O God,
you are our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble with its tumult. (Psalm 46)

In this time of wars, and rumours of wars, and threats of wars,
we place our trust in you, O God.
And we pray for peace.
For peace in the world and for peace in the hearts of your people.

In this time of violence, and terror, and political upheaval,
we cling to you for courage and hope, O God.
And we pray for compassion.
For compassion for our friends and compassion for our enemies.

In this time of fires, and floods, and one natural disaster after another,
we look to you for help and strength, O God.
And we pray for healing.
For the healing of the Earth and the healing of your people.

Give wisdom to those who govern the nations of the world,
and guide them to work for peace with justice for all.
Give courage to those who are working to help others in need,
and ensure that they have all the resources that they require.
Give comfort to those whose hearts, lives, and communities are broken,
and sustain them with your love until they can see hope for the future once again.

We pray for people around the world, especially those in Australia and Iran;
Yemen and Venezuela, Hong Kong and Lebanon; Syria, the United States and Canada.

We pray for every place where your children are at war, in danger, in hunger, or in grief.
We pray for those who are seeking you or doubting your presence.

With the psalmist, we remember and trust
that you make wars cease to the end of the earth;
you break the bow, and shatter the spear; you burn the shields with fire.

You say to us: “Be still and know that I am God!”
And so we pray: Still our hearts, O God, and calm our fears.
Use our prayers and our lives, our gifts and our acts of service
to touch this hurting world with your love and healing.

O God, you are our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.

Amen.

—The Rev. Amanda Currie, Moderator of the 2019 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Canada (www.presbyterian.ca)

The cover of a plaster sarcophagus in the catacombs of Rome circa 200’s A.D., with the inscription “Severa—may you live in God”

As I prepared to continue this series on the ‘journeys of grace’, I thought first of course of the journey of the magi, those ‘gentiles’ and ‘foreigners’ being led by a star to the Christ of God in that manger of Bethlehem. It is a story that speaks so movingly of the great embrace and sovereignty of the Holy One.

But then I saw this image of an early Christian tomb, and was struck by the presence of the man behind Mary and the Child. It is Balaam, the gentile and foreign diviner whom God raised up to speak to the King Balak of the Moabites. In one of his oracles, Balaam says ‘I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near – a star shall come out of Jacob’ (Numbers 24:17). On this sarcophagus lid, Balaam has been brought forward several centuries to stand by the Child of Bethlehem, and there he points to the star. Balaam now declares that this child is the Anointed One of God promised long.

What if we were to think of this scene anew, imagining that the star now represents Christ? If the star of old led the magi to the Christ Child, where might the Living Lord be leading us today? Where is Christ to be found in our lives, in this world?

If you are in the area, we warmly invite you to join us on this Epiphany Sunday. Certified child care is offered during the service and a programme for young children also. 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 wheelchair lift inside the doors to St. Andrew’s Hall from the church parking lot mid way along Clergy Street, and hearing assist devices are available upon request from an usher.

Have a look at the Order of Service and bulletin below (just click the link to download), and consider each hymn and prayer and announcement a personal invitation to join us in Christian worship, community and service.

And next week join us as we continue our journey as we ponder the flight of the Holy Family to Egypt.

Simeon with Infant Jesus – Petr Brandl (1668 – 1735)

After all the excitement and activity of Christmas, a time to treasure and to reflect. We hear again about the wonderful journey of Simeon, who was guided to the Temple by the Holy Spirit and there beheld the infant brought by Mary and Joseph – and with him we can sing, ‘Lord, you are now dismissing your servant in peace … for my eyes have seen your salvation’ (Luke 2:22-40). But to what do you think Simeon is looking in this painting by Petr Brandl?

While our minister continues with sermons on ‘journeys of grace’, our singing will be accompanied on the grand piano by Annabelle T., and Benjamin V. will play “Vivace from Violin Concerto in D minor” by J.S. Bach on his violin after the reading of Scripture.

If you are in the area, we warmly invite you to join us. Certified child care is offered during the service and 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. 

Have a look at the Order of Service and bulletin below, and consider each hymn and prayer and announcement a personal invitation to join us in Christian worship, community and service. 

Download (PDF, 557KB)

And join us Sunday January 5, 10:30 a.m. for an Epiphany service!

William Kurelek

Carols, readings and candlelight!

And also another wonderful painting of William Kurelek, inviting us to make the birth of Christ real in our cities, in our lives. Notice how the infant reaches out to the one homeless beneath the Parliament Buildings at the heart of our nation …

Have a look at the Order of Service and if you are in the area, we warmly invite you to join us. (The document is set up to have a fold in the middle, with the second page being therefore the first … but I am sure you will figure that out!) There is ample parking available in the city surface lot just behind the church off Queen Street, and along the streets adjacent, particularly north of Queen Street.

Download (PDF, 167KB)

And next Sunday morning, 10:30 a.m., we will hear again the beautiful Song of Simeon as he holds the Christ Child (Luke 2:22-40).

 

This painting by William Kurelek comes from his collection entitled Northern Nativity.

During the Depression of the 1930’s, William was 12 years old. When he later looked back to that year, he remembers it as a hard time, with men riding boxcars, searching for work to send back support for their families, lining up in soup kitchens and knocking at doors for food for themselves. He also remembers how that year at school they had started rehearsing for the annual Christmas concert and how at Sunday School he had heard again the Christmas story … and Throughout that December when he was 12 years old William had these Christmas dreams. A few were long; others were more like pictures that flashed on very briefly. But they all started and ended with the questions – If it happened there, why not here? If it happened then, why not now?

From these childhood dreams came this wonderful collection of paintings. This particular canvas is entitled In The Mountains. It is a very Canadian scene, set amongst the majestic Rocky Mountains. There is a lodge, with skiers enjoying their Christmas vacation on the slopes, receiving group lessons, and on the balcony conversing. And in the foreground, Mary and Joseph are arriving on a difficult mountain trail. On this Fourth Sunday of Advent, this painting caused me to ponder anew the journey of Mary and Joseph to ‘the inn’, and also the unwanted journeys of challenge and struggle in our lives.

If you are in the area, we warmly invite you to join us. Certified child care and a programme for young children are offered during the service and 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. 

Have a look at the Order of Service and bulletin below, and consider each hymn and prayer and announcement a personal invitation to join us in Christian worship, community and service. If you have any questions about forthcoming events and opportunities, please call the church office Tuesday – Thursday, 9 a.m. – noon, 613-546-6316, or email anne@standrewskingston.org

Download (PDF, 461KB)

And join us Christmas Eve, 7 p.m., for an hour of carols and readings in the beauty of the historic St. Andrew’s sanctuary. At the conclusion of the service, as the lights are dimmed, each person holds a candle with the flames dancing as stars in the cupola overhead, and together we sing ‘Silent night, holy night’.

An hour of God’s promises in scripture and God’s worship in music, lead by the Choir of St. Andrew’s. A time to be still, to reflect, to be renewed. If you are in the area, we warmly invite you to join us. Certified child care is offered during the service and 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. And after the service, please linger for an informal congregational lunch in St. Andrew’s Hall – it is potluck so bring something if you can … but your presence will be the best contribution! Have a look at the Order of Service and bulletin below, and consider each hymn and prayer and announcement a personal invitation to join us in Christian worship, community and service. If you have any questions about forthcoming events and opportunities, please call the church office Tuesday – Thursday, 9 a.m. – noon, 613-546-6316, or email anne@standrewskingston.org

Download (PDF, 557KB)

And join us on Sunday December 22, 10:30 a.m. for a service for the Fourth Sunday of Advent, which will include a contribution by the children and youth of the congregation.

A good group of the St. Andrew’s congregation are following daily Advent devotions by Old Testament scholar Walter Bruggemann. The theme explored is how as Christians, knowing the promises and providence of God, we have been freed and called to live with strength and generosity in care of neighbour and service of God’s kingdom.

Did you know that there are fellow Presbyterians reading the same devotions from coast to coast with us? If you are interested, join the Facebook group, follow the conversations, and even join in if so inclined!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2397226327195079/

There are also study sheet available online and for printing …

https://presbyterian.ca/canadian-ministries/presbyterians-read/