The E-postle October 15, 2017

 

“The Parish of St. John the Apostle is called to be

*             A Spirited Community at the heart of Port Moody

*             transformed through the experience of the presence of Christ

*             and sent out to share God’s Love”

 

Sharing Personal Information

St. John the Apostle Anglican Church is committing to high standards of confidentiality and the privacy of our congregation’s members.  At the same time, this parish needs ways to communicate effectively with each other and to proclaim the good news to the wider community through a variety of media.  For this reason, everyone in the parish will be asked to fill out a form regarding the use of their contact information, and image and voice recording.

What does this mean?  By signing the form, you agree that some contact information may be included in a parish directory, which can be distributed to parishioners.  Your other personal information is kept securely in the parish office and protocols are in place for staff and parish officers.  You also agree not to share others’ contact information beyond the parish. By ticking the image and voice release, you can confirm that a photo with you in it may be used publicly (for example, a group shot of the community in our Parish Profile to advertise for a new priest).

Please help the parish come into compliance with privacy and Screening in Faith policies by taking the time to fill in the form for your household.  With this step, we are securing written permission for what people in past generations took for granted: that the Church is a family which needs to stay in touch.

Yours in Christ,

Stephanie

 

Upcoming Dates

October 13- 7 pm, Common Vision Concert at St. Andrews Port Moody to support food banks

October 16- 7 pm, Liturgy Group meeting to plan Advent and Christmas services.  All welcome

October 17- 10:30-noon & 7:15-8:45 pm, First Nations 101 Chapter 5: Health and Wellness

October 18- initial meeting of the Canonical Committee

October 19- 7 pm, Anglican Church Women of St. Johns in the parish hall.  All welcome

October 21- 9:30 am-3:30 pm, Indigenous World View Training at St. Mary’s, Mission

October 22- 11:45 am, Parish Visiting Ministry Meeting

November 2- 7:30 to 9:30 pm, All Souls Night with Holden Evening Prayer

November 4- 10 am – 2:30 pm, Fall Bazaar

 

Stewardship Reflection
“It all belongs to God. Whatever I have or am or do, I hold in trust. I will make what I have and am and do count for God’s benefit. It may not be much, but it will be all that I have.”

 –   Douglas Hambidge

 

This Sunday we continue our stewardship theme of “This belongs to God”.  October 15: Time belongs to God.  At what times of the day are you most aware of God’s presence?

 

Fall Bazaar Saturday November 4

Three Weeks until The Bazaar but still plenty of time to complete your handicrafts, make your gourmet treats for the Country Store, plan your baking for the Bake Table or to search your house for that Nu 2 U treasure.  A little fall spring cleaning may also yield items for the White Elephant (no TVs or electronics, please).  I hope you have your Raffle Tickets to sell… maybe one of your friends may win the beautiful quilt or one of our Goodie Baskets.  Have you volunteered to help yet?  If not, please see Joanne Walton, Sue Hall, or Ferne Malcolm.

Basic Indigenous World View Training Workshop

Join Brander MacDonald on October 21, 2017 from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm at Pekw’xe:yles (St. Mary’s Church) in Mission, BC, for a day workshop sponsored by the Mennonite Church.  Free, bring a bag lunch, www.vancouver.anglican.ca/events/basic-indigenous-world-view-training

 Pro Vita Munda/For the Life of the World: October 27-29

Retreat opportunity for Anglicans seeking a deeper personal connection to God and spiritual renewal.  Registration deadline October 13.  Go to http://www.vancouver.anglican.ca/events/spiritual-formation-for-the-next-generation

 First Nations 101: Considering the UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights

Take 3 minutes to watch this short video from Kairos, the coalition of Canadian churches working together for justice and peace.  Check out https://vimeo.com/213093400

 

Prayer Cycle

In the Anglican Communion-the Archdeaconry of Labrador in the Council of the North, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby; Primate of Canada Fred Hiltz; Indigenous Archbishop Mark McDonald; BC & Yukon Archbishop John Privett; our partner Diocese of Northern Philippines, Bishop Brent Alawas, and especially the people of our twin church at St. Johns Mission, Bila, Mountain Province; Diocese of New Westminster Bishop Melissa Skelton, and this week:

The young people of our church, and those ministries by and with them:

The Diocesan Youth Movement – Chris Barr (Chair), Caitlin Reilley Beck (Staff) and all parish youth and children’s ministry leaders

Camp Artaban Society – Sandi LaCharite (Chair)

British Columbia & Yukon Anglican Youth Movement – Sam Conway (Chair)

 

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada- National Bishop Susan Johnson, BC Synod Bishop Greg Mohr;

 

The brothers and sisters who share our worship space: The Port Moody Korean Presbyterian Church and the Polish Evangelical Church.

 

Readings for Pentecost 19, October 22, 2017 

Exodus 33:12-23; Psalm 99; 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10; Matthew 22:15-22

 

Important Contact Information

Interim Priest– The Rev. Stephanie Shepard rev.seshepard@gmail.com or 778-773-6816

Parish Office– Karen Evans stjohn7@shaw.ca or 604-936-7762

Wardens– Geri Grigg gerigrigg@gmail.com Terry Walton terry&joanne_walton@telus.net

Maureen Simons mesimons@telus.net or through the parish office

Treasurer– Chelsea Belyk chelsea.belyk@gmail.com

Parish Council– Adelaine Miller, Secretary adelainemiller@shaw.ca

Altar Guild– Brenda Binns Brenda.Binns@hotmail.com

St. John Prayer Circle– Sue Ellliott Elliott.sue1@gmail.com

Pastoral Visiting Ministry– Joanne Walton terry&joanne_walton@telus.net

or Alma Oldenburg almaolden@hotmail.com

Anglican Church Women (ACW)- Sue Hall 604-936-0176 sbhcat@hotmail.com

Fall Bazaar

Fall Bazaar:   Three weeks until The Bazaar but still plenty of time to complete your handicrafts, make your gourmet treats for the Country Store, plan your baking for the Bake Table or to search your house for that Nu 2 U treasure.  A little fall, spring cleaning may also yield items for the White Elephant (no TV’s or electronics ,please). I hope you have your Raffle tickets to sell…maybe one of your friends may win the beautiful quilt or one of our Goodie Baskets.  Have you volunteered to help yet?  If not please see Joanne Walton, Sue Hall or Ferne Malcolm.

 

Harvest Thanksgiving E-postle

Harvest Thanksgiving E-postle

October 8, 2017

 “The Parish of St. John the Apostle is called to be

*             A Spirited Community at the heart of Port Moody

*             transformed through the experience of the presence of Christ

*             and sent out to share God’s Love”

 

– Mission statement adopted by Parish Council September 25, 2017

 A Thanksgiving Message

As Canadians celebrate a holiday weekend, take a minute to give thanks for what lies underneath the harvests of food being gathered in.  Remember the hard labour of men and women in agriculture, the employment of workers in industries and transport, and the distribution of food to our communities and abroad, as well as the family and friends with which we cook and eat.  As we struggle to find more sustainable and equitable ways to share what God has trusted us, let our thanksgiving table graces be sincere:

For food in a world where many are hungry for truth,

For family and friends in a world where many long to find community,

For faith in a world where many search for meaning:

Thank you, God,

and stir us to be generous with others as you are with us.  Amen.

 Yours in Christ,

Stephanie+

 

Upcoming Dates

October 8- Thanksgiving Sunday: stewardship letters handed out to parishioners

October 9- office closed for statutory holiday

October 10- 10:30 – noon & 7:15-8:45 pm, First Nations 101 Book Study

October 13- 7 pm, Common Vision Concert at St. Andrews Port Moody to support food banks

October 16- Liturgy Group meeting to plan Advent and Christmas services.  All welcome.

October 18- initial meeting of the Canonical Committee

October 22- after 10 am service, Parish Visiting Ministry Meeting

November 2- 7:30 to 9:30 pm, All Souls Night with Holden Evening Prayer

November 4- 10 am – 2:30 pm, Fall Bazaar

Stewardship Reflection
“Christ lives in you. How will you experience that afresh to-day?” – Henri Nouwen

This Sunday we continue our stewardship theme of “This belongs to God”.  October 8: Family and friends belong to God.  If Christ lives in me and you, can we glimpse Christ looking out of our loved ones’ eyes?  This is how we belong to each other in God.

First Nations 101 links

For those wishing to further explore some of the topics brought up in our reading of Lynda Gray’s book, First Nations 101, check out the following links:

For an alternate news source, try the Aboriginal People’s Television Network, APTN at www.aptn.ca or through your cable service.  News at 5 and 10 pm Pacific time.

The Assembly of First Nations has a website at www.afn.ca, the Metis are represented by the Metis National Council at www.metisnation.ca and the Congress of Aboriginal People at www.abc-peoples.org ,  and the organization representing Inuit is the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami at www.itk.ca

The United Nations Declaration on Indigenous Persons can be read at  http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/documents/DRIPS_en.pdf

Basic Indigenous World View Training Workshop

Join Brander MacDonald on October 21, 2017 from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm at Pekw’xe:yles (St. Mary’s Church) in Mission, BC, for a day workshop sponsored by the Mennonite Church.  Free, bring a bag lunch, www.vancouver.anglican.ca/events/basic-indigenous-world-view-training

 Centering Prayer Introduction

Explore a deep reflective practice of silent prayer based on the rich wisdom teaching of the Christian contemplative tradition.  Workshop in Coquitlam on Saturday October 24, 9:30 am-2:30 pm.  Deepening practice six Thursday evenings starting October 26, 7 pm.  For more information contact Chris Kesans at chris_kesans@gmail.com or 604-944-7447.

Pro Vita Munda/For the Life of the World: October 27-29

Retreat opportunity for Anglicans seeking a deeper personal connection to God and spiritual renewal.  Go to http://www.vancouver.anglican.ca/events/spiritual-formation-for-the-next-generation

 Prayer Cycle

In the Anglican Communion-the Archdeaconry of Labrador in the Council of the North, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby; Primate of Canada Fred Hiltz; Indigenous Archbishop Mark McDonald; BC & Yukon Archbishop John Privett; our partner Diocese of Northern Philippines, Bishop Brent Alawas, and especially the people of our twin church at St. Johns Mission, Bila, Mountain Province; Diocese of New Westminster Bishop Melissa Skelton, and this week:

Salal and Cedar Watershed Discipleship Ministry – The Reverend Laurel Dykstra

The Diocesan Eco-Justice Unit – The Reverend Margaret Marquardt (Chair)

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada- National Bishop Susan Johnson, BC Synod Bishop Greg Mohr;

The brothers and sisters who share our worship space: The Port Moody Korean Presbyterian Church and the Polish Evangelical Church.

Readings for Pentecost 18, October 15, 2017 

Exodus 32:1-14; Psalm 106; Philippians 4:1-9; Matthew 22:1-14

Important Contact Information

Interim Priest– The Rev. Stephanie Shepard rev.seshepard@gmail.com or 778-773-6816

Parish Office– Karen Evans stjohn7@shaw.ca or 604-936-7762

Wardens– Geri Grigg gerigrigg@gmail.com Terry Walton terry&joanne_walton@telus.net

Maureen Simons mesimons@telus.net or through the parish office

Treasurer– Chelsea Belyk chelsea.belyk@gmail.com

Parish Council– Adelaine Miller, Secretary adelainemiller@shaw.ca

Altar Guild– Brenda Binns Brenda.Binns@hotmail.com

St. John Prayer Circle– Sue Ellliott Elliott.sue1@gmail.com

Pastoral Visiting Ministry– Joanne Walton terry&joanne_walton@telus.net

or Alma Oldenburg almaolden@hotmail.com

Anglican Church Women (ACW)- Sue Hall 604-936-0176 sbhcat@hotmail.com

The E-postle- Oct 1, 2017

The E-postle

October 1, 2017

 “The Parish of St. John the Apostle is called to be

*          A Spirited Community at the heart of Port Moody

*          transformed through the experience of the presence of Christ

*          and sent out to share God’s Love”

Leave of Absence for Deacon Trudi Shaw

Dear friends in Christ,

For the past fourteen years I have been in a covenanted relationship with the parish of St. John the Apostle, Port Moody. We have worshipped together, prayed together, laughed and cried together, and walked with one another through some challenging times. You have helped me to grow into my gifts and my calling as a deacon, and have supported me as I ministered in the world – in my paid work and in my volunteer work with a number of organizations. Over the past three years you have kept the light of Christ shining for me through illness, family trauma and tragedy – and I have no doubt that I will always be able to count on your prayers and your love to carry me.

After some prayerful reflection, and consultation with Archdeacon Bruce Morris, and the Clergy and Wardens team of the parish, I have decided to take a leave of absence, so I might be present to support my family, who are still suffering the after-effects of the events we have endured over these past two years. Being on leave means that I will not be torn between my responsibilities to my family and my covenanted responsibilities to my parish. I will be able to be present at some parish events when I am able, although I will be worshipping predominantly with my husband and other family members. But you will see me from time to time singing with the choir – and perhaps vested for special liturgies. As I contemplate leaving this parish, I become more aware of the richness of our worship and life together in Christ. I pray that you will continue to deepen your relationships with one-another and with our Creator, so you may live that love in your ministry in the world.

Blessings…Deacon Trudi

Upcoming Dates

September 30- Orange Shirt Day (wear them Oct. 1 too!)

October 1- Reconciliation Sunday and beginning of Stewardship Month

October 3- 10:30-noon & 7:15-8:45 pm, First Nations 101 book study chap. 3: Community Issues

October 8- Thanksgiving Sunday

October 13- 7 pm, Common Vision Concert at St. Andrews Port Moody to support food banks

October 16- Liturgy Group meeting to plan Advent and Christmas services.  All welcome.

October 22- after 10 am service, Parish Visiting Ministry Meeting

November 2- 7:30 to 9:30 pm, All Souls Night with Holden Evening Prayer

November 4- 10 am – 2:30 pm, Fall Bazaar

Orange Shirts

If you have ordered an “Every Child Matters” orange shirt for September 30, you can pick it up through the parish office Wednesday to Friday this week 9 am- 1 pm, Thursday evening 6-7 pm, or come on Sunday wearing something that it will fit on top of!  Shirts are $8-12.50 each, payable to St. Johns.  Any questions, contact Trudi at trudisha@telus.net For more background on Orange Shirt Day, see www.orangeshirtday.org

 The Welcome Post Project

Today we are honoured to have with us Tasha Faye Evans to share with us about the Port Moody Welcome Post project.  For more information, go to https://noonscreek.org/welcomepostschedule/

Harvest Thanksgiving

Bring your donations of sturdy fruit, vegetables, or flowers to the church 9:30 am October 7 to decorate for Thanksgiving and then donate to the St. Johns Food Bank.  Pick up your “Let’s Bag Hunger” bag at the entrance of the church and fill with non-perishable food items during the month of October.

St. Johns Bazaar Raffle

We are looking for “gourmet” items, specialty treats, Christmassy foods, but nothing perishable or alcoholic, to go in the goodie baskets for the raffle.   Please bring them in soon so we can wrap them up artistically.  Raffle tickets are now available for $2.00 per ticket or $10.00 for a book of 5.   See Grace Liew or Joanne Walton at 10 am or Ferne Malcolm at 8:30 am Sunday.

Stewardship Reflection
“Take a moment and meditate on what God has done for you- What we are asked to do for others is what God has done for us” -Henri Nouwen

How can we put this into practice this week?  This Sunday we begin our theme for October of “This belongs to God”.  October 1: Creation belongs to God.

Looking for a Way to Help?

Helpers needed to pick up and bag donated bread from Cobs on alternate Tuesday evenings.  Approximately 1 hour work 8:30-9:30 pm, please contact Teri Hazelton or the Church office.

Or bring your recyclable containers to the church to donate to the parish bottle drive.  You can also take them to Biggar Enterprises Bottle Depot in Coquitlam to credit the church.

Centering Prayer Introduction

Explore a deep reflective practice of silent prayer based on the rich wisdom teaching of the Christian contemplative tradition.  Workshop in Coquitlam on Saturday October 21, 9:30 am-2:30 pm.  Deepening practice six Thursday evenings starting October 26, 7 pm.  For more information contact Chris Kesans at chris_kesans@gmail.com or 604-944-7447.

Prayer Cycle

In the Anglican Communion-the Archdeaconry of Labrador in the Council of the North, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby; Primate of Canada Fred Hiltz; Indigenous Archbishop Mark McDonald; BC & Yukon Archbishop John Privett; our partner Diocese of Northern Philippines, Bishop Brent Alawas, and especially the people of our twin church at St. Johns Mission, Bila, Mountain Province; Diocese of New Westminster Bishop Melissa Skelton, and this week:

St. Faith, Vancouver – The Rev. Richard Leggett,The Rev. Christine Wilson

St. Francis-in-the-Wood, West Vancouver – The Rev. Angus Stuart, The Rev. Janice Lowell

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada- National Bishop Susan Johnson, BC Synod Bishop Greg Mohr;

The brothers and sisters who share our worship space: The Port Moody Korean Presbyterian Church and the Polish Evangelical Church.

Readings for Pentecost 17, October 8, 2017 

Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20; Psalm 19; Philippians 3:4b-14; Matthew 21:33-44

Important Contact Information

Interim Priest– The Rev. Stephanie Shepard rev.seshepard@gmail.com or 778-773-6816

Parish Office– Karen Evans stjohn7@shaw.ca or 604-936-7762

Wardens– Geri Grigg gerigrigg@gmail.com Terry Walton terry&joanne_walton@telus.net

Maureen Simons mesimons@telus.net or through the parish office

Treasurer– Chelsea Belyk chelsea.belyk@gmail.com

Parish Council– Adelaine Miller, Secretary adelainemiller@shaw.ca

Altar Guild– Brenda Binns Brenda.Binns@hotmail.com

St. John Prayer Circle– Sue Ellliott Elliott.sue1@gmail.com

Pastoral Visiting Ministry– Joanne Walton terry&joanne_walton@telus.net

or Alma Oldenburg almaolden@hotmail.com

Anglican Church Women (ACW)- Sue Hall 604-936-0176 sbhcat@hotmail.com

Upcoming Dates at St. John’s

Upcoming Dates 

September 30- Orange Shirt Day (wear them to church on October 1 too!)

October 8- Thanksgiving Sunday

November 2- 7:30 to 9:30 pm, All Souls Night with Holden Evening Prayer

November 4- 10 am – 2:30 pm, Fall Bazaar

Fall Bazaar- Volunteers needed for preparations

 

Fall Bazaar…………Preparations are underway for the Fall bazaar on Saturdays, Nov. 4th.  At our recent meeting we discovered that although we have many volunteers to help we need many more. One concern is the White Elephant – although we have a couple of excellent volunteers to help on Saturday we really need someone to coordinate this area. (Advise and training would be available from some of our former coordinators.) We also need one or two people in most other areas.  This is a parish event and we would welcome ANYONE who has a desire to be involved and be part of this exciting event.  If you can help please let me, Sue Hall or Joanne Walton know after church or contact me at kmalcolm@telus.net.

Ferne Malcolm

 

Pentecost 16, September 24, 2017

Matthew 20:1-16

St. John the Apostle

“Why are you standing around?”

I speak as a sinner to sinners, and as one who is loved to the beloved of God through the mercy of God.  Amen.

Today Jesus tells us a story of the labourers in the vineyard.  We hear about the ones that the landowner hired in the morning for the work, and as we sit in the pews we tend to identify and to side with them.  We are just like Jesus’ first listeners- both his followers and the religious leaders.  It makes sense that those who are hired for a job agree upon a wage before they spend all day in the field.  Where our sense of natural justice gets assaulted is the next part.  The landowner then goes on to pick up more workers as the day progresses and adds them to the workforce.  And in the evening, when the pay is handed out, everyone gets the same.  That’s not fair.

It depends on our perspective.  For those who have slaved away from dawn til dusk, it doesn’t seem fair that we have been worked so hard and so long for this small sum, even though it is what we agreed to in the beginning.  It’s not just a matter of reward or righteousness.  We are tired, we have given our all, and there is so much work to do.  Why couldn’t the landowner have brought in the extra help a little earlier, and saved our aching backs?  Those who were first to be in the field resent those who didn’t have to work for such a long day not just because they got the same amount of money for a shorter shift, but because they were standing around.

But from the point of view of those who were still in the labour lineup in the marketplace, waiting to be hired, those who were already at work were the lucky ones.  They wanted a job to do.  So why are they standing around?  If we look at this parable as those who want to work but don’t have the opportunity, we get a sense of what Jesus is saying to us about God’s grace and justice.

Some people don’t appeal to employers. They may not have the connections with the company to get their foot in the door, or have the prior work experience or qualifications that meet some hiring standard.  They may not present as well in an interview because the way they dress or speak.  There are many people who would be assets to a workplace if given a chance, but if you are competing against others that speak English better or have Canadian degrees or have confidence and a glowing reference, the chances of being hired are diminished.  There are the doctors and scientists and teachers who have immigrated to Canada only to find that the jobs open to them are as taxi drivers or house cleaners.  Even though our society is in need of their specific skills, they start, at least, with work outside their field to feed their families.  These are the ones who are seen by those in authority as unskilled labourers in the marketplace.  Sometimes we do not discover what gifts a person brings to an organization or company because we never bother to ask what they can do.  We leave them on the margins and compl

There are also those who stand around because they do not hear of the work opportunities.  When we do not hear what is needed, and how we can help, it is difficult to offer.  And sometimes we are not very good at knowing what we need in the way of assistance, let alone advertising for it.  There are more jobs available than there are people to do them, and yet part of our population is unemployed and despairing of finding meaningful work.  This happens in the Church as well.  The tendency is for a few good people to do much of the work quietly and behind the scenes.   Others neither realize how many hours are being put in, nor understand what they might do to share the load.  Our other problem, especially as an organization, is to resent the people who come in “later in the day” to labour with us.  Well established patterns for getting things done might be challenged by different ways if a new person is allowed to join in.  It takes energy to explore alternatives rather than just dismiss the idea because “we’ve always done it that way”.  Whether it is a workplace or an organization like the Church, we have to decide that if we are to seek more workers, we have to be prepared to be changed by what they bring to the job.  Specifically, if we as a faith community are to share the good news about God, then who we invite into ministry will bring new talents and ways of being disciples.

And just like in the Scripture story, there are those who are left standing around because they have been judged not suitable for the job.  The landowner probably chose those labourers he saw as the fittest for the hard work in the vineyard.  But maybe when he came back to the marketplace a second and third time, he began to see other possibilities for the ones who were still there.  As a society, we value those who are young and strong and clever.  We are more hesitant to engage with those who have physical or mental challenges.  And we do not value the gifts our elders bring to our work in the way that we should.  Just because bodies slow down and minds get forgetful, it doesn’t mean that seniors should be set aside as useless to our common good.  A recent federal report on the status of the elderly in care facilities highlights the tendency to warehouse and forget those who have decades of experience and wisdom.  In the province of BC, seniors in assisted living received less than 3 hours a day of personal interactions with staff.  This means that for those elderly persons who have few friends or family members who visit, they spend more than 21 of 24 hours each day alone.  There is no one to help with personal needs or even to share a recollection or an insight.  As a society, how do we treat our elders?  We leave them standing around, waiting for someone to show an interest in their worth.

Jesus lays out that God’s love is not a finite resource.  God’s grace extends to all who are willing to join in, no matter what their fitness or prior experience.  There is room and a job for everyone.  The task of the Church is to invite and equip persons for ministry.  That means extending the labour pool.  Sometimes we bemoan that there are not enough people to do all the things we want to get done in the Church.  The answer is to get more help.  It may be late in the day, but there are still people out there who have not been invited.  Maybe we have missed asking them in the past because they don’t appeal as much to us.  Maybe we haven’t been too good about getting the word out that there is a place for them, and then when they come, actually making a place for them.  And maybe we have some work to do to discern the special gifts of those we thought were less suitable for what God was about.  The point is that God’s amazing and astonishing grace is to keep searching for those who are willing.  And God will show us how to be ready and able to help.  Nobody should be left just standing around.  Amen.

 

 

 

Homily for Pentecost 15, September 17, 2017

Exodus 14:19-31

St. John the Apostle

“True Story”

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable to you, O God, our Rock and our Redeemer.  Amen.

An Anglican priest, a Baptist preacher and a Jewish rabbi are fishing in a boat on a lake. The preacher has forgotten the bait, so he walks across the water, grabs the bucket and walks back. Then the rabbi realizes he’s forgotten his lunch, so he walks across the water to the shore, picks up his lunch bag and walks back.

The Anglican then remembers he didn’t lock the car, but when he gets out of the boat he falls into the water. He swims back, gets back into the boat, and says, “God, let me walk across the water.” He tries again and falls into the water, swims back, tries again and falls again.

The Baptist leans over to the rabbi and asks, “Do you think we should tell him where the stepping stones are?”

We want to believe in miracles and at the same time we want to be able to explain them.  One criteria for a miracle is that it is not explicable by natural or scientific laws.  But as human knowledge extends into new fields, things that were once regarded as supernatural occurrences are found to have a basis in science or history.  Thunder, earthquakes, plagues, eclipses, molecular interactions, can be examined and observed to find out how they work.  But does this make them any less miraculous?

There is a news report of Saint Peter’s bones purportedly discovered this week in a small church undergoing renovations (It makes one wonder what we will find here!).  According to the Vatican, human remains were found in a couple of clay jars in the Santa Maria in Cappella, Rome.  They will undergo DNA testing and be compared to other bones kept at St. Peter’s basilica which are also thought to be those of this first century apostle.  Will they be any more holy if there is a match?

This week the Christian Church also celebrated the feast of Holy Cross day on Thursday.  On September 14 in the year 335, the Emperor Constantine dedicated a large shrine and church on the site of where Jesus was thought to have been crucified in Jerusalem.  While the site was under construction, Constantine’s mother Helena happened to be helping out and found some old pieces of wood.  Doctors of the faith did the 4th century version of scientific testing.  They apparently had a corpse laid on the fragments and when the person came back to life declared that this miracle was due to the healing power of the cross of Christ.  The relics were taken back to Rome and venerated, and soon many important churches across Christendom managed to produce a sliver. Each faith community eagerly hoped for a miracle to prove that their splinter was the real deal.

There are a lot of miracles recorded in the Bible.  Many are the basis of documentaries, which try and tease out textual details to support scientific discovery.  From the story that has been passed down, first as an oral tradition and then as a sacred text, people have attempted to reconstruct the “true” story.  Whether this invites faith or skepticism, there is an underlying need to understand how God did “it”.

In the Hebrew Scriptures passage that was read this morning from Exodus 14, we heard the story of the Israelites escaping through the waters of the Red Sea.  The miracle of the slaves’ escape from Egypt by God’s mighty hand is a story that is crucial to understanding how they understood themselves to be a chosen people.  Did it literally happen step by step as it is described in the pages of Scripture?  Countless scholars have spent years huddled over maps of the Near East, trying to match up times and place names to see when and where the event actually occurred.  Various scientific explanations of tidal influence, wind patterns, and climate conditions have laid out scenarios by which this group of people might have passed through what was normally a body of water, while Pharoah’s chariot army was unable to follow.  The Hebrew slaves crossed the Red, or possibly Reed, Sea and the Egyptian pursuers drowned.  Do we need to understand exactly how in order to appreciate that there is a divine hand involved?

For some, this is a matter of faith.  Anything that can be explained by natural means proves, de facto, that God didn’t need to be involved: it was a matter of happy circumstance for the Israelites and bad luck for the Egyptians.  That is, if this story actually had any basis in fact and wasn’t just made up as a charter myth of the Jewish people.  For others, the grounding of details found in the text lends even more power to God’s purpose.  Why wouldn’t the Creator use the mechanisms of creation in order to guide the path of human history?  And for more, the details don’t actually matter.  The footnotes in a Bible, although interesting, neither add or detract from the words of Scripture.  The story is true on a deeper level, as a proclamation of what God is about rather than how.

So what is God about here in this story?  The crossing of the Red Sea is a miracle of love and forgiveness and trust.  For the Hebrew people, it is the death of an old life in oppression and sin, and the beginning of a new life that is a journey towards the God who loves them and redeems them and will sustain them in their wilderness.  The details that are recorded may have happened exactly like that to a people long ago.  But they also can resonate with a modern hearer that has never been to the Middle East, never fled across a desert pursued by Egyptians.  We can put ourselves into the text because of our own experiences that run parallel.

And when we come to baptism, this story becomes even more true.  This story of the crossing over is what we each enact when we begin the path of a Christian life.  We chose between the captivity of the world and the journey to a Promised Land.  We go through the water that marks both death and life.   And we trust in a God who loves us enough to rescue us and forgive us and claim us as God’s own forever.  Do we need to see the rocks under the water?

The stage is set again this morning for the retelling of this wonderful story.  The miracle here is this small child, Alexander Brian McGlashan.  Brought into the world by love, brought to this community in love, to be baptized this morning for love.  Can anyone look at a baby and not know something of the mystery of God in these tiny hands?  And maybe years from now his mother and father and sister will tell him the story of this day.  They may laugh and recount the little details.  But whether they get it exactly right or not, the main point of the story is still this:  You are a miracle, by God’s grace.   Amen.

 

 

All Souls Night- Nov. 2, 2017 7:30-9:30 pm

 

all souls night

thursday november 2

7:30 to 9:30 pm

Pray for the souls of the world

In the darkness of the turning of the year, we remember those who have died.  Come enter a sacred space and lift them up to God. Whether there are recent losses for you among family or friends, or whether you want to honour victims of violence and disaster in our world, here is a time to remember and to hope.  We light our candles against the darkness and proclaim that love is stronger than death, and that peace and justice will prevail.

“But the souls of the righteous are in the hands of God, and no torment will ever touch them.  In the eyes of the foolish they seem to have died, and their departure from us was thought to be a disaster, and their going from us to be their destruction, but they are at peace.”  Wisdom 3: 1-3

 

 

In the darkness of our times, pray for the souls of the world

Drop in to the church 7:30 to 9:30 pm

Walk on our indoor labyrinth

Light a candle and add a name or prayer to a wall of remembrance

Experience Sung Holden Evening Prayer 9-9:30 pm

st. john the apostle church

2208 St. Johns Street

Port Moody, BC

604-936-7762

www.stja.ca

Sunday services

8:30 & 10 am

 

Let’s Bag Hunger Campaign begins Oct. 1, 2017

OCTOBER 1-31

LET’S BAG HUNGER!

You Can Help!

Fill this paper bag with non-perishable food items so we can restock the shelves of St. John’s

Family Food Bank.  Financial donations also welcome through your offering envelopes or the parish office.  Bring in your items this month.

canned meats

 

peanut butter

 

canned vegetables

 

canned or dried beans

 

oats, rice, pasta

st. john the apostle

2208 St. Johns Street
Port Moody, BC

www.stja.ca

Worship Sundays 8:30 and 10 am