Zacchaeus and Christ. Hildesheim Gospels, Germany, probably 1170s. Tempera colors, gold leaf, silver leaf and ink on parchment, 11.1 x 7.4 inches. J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles / Google Cultural Institute

I love certain dimensions of this scene as imagined in this medieval manuscript of the Gospel according to Luke. Beyond the sheer beauty of colour and style, what I love most is the way the curling branches convey a dynamic of life involving wondrous movement. As we will explore in the sermon, the gospel of grace involves a going up (from Jesus to Zacchaeus hiding in the tree) and a coming down (of Zacchaeus to Jesus and a new life in home and city), a dynamic we know in our own lives.

We may not be able to gather together in the sanctuary this Sunday, but we will begin this week together in praise of God. Classic and contemporary hymns sung by our cantor Paul Payne (from ‘Stand up and bless the Lord’ by James Montgomery to ‘Will you come and follow me?’ by the Iona Community) along with a contribution by the Hall Family Quartet will help our souls to sing. And three passages of scripture centred on ‘trees’ will speak of God’s grace, from the Abram and Sarai under the oaks of Mamre hearing three strangers declare that they would have a child (Genesis 18:1-15) to the story of Zacchaeus climbing a sycamore tree to see Jesus (Luke 19:1-10).

The service will be available online just after 10:15 a.m. at https://youtu.be/V_uy7wSvGi0. Recordings of previous services can be found at our Youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzEy41z3sqfRm8X_lLfKGUA 

You are invited to have a look at the printed Order of Service below, and the announcements, including several online opportunities for Christian growth. These include two studies and a series of joint online services of worship during Lent.

May the grace of Christ be with you! 

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‘Cain’ (c. 1899) E. Roscoe Mullins

 

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.’
These words from Lamentations will greet us this Sunday morning, words that we need to hear when we feel the despair portrayed in this statute, words that can reanimate and renew our lives, words that point us to the fullness of the grace of God we are exploring these weeks of Epiphany.

We may not be able to gather together in the sanctuary this Sunday, but we will begin this week together in praise of God. Classic hymns (from ‘New every morning is the love’ to ‘God moves in a mysterious way’ and ‘You that know the Lord is gracious’) along with a contribution by the Hall Family Quartet will help our souls to sing. And three passages of scripture will speak of God’s grace, from the mark of Cain that preserves life even for the life-taker (Genesis 4) to Paul’s thanksgiving that in Christ … ‘we do not lose heart (for) our inner nature is being renewed day by day’ (2 Corinthians 4).

The service will be available online just after 10:15 a.m. at https://youtu.be/lTh72vYqPy0. Recordings of previous services can be found at our Youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzEy41z3sqfRm8X_lLfKGUA 

You are invited to have a look at the printed Order of Service below, and the announcements, including several online opportunities for Christian growth. These include two services celebrating the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, one Sunday afternoon and another early Monday morning.

May the grace of Christ be with you! 

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Coming from Evening Church (1830) by Samuel Palmer (1805-1881)

Samuel Palmer was deeply moved by the seven years he spent as a young man living and painting in rural Kent, England. His canvases were not critically appreciated at the time, and at his death his son burned those that remained to save the family name from ‘humiliation’. 

But since the middle of the twentieth century, Palmer’s early works that survived have begun to be treasured. Their sepia tones speak of a mysterious realm of earth infused with the divine. I like this painting in particular – the people leaving one sanctuary of brick to return to life in another, that of creation. It all speaks of grace, which is the theme of the sermons this Epiphany.

We may not be able to gather together in the sanctuary this Sunday, but we will begin this week together in worship! The service will be available online just after 10:15 a.m. at https://youtu.be/3GkCs0Swoug

Recordings of previous services can be found at our Youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzEy41z3sqfRm8X_lLfKGUA 

Our service of worship will be available Sunday morning by 10:15 a.m. at a link that you will find here.

You are invited to have a look at the printed Order of Service below, and the announcements, including several online opportunities for Christian growth.

May the grace of Christ be with you!

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Have a look at the minister’s monthly newsletter, and join in Christian worship, study and fellowship as you are able.

The format is for printing, double-sided, so feel free to stick a copy on your fridge door!

While the sanctuary is not available for worship right now, services continue to be available online each Sunday morning by 10:30 a.m., and the Church Office is open Tuesday-Thursday 9 a.m.-noon.

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And now for something different!
Tuesday Evenings February 16 – March 23, 7 p.m.

You are invited to explore the gospel known in Jesus Christ and the Bible … as developed in the themes and characters of Victor Hugo’s masterpiece.

Grace – Valjean
Justice – Javert
Poverty – Fantine
Revolution – ‘Les Amis’
Love – Marius and Cosette
Hope – The Garden

It is not necessary to read the novel (considered one of the greatest, and longest!) or see a film rendition or the musical, but if you do wish to fill a quiet winter day before the study begins on Tuesday February 16, here are some options …

Tuesday Evenings February 16 – March 23, 7 p.m.
Contact Andrew for a link to the Zoom Sessions a.johnston@standrewskingston.org

We will be following a study outline prepared by Matt Rawle, a United Methodist Church minister and international speaker ‘who loves to tell an old story in a new way’.

Sawai Chinnawong (Thailand) – The Glory of the Cross

Last Sunday I found myself referring several times to ‘a new year of grace’. It is a classic phrase, and though it slipped off my tongue easily, it is very full. As I pondered this, I thought that ‘grace’ may be a great theme to explore during these weeks of Epiphany. And as this week unfolded, with all its turbulence and uncertainty, I needed the assurance of ‘grace’ all the more.

As Christians we focus our understanding of grace upon what we know of God in Jesus Christ. Grace is God loving the unlovable, God coming to us as one of us in Christ, extending healing and leading us in the ways of life through Christ, embracing us with a love that will not let us go by the death and resurrection of Christ. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace (John 1).

As I was pondering my words for this coming Sunday, I was introduced to this painting by the Thai artist Sawai Chinnawong. Sawai was introduced to art when he saw some men painting a local Buddhist temple. When he became a Christian in his 20’s, he heard a lecture about how effective art could be in communicating the Gospel. ‘I believe Jesus Christ is present in every culture, and I have chosen to celebrate his presence in our lives through Thai traditional cultural forms.’  https://www.omsc.org/sawai-chinnawong

In this painting you might identify a palm branch, some grapes and a cup, some die, a crown of thorns around a chi rho, and so much moreBut two things pop out for me. One is the great heart of God’s love in the top left corner. The other is the exuberance of line and colour across the canvas, highlighting the joy of knowing the grace of God in Christ through every season and circumstance of the human lot.

We may not be able to gather together in the sanctuary this Sunday, but we will begin this week of grace together in worship! The service will be available online just after 10:15 a.m. at https://youtu.be/qeUzTCPVb10

Recordings of previous services can be found at our Youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzEy41z3sqfRm8X_lLfKGUA 

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Adoration of the Shepherds (fresco) by Giotto di Bondone, 1303

Notice the ‘star’ in this wonderful piece by Giotto? It is not a stationary orb but is shooting across the night sky, full of movement. This morning we will hear again about how the magi (representing the peoples of humanity beyond the Jewish nation) were led to worship God-come-to-us … by a star. But we will also consider how today we are led to the side of Christ by the movements of the Holy Spirit, inviting us to journey further into life and faith.

Last Epiphany, members received a paper star with a word written upon it, and were challenged to remain open to hearing that word through the year ahead and how it was used and what new understandings were given to them about life and faith by that word. One year later, three members of St. Andrew’s will share some of those reflections.

And as is our custom on the first Sunday of each month, we will celebrate the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. You are invited to prepare some bread and a cup for this service.

We may not be able to gather together in the sanctuary, but we will begin this week of grace together in worship! The service will be available online just after 10:20 a.m. at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQ14yTeblNY

Recordings of previous services can be found at our Youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzEy41z3sqfRm8X_lLfKGUA 

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Epiphany Prayer

God of grace, thank you for every epiphany that will happen today
for every one who drops a weapon because there are no enemies
for every one who breathes in the scent of cedar and is cleansed
for every one who drops that heavy bundle of resentment
for every one who is guided by generations yet unborn
for every one who is contented at the end of a journey
for every one who falls on their knees before a baby
for every one who senses the webs that connect us
for every one who follows a sign from heaven 
for every one who remembers to give gifts 
for every one who is bowled over by love 
for every one who recognizes the holy 
for every one who dances with joy
for every one who says a prayer
for all with stars in their eyes
For Jesus’ sake
We pray
Amen

by Carol Penner of Conrad Grebel University Waterloo ON www.leadinginworship.com copyright