Thursday, February 28, 2013

February 28 2013 Wednesday In Lent

The  Podcast address for last evening's service is here
Thursday February 28 2013
Yesterday was a marathon day for us at the Cathedral.
Ongoing events at the Parish Center,a 7:30 a.m Eucharist at the Cathedral,followed by Morning Coffee,afternoon Bible Study,evening prayer,choir practice,and a Baptism preparation.

We cannot prevent the passage of time; in the same way that time must pass, Lent too unfolds  as it must. This season will soon be behind us.
 We sincerely hope that Lent is having some influence on the lives of our people; that through the expending of focus,energy and activity at St. Martin's we might reach the hearts of God's beloved people.
 For us, the idea of Church and Family is synonymous. We know that they are not exactly the same in structure and purpose,but at the core of highest value,we are family. Love,Unity and a shared faith.
 All are welcome;and we thank God unconditionally for the moments we can share in the busyness of life today.
May the ongoing life of our parish be blessed today!

Here are the address notes for you:

God does not want us to stay where we are now, in terms of our Christian Maturity. The first Chapter of Ecclesiastes describes someone who has looked at life, and has come up with an honest appraisal of the way things really are.

It is implied that the wise and anointed King Solomon wrote this book.... 
 The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem: The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem:
2 “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher.

“Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” 3 What do people gain from all their labors at which they toil under the sun?
4 Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever.
5 The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises.
6 The wind blows to the south and turns to the north;
round and round it goes, ever returning on its course.
7 All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full.
To the place the streams come from, there they return again.
8 All things are wearisome, more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing.
9 What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun. 
  • Real life involves coming face to face with our own humanness mortality and pain.
  •  Real life is filled with hurting people.
  • Real life is filled with people who have been wounded often to a point where there is little chance that they can ever believe anything good will ever happen in this life.

  • Christians believe however, that Real Life can be filled with the Grace, and purpose of God... 

So why is it that so many believers and non believers alike struggle so much with God? 
Tonight I would like to invite you to consider what we call the stages of faith. As always, our prayer is that The Holy Spirit will use broken words to bring life to you... 
Lets begin with 1 Corinthians 13:11 

 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 

There are many people who have written about different stages of faith. 
Some writers and thinkers see the movement through life and faith as a process...that looks something like this: 
1.Self Centered... Child Like, a Comfortable, and literal faith . 
2.Institutional and Cultural: Taking Comfort in the Church They become attached to the forms of their religion and get extremely upset when their institutions and boundaries are called into question. 
3.Skeptical and Reflective A stage when people honestly wonder and start seriously questioning things on their own. This either helps people to mature in faith,or move onward into "Deeper Waters"
For Example: A couple of days ago I received a note from a friend telling me they weren't much of a believer anymore. 
In my day to day conversations quite often people express their questions and doubts. Such honesty reveals a true and longing heart sometimes. 
I am often asked to share "What do you really think of Heaven? " 
A lot of the time, this reflective stage ends up with being very non-religious or agnostic . and some of these people leave or stay connected to the Church. 
4. Open, experienced and Still hopeful and faithful.... Understanding Just how big, mysterious and precious God is. Able to make a commitment of resources to a real relationship. ....Able to let go of the things of earth. 
I prefer Bernard's less clinical view of the stages of faith.
Bernard of Clairvaux is remembered for his compelling spiritual writings and his theological insights. Born in France in 1090, he became a Cistercian monk
Here are some basic thoughts around St.Bernard`s writings about Love:
The first degree of love: Loving oneself for self’s sake. Bernard would say that that the Love planted within us by our creator, should embrace God first, But our nature is so frail and weak that we will have to love ourselves first.
This selfishness can only be challenged when we practice self denial for the good of others. 
When our selfish love grows truly social, for whatever motivation, and includes our neighbors in its circle. The possibility of transformation is present. 
You cannot love your neighbor in God unless you love God himself. 

So see that we can begin to love God through our selfish love for ourselves, when we have learned that in God we can accomplish anything and without God we can do nothing. 

The Second degree of Love: Loving God for self’s sake.
 We start by loving God, not for his own sake but ours.  BUT
"When times of trouble cause us to turn to God for help, even a heart as hard as iron, as cold as marble, would be softened by the goodness of our Saviours response, so that we love God not altogether selfishly, but also simply because he is God."
If frequent troubles drive us to frequent prayer, surely we will taste and see how gracious the Lord is [Ps. 34.8] ,even if the Love is still borne out of selfishness.
The Third Degree Of Love : Loving God for God’s sake.
When our lives realize how good God is, we find ourselves drawn to love him unselfishly, and find that it is truly our desire to give all to Him. 
Once this is recognized it will not be hard to fulfill the commandment to love our neighbors, for anyone who truly loves God loves all God’s creatures. 
  • Such love is pure, and finds no burden in the command that tells us to purify our souls, examine ourselves ,and be transformed.
  • Such love is a love born out of Thanksgiving.
  • Such Love is pure, because it is shown not in word nor tongue, but in deed and truth. [1 John 3.18] 
Whoever loves like this, (Understands that God loves Him (or her)
  •  Wishes to love others the same way.
  • No longer pursues his own desires but Christ’s, even as Jesus did not pursue not his own welfare, but ours . 
  • The third degree of love, then, is to love God simply because He is God. 
The fourth degree of love: Loving Self for God’s sake. 
This can be hard to articulate, but if you can accept the truth that God really does love you, then you must see the value that you have for Him.

 It is a spiritual challenge, because God loves all of us the same. To see the value in yourself truly, you must also see it in all of Creation. There is a wholeness that comes as a gift when we take the risk to actually love the self the way God designed us to. 


We often misread the teaching of the New Testament to be constantly putting down the Old Man ("Person") , and think that the Baptismal covenant is about putting to death who we are to be transformed by Christ. Not so! 

When Jesus says deny yourself and follow me, he’s talking about the false self, the self we have created ,treasure and protect .
That's the one that destroys us and prevents God's purpose from becoming a reality.......
 The Value God Places on us:
Matthew 10:29 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows 
May the Lord help us to truly Love, even to love ourselves as has ordained.
May our Growth and Love reveal His amazing grace in the most profound way to the world we live in.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The 12th Day of Lent

This morning began for me around 7:30 a.m ...... That is excluding  a 4:00 a.m rise to let the dog out for a few minutes to do her business.
It gave me time to  play a round of Internet Scrabble while waiting for her  "Lemmie in Lemmie in! Whine".
I did get back to sleep, but my thought process was already warming up.
Lent is busy for us.
My poor old brain is filled with thoughts of our people and what is happening in their lives:
  •  Some gone South on Vacation, 
  • one gone West in hopes of a heart transplant,
  • people shut in,
  • people wounded and hurting,
  • people who are grieving
  • people who are poor
  • people who are lonely
  • people having great success,
  • people having babies and requesting baptisms,
  • people needing to be prepared for weddings,
  • people in hospital,
  • people with loved ones who are very ill,
  • people who wish to explore their faith...
  • people who are far from faith,
  • people who could care less.
  • people.......................................................
Today is Tuesday February 26. It is the 12th day of Lent.
Almost a Third of this Holy Season is done; like every year I am reminded of how far we have travelled......away from the traditions that were sustained by the culture.
As the year end came our parish could happily report that:
1.We are doing fairly well financially. We met the budget,and are paying our bills.
2.Church attendance has increased.
3.Our envelope offerings have increased substantially  last year.

  • At our first early Lenten service last Wednesday,we had around 13 people at the morning Eucharist
  • At the Evening service there were more people in the choir than in the Congregation.
  • We held our parish Annual Meeting and Potluck on Sunday Afternoon,and there were around 32 people there.


At our Staff meeting yesterday,Brian and I were discussing how much things have changed in relation to Pastoral Care.
We are worried that people are not being asked the proper questions in relation to Clergy Visits at the hospital. We don't want to miss anyone! BUT...the Privacy Act disqualifies us from access to any record if we have not been given specific permission by the patient.
Seems though, some folks really don't mind if we don't turn up.  Our documentation tells us that almost 50 percent of those being admitted to the Homes and Hospital here in Gander specifically state that they do NOT want Clergy visits.

Sigh.... .

Checked this morning's email and found a note from an old friend who felt the need to  tell me that she does not really believe any more.....
Yesterday I held Confirmation Class after School,and around 1/3 of the class of 18 were away due to a school French Camp.Most of them didn't tell me they were going.
Many of the young people in our confirmation class are really just learning about the possibilities of faith for the first time. Most of them have not been members of our Sunday School through the years,and haven't attended public worship. They certainly haven't learned about their Baptismal promises.
BUT At one point in our discussion ,I asked them if they felt like they were members of the Family of St. Martins .  They did!

I reminded them that because of Jesus, we are one great family,and that their Church Loves them very much. I was able to remind them as well,that  they were full and equal members of the Body of Christ,and that they were important for the future of the Church.

1 Timothy 4:12: Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

Every time I work with young people I treasure the experience and am filled with hope. .Even though they are a visible reminder that the Church we have grown so comfortable with,cannot and will not remain the same, I know there will be a Church and It will be led by the same Spirit of Jesus,who was,and is, and is yet to come.
I am newly committed to give the best I can to them,while I can. I pray for more people to engage and share in  the passion of providing a Spiritual foundation for the up and coming generation.

Thinking about Lent ,I recently remembered the words of Scott Peck:

Why don't we see more deep Spiritual Growth? well,...most people are just spiritually lazy. And when we are lazy, we stay on the path we are already on, even if it is going nowhere.
Man that's tough...but true.

Perhaps..... While the beauty of Lent is NOT in the discouragement,sadness,frustration,unbelief ,separation and spiritual laziness that surrounds us;the beauty and treasure that Lent is can be realized when all of this comes into focus for me (and YOU) as individuals and we can say.... "Okay...Okay....I See!" 

Lent gives a strong invitation to say"Okay.  I see that in myself,and I don't want my life to be that way any more." 
When that happens,we open the door,and invite God's mystery and presence.

Let me share with you:

 I believe from my experiences that when life's safe routines are broken or sudden change comes, people are led (or forced) to a place where two things can happen:

1. Losing Sight of God and faith, or
2.The nurturing of a deeper, more real ,and Honest relationship with God.

Here is some scripture to consider:

Mark 8:22 ff.And they came to Beth-sa′ida. And some people brought to him a blind man, and begged him to touch him. 23 And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the village; and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands upon him, he asked him, “Do you see anything?” 24 And he looked up and said, “I see men; but they look like trees, walking.” 25 Then again he laid his hands upon his eyes; and he looked intently and was restored, and saw everything clearly.

We return O Lord,and once again ask for your healing touch.
Open our eyes,so we can see Clearly.


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Second Sunday In Lent

Today is February 24,2013. It is the Second Sunday in Lent.

Worship at St. Martin's has been vibrant today; Revd. George Spencer led the celebration at the 10:30 Eucharist. We were all touched by his return as a Presider.

This morning one of the Cathedral entrance keys was broken due to a frozen lock. Revd. John used the broken key at the Children's time.

"A broken key needs to be fixed!" , We take it to someone who can fix it. 
A Frozen Heart can break a different kind of we need to take our keys to be fixed too. Lent is a great reminder that from time to time our worn and broken keys,need to be brought to Jesus.
The address for today was recorded,but the computer being used did not save the file properly,so the audio was not good enough to post today. Apologies!

This afternoon St. Martin's will gather in the Parish Center for our annual meeting and Potluck. All are welcome!

The Rector's message this morning was comprised of his report for the annual meeting. It was a biblical reflection on our Past,Present and Future.

Notes are below.
 Our next time of worship will be Wednesday morning at 7:30 a.m. and Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m

Hope you are having a Blessed Lent. We are praying for you!
Rectors Report for 2013
 Dear Friends,
This year our annual meeting falls on the Second Sunday of Lent. That means in addition to the regular busy nature of parish life and worship, preparation for the meeting has also become a Lenten discipline for us.
The Gospel reading for today is from Luke 13. At one point in the reading Jesus exclaims: 
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
The reading reflects two main themes:
  • Jesus longing for Jerusalem to be made whole and
  • His heartfelt love for all people.
 From that I draw some parallels for St. Martin’s Cathedral.
On a foundational level, our Church’s existence is only possible because of God’s love for us shown in Jesus.
God’s longing to hold us in His arms of providence and invitation of love and was extended to us by our Lord .
  St. Martin’s DOES exist, because many years ago, people who accepted God’s invitation came to Gander and built a community of faith. These people were young when they arrived here;
 they became Husbands and Wives, Parents, Grandparents and great Grandparents. Many have now entered the Greater presence of our Father’s kingdom.
  At least four generations represent the picture of faith at St. Martin’s; the presence of each one felt as we look at the ongoing life of this community and enjoy the land, buildings, and Cathedral that we have been entrusted with as tools and gifts for our ministry.
  I thank God every day for the people of our parish. We are surrounded by folks who focus their lives and many of their daily actions upon the values they have developed because of a relationship with Jesus.
St. Martin’s family identity has been formed, and continues to be formed by our unity and the influence we have on one another.
The energy, love and witness of our people is felt daily in this town, our Diocese and beyond, each and every day.
 The second parallel is found in the poignant emotion expressed when Jesus says the words: how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing..
As the rector of the parish, I am entrusted with the oversight and good care of St. Martin’s.
 That means that every purpose, function, action, word, deed, lesson or decision made in this parish expects and demands my knowledge, involvement, and influence.
I confess :I can never be adequate for the task.
 I am very thankful for all those who understand this and are willing to share that particular burden of Love ...not only with me, but will all who share a common understanding of the nature of what it means to be a Church, and how important our Mission is to this broken world.
 From Eucharistic Prayer #6 .. And that we might live no longer for ourselves, but for him who died and rose for us, he sent the Holy Spirit, his own first gift for those who believe, to complete his work in the world, and to bring to fulfilment the sanctification of all.
 In the same way Jesus looked upon Jerusalem, we must look upon the world around us.
  •  The Love of God within us calls us to sincerely care for others.
  • The Love of God within us calls us to action.
  •  The Love of God within us calls us to commitment.
The Church Today:
  The challenges of each generation in the Church are quite different.
  • Today’s world is far more secular than ever before; the culture of our time rejects the idea that there is a supernatural presence in the universe and is very effective at suppressing encounters between wonder and mystery.
  • Advances in Science and Technology tell us that although our world is beautiful, intricate and interesting; everything in it can be explained. 
  • Spiritually speaking the world self proclaims that it is inert and empty. Today many people ....too many people live as if and if our lives are to have meaning; we have to create it by ourselves.
Thanks be to God for the Church!
 People of Jesus know and share a different reality and experience!  God has created each person with an inner drive and desire that sends all of us out looking for our True Self, whether we know it or not.
We need an awakening and we need light to find our way, because the Journey does get very dark.
 God uses His people as a Light to the World. It is our Call, Duty and Joy.
 People of Jesus are transformed, first by a decision to accept His invitation to a meaningful, eternal and abundant life, and then:
 by faithful, consistent and regular gathering together, sharing, learning and doing.
 We do not walk alone. Our Lord walks side by side with us. Because God created us with an inner restlessness and a call that urges us onward into risky places, we will go through life with Love and Peace in our hearts.
Thinking about 2012
  At recent Vestry and Wardens meetings we reflected upon how fast the year seems to have gone.
In many ways it was a quiet year, because we were not undertaking some “major event” or project.
One of us said, it is as if we were catching our breath for the “next Push” .
That is not to say the year wasn’t vibrant, as the reports in our Annual Circular will show.
Our fundraising efforts bore much fruit; we hosted a Diocesan Music Conference, adapted and developed a new Sunday School Program which is doing really well for us.
Our youth ministries which are ever changing have become well established in our DNA, and we are every looking for ways to connect with young people in today’s world.
Our hospitality ministry is second to none, and our outreach is a visible sign of how much we care.
Our collaborative ministry among the clergy and staff ensure that we have a very wide range of effective ministries in our community.
  In the parish last year there were 25 Baptisms,
Confirmed 14,
  Marriages 6 and
21 Funerals .
  Because of increased costs and maintenance concerns we were headed for a deficit by year end.
We can now report  a very positive situation. Our treasurer will be sharing the details with you in his annual report.
  hat 2013 Will Bring
As 2013 begins, we have to face the reality of future challenges. This includes some extensive work on the Parish Center. We must make the building accessible and we must re-shingle the roof as soon as the weather allows. The ongoing challenge of keeping our buildings in good shape will be heavy this year.
  Although 2013 is already presenting itself to us as a “Bricks and Mortar Year”, that is not all it will be!
We will engage the Vision for our Church because we believe Vision is gifted to us by the Holy Spirit.

A prayer from the General Thanksgiving sums it up well:
   We thank you for setting us at tasks which demand our best efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments
which satisfy and delight us.
  We thank you also for those disappointments and failures
that lead us to acknowledge
our dependence on you alone.
 Plans are being made for a wonderful year at St. Martin’s. We will be gathering in counsel to work together to discover this new Vision and to make concrete plans for the future.
There will be more vibrant worship and events.
We will be inviting visitors such as the Watoto Children’s Choir. They are excited to bring Beautiful Africa: A New Generation to Gander on Friday, May 31, 2013.
  We propose to run an Alpha program this year, and will continue to develop programs and people, that make the journey from our entrance to the Communion rail inviting, desirable, and meaningful.
Thank You
As I offer thanks to the leadership team of our Cathedral, I join you in giving thanks for the Life and witness of our brother Carl Tessier.
Many, many thanks to The Wardens, Vestry, Committee leaders and members....
 Thank You to our sidespeople, musicians, and all who quietly and faithfully work behind the scenes for the good of our parish.
 To all those who give of their time, talent and treasure; may God bless you and increase you in Abundant Life.
 Many thanks to our Bishop David, Revd. Brian, Revd. Harvey, Revd Arnold and Revd. George.
Many thanks to you all.... each and every one who gives and shares our fellowship.
 We ask God’s blessing on what is to Come.
 GOD of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look with favour upon your whole
Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; and by the tranquil operation of your perpetual providence carry out the work of our salvation; that things which were cast down may be raised up, and that all things may return into unity through him by whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
 Your Friend and Rector, Revd. John+

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Seventh Day of Lent

First Entry of Two for The Seventh Day of Lent:

Good Morning!
It's 6:am on Wednesday morning. Where I am now is pretty quiet,save for a heater whispering out in the hall. Everone is still asleep. My mind is busy already. I am planning out the parts of the day that I control.  We will be travelling back to Gander as soon as the Grandkids head out to School.
I had a good  checkup appointment at the Cancer Clinic; now it is time to focus on others. We are heading home for a funeral this afternoon, and worship tonight.

Tonight's meditation at the Cathedral: Lent Calls us to Integrity and Honest Self Examination .
There you go. I have just shared the space I am in with you,and now invite you to take some time and think about your own space and time today. Taking the time to  just look back and look ahead  each can give you great perspective and focus.
When you do take some time,simply ask for God's guidance and blessing.

Today is the  Seventh Day of Lent. 
The reading for tonight  (along with psalm Psalm 139: 1-17)  is  :

James 1:19-25

19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

The Theme for the Message tonight is: Lent Calls us to Integrity
and Self Examination.
See you at 7:00 tonight!

 The message podcast and Homily notes will be posted here this evening or tomorrow morning!
The Lenten Schedule of worship and events are posted here

The Second Entry For Today
Last Evening is now a shadow of a time past. We gathered at the Cathedral for Compline. Following the service our choir remained for  continued  fellowship and a practice .
The podcast of the readings and message are available here

Message Notes:

·         Richard Rohr's book : Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life, illuminates a truth about the Spirituality of Many people. In the book, Fr. Richard Rohr posits there are two halves of live. The first half of life is about getting established...finding security....building an identity, and making choices about one’s faith.

·         Most of us tend to think of the second half of life as the inevitability of health problems, hearing loss, and fiber rich diets.
But it does not have to be that way.

·         Pretty much every spiritual writer from the first century until no would agree that
the second half of life is about moving into a mature understanding about God, life, and the meaning and purpose of our very existence.

·         They would also agree that sadly, not everyone enters that stage.

Spiritually and physically speaking, we will be, (and I believe God tells us)
be led to the edge of our own private resources where we can no longer control the outcome.

One certainty of life is that we will “lose” something, someone, or everything.     
It is then that the words of I Corinthians verse 12 become a reality.
12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

It is when we are up against a brick wall, and have no way out; that the physical has a chance to be fully integrated into the Spiritual.

Lent is a Call to Self Examination and Integrity

Integrity is about being able to look at our own selves, honestly, and accepting what we see.

Does this describe you? Does this describe me?

Poet W. H. AUDEN : We would rather be ruined than changed. We would rather die in our dread than climb the cross of the present and let our illusions die.

The story of the Boy in the Orphanage.

(This is a story that I had in my sermon notes for years...wish I knew the actual source of the story!)

A ten year old boy was growing up in an orphanage.
One night in the large dormitory he wakes up in the dark but knows that the dawn can't be far away. It is summertime and there is a lake on the grounds of the orphanage. He feels a great desire to see the dawn at the lakeside, but the rules are rigid. On no account should any child get up before the bell and it is strictly forbidden to leave the dormitory before the proper time.

He decides to risk it. He dresses quickly and creeps out holding his shoes in his hands so as not to wake the others. He travels down a long dimly lit corridor. along it on one side are the pictures of the past presidents of the institution ,on the other pictures of saints.

So, he puts his head down because he does not want to face the disapproving glances of the figures on the walls.
He comes to the lake, and waits for the dawn. The drama of the new day begins and the colours change from orange to red, to bright sun. He watches all of this reflected in the water of the lake; he is absorbed by the sheer beauty. Then suddenly he remembers the time. They will be up by now. He will be missed. He will be in trouble.

He gets up to return because he must, but says to the lake. I'll go back now. Thank you, because I am not the same. I don't care if I am punished, because now I know that the God of the Lake is greater than the God of the Orphanage.

Do we have Walls? Are we brave enough to admit that we do?
Do we ever leave the Orphanage? We keep going back because we must...that is where our lives are,but we should never forget that the God of the Lake is greater than the God of the Orphanage.

Let us resolve not to limit God because of our comfort, complacency or any walls that surround us in daily life.

In Auton, at the Cathedral of St. Lazare there is a sculpture of the Magi:
The three Kings are in bed, and there is an angel trying to wake them to tell them of the star.

One remains asleep...
one is wide eyed in wonder... and the other is  half awake.

This sculpture represents the medieval idea of levels of spiritual awareness.
That particular image still speaks to us today doesn't it?

Our complacency and comfort separates us from a sense of mystery and connectedness to God......
How has YOUR Journey been?
Has your journey awakened you to questions that were always on the horizon, (life,Faith, choose)....and when they got within arm's reach, you were able to push them back?

From James: Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror  and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.  But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

When you are brought to a point of decision, disaster or major turning point in life, two things can happen.

1. Losing Sight of God and faith, in turning away, or by denial and complacency

2. The nurturing of a deeper, more real , and Honest relationship with God.
May a deeper walk be the reality for us all.






Monday, February 18, 2013

The First Sunday In Lent , February 17 2013

Monday February 18

The First Sunday in Lent has come and gone.....
Sunday began with 8:30 a.m. Holy Communion, followed by a Family service of Morning praise. It was wonderful to see  the small children freely exploring the Church during the service.

We were also able to return thanks to God for his blessings on little Maria Thoms,who is recovering well from her intensive surgery. So good to see her exploring the Church again!

St. Martin's was full of people and full of energy.
Thanks be to God.

Gander has been hit with another snowstorm. It began around 5:30 yesterday. We were able to hold our evening service however,and despite the weather, had a congregation of about 60 people.
The worship was blessed.
Afterward some of our men had to spend some time pushing people through the snow in the parking lot!

Our prayers and worship centered around our Love for Christ and Each other;we reflected upon the Temptations of Jesus in the Wilderness,and how this narrative from Luke's Gospel might relate to our lives today.

As today begins and Lent continues ,may God's Grace bless us at St. Martin's and keep us bound together by our Common Faith and Love.

Wherever you are,and..... however busy you are, your family of Faith is praying for you.

We were not able to capture the morning service on audio,but do have the evening message and prayers of the people for you .
The link is here and below.

Evening Message Notes:

  • The Wilderness as we know it certainly is not the wilderness of the New Testament.
  •  A visit to the wilderness in Jesus time was movement from a place of Life to a place of Death.
  • Temptations sometimes cause us to obsess over things, and cause us to miss the bigger pictures in life.
A quote worth repeating (can't remember where I found this little anecdote. It came from notes I had written a long time ago!)
....The devil has a factory where he happily makes magnifying glasses and gives them out for free. If you take a strong glass it focuses very clearly on the middle of a page it enlarges some lines or words but distorts the rest.Likewise, when we focus in the immediacy or disappointments in life they stand out to the point that we miss the bigger picture of life; with it the picture of God's grace as well.

The  narrative of  the Temptations of Jesus illustrate at least one common theme :

Satan tries to make Jesus lose faith,and act accordingly:
"If you are the Son of God then this...."

1. The Temptation to Instant Gratification

2. The Temptation to Compromise Our Faith

3.The Temptation to be all things to all people.....

Evening Praise message and prayers:  The First Sunday In Lent

See you around the Parish,and at worship on Wednesday!:

7:00 a.m Holy Communion and Breakfast
7:00 p.m Lenten Service

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Fourth Day of Lent

Today, Saturday February 16th is the Fourth Day of Lent.
There are 36 Days left in the journey to Easter.

Traditionally,Sundays are not seen as a Days of Lent. In our Lectionary we refer to them as Sundays IN Lent. We engage and celebrate Sundays as part of Lent, and cotinue our Lenten traditions through them,but the Lord's Day is never a day of fast and abstinence.

This Sunday, is the First in Lent. The Gospel tells of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness. As we continue the journey of Lent, we will consider our lives as members of the Church, and look to the ex­ample of Jesus when it comes to dealing with temptation. Choosing to follow God's path is the first characteristic of the Christian: We believe in the heart, confess with he lips, and show by our lives that we have a Relationship With God through His own beloved Son.
For Your Meditation:
The Sentence for Sunday is
We shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that  proceeds from the mouth of God.
Matthew 4.4

The Collect for Sunday Is:
Almighty God, whose Son fasted forty days in the wilderness, and was tempted as we are
but did not sin,give us grace to discipline ourselves in submission to your Spirit, that as you know our weakness, so we may know your power to save; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Please Think about "Coming Aside",this Lent.
There will be worship and fellowship  at The Cathedral  on Wednesday morning and evening. It is an opportunity for those who wish,to seperate from the everyday,and join others in a focused time with God.
7:30 a.m Eucharist in the Chapel,followed by a time of refreshment.
7:00 p.m a Lenten service . A service of about 40 minutes in Length.
The Themes for our Lenten Talks :
  •  Lent is A Call To Integrity and Honest Self Examination
  • Is there is more to life than this? Stages Of Faith
  • When Life is Tough....How can we find our Way in the Dark?
  • The Reality of The Incarnation Is the Story Real?
  • Making the Most of the Rest of Our Lives
We will be posting meditation notes,and Podcasts of the addresses following each service.
Faithful God, 
 increase our faith and hope and love.
Lead us in the path of Christ
who is your Word of life.
We ask this in his name.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ash Wednesday...getting started

It is Ash Wednesday,2013. A busy time in the parish . Fundraisers,funerals,snowstorms and annual meetings abound. In the midst of all that, the Clergy of the Cathedral ponder: "What can we do to make Lent the resounding success that we want it to be?" A deep sigh.
Many conversations have been held with folks who say they are..."are preparing".
 "Could it be....for...Lent?"
 Nope.  Too busy. Hockey. Festivals.Shopping.Trips .
Many conversations about busyness and forced priorities.
Many conversations about worry,sickness and anxiety.
A deep sigh.

We are all too busy,but at least we can find a moment to sigh together.
So... at St. Martin's
The schedule of  Lenten services is ready and posted on our website.
Sermons and meditations are being written.
Our Choir is preparing their music and anthems.

(When Jesus)  saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Matthew 6.

We begin the journey tonight,and sincerely wish to share it. This blog will provide some reflections,and hopefully some Spirit annointed direction. We will be posting thoughts,links,podcasts and jouralling our way through Lent.

In the Church we can walk together as a united community; bound together by faith, penitence, and a desire to grow closer to God. 
That Unity  of Love can stir us to "feed on him in our hearts with faith and thanksgiving."
That unity of purpose highlights both the beauty, and emptiness of the secular world,and when we have learned to see the differences between the two,Christ is being heard in our hearts,and all things become sanctified.

Welcome To Lent.  Lets walk side by side. 
Listen to The Ash Wednesday Service at the Cathedral