November 30, 2009

Looking Forward to December 6, 2009 -- 2nd Sunday of Advent

Our theme this week is Birth Means Re-Evaluating Priorities

The Scripture Readings this week are:
  • From the Jewish Scriptures: Malachi 3:1-4
  • Responsive Reading: Luke 1:68-79 (VU p.900)
  • From the Gospel: Luke 3:1-18

The Hymns this week are
  • Advent Hope (insert)
  • 9 People Look East
  • 18 There's a Voice in the Wilderness Crying
  • 27 Tomorrow Christ is Coming

The Sermon title is Priorities Refined

Early Thoughts: What are our priorities? What would they be if we embraced God's priorities? DO we need to change them?

One of the magazine ads that came out as part of the Emerging Spirit campaign was a picture of a baby with a hospital bracelet on its wrist. THe bracelet reads:

WARNING: some re-assembly of priorities and beliefs may be required
Of course the ad works because it rings true. Many people find that different things seem more important after a big change in their lives (and it occurs to me that having a child is a big change).

On our journey to Christmas we hear from two people who call the people around them to re-think and re-adjust their priorities. AS we prepare for GOd to once again break in to our world and do a new thing we need to hear the words of the prophets (ancient and modern) again.

Malachi and John both point out that the way things are happening right now are not the way they should be happening. They speak of the need to be refined. They talk about God pushing to have our priorities reset.

And so now the question we need to ask ourselves is: "Are we willing to examine and re-evaluate our priorities in life?". Are we willing to do that honestly? ARe we willing to be refined and winnowed (to use words from our Scripture readings)? Will this birth which we currently await lead us to put different things at the top of the pile?

Here's A NEat Idea!

An Online Advent Calendar, click a window a day.

Find it here

November 24, 2009

Looking Forward to November 29, 2009 -- 1st Sunday of Advent

As this is the 1st Sunday of a new liturgical season we will be celebrating Communion.

The Scripture Readings this week are:
  • From the Jewish Scriptures: Jeremiah 18:1-6
  • Psalm 25 (VU p.752)
  • From the Gospel: Luke 21:25-36

The Hymns this week are:
  • O What a Wonderful Gift (insert)
  • #2 Come Thou Long Expected Jesus
  • #708 My Lord What a Morning
  • #481 Sent Forth By God's Blessing

As a sung response to the lighting of the Advent Candles this year we will be singing MV#115 Behold, Behold I Make All Things New.

The theme for this week is Birth Means Tearing Down the Old

Early Thoughts: Birth is a time of great hope but also great change. While much may be gained, there may also be things lost.

Whenever a child is born the lives of the people around the child are changed, permanently. And some people have trouble adapting to/accepting that reality.

The same thing is true about changes in our society or in our economy or in our communities. CHange and the start of something new means that something has to be let go (at least) or even torn apart. THe fear of that loss sometimes keeps us stuck in a place that is no longer life giving. OR the wish to go back to what once was keeps us from seeing the possibilities of the "new normal".

This week we will visit the potter's house and talk about rebuilding. We will also reflect on adapting to the reality of a "new normal". At the same time we will name some of the pain that comes with making those shifts.

After all, Christmas is all about the new thing that is happening. It is about the birth of hope and possibility. How can we free ourselves to embrace it wholeheartedly?

November 16, 2009

Looking Forward to November 22, 2009 -- Reign of Christ Sunday

The Scripture Readings this week are:
  • From the Writings of the Early Church: Revelation 1:4b-8
  • Psalm 34 (VU p.761)
  • From the Gospel: John 18:33-37

The Hymns this week are:
  • #710 Shall We Gather at the River
  • #713 I See a New Heaven
  • #688 O Day of God Draw Nigh
  • #424 May the God of Hope Go With Us

The Sermon Title is: What Makes a Kingdom?

Early Thoughts: As people of faith we pray each week "Thy Kingdom come". What do we mean by that? What are the markers of a kingdom/realm/reign?

One of the accusations leveled at the Early Christians was that they were subversives. They were seen as disloyal and not ggod citizens. And the accusers were, to a large point, right!

From the beginning Christians have used language like Lord and Master and Kingdom to talk about God and Christ and the realm that is to come. And in the beginning these were clear ways of saying "God (or Christ) is Lord and therefore Ceasar is NOT". How much more subversive can you get?

Today we are called to the same loyalty. Is our loyalty to Canada or the US or some other nation or is our loyalty to the Reign/Realm/Kingdom or God? Who is Lord?

This last Sunday of the Church Year is called Reign of Christ or Christ the King Sunday. As such it is a day to ask that very question of loyalty. It is a day to ask wht it might mean to us today to say that Christ (or God) is Lord and OBama/Harper/other national leader is not.

We may not be called subversives anymore. But as people of faith we still profess a belief that there is a different realm to worry about. ANd just maybe we should be a little bit more subversive from time to time...

November 14, 2009

Valentines Fundraising Idea

For Valentines Day instead of flowers or chocolate send your loved one a giant sugar cookie with a message on it!

This is a sample cookie.

For details call Gord

Bazaar 2009

Today was the annual UCW Bazaar. Pictures from the day are below the fold:

November 09, 2009

Looking Ahead to November 15, 2009 -- 24th Sunday After Pentecost

The Scripture Readings this week are:
  • From the Hebrew Scriptures: 1 Samuel 1:4-20
  • From the Hebrew Scriptures: 1 Samuel 2:1-10
  • From the Gospel: Mark 13:1-8

The Hymns this week are:
  • #374 Come and Find the Quiet Centre
  • #708 My Lord, What a Morning
  • #601 The Church of Christ in Every Age
  • #642 Be Thou My Vision

The Sermon title is Birth: Expectation and Pain

Early Thoughts: What is our pain? What is our hope? What is our expectation? What is being born?

There is a tendency to think of childbirth as a joyous event. But is it always? In this passage from 1 Samuel we see some of the pain of child birth to those who appear unable to have children.

One of the metaphors that is often used for a changed world is that of birth (or possibly re-birth). And for many of us the pain that lies in that metaphor is that of barrenness as the new world seems to not be coming soon.

Sometimes the pain of birth is in the miscarriage or stillbirth of the child. WE who wait for the birth of a new world share that pain, or at least the fear of it.

ANd of course some of the pain of birth is in the pain of the process. Not just labour but some (many?) mothers experience pain, or at least discomfort, at various points throughout the pregnancy. And of course that ties in to our metaphor as well. It is painful to have things change.

But of course birth and childbearing are not all about pain. There is hope and promise there too. There is a hope for what may be possible. There is a promise that great things can happen. It is the hope and the promise that can make the pain and discomfort all worth it in the long term.

As people of hope we do await a new birth. As people of hope we are trying to help that birth happen. Yes there is pain involved. Yes it is a struggle. But if we want a new world, or at least a new vision of how to be the church in the world, we have to find the way that the hope or expectation will overbalance the hope and the fear.

This year we will return to birth in more detail during Advent. This Sunday we start with the pain and expectation and how it may tie into our vision of what it meanss to be the church today and tomorrow.

November 04, 2009

Upcoming Events

What is happening in the life of Riverview?  This post will tell you (and will be updated regularly)
  • June 27 -- Final Worship Service with Gord.
  • July 1 -- ECW Worship at 10:45
  • August 5 -- ECW Worship at 10:45
  • September 23-26 --Cambrian Presbytery Fall Meeting in Marathon

November 01, 2009