Monday, May 5, 2014


  The question of faith vs works came up in conversation this week.  It's a knotty question, oft debated among theologians and laity alike.   Those on the works side often quote from James 20. while those who argue for justification by faith alone like Galations 2.  At SPPC this week we saw faith AND good works in the same events.

     On Tuesday the Pastoral Care committee hosted a talk by Linda Cliff on "Life before Death."

It sounds a bit grim but the emphasis was on the "life" part of the equation.  There was a video showing people at various stages of their life journey.  One interview was with a fairly young woman who had suffered so much pain, her life held no hope, no joy and no ease.  Through the marvels of palliative care, she was given a drug that took away her pain. Now she felt truly alive, her face filled with joy, her mind teaming with plans for the future.  She talked about the blessing of doing the dishes, taking a walk or working in the garden.  She could live her life.
  Other interviews showed people in the latter stages of terminal illness.  With good palliative care, they were able to remain relatively pain-free and it made all the difference.  They could talk with loved ones, build up special memories, treasure the moments they still had.  A sad contrast to those in some countries which lack palliative care, where nurses can only offer a drink of water and a hand to hold.  We are very lucky here in Victoria to have access to the very best in hospice care.
    Linda is a dedicated member of the Hospice community and a champion for palliative care.  That passion, combined with her faith, showed through in her compassion for those who suffer and in the work she and others do to relieve suffering.

   On Sunday, the Living Flame Choir put their faith into action by presenting a concert at the Shoal Centre.  Our youth is very busy and rehearsal time is hard to come by so we squeezed in some extra practice after church.  Then had a social time and shared some pizza.
Then we packed up our music and our noise-makers and headed off to the Shoal Centre.
   We presented a half-hour concert that included "Dem Bones", hence the noise-makers, as well as "When I Turn My Heart to Heaven."  The latter was necessary since it refers to God's promise in the rainbow.  Since we have a lovely backdrop of a rainbow, we're happy to have the opportunity to put it on display.

Our audience was made up of Shoal Centre residents, a few of our own congregation and some visitors.  It was wonderful to see the joy on the faces in the audience as the music reminded them of happy times in their own lives.  Faith -- music -- sharing -- love in action.

    I can't leave this week's blog without mentioning that our Bible Study sessions begin this week.  We will be using a study based on a book by Ann Voskamp called One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.  I just finished reading the book and found it spoke to my soul. The author shares her own journey of faith and thankfulness in our ordinary and marvellous daily work.   I can't wait to see what we do with it in Bible Study.  We meet Wednesday at 9:30 am and at 7:00 pm.  Everyone is welcome at either or both of these session.

   So there you have it, a sample of our week filled with works, based in faith and given with joy.  Pretty good week, I'd say.