News and Info

Thursday, 30 January 2014

How Do You Explain GOD



Speaking Christian-God

Acts 17:28
Psalm 139:8-10

“God” is central to Christianity and is referred to in two main ways. God is to a being beyond the universe, another being in addition to the universe who is almighty and all-knowing, This being created the universe and thus God and the universe are related to each other as artist/art, designer/product.
And God also refers to a sacred presence all around us- a reality that is more than the space-time world of matter and energy, ever as it also is present everywhere and permeates everything in the space-time world. God is right here and even more than right here.
God as being- is separate and distinct from the universe. An example is how we address God- Our Father in heaven. Or God is a personlike being—who loves us and yet is an authority figure. Often referred to as He/ Lord/King many churches are using more gender inclusive names for God. But no matter how we refer to God, God is real and for believers, God  exists beyond themselves.
Yet God as a sacred reality is all around us and within us. Acts 17: God is ‘The one in whom we live and move and have our being.” We are in God. We live within God. We move within God. We have our being within God. God is the one in whom everything that is exists and is a reality that encompasses us and all that is. God is present everywhere.
Theologians Paul Tillich and Karl Rahner affirm this understanding of God who contains everything and is contained by nothing. An idea first presented by Irenaeus in 200. This notion that God is not a being separate from the universe but a sacred presence all around us strikes some Christians as unfamiliar, even strange. And there are many other ideas now shared about God.
What do you think about Moses discussion with God? God is “JHVH”_ I AM WHO I AM?  What do you understand about “God”? here—there- everywhere? Divine presence, intentional ,interactive? Who is God to you?
PRAYER:
God of all we praise you for you call us to listen and hear, and see and do. Enable us to understand who you are for today and call us to discern who are may be in our lives tomorrow. We believe in you help our unbelief and not understanding. Reveal yourself to us we pray. Amen.

REFLECTION:
If you were to encounter a person who had never heard the word “God” how would you explain God to them? What is your understanding of God in your life? Do you believe in this higher power who also dwells within the lives of believers?

For further reading, Marcus J. Borg, Speaking Christian.(Detroit: Gale Cengage Learning, 2011), p. 98-112

Friday, 24 January 2014

Can you Speak "Christian"?



Speaking Christian-Salvation

Exodus 15 :2
Luke 2:11-14

            When we communicate with each other the most common   For example when we hear the words ‘touch down’, yard line, offensive, defense, quarter back we might come to a conclusion that what is occurring is a football game. A game played with an egg shaped ball and is carried more than hit with a foot. But what if you heard the words offside, referee, whistle, goalie, there might be some confusion as to whether hockey or soccer was being played as these words are common to both. Language used internationally is English. There may be phrases, dialects, and even grammar variances used by people in certain areas but for the most part we try to use words and sentence structure that makes sense. This is so that others may read, hear and understand our ideas. But what if you went into a building where most of the words were only understood by those present because of what activities were being shared.
May be you have entered into a church setting and heard the words salvation, heaven, hell, sin, forgiveness and wondered what was really happening in this building and why? Some churches speak of love and caring brothers and sisters and you realize that they are not related at all. But this is the language spoken by Christians and for many people today under the age of 40, this language being shared is as if a foreign language has been said out loud. The words are not understood and the concepts are just not clear.
 There have been many studies completed on how people are biblically illiterate but get the message of what is being shared. That is, people may not know where the teaching is in the Bible, but the message is very important to them. A sense of belief is not always apparent but what is often shared is the reasoning or rationale for the belief. We live in a prove it society and science overtakes belief. So a big concern is that we are losing the language of how to speak Christian and understanding what we mean as we share the Christian message.
For the next few weeks we will look at our Christian vocabulary and prayerfully explain their meaning!
“Salvation”- is a word used throughout the Bible but not necessarily about the afterlife. In the OT story of the Hebrew people being liberated from bondage, salvation is defined as the moment when God makes a path through the sea, the Israelites pass through and the sea rushes back and drowns Pharaoh’s army.  A hymn celebrating this deliverance is sung” The Lord is my strength and my might, and God has become my salvation.” (15:2)  In this story, salvation involves liberation from economic, political, religious bondage. The people of Israel shaped their future because of this salvation. 
            Jesus was born to bring peace on earth and to transform the world into a place of peace and justice. This too is salvation- when we ourselves are transformed and so is the world in which we live and as believers in Jesus we believe this transformation begins in faith. Salvation has different meanings based upon its context. To believe in Jesus as the Saviour- the One from whom we receive salvation means that we have faith in Him enough to bring personal transformation as well as change in the world.
Salvation comes when we are transforming our lives in faithful love and service. Do you believe in the One who enables salvation for you?

PRAYER:
Holy God help us to understand these words of faith. Enable us to reflect and know that salvation come from you and that with it we are in a process of changing and transforming ourselves into whom God wants us to be and become. Hear our prayers O God. Amen.

REFLECTION:
Are you saved? Is a common question asked regarding ones’ salvation or transformative process. To respond depends upon what really is being asked. But how would you respond?Is being saved in past present or future?   Has God already done all that is necessary to save me?  Do I presently live in a saving relationship with God. 
Have I already become all that I might become?.

For further reading, Marcus J. Borg, Speaking Christian.(Detroit: Gale Cengage Learning, 2011)

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Walking with Jesus



Wednesday, January 15, 2014
By Rev Cathy

Walking with Jesus


The true light that gives light to every one was coming into the world.

John 1:9

            A little girl was out shopping with her mother when she said, “Mommy your walking is faster than I can go. Please carry me.”
 The mother replied, “But you are a big girl, I need you to walk a little faster so we can get to the store before it closes.”
The little girl replied, “But why faster- the best part of shopping is just getting to the store with you. It is the walking time when you hold my hand and I hold yours. Just like we do at school.”
“What do you mean?” the mother asked.
“You know, when we have to line up two by two and hold hands with our friend when we go to the gym or the library. The best part is holding hands and walking.”
“Why is that?”
“Because we are walking with our friends and can talk quietly.”
The mother then said, “Yes I guess you’re right. The best part is walking to where we are going. And I am glad you are walking with me!”
Out worship theme for the Season after Epiphany is “Walking with Jesus” and we are focusing upon what it means to be in a relationship with our ‘friend’ Jesus. What kind relationship do you have as you walk with him in your daily living? What kind of relationship do you share? Who is leading or following? Or are you walking side by side? Who decides the way to go? What does this relationship look like?
When we walk with Jesus we need to walk where his light shines and will shine through you. Jesus might lead the way to a place where you are walking behind Jesus into the unfamiliar. Jesus might follow you because you know the way your are going but need his direction and gentle support. And Jesus might just walk beside you in friendship and love chatting as you go. Or Jesus might just pick you up and carry you. It depends upon what is happening in your life, and where your relationship is.
If you believe in Jesus as the light- for Christ shines in the darkness than you’re relationship with Jesus leads you where Christ will lead and guide you. You will not walk in darkness but where the path has been lit and you follow. But if you do not know Jesus as the light- sent from God, who was and is God- then you will walk in a way that is uncertain. But how will you see? Where will you look? What path do you follow?
 Many people who have committed themselves to serving Christ say they walk with Jesus but in fact what really happens is that they let Jesus walk with them maybe if the path that they are going on is really their own way.

PRAYER:

God of grace we pray that we are and will walk with Jesus in the path He illuminates for each of us. This path is the way you have called us to be and become your children and to grow in relationship with you. Help us to understand what walking in Christ’s light means each day. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.


BLOG QUESTION

Walking with Jesus= do you really enable Jesus to lead you? Or are you letting him pick you up as you go your own way?  As we consider how one may “Walk with Jesus” in these next weeks reflect and think how your journey is going as you live day to day. Describe your relationship. Are you letting Christ’s Spirit to speak to you as you walk?


Wednesday, 8 January 2014

How Do You Reflect His Light?



“The Light of Christ”
John 1:4-5

At the time of creation God said, “Let there be light,” and with these words what was dark and void became illuminated with the sun. When God spoke these words the One whom we call Jesus was present as was the Spirit. God spoke and there was light.
When we celebrated Christ’s coming to earth in human form we state that the Light of God has come to us. But do we really understand what this means?
            The New Year has come into our region with much snowfall, cold temperatures and icy roads. But what is amazing is the brightness of our sun as it shines on these cold winter days. The light of the sun reminds us of what occurred at the time of creation. Our world in North America is experiencing winter—less sunlight per day than in the summer and yet when the sun shines it is so bright sunglasses are necessary especially if the sun reflects off the ice on streets or snow. Bright light/ darkness these contrasts invite us to something new and different but do we connect this light with Christ who was born one night and whose star shone brightly over the place where he laid in a manger?
            And do we also connect the darkness which overshadowed the world the day he died on the cross. This was one of the darkest days in human history. Jesus, the promised messiah and king of the Jews was crucified on a cross and darkness appeared in the middle of the day. The light of Christ was put out and darkness filled the earth. Yet this was not the end. For Christ’s light shines again for he rose from death and because of his resurrection we know again Christ as the Light of the world.
            The question for us to consider is do we reflect His Light in this world? Do we take his light to what may be deemed as dark corners in our cities where hope is lost and where there is no joy? Do we shine or reflect Christ’s light as he lives in our hearts and minds or are we merely wandering in the darkness or seeking something or someone to show us the way?
            A children’s song has these lyrics: This little light of mine; I’m gonna let it shine
Let it shine, Let it shine, Let it shine..” Are you reflecting Christ’s light and are you letting his light shine for Him in these dark winter days? How and what are you doing to enable this to occur? Why not share it with others?

PRAYER:
Wonderful God of light and love, we pray for those who read these words and who are shining and reflecting Christ’s light in all that they say and do. Encourage them to share Christ’s light in the darkness of where they work and take time for leisure. Enable them to articulate their faith in you as they seek to grow in relationship with you. Amen.

BLOG QUESTION
In this New Year have you made resolutions to begin something different or do something that is a change in behaviour for you? Have you considered how you will share Christ’s light with others? Have you prayed about how you will bring these changes in your life? Consider this as something to begin each day. For this is what we are each called to do! Please share how you share Christ’s light!