Monday, August 26, 2019

Flower Committee

Since Norma has had to step back from her duties at SPPC, we've discovered just how much she did! Her shoes are too big to fill by one person, so several people have stepped up to manage part of her roster. One hat she wore was that of flower committee. She asked me to take that on and I agreed.

As that is now one of my tasks, I thought I'd do a little research on why we put flowers in the sanctuary on Sundays and other occasions. I put the question to Google and came up with a lot of instructions on flower arranging! 
Not what I had in mind--but I did glean some relevant information.

Apparently flowers in the sanctuary is a long-standing tradition. Documents show it was part of a church budget during the Tudor era in Britain. When Cromwell deposed the monarchy, the Puritans sought to purify the churches by getting rid of all decoration that could be termed "papish." Candles, silver plate, statues, and clerical vestments all went by the wayside. Church ledgers no longer show expenses for wax or candleholders.
But there is still a line for flowers. Whatever the Puritans thought about decoration, the people insisted on beautifying the sanctuary with flowers.

Many modern churches have what they call "flower ministries." One included a rational for flowers in the sanctuary with these words. "Flowers are alive. They are of God's creation. They are a fragrant offering to the God who created them. They are a symbol of new life in Christ."  
Pretty good reasons to include floral offerings in the Sunday service.
On another site someone had asked how flowers "work" in the service. The answer was that flowers don't need to work, they just are--a symbol and reminder of God's grace to His creation and His people.

The organization of floral offerings differs from church to church. Some invite people to donate money to a flower fund and members of the committee purchase and arrange the flowers. Others have a standing account with a florist who provides weekly flowers for the sanctuary. Some have "rules" about the colour and type of flowers. Some reserve flowers only for special occasions like Easter and Thanksgiving.

At SPPC, I've not seen any rules. Flowers of all types and colours, whether they come from a garden or a florist, are a welcome gift to the congregation and a glory to God. Those who wish to donate flowers can sign up on the list in the narthex, choosing the date and adding a dedication to the bulletin if the flowers mark some special occasion like a birthday, anniversary or memorial.

After service flowers may be distributed to our shut-in members or shared with hospital patients, or they may be taken home and enjoyed by the donor. It's your call.

One other thing I've discovered since Norma asked me to take on this function. I consider "committee" a misnomer as I am "it." If anyone would like to share this ministry, please talk to Alice. :-) 

Monday, August 19, 2019

Book Review

Becoming Mrs. Lewis

The improbable love story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis

By Patti Callahan

This book is essentially a love story—a love of literature and ideas and a love between a husband and wife.  
Joy’s story begins as a young woman with two small children married to an alcoholic husband. Joy has put her career on hold and is trying to be the woman her husband demands. One night when her husband threatens suicide (not for the first time,) Joy falls on her knees and has an encounter with grace so strong that it will define the rest of her life. In order to sort out within herself what happened that night she begins writing to C.S. Lewis looking for spiritual answers. So begins this amazing story.

Joy’s marriage continues to deteriorate as does her health. In order to heal she takes a sabbatical to England to write, regain her health and to meet Lewis. During this time her husband is at home with their two sons and her cousin, who is looking after the family. Her husband and cousin begin an affair that results in the end of the marriage. Joy then moves to England with her two sons as she has fallen in love with the culture and intellectual society. England and  her friendship with Lewis and his brother have become integral to Joy.

Throughout the narrative of this novel we are given a picture of Joy’s friendship with the Lewis brothers and her progress in her spiritual life. You learn how she influenced Jack, as Lewis was known to her, and how she worked with him on many of his writings. Callahan has meticulously researched the book so that the novel  reads like a memoir rather than a work of fiction. The descriptions of the countryside around Oxford and Lewis’ home, the Kilns, are picturesque and give a feel for the landscape. The description of Joy’s life with her sons and the ongoing troubles with her ex-husband add to the story of these remarkable people.

The romance between Lewis and Davidman was slow to develop.  Joy was in love with Jack early on in her friendship, but it took Lewis time to come to terms with her divorce from her first husband and to reconcile the teaching of the Church and his beliefs about divorce. The growth of their deep and abiding love as told in this historical novel will touch your heart and keep you reading until the end.

Another benefit for me is that I have taken the time to learn more about Joy Davidman’s writings and hope to review her book on the Ten Commandments in a future blog.
The book is available in the church library and I recommend reading it.

Reviewed by Linda Cliff 

Monday, August 12, 2019

Loyalty in Action

Our guest speaker this morning, Rick Wismer of the Big Blue Bus, told a story about his new puppy. (She still has much to learn about the way the world works.) 
It reminded me that I have another dog story in my files. This story came from Dr. Cecil Kirk, late of this congregation. His story was intended for the children's time, but I think it works for adults too.

The Faithful Dog

There is a story about a boy and his dog. They lived in Pompeii in Italy which is situated near a volcano. In AD79 it erupted. Smoke and fire burst out from the mountain. Ashes fell on the city. Burning rocks came tumbling down its slopes.
This didn’t happen without warning: some people took heed and fled the city in advance of the eruption. Others had disregarded the warnings.
Those who remained in the city were trapped in molten lava. Soon the whole city was buried in ash and lava; everyone died.
Centuries passed, the city was forgotten about. Then about 180 years ago people began to wonder about Pompeii. They began to dig through the ashes, cut away the lava. After time many streets, fine buildings, beautiful works of art were discovered.
In one place they found the body of a young boy, near him lay his dog, both killed by the eruption of the volcano.
On the dog was a collar; “This dog has three times saved his little master; once from fire, once from drowning, once from thieves.”
By himself, the dog might have escaped but he remained faithful to the very end. Dogs can teach us about loyalty - they stick with you through thick and thin.
The New Testament tells us that Jesus is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. No matter what happens He will stand by us.

And Jesus wants us to be as faithful as Him. There are some fair weather friends. They talk a lot but when the going gets tough they drop away. Jesus does not want people like that. We should be like the little boy’s dog. No matter how bad things are we should stay faithful to Him.

As well as occasionally filling in at the pulpit, Rick is part of a search and rescue organization and a youth leader. This is risky work. There may be times when Rick's courage is tested, but he knows that Christ will be faithful to him until the end. 
Thank you, Rick, for the work you do and for your example of faith in action.

P.S.  Here are the answers to last week's puzzle.
Puzzle Answer:
Answers to Bible Knowledge Crossword Puzzle

Monday, August 5, 2019

Creative Play

Sunday School teachers deserve a summer vacation too. So at SPPC children are invited to "Creative Play" during the sermon time on Sunday morning. Thanks to Janet for organizing this ministry.
If you feel like a little creative play yourself, why not try the crossword below.  A gold star to anyone who solves the puzzle and leaves a comment.

Bible Knowledge

Generl Bible Knowledge Crossword Puzzle for Sunday School LessonsBy Bill Brinkworth
3. David's son
5. promise
8. prophetic book
9. tax collector
11. Nehemiah
12. offered strange fire
13. stoned to death
14. Babylonian false god
15. Cain's son
18. 15th O. T. book
20. father of harp
21. Samson killed

1. prophecy author 

2. preserve corpse 
4. Jesus
6. 1st "church" 
7. Jeremiah's father 
8. sin 
10. created on 5th day 
14. liquid measure 
16. place of torment 
17. O. T. king
19. Jacob's son