Monday, June 26, 2017

Life Explored

This week is the last session of "Life Explored," our current study, and the end of Wednesday Bible Study for this term.
Life Explored has been a fun program, using video and small group discussion exclusively.  Since the morning session has been divided in two, I've missed seeing the whole gang, but having more time for the small group has allowed a new perspective on how we hear and understand the message of the lessons.
Life Explored is available on-line for home study at, so if you weren't able to attend the Wednesday session, you can do a self-directed study of the same material.  Also, SPPC now owns the videos so anyone can borrow them and run a Bible study at home with friends and colleagues, or with only one curious friend who wonders why you "waste" you time on church and "all that stuff."
We'll start a new study in the Fall.  Meantime, enjoy your summer, fill it with rest and renewal and enjoy God's wonderful creation.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Fathers and Faith

 Compared to Mother's Day, Father's Day gets short shrift in the Presbyterian Church in Canada.  In the secular world retailers are keen to capitalise on any occasion to boost sales, but the real heart-rending advertising usually focuses on mothers, while dads are portrayed as needing a new lawnmower or a tie.  
    The trend toward inclusive language has also been hard on the word father in our liturgy.

    But on this day, father's get the spotlight.  The NIV Bible uses the word father 692 times in the Old Testament and 390 times in the New.  The basis of our faith reminds us over and over that God is our Heavenly Father, the one to whom we look for protection, provision, compassion, judgement, discipline, mercy and unfailing love.

     One of our choir anthems includes the lines:
And for those special moments, those times when we recall
A father’s guiding presence, a mother’s gentle call,
The laughter and the singing, the teaching of your way,
The quiet times together that taught us how to pray.

A reminder of the importance of father's in family life.

     Hymn writers too pay homage to God, the Father.  One of my favourites is This Is My Father's World.  Perhaps because I grew up in the country the images of rustling grass, carolling birds, lily white, rocks and trees, skies and seas, resonate deep in my soul. This hymn is a wonderful hymn of praise to the Creator Father.

Another of my choices is Dear Lord and Father of Mankind. The first verse speaks to our need to repent, but the following lines assure us of God, the Father as our refuge in a turbulent world.  One of the great blessings of my life was "home."  Without question, if life got too hard, I could go home and be enfolded in the love and security and acceptance of family.  This hymn promises that all people, regardless of their earthly family, have this same, safe refuge with our Father in Heaven.

One last example from my personal favourites is Great is Thy Faithfulness.  Here we are reminded of the steadfastness of our Father.  He "changest not." His compassion never fails.  Through all the seasons of life He offers His presence to "to cheer and to guide."  All our needs are taken care of by our Father's provision.

    To all the fathers out there, some with a new tie, blessings on you and may you remember that you have a perfect role model described in the pages of the Bible, in the poetry of hymns and in the love that surrounds you and keeps you in His care forever and ever.


Monday, June 12, 2017

Season Wind Up

This week the Parking Lot Club wound up activities for the summer with a special feast. 

Fast hockey 

And a water balloon fight.                                                        
We had an exciting first year for this program.  As with anything new there was some trial and error, but over all, everyone had a good time and everyone was well fed.  
Watch for our re-opening in the fall.  

Monday, June 5, 2017

Strength Together

On this Pentecost Sunday, the bulletin contained two independent announcements that emphasise our unity in fellowship.  The flowers were in celebration of a fifth birthday.  A little further down the list was a notice of a 100th birthday.  Few organizations in the secular world would have members at both ends of the age spectrum.  Our inclusivity of all who believe is one of the great strengths of the church.  A point underlined by the reading from Acts 2 "They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer."

I won't try to repeat the sermon here, but I do have a children's story from an anonymous source that illustrates the same point.

The preacher, holding ten to twenty pencils bound with a rubber band, asks the children, "Why do we go to church?"  
He then explains that we go to church to have fellowship with other Christians. Nations are strong because their many people are bonded together.We need to care for one another, love one another
And it is the same in the church. We come together each Sunday, and during the week we support one another, encourage and pray for one another.
Take a pencil - can you break it?
                         two pencils?
                        three pencils?

The more pencils there are together the harder it is to break them.
The same is true for us as Christians. The more we band together the stronger we are. When we group together, share with on another, we find it much easier to live as Christians.  The world today makes it difficult to be Christian, that is why it is so important for us to get together as we do in church.

Happy birthday to all who celebrate this week, old, young, and in-between.  Your Christian family rejoices with you, prays for you, and stands together to keep you strong.