Rest on the Flight into Egypt by Luc Olivier Merson (1879)

I remember hearing a story about a philosophy professor who set an end-of-term examination with only one question, and in fact with only one word: students were given blank paper and two hours to answer the question ‘Why?’.

Part of what makes us human is the ability to ask ‘why?’ and to struggle with possible answers. This week our humanity has been stretched as we have asked why … in the wake of an international assassination, why is violence claimed to be more effective than diplomacy? in the midst of burning wildfires and melting icecaps, why must creation suffer so terribly? as we grieve for the many who died in the plane crash, why do the innocents suffer? 

It is human to ask ‘why?’. For me, an even greater question is ‘how?’ How is God involved in the violence and the suffering of this world? How am I to live as a Christian in which the evil prosper and the good suffer?

It is in light of the ‘how?’ question that I have been exploring our gospel reading for this Sunday (Matthew 2: 13-23), of Mary and Joseph and the infant Jesus in flight to Egypt.

I only recently came across this painting by Merson, and I have been very moved by it as this week has unfolded. Joseph is lying exhausted on the hard ground. The donkey desperately searches for a blade of grass or two in its hunger. The infant Jesus is held in the arms of Mary, fleeing for their lives to a foreign land. How does God relate to human suffering? God chooses to be in the midst of it. 

If you are in the area, we warmly invite you to join us on this 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. Linger for a time after the service and enjoy a congregational potluck.

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.

Next Sunday we will resume our journey through the gospel according to Mark.

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