

That Jesus was raised from the dead is the testimony not only of the emptied tomb but even more of witnesses to whom he appeared, alive after death. Jesus did not return immediately to the glory from which he had come, but chose to linger for a time, to embrace his friends and allow them to understand deeply and truly how God had changed the history of humanity. This morning we read the moving story of how the Risen Lord reveals himself to two of his disciples as they walked away from Jerusalem, walking back they presumed to the ‘same old, same old’ (Luke 24:13-39). And how often it is that … understanding comes through the stranger … that times of despair give way to deep joy … that promises long heard come alive in a whole new way … all by the grace of God, known in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

So perhaps Resurrection is less a tube station and more the whole line. In its fullest sense, Resurrection is a journey, our journey as Christians now … through life, unto life. It is a journey during which we are grown in the ways of gratitude and compassion, pointing to the holy and working the good of neighbour, not only following the way of Jesus but accompanied and transformed by the Living Lord along the way. Thanks be to God.

If you are able, please join us in the worship of God. The order of service is attached below. A nursery for infants and a programme for children is offered during the service. Free parking is found on the streets around and in the city lot just behind the church off Queen Street.

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This morning we return not just to the strong beginnings but also to the great joy of the Christian faith, known in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. As we raise our voices singing the great hymn by Charles Wesley, “‘Christ the Lord is risen today’, all creation join to say … Vain the stone, the watch, seal; Christ hath burst the gates of hell … Soar we now where Christ hath led, following now our exalted Head”, it is not just our faith that is renewed, it is our lives. We celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, and our own, and indeed the renewal of this world.

For the cover of the Easter Order of Service, I have selected a painting of the Risen Jesus that jumped out at me the first time I saw it. With bright colours, Whatley conveys the beauty and hope that returns to our lives when we hear that the power of sin and death over us is ultimately defeated.

Stephen B. Whatley (contemporary) London England

Stephen B. Whatley (contemporary) London England

But I see and feel more.
So many great works of art through the ages capture Easter morning with an arresting image of stillness – the triumphant Jesus standing in front of the open tomb, or Mary joyfully embracing the feet of Jesus in the garden beyond the tomb. In this painting I feel movement, the dynamic of life raised … and rising. I hear the great declaration, that for those who are ‘in Christ’, the resurrection life is already at work within us – by the grace of God known in the resurrection, who we have been no longer defines who we are in God’s eyes, and new beginnings are always possible at every step along the journey of life as well as at its end. And as we hear in a final passage from Revelation, I am reminded that this rising of Jesus is a promise not only for us as individuals but also for us as a renewed humanity and creation – ‘Behold, I make all things new’ (Revelation 21:5). That is something to celebrate … and to participate in!

Join us, Easter morn! There is a nursery for infants and a programme for young children. Ample free parking can be found in the streets around St. Andrew’s and in the civic parking lot just behind the church off Queen Street.