Question of the week

Question of the Week: Q. How do you pick the readings for each Sunday?

I’m happy to say that I don’t. In the Anglican tradition, we get to share — with Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Orthodox, some United, Methodist and Presbyterian churches — in a wonderful thing called The Lectionary. The Lectionary sets the readings Sunday by Sunday on a three year cycle. That means that every Sunday of the year, there is a reading from the Old Testament, a psalm, a New Testament passage, and a Gospel selection that are assigned. This Lectionary is ancient, dating back (at least in skeletal form) to the 4th century of the Christian church.

There are a number of things about the Lectionary that are incredibly beneficial to a worshipping community:

-Over the course of three years, we hear most of our New Testament and large portions of the Old Testament. Because of the three year cycle, if we are regular participants in worship, we will become familiar with our Scriptures over time, while still having enough variety that the readings can sound new and fresh to us when we do hear them. Right now, we are in Year B of the Lectionary. Year A focuses on the Gospel of Matthew, Year B on the Gospel of Mark (and to some extent, John), Year C on the Gospel of Luke.

-For a preacher, having a Starting Point is important. I can look up the readings for that Sunday and allow them, through the week, to do what Scripture is supposed to do for us, that is live. I can read the texts and listen through the week to the conversations, memories, current events that surround me, that interact with the texts, and out of that I can hope to capture something of where I hear the Spirit speaking to us in This Time and This Place.

-The Lectionary protects you from hearing only what the preacher thinks is important about the Bible or what the preacher likes to talk about. The preacher is asked to be responsive even to parts of the Bible that he/she might otherwise avoid, find uninspiring or challenging.

-The readings are reflective of the seasons of the church year, and therefore, they help us, along with all of the other symbols we use in the church, to appreciate the different emotions, flavours and themes that move through the year, to connect us to the passage of time and the natural seasons in God’s creation.

-Because on every Sunday, literally millions of people will listen to, and reflect on, the same readings, the Lectionary also connects us to the reality that we are part of a universal and global church, spanning time and space. So many of you name this reality as one of the more powerful parts of your experience of what it is to be an Anglican Christian.

Ultimately, I invite you to discover how The Lectionary is meaningful to you. Because you know that these readings were not selected by me in order to teach you something, you can instead open yourself to wondering how God is speaking to you Today, Here and Now, through the holy words of Scripture.

Blessings
Canon Val

Summertime!

Greetings St John’s on this hot and steamy day.  Hope you are keeping “cool”.

 

One of the great things about vacation – apart from sun, delicious food, relaxation and an opportunity to see and do things which are outside of normal routines – is, for me, going on-line and reading updates of what parish members are doing and where their journeys are taking them during this summer.

I am looking forward to taking some time off to rejuvenate and part of that time will be spent at Sacred Circle in Port Elgin which is a gathering of Indigenous Anglicans from across Canada where we will study, pray and worship together for a whole week.  Please make the most of your vacation time and remember to note the unplanned places that God’s grace and blessing break in.

 

This past Sunday brought us some challenging readings, particularly the first reading, which details some horrendous behaviour on the part of King David.  It can be surprising to discover just how flawed our supposed heroes of faith actually are.  Perhaps it is misleading to think of them as heroes.  Rather, they are people who are spectacularly human and yet who come to experience the power of God at work in their lives. 

 

I chose to focus on the Gospel of Jesus feeding the five thousand and talked about where we see God breaking into our community of St John’s in diverse ways with the visit from the Water Walkers and our opportunity to serve them.  You can hear my homily on our website or on our Facebook page.

 

I hope that this e-mail similarly finds you able to enjoy some of the blessings afforded by this warm weather and your (hopefully lighter!) summer schedules.

 

Oh yes and don’t forget to take your pictures with Flat Jesus and forward them to us!  I will do the same!

 

One Hundred and fifty Thank Yous: Update

We have now received 5 responses to our request for people to increase their giving’s. We have asked every household in our congregation to prayerfully consider their financial gift to St. John’s, to give thoughtfully and generously, and to consider an added gift as circumstances allow.  The “150 Thank Yous” message reminds us that if many do a little, or more specifically, if everyone gives as they can, our ministry will be abundantly and richly resourced.

Things to note!

Western Canada Wildfires: Please continue to pray for people in Western Canada. As of yesterday, the CBC reports that there are 98 first still burning in Saskatchewan alone. “So far there have been 646 forest fires in the north, compared to 235 the same time last year.” Various parts of BC are on stage three water restrictions because it is so dry. Please pray for  the safety of those fighting the fires and assisting people.  Pray for comfort, strength, and patience in a difficult and anxiety-filled situation. Pray for more rain to bring relief from the fires and drought conditions. If you would like to donate through the PWRDF, who has provided an initial grant of $15,000 in relief funds for the Saskatchewan wildfires, you can do that online here. http://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/the-primates-world-relief-and-development-fund-pwrdf/

From Bethlehem Housing: http://bethlehemhousing.ca/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Annual-Report-2014-2015-WEB2.pdf?utm_source=Bethlehem+News&utm_campaign=d62c063472-Bethlehem_News_July_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c9c7a93c04-d62c063472-108273469

 

Blessings

Canon Val

sharing

Sharing
I am struck by how sharing our weakness and difficulties is more nourishing to others than sharing our qualities and successes. There is a fundamental tendency to become discouraged in community. We either believe that others are better than we are, or they don’t have to cope with the same problems. The discovery that we are all in the same boat and all have the same fears and weariness, can help us to continue. People are nourished by humility, because humility is truth.

Jean Vanier, Community and Growth, p. 185