Monday, July 30, 2018

Dog Days of Summer?

We're having a heat wave.  It's the middle of summer.  We should all be looking for a hammock in the shade.  Instead, our Sunday was a-happening!
During the worship service we had a baptism.  SPPC is delighted to welcome Peter Andrew Napier Whale, into the Church and into the fellowship of this congregation.

A baptism is plenty of reason for excitement, but we had more.  Sharyn  and Paul Branson, of the House Upon the Rock Ministry visited with us.  Paul preached the sermon. 

 After service we had a magnificent lunch.

While we ate, Sharyn presented a slide show, and talked of  their work in the Dominican Republic. 
Their visit was extra special to the members of our congregation who have gone on mission trips to the Dominican Republic.

Since Friendship Community Church has spearheaded those mission trips, we invited that congregation to join us for lunch. Their service ends an hour later than ours, but there was plenty of food for all.  

Of course, a great lunch doesn't happen without the kitchen brigade. 

While mortals may look at summer as a time of relaxation, the Holy Spirit is always at work.  Romans 6:3, 1Thessalonians 1:6, Romans 15:13, 1 Corinthians 2: 10-13

Monday, July 23, 2018

Many Mansions

Turn, turn, turn,
To everything turn, turn, turn, . . 

These are the opening lyrics of an old song based on Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

I thought of the song last week when a friend announced she was moving houses.  Downsizing.  I dislike that word, with its suggestion of less. It is implied that the downsized life will be smaller than the life before.  When companies "downsize," people lose their jobs. I prefer "resize."  After all, our whole lives are a progression of resizing in one way or another.
  A baby leaves his crib and resizes to a room of his own.  A student resizes from the family home to take up a place in residence, or perhaps in a basement suite.  The young professional resizes from a cubicle to a corner office.  The grandmother resizes from a big house to enjoy life in a no-maintenance dwelling.  The retired couple resizes from a suburban property to a downtown condo.
  With each move, life changes but it needn't be "less" than what went before.

 We held a memorial service at church this week and the family talked of the many houses their mother had inhabited.  Some were in remote spots, some were in the city.  Some were rustic, others had all the conveniences. What mattered wasn't the "mansion" she lived in.  What mattered were the people she loved, the interests she pursued and the faith that sustained her in all circumstances. 

 Throughout our lives we will all inhabit "many mansions." We will re-size according to what fits our needs at various times.
What joy to know, that when we come to the end, there will be a room prepared for us by Christ, a room that will be perfect in every way. A mansion just the right size for our eternal life. John l4: 1-4  

Monday, July 16, 2018

Wondrous Love

Summer time and the choir is on holiday -- a perfect opportunity to enjoy a guest musician.  This Sunday Mary Byrne brought her musical talents to SPPC.  She played Faure for the offertory, accompanied "Amazing Grace" as the hymn before the sermon and harmonized with Alice and Tore for the anthem.  A nice opportunity for Larry to play cello, as well.

The anthem was "Wondrous Love," arr. by Richard Waters for piano and voice, then re-arranged by Mary and Larry for voice, flute and cello.  "Wondrous Love" is a folk hymn that is sometimes described as a "white spiritual."  It was first published in 1811 in the hymnals of both the Methodists and the Baptists in Britain, although it is often associated with the Appalachian area of the US.
   As Rev. Irwin continues with his series on the problem of sin and the remedy found in Jesus Christ, the words of this hymn seem particularly apt.  What wondrous love, that the King of Bliss would lay aside His crown to pay the price for my sin.  What wondrous love, indeed. Rev. 5

 What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul! What wondrous love is this, O my soul! What wondrous love is this That caused the Lord of bliss To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul, To bear the dreadful curse for my soul! 
 When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down, When I was sinking down, sinking down, When I was sinking down Beneath God’s righteous frown, Christ laid aside His crown for my soul for my soul, Christ laid aside His crown for my soul.  
These are the verses that were sung on Sunday morning.  Other arrangements include these stanzas.
To God and to the Lamb I will sing, I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb,
Who is the great I AM,
While millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing,
While millions join the theme, I will sing.

 And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on.
And when from death I’m free
I’ll sing His love for me,
And through eternity I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on,
And through eternity I’ll sing on.

Thank you to Mary for sharing her musical gifts with us.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Book Review

God’s Stories --More Than Twenty Years on the Mission Field

By Sharyn  Branson

Missionary as defined by Paul and Sharyn Branson: a person engaged in sharing the love of God and the Word of God with others so that they can take a step closer to God. 
Sharyn has written a book that chronicles the story of her life with her husband, Paul,  in foreign missions since 1995.  The book begins with their account of preparing for their life as missionaries and the journey to finding their calling to the Dominican Republic.  The early chapters give the reader insight into the how they prepared for their lives as missionaries and how they were led to the DR.  The stories are heart warming and show their trust in God and the power of prayer in their lives.

I have had the privilege of acting as volunteer in their House Upon the Rock Mission.  My lasting impression is one of how integral prayer is to their lives.  One day we were at a building site and a decision had to be made by Paul and our group leader.  Both men stopped what they were doing and sought direction through prayer.  I had never seen that done in my work place and it was a reminder to me that, when in doubt, ask for God’s direction.  
As you read each chapter of this book you will get a picture of life in a different culture, a life that can be harsh at times but also filled with moments of joy and much blessing.  It is a great summer read as you can read a couple of chapters, put the book down, and then pick up again without loosing the story line as it reads more like a diary.  The book is available in our Library.

Now for the best part!  Sharyn and Paul will be preaching at Saanich Peninsula Presbyterian Church on July 29, 2018 at 10 am.   What a perfect opportunity to meet an author, hear first hand about life in the Dominican Republic, and share God’s blessings with these real life missionaries. 

One of the great things about living in another culture is the food.  So I would like to share a recipe From Nena’s Kitchen a recipe book from the cook for the mission teams that visit the DR.

Moro Guandules
  • 2 cups of rice
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1can of Guandules (pigeon peas) you can substitute and kind of beans or lentils
  • 1 tsp garlic paste and 2 tbsp tomato paste 1 tsp Goya Adobo
  • 2 tbsp Soya sauce
  • onions, peppers, celery, cilantro, pepper, salt and oregano to taste
Heat the oil in the pot, add all the ingredients except the water and rice.  Fry for several minutes and then add water.  Wait to boil, then add the rice.  Then move it a bit and wait until dry. Lower the heat and cover for 25 minutes

Post by Linda Cliff.

Monday, July 2, 2018

The Ten Commandments

 This Sunday Rev. Irwin wrapped up a series of sermons on the Ten Commandments.  After service, I was trying to remember the first one.  I knew it had to do with the supremacy of God, but I couldn't remember if it included the prohibition of graven images.  I had to go look it up.
When I was a kid, The Ten Commandments, were embroidered on samplers, like the one on the left, and hung on the walls of homes. They were posted in shops and public buildings and claimed a prominent place in church entrances. Nowadays, they are invisible in public spaces.  Samplers are not often worked in homes any more and if they are, the subject is more likely to be about gardens or golf than about God.
So, if you're like me and struggling to remember which one comes first and where the divisions are, there's a simplified version.

The Ten Commandments.

  1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
  2. Thou shalt not make any graven image nor bow down to them, nor serve them.
  3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
  4. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
  5. Honour thy father and thy mother.
  6. Thou shalt not kill.
  7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
  8. Thou shalt not steal.
  9. Thou shalt not bear false witness.
  10. Thou shalt not covet they neighbour's wife, nor his house, nor his field, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor is ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbour's.

You can read the complete, Biblical version from Exodus,here.
If you want the one from Deuteronomy, look here.