Friday, July 30, 2010

August Calendar

St. Margaret’s Anglican Church

Calendar – August 2010


Office Hours: Wednesday and Friday 9:00 am - Noon


Sunday, August 1 - Pentecost 10

9:00 am - Holy Communion Led By Michael Sung

9:45 am - COMBINED COFFEE

10:30 am - Holy Communion Led By Michael Sung


Friday, August 6

5:30 pm Wedding Rehearsal (Rental)


Saturday, August 7

10:30 am Wedding (Rental)


Sunday, August 8 - Pentecost 11

9:00 am - Morning Worship

10:30 am - Morning Worship


Sunday, August 15 - Pentecost 12

9:00 am - Holy Communion Led By Jon Connell

10:30 am - Holy Communion Led By Jon Connell


Tuesday, August 17

11:15 am St. Joseph's Holy Communion


Sunday, August 22 - Pentecost 13

9:00 am - Holy Communion

10:30 am - Holy Communion


Friday, August 27

5:00 pm Wedding Rehearsal (Rental)


Saturday, August 28

11:00 am Wedding (Rental)


Sunday, August 29 - Pentecost 14

9:00 am - Holy Communion

10:30 am - Morning Worship

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

August Roster

Aug 1 - Pentecost 10 – Holy Communion – Combined Coffee

Greeter/Sidespeople: A. Shutt and T. Willacy

Counter: T. Willacy/B. Rice

Reader: T. Wittkopf

Reading: Colossians 3:1-11

Lay Administrants: D. MacNeill/L. Thompson

Intercessor: C. Aasen

Lay Reader: L. Thompson Luke12:13-21

Altar Guild (Green): 9:00 M.Lobreau/10:30 T. Wittkopf

Prayer Team : E. Gerber/S. Jayakaran

Kitchen: - 9:45 am J. Mill

Aug 8 - Pentecost 11 – Morning Worship

Greeter/Sidespeople: D. & E. Mitty

Counter: Mitty/B. Rice

Reader: S. Jayakaran

Reading: Hebrews 11:1-3,8-16

Intercessor: L. Thompson

Lay Reader: D. MacNeill Luke 12:32-40

Altar Guild (Green): Morning Worship

Kitchen: D. Molloy

Aug 15 - Pentecost 12 – Holy Communion

Greeter/Sidespeople: B. Cavey

Counter: B. Cavey/V. Haase

Reader: W. Pyra

Readings: Isaiah 7:10-15

Lay Administrants: V. Haase

Intercessor: D. MacNeill

Lay Reader: E. Gerber

Altar Guild (Green): 9:00 M.Woytkiw/10:30 L. Pyra

Prayer Team: L. Sanderson/S. Jayakaran

Kitchen: V. Haase

Aug 22 - Pentecost 13 – Holy Communion

Greeter/Sidespeople: C. & M. Aasen

Counter: C. Aasen/D. Sanderson

Reader: S. Jayakaran

Readings: Hebrews 12:18-29

Lay Administrants: D. MacNeill/ E. Gerber

Intercessor: T. Chesterton

Lay Reader: D. MacNeill Luke 13:10-17

Altar Guild (Green): 9:00 J. Mill/10:30 K. Hughes

Prayer Team: L. Sanderson/M. Chesterton

Kitchen: G. Enns

Aug 29 - Pentecost 14 – Morning Worship

Greeter/Sidespeople: G. & K. Hughes

Counter: G. Hughes/B. Rice

Reader: G. Hughes

Readings: Hebrews 13:1-8,15-16

Intercessor: C. Aasen

Lay Reader: D. MacNeill Luke 14:1,7-14

Altar Guild (Green): 9:00 M. Lobreau /10:30 M.W.

Kitchen: K. Goddard

Sunday, July 25, 2010

July 26 - August 1

C A L E N D A R

Monday, July 26th

Tim’s Holiday until August 16

Office Closed

Sunday, August 1 – Pentecost 10

9:00 am Holy Communion led by Michael Sung

10:30 am Holy Communion led by Michael Sung

Growing Prayer at St.Margaret’s

Each week we offer special prayers for two families in our congregation.

Church Families:

Graeme and Anita Haggerty

Lucy and Doug Harris

Weekly Prayer Cycle: Lay Readers

Sunday September 26th is Back to Church Sunday.

Welcome Notes . . . .

During the coffee hour, who do we talk to? Do we just talk to our friends, or do we intentionally seek out people we don’t know, so that we can get to know them? Would strangers find our coffee hour welcoming?

Outreach

Salvation Army total to date $1080

World Vision: We have an annual progress report from Nipa. Please see the bulletin board down stairs.

ITEMS TO NOTE

Additional Sunday school Class: There will be a Sunday School Class for Pre-school children commencing in the fall. Anyone interested in having their name on the volunteer roster for that class please speak with Erin McDougall. There will be more information available soon for Parents wishing to enrol their pre-school children in the Sunday school class.

St. Margaret’s 30th Anniversary: On September 12, 2010 St. Margaret’s will celebrate 30 years. We will have one service at 10am and a BBQ will follow. Bishop Jane Alexander will preside at the service.

St. Margaret’s Summer Bulletin Campaign

This summer we would like to see what churches were visited over the summer months. When you are on holidays we ask that you bring the bulletins from the churches attended back to St. Margaret’s and post them on the board in the foyer.

Do you have historical pictures of St. Margaret’s? Stan Gerber is pulling together a powerpoint presentation for our 30th Anniversary. He would like to “borrow” any historical pictures you might have.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sermon for July 18th: Luke 10:38-42

First You Sit Down and Listen!

The sisters Martha and Mary are mentioned in several places in the gospels and the portrait of their differing temperaments is drawn with remarkable consistency. They lived in Bethany with their brother Lazarus, whom Jesus was to raise from the dead while he was on his last journey to Jerusalem. The home seems to have been quite wealthy, and Jesus seems to have become a regular guest there. It was a kind of oasis in the storm for him; he came to know these three people well and enjoyed their hospitality.

There are two stories in the gospels that bring out the differing temperaments of Martha and Mary. The first is our gospel for today, and it sounds as if this may have been the first time Jesus met the two sisters.

I don’t know about you, but I get the sense as I read between the lines that Jesus isn’t the first rabbi Martha has hosted at her house! And she knows how to do it well. She knows that the important thing is to create a space where the rabbi can meet with his disciples and others and discuss the scriptures. In this setting, in the culture of the day, the job of the women is to stay in the kitchen and help get the meal ready while the men debate theology in the living room!

But Martha’s sister Mary isn’t prepared to go along with this tradition. She goes right on into the living room and sits down at Jesus’ feet with the other disciples - almost certainly the only woman in the room. Not only is she leaving all the work to her sister; she’s also bringing disgrace on the house by stepping outside the accepted role for a woman. Eventually Martha loses her cool, comes in herself and asks Jesus to give her sister a good telling off. Jesus responds: “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her”.

The other story is in the twelfth chapter of John’s Gospel. It’s not long before the death of Jesus. He’s on his way to Jerusalem, and he stops for a visit in Bethany, where the family gives a dinner in his honour. John tells us that ‘Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him’. So far things are true to form; Martha is in her familiar, comfortable role, and Lazarus and the guys are at the table. But once again Mary does the unexpected. She takes a pound of costly perfume, anoints Jesus’ feet with it and lets her hair down to wipe them dry. Once again she is criticised, this time by Judas Iscariot. “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?” But Jesus replies, “Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me”.

The character of the two sisters is consistent in these two stories. Martha is comfortable in the traditional role for a woman in her society. She’s a practical woman, good at getting things done, the kind of person you can ask to organise an event with confidence that it will be done well. Mary is more intuitive, and she exercises her love for Jesus in impulsive ways. On both occasions she is criticised by practical people - Martha and Judas - and on both occasions she is defended by Jesus. She reminds me of one of the ‘For Better and for Worse’ cartoons I read a few years ago: Elizabeth is criticising the way her boyfriend looks after their bedroom, and she says, “How can you find anything in this room?” He replies, “The only thing I want to find in here is you!”

So what’s Jesus saying here - that practical organisers are bad and romantic artsy types are good? Is Mary better than Martha? Not at all. Jesus gives every indication in the gospels that he enjoyed the hospitality of their home, and his visits would have been impossible without Martha’s spirit of practical caring. Furthermore, in Luke chapter ten this story comes right after the parable of the Good Samaritan, which is all about how to be a neighbour by showing practical love to those who need it. So Jesus is definitely not against practical love!

Considering the passage in its context might give us a clue as to how we are to understand it. Last week’s reading needs to be taken together with this week’s. First we have the two great commandments: love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbour as yourself. Then the lawyer asks Jesus for help in understanding the second commandment: ‘Who is my neighbour?’ Jesus responds with the story of the Good Samaritan, which tells us how to be a neighbour to those in need. The second commandment is important, but it’s vital to remember that it is the second, not the first. The first commandment - to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength - takes precedence over it. Can it be that Luke intends us to see the story of Mary and Martha as an illustration of how we obey the first commandment?

We Christians believe that God has come to us uniquely in Jesus. So in Jesus, God has come to visit the home of Mary and Martha, and here is Mary, sitting at his feet, showing the devotion of her heart, exercising her mind in trying to understand his teaching. Surely Luke intends us to understand her as an example of how to obey the first commandment. And the first commandment takes precedence over the second.

So when God comes to visit, how do you welcome him? How do you love him? Martha assumed that she knew how. Her culture told her how. When a rabbi comes to visit, your job as a woman is to make sure the house is clean, put food on the table and then stay out of the way so that the men can discuss theology.

Mary, on the other hand, did not assume that she already knew how to love God. She accepted the possibility that maybe her culture and preconceived ideas might be wrong. That being so, she realised that the most important thing was to sit at Jesus’ feet, listen carefully, and try your best to understand what he was saying. In other words, before you work at loving God, it’s a good idea to listen to God first to find out how he would like to be loved.

Perhaps you’ve heard the joke about the monk who was sent down into the cellar of his monastery to clean out a bunch of old manuscripts. While he was down there he discovered the original copy of the rule of his Order, written hundreds of years before in the handwriting of the founder. He began to read it with great interest, forgetting all about his work. A few hours later his fellow monks came to look for him, and they found him in tears. “What’s wrong?” they asked. He pointed at the manuscript: “He didn’t say ‘celibate’, he said ‘celebrate’”.

We’d better listen carefully to Jesus and make sure we know what he has in mind!

If we take the stories of the Good Samaritan and of Mary and Martha together, we might say that the way to obey the two great commandments is by keeping your eyes and your ears open. In the story of the Good Samaritan, a priest and a Levite walk past the injured man on the roadside and don’t notice him there. But the Samaritan has his eyes open; he sees the needy person by the road and does what he can to help. Loving your neighbour as yourself, Jesus is saying, means keeping your eyes open, noticing the needy people around you, and doing what you can to help.

In the story of Mary and Martha, Martha has her ears closed. She assumes she already knows all she needs to know about serving God; there’s nothing new for her in what Jesus is saying. But Mary on the other hand has her ears open, ready to listen. That’s how you love God with all your heart: by keeping your ears open, listening to what Jesus says, and then putting it into practice.

How do we do that today? Well, surely one of the major ways is by going back and reading the scriptures, especially the Gospels, with the prayer “Lord Jesus, teach me to see life as you see it and to live life as you taught it”.

In Becky Pippert’s wonderful book Out of the Saltshaker she tells the story of a university student named Sue, an agnostic who was interested in Christianity but had many intellectual questions about faith. So she came to Becky and said to her, “I’m plagued with doubts; what should I do?” Becky said, “Tell God - or the four walls if that’s who you think you are speaking to - that you want to try to find out if Jesus is truly God, and that if you could feel more certain you would follow him. Then begin to read the gospels, every day. Each day as you read, something will probably hit you and make sense. Whatever it is, do it as soon as you can”.

Sue gulped and replied, “That’s radical. But I’ll do it”. So she started having what she called ‘pagan quiet times’, praying to the four walls of her room and then reading her Bible. In her own words, this is what happened:

‘One day I read in the Bible, “If someone steals your coat, don’t let him have only that, but offer your cloak as well”. For whatever reason, that verse hit me between the eyes. So I said to the four walls, “Listen walls - or God if you’re there - I’m going to do what this verse says if the opportunity arises today. I want to remind you that I’m trying to do things your way in order to find out if you exist and if Jesus is really who he says he is. Amen”.

‘The day went by and I forgot the verse. Then I headed to the library to continue working on my senior thesis. Just as I sat down at my designated thesis desk this guy comes up and starts yelling at me. He told me the school hadn’t given him his thesis desk so he was going to take mine. I started yelling back and pretty soon we caused quite a ruckus. It was when he glared at me and said “Look, I’m stealing it from you whether you like it or not”, that it suddenly hit me.

‘I just looked at him and moaned. Ohhhhh, no. I can’t believe it! “Look, God, if you’re there, I do want to know if Jesus is God. But isn’t there some other way of finding out besides obeying that verse? I mean, couldn’t I tithe or get baptised or give up something else? But don’t take my thesis desk! I mean, with my luck I’ll give up the desk and then discover you don’t exist!”.

‘But I couldn’t escape the fact that I had read the verse the very same day that someone tried to rob me. Before, I’d always been amused to see how Jesus aimed for the jugular vein in his conversations with people in the Bible. But now it didn’t seem so funny. I took a deep breath, tried not to swear and said, “OK, you can have the desk”.

‘He looked bewildered. He grabbed my arm and asked me why in the world I was going to let him have it. I told him I was trying to discover if Jesus was really who he claimed to be. And I was attempting to do the things he told us to do. “And today I read that if somebody tried to rip me off I was supposed to let them and even throw in something extra to boot. So I’m giving you the desk but don’t press your luck about the something extra”. Then he asked, “Why in the world would Jesus say such a crazy thing?” I said, “Hey, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from reading about Jesus and meeting some Christians, it’s that Jesus would give you a whole lot more than a thesis desk if you’d let him. I know Jesus would give it to you. So that desk is yours”.

‘As I said those words I just simply knew it was all true. I kinda felt like God was saying “Well done. That’s the way I want my children to behave”’.

This is how we need to read the Gospels - with our ears open, ready to obey the things Jesus tells us there.

We also need to practice slowing down, sitting in quiet and listening for God in the silence. Perhaps you remember the story of the old man who used to go and sit in the church every day for an hour, looking at the crucifix. After many months of this the priest got curious and asked the man, “What do you do while you’re sitting there every day?” The man replied, “I look at him, and he looks at me, and we are happy together!” I think Mary would have understood that man.

Someone has said “Don’t work harder; work smarter!” Martha was a hard worker, but she needed to work smarter. Her mistake was in thinking she already knew how to love God. The lesson of this story is this: if you want to love God, first you find out how God wants to be loved. You do that by listening to the voice of Jesus, in the scriptures and in prayer, and by putting into practice what he tells you. May the Holy Spirit guide us as we listen to the teaching of Jesus, and may he give us wisdom and strength as we put it into practice.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sermon for July 11th: Luke 10.25-37

What’s Really Important?

In the summer of 1977, when I was a student, my friend Eddie Keeping and I were travelling around southern Ontario doing vacation Bible clubs in small rural communities. We were working with local Anglican churches but we also made contact with churches of other denominations along the way, because we tended to get kids from all churches and none at our Bible clubs. One Sunday night in a small Ontario town we decided to go to the prayer meeting at the local Baptist church. When the pastor found out who we were, he sat down with us and started to ask us questions: ‘Now, you do both believe in the full divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, don’t you? You do both believe in the verbal inspiration and inerrancy of the Scriptures? You do both believe in the substitutionary atonement made by Jesus on the cross for the sins of the whole world? You are both sure that you have been born again through faith in Jesus Christ?’

Eddie and I were a bit taken aback; it took us a minute to realise that we were being given a theological test, and if we didn’t answer all the questions quite right, we might not be allowed to pray with the assembled believers. Neither of us had experienced anything quite like it before. As it happened, the pastor didn’t discover any dangerous heresy in either of us – although he still couldn’t quite understand why we were happy to be Anglicans – and so we were allowed to pray with the others. But looking back on the experience now, the thing that stands out the most for me is what we weren’t asked. At no point in the conversation were we asked, ‘Do you love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength, and do you love your neighbour as yourself?’ The questions were all about beliefs and ideas; none of them had anything to do with actually putting our faith into practice.

I haven’t thought about that pastor for many years, but I thought about him again this week as I was reading today’s gospel reading. You see, the lawyer in our gospel for today was a bit like that pastor. Luke begins the story by telling us that ‘Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher”, he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”’ (Luke 10:25). The context makes it clear that the lawyer was not asking a genuine question. In other words, he wasn’t coming to Jesus as a sincere seeker, one who really wanted to know how to receive eternal life. No, this lawyer wanted to ‘test’ Jesus; in his own mind, he already knew the answer to his own question, and he wanted to see if Jesus would give the correct reply. He had a sort of checklist in his head – just like that Baptist pastor Eddie and I ran into – and he wanted to run Jesus through his little doctrinal test and see if Jesus came out smelling orthodox enough. But unfortunately for him, Jesus wasn’t prepared to play that game. He pretty soon took control of the conversation, and then it wasn’t the lawyer asking Jesus questions to test him; it was the other way around! Jesus was the one who was testing the lawyer, and he didn’t come out of the test very well.

As we think about this passage, we perhaps need to start by asking the question, ‘What do we mean by eternal life?’ Nowadays if someone asked the question, ‘What must I do to receive eternal life?’ what they would actually be asking, in plain English, would probably be, ‘How can I be sure I’m going to go to heaven when I die?’ But that wasn’t quite what the lawyer was asking; in fact, his question says nothing about death and nothing about heaven. Luke wrote these words in Greek, and what the Greek actually says is ‘What must I do to inherit the life of the new age?’

What’s this ‘new age’? It’s nothing to do with what we call the ‘new age movement’ today. It refers to the old Jewish belief that the day is finally going to come when God sets the world to rights. The day will come, the prophets said, when the lion will lie down with the lamb and the child will play around the snake’s nest – the day when soldiers will beat their swords into ploughshares and the nations will stream to Jerusalem to learn from the God of Israel. Future hope, for a godly Jew, didn’t mean dying and going to heaven; it meant dying, and then being raised from the dead at the end of the age, so that you could join in the life of the new age, on a healed earth, with all the evil removed and God’s will finally being done on earth as it is in heaven.

The New Testament takes over this Jewish belief, with one major modification. Jewish people believed that the end of the age would come some time in the future, with a clean break between the old and the new ages. But when Jesus began his ministry by saying, ‘The kingdom of God is at hand’, what he meant was, ‘The new age of the kingdom of God has already begun, but it isn’t fully here yet; the two ages are running in parallel for a while, and you can choose which age you want to belong to’. When he called people to repent and believe in him, he was challenging them to leave the old age of sin and evil and give their allegiance to the kingdom of God, in which they would learn to live by the values of the new age.

The lawyer is still thinking in terms of the old Jewish view; he thinks eternal life is a reward for godly living, and he’s asking Jesus what he has to do to earn it. But Jesus doesn’t think God’s commandments are an entrance exam you have to pass in order to enter the future kingdom of God; rather, he thinks that the kingdom is already here, and if you’re in it, your life will be marked by these two main characteristics of love for God and love for your neighbour. This is what the kingdom looks like, so if you want to enjoy life in the kingdom, you need to start practising these things as soon as possible!

So, while the lawyer asked, ‘What must I do to inherit eternal life?’ we might reasonably paraphrase that today as, ‘What are the most important issues in my life with God? What are the first things, the things I should give my best attention to? And it turns out that the most important issues in the eyes of Jesus are not to do with wealth or popularity or business success, but relationships. This, of course, isn’t entirely a surprise to us! It’s often been said that very few people on their deathbeds think to themselves, “I wish I’d spent more time at the office!” Very few people at the end of their lives feel compelled to finish one last business project, but on the other hand many people have a sense that it’s important to put things right in a difficult relationship before they die. Instinctively, we all know that love is the most important issue.

But having said that, let’s remember that love in the Bible often carries a different meaning. Today love is mainly an emotional word; ‘falling in love’ with someone is something that happens to you; it describes an emotional state and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it except pray as hard as you can that it lasts forever. But love in the Bible is not passive but active, and it’s not primarily about emotions but choices and actions. In the story of the Good Samaritan we aren’t told anything about whether the Samaritan felt love for the man, but we are told in great detail about his actions. Just look at all the active verbs in verses 34-35: ‘(The Samaritan) went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to the inn, and took care of him. The next day, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, “Take care of him, and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend”’. Love, you see, is not primarily a feeling: it’s action.

So Jesus speaks about our primary relationships: with God, with our neighbour, and with ourselves. “You shall love the Lord you God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself” (v.27). These two great commandments both come from different places in the Old Testament, but as far as we know no one had brought them together before and singled them out as the most important commandments, the commandments above all that you needed to follow in order to experience life as God planned it. This passage is sometimes referred to as our Lord’s summary of the Law: not that it replaces the other commandments, but that all the other commandments are summed up in these two and should be interpreted in the light of these two.

So there is to be no part of our being that isn’t fully occupied with loving God in action. The ‘heart’ in the Bible doesn’t mean the feelings but the will, the choices that we make. The ‘soul’ refers to the whole person; we’re told in the symbolic language of Genesis that God took some soil from the ground and formed it into a man; he breathed his breath into it, and ‘the man became a living soul’. Our ‘strength’ refers to the fact that this is going to take effort on our part, because loving God in action is often not easy, and we’ll need all our resources of energy and resolve and strength and what’s sometimes called ‘stick-to-it-iveness’. And we’ll need to think carefully and clearly too; God gave us our brains and he expects us to use them, so we’re called to love him with our minds as well. So no part of ourselves is withheld; we give ourselves totally to God in loving service.

But if we ask how we are to follow this commandment in our daily living, the truth is that it’s often the second commandment that actually puts it into practice: it’s often true that we love God with everything in us by loving our neighbour as ourselves. Let’s note here that Jesus assumes that we love ourselves: not, that is, that we necessarily always have good feelings about ourselves, but that we love ourselves in action: looking after our own needs, feeding and clothing ourselves, keeping ourselves warm and comfortable, looking after our own best interests and so on. We all know how to do this for ourselves, and so Jesus can use it as the standard by which we love others as well. “You know how you look after yourself? Well, look after your neighbour in the same way”.

But here the lawyer, like any good barrister today, asks a supplementary question: “And who is my neighbour?” Once again we note that he was not sincere in his question; Luke says that he wanted ‘to justify himself’. It seems that he wasn’t comfortable with the way Jesus had taken control of the conversation and turned the questions around on him. Jesus tends to do that, doesn’t he? We come to him thinking that we’re going to investigate him and interrogate him, but after a while we find that it’s actually the other way around, and that he’s the one who’s turned his searchlight on us, probing deep into our hearts to find out what’s really there! C.S. Lewis remarked about this once in a letter to a new Christian; he said, “Have you noticed that your imagination can’t easily be persuaded to portray Jesus as shorter than you?”

But still, even though this wasn’t a sincere question, we need to think for a minute and ask why the lawyer chose this question to challenge Jesus. Why would he want to know who his neighbour is? The answer is that the lawyer still has his own self-interest at heart. Remember, he sees the two great commandments as a sort of entrance exam for the kingdom. One of the commandments is to love your neighbour, and the lawyer wants to know who exactly is his neighbour. After all, if there are fifty people living in his village and it turns out that only thirty of them actually qualify as being his neighbours, why would he bother loving the other twenty? What’s in it for him? Why shoot for 75% if the pass mark is fifty?

But Jesus doesn’t accept the premise of the question; in fact, he doesn’t answer the question at all. The parable of the Good Samaritan does not tell the lawyer who his neighbour is; rather, it tells him how to be a good neighbour himself. The issue isn’t whether or not the man who had been robbed was a neighbour to the Samaritan – in fact, given the bad feeling between Jews and Samaritans, it’s not likely either of them would have used that word to describe the other. But as Jesus points out, in caring for the man’s needs the Samaritan acted in true neighbourly fashion toward him, whatever might have been the state of feeling or prior relationship between them.

It’s actually very interesting and significant that Jesus chose to make a Samaritan the hero of his story. The Samaritans lived in central Israel, and they were people of mixed race who followed many aspects of Judaism but, in the eyes of the Jews of Jerusalem, they had also mixed in some doubtful ideas and practices of pagan origin. To the Jews, the Samaritans were not real followers of the one true God; the lawyer who questioned Jesus would definitely not see them as ‘orthodox’. Nonetheless, the Samaritan shows by his actions that he understands God’s priorities better than many who are much more orthodox in their belief than he is.

How did the Samaritan love God? He did it by moving through his normal day with his eyes wide open to the needs of others. He reminds me of Texas oilman Keith Miller, who was learning to live as a Christian in an oil company office. He decided that every time he went for a drink from the water fountain he would pray for the other people in his office. However, he found out that he didn’t know enough about them to pray for them. So he started inviting them out for coffee and listening to them, and gradually as they got to know and trust him they opened up to him about their problems. He soon discovered that there was a Christian mission field right there in his oil company office!

The chances are that in your office, or on your block, there is someone whose marriage is ending, or someone who is struggling to make ends meet, or someone who has an illness that causes them a lot of trouble, or someone with an addiction problem of some kind. Living the life of the kingdom of God simply means noticing these things, and doing what we can to help. That’s what the Samaritan did.

And let’s remember the importance of the issue. My friend Harold Percy says that when some people get to the end of their life, God’s verdict will be, “Brilliant performance, but he missed the whole point!” We don’t want to be in that situation, do we? We don’t want to get to the end of our lives to find out that we’ve wasted most of our energy barking up the wrong tree! So let’s pray that God will guide us to make the right choices, to set the right priorities, to make first things first. Let’s give our best energy to learning how to love God with everything in us, and to love our neighbour as ourselves. Jesus says, ‘Do this, and you will live’. I think we can paraphrase that as ‘Do this, and you will discover that this is really what life is all about’. May it be so for us. Amen.

Friday, July 9, 2010

July 12 to 18, 2010

C A L E N D A R

Monday, July 12th

Tim’s Day Off

Office Closed

Tuesday, July 13th

11:15 St. Joseph’s Holy Communion

Friday, July 16th

6:00 pm Wedding Rehearsal (rental)

Saturday, July 17th

Afternoon Wedding (rental)

Sunday, July 18th – Pentecost 8

9:00 am Holy Communion

10:30 am Holy Communion and Baptism

Growing Prayer at St.Margaret’s

Each week we offer special prayers for two families in our congregation.

Church Families:

Ronald Goss,

Alex Greenwood & Alex Blasius (wedding August 21)

Weekly Prayer Cycle: Lay Administrants

Sunday September 26th is "Back to Church Sunday".

Welcome Notes . . . .

If you were inviting guests for an evening in your home, would you sit and talk with them for an hour and then offer them coffee as they were about to leave? Is there something we need to change about the way we do coffee hour at church?


ITEMS TO NOTE

Additional Sunday School Class: There will be a Sunday School Class for Pre-school children commencing in the fall. Anyone interested in having their name on the volunteer roster for that class please speak with Erin McDougall. There will be more information available soon for Parents wishing to enrol their pre-school children in the Sunday school class.

St. Margaret’s 30th Anniversary: On September 12, 2010 St. Margaret’s will celebrate 30 years. We will have one service at 10am and a BBQ will follow. Bishop Jane Alexander will preside at the service.

St. Margaret’s Summer Bulletin Campaign

This summer we would like to see what churches were visited over the summer months. When you are on holidays we ask that you bring the bulletins from the churches attended back to St. Margaret’s and post them on the board in the foyer.

St. Margaret’s would like to participate in the Pac Sack Appeal project led by the ICPM. ICPM is seeking churches and interested persons who would be willing to donate packsacks containing needed personal items. If you are willing to assist us in this appeal, please begin gathering used or inexpensive pack sacks and fill them with, Comb or brush, Cotton Socks, Lip balm, Note pad and pen, Sun screen, Fun item (crossword, cards), Hand lotion, Chocolate or energy bar, Toothbrush, Small Kleenex, Toothpaste, Wash cloth, Dental floss, $10 grocery food voucher or McDonald’s voucher, Deodorant and a Nail file. If you have a packsack you would like to fill and donate please bring it to the church and we will have a deposit box set up. Any further questions can be directed to Pastor Rick Chapman at (780) 424-7652 or e-mail rick@icpmedmonton.ca

Do you have historical pictures of St. Margaret’s? Stan Gerber is pulling together a powerpoint presentation for our 30th Anniversary. He would like to “borrow” any historical pictures you might have. Please get them to him soon as September comes quickly.