Tulips along the limestone wall of the St. Andrew's Manse.

Tulips along the limestone wall of the St. Andrew’s Manse.

In ‘Presby-land’, we call this ‘Christian Family Sunday’. We will read together a passage from our contemporary Canadian statement of Christian faith, Living Faith, that speaks about the dynamics of our families, both of blood and of church, within the frameworks of God’s grace – have a look inside the Order of Service attached.

God knows, we need to remind ourselves that God not only ‘names’ these families of ours (Ephesians 3:14) but remains at work in them, sometimes with us and sometimes in spite of us, for healing and renewal, and, even in our failure, for new beginnings.

The tulips growing alongside the Manse remind me of the gospel promise that we are ‘being rooted and grounded in love’ – the tense is present! Whatever our family constellation, age or faith, God IS stretching and growing us for greater, deeper relationships. The sermon will pick up on the lyrics of Henry Ware in our Book of Praise – they begin ‘Happy the home’ and continue ‘when God is there’. The conditional nature of the phrase is not whether God is present in our homes, only whether we acknowledge God’s presence, and allow the calmness, generosity and forgiveness of Christian faith to shape our relationships.

Join us in prayer and praise this Sunday if you are in the area. There is a nursery for infants and a programme for children. There are also hearing-assist devices and an accessible washroom available.

A Prayer for this Week
O God our heavenly parent, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named; we trust to your loving care the members of our families, both near and far. Supply their needs, guide their footsteps; keep them in safety of body and soul; and may your peace rest upon our homes and upon our dear ones everywhere; through Jesus Christ our saviour. (after Frank Colquhoun)

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Have a look over our monthly newsletter (it is harder to read on screen than in its tri-fold paper version, but I hope you can get the idea), and join us in Christian worship, community and service as you are able – you would be welcome!

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From every corner and congregation, Christians will shout this Sunday with particular joy and praise. Jesus was not only born as one of us (Christmas); he has not only died and risen from the dead for us (Easter) – Jesus has ascended to God, returning to the glory from whence he came, opening a way for us to follow by the grace of God. I love how the scene recorded in scripture (Luke 24:50-53, Acts 1:6-11) has been transposed by Woonbo Kim Ki-chang into a scene in Korea, for Koreans.

by Woonbo Kim Ki-chang

The Ascension of Jesus by Woonbo Kim Ki-chang

At the time of the Reformation of the Church in Europe of the 16th century, Jean Calvin declared we have in the Ascension ‘one of the chiefest parts of the Christian faith’ … for all, whether of Galilee, Korea, or Kingston! It will be good to gather on Sunday to receive a presentation by the church school, to sing and pray and praise, to explore the promise of the Ascension for us and celebrate a time of communion with the risen, ascended Lord of Life. If you are in the area, join us!

And if you are interested in more Korean Christian art, check out this article on ChurchPop https://churchpop.com/2015/06/15/if-jesus-had-been-korean-20-rare-paintings-of-the-life-of-christ/

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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 http://presbyterian.ca/sharing/supported-ministries/ from partnerships with the Church of Central Africa (Presbyterian) in Malawi to the Hungarian Reformed Church of Sub-Carpathian Ukraine http://presbyterian.ca/missionstaff/ .

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 http://illuminationsbymike.blogspot.ca/2012/04/breakfast-at-dawn.html

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

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