News and Info

Monday, 25 September 2017

FORGIVENESS

FORGIVENESS  
REFLECTION:  Wednesday, September 27, 2017


                What is forgiveness? Jesus’ statement about one of the
most discussed topics within faith communities is found in Luke 17. Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble. So watch yourselves. If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them, and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times a day and seven times come back to you saying, “I repent, you must forgive them.”
                This is difficult to do! Watch yourselves—that is we need to guard against causing others to sin. But on the other hand, we need to resist the temptation to keep those who have sinned against us in an emotional penalty box making them serve endless time for their offenses. We need Jesus help to be forgiving to the extent Jesus’ asks. The disciples realized this and asked, “Increase our faith!”
                But how do we really forgive another person? Jesus says, “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them”. Who is our brother and sister? Those with whom we have a relationship and this reminds us that the primary place forgiveness needs to be expressed is in the community of faith. People we know within the church- Christians, we need to forgive each other.
                Jesus was also specific—about sin- requiring forgiveness. Just because someone irritates, annoys or upsets us they do not involve forgiveness they require endurance and maybe even tolerance. Forgiveness is only necessary if sin occurs, that is when God’s standards of behaviour have been violated.
                But we cannot forgive right away. Sometimes what occurs is not required but may be excused instead. Forgiveness is about those things which are inexcusable, not ignoring or denying sin but still responding to it.
                C.S. Lewis said, “Real Forgiveness means steadily looking at the sin, the sin that is left over without any excuse after all allowances have been made and seeing it in all its horror, dirt, meanness and malice.” That is, seeing the sin for what it really is. When God forgets our sins, He no longer holds them against us. The central issue is not that we forget, but what we do when we remember that someone has wronged us.
QUESTIONS:
What does forgiving another person mean to you?  How do you go about doing this?
How does knowing that God forgets our sins help you or hinder you in understanding forgiveness or being forgiven?
PRAYER:  Holy God as we learn what it means to forgive help us to take the risks, to understand your love and to know again that we need to forgive because of your Son Jesus, forgiving us and calling us to him. Enable us O God to forgive and to love again. Amen.

Resource:  Gary Inrig, “The Risk of Forgiveness :What it means to forgive”  Discovery Series, ODB Ministries. p. 11-12

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Transitions

Transitions         

                The United Church of Canada will be going through
governance transition in the next two years. Discussion between General Council Executive and the churches have been ongoing for about 5 years and with Remits or votes taken from across the country, the answer is clear. The church will move to Regional councils instead of having both Presbytery and Conferences. But what is unclear is how many regions, who will work at this level of the church and most importantly for many people is will it make any difference when it comes to cost, or running the governance and administration of the United Church of Canada.
                What does this mean for the person who comes to church? Not a lot really because connections to the national or regional councils will be limited. However the cost of governance will make a difference in budgets across the country especially during the transition period of 2018 and 2019.
                The United Church of Canada has been a unique church throughout its history. Will this change in governance model make a difference in its outreach to people? This is unknown but one of the things we must keep in mind is that no matter the governance model being used, the church is led by Jesus Christ, the one true head of the church. If we lose sight of this, we might as well close our doors.
                What does it mean to be “United Church” today? What attracts people to this church? Is it its structure of governance? Probably not but what is important to know is that the church is changing and this may make a difference for ministry personnel and their role or activity in the ‘wider’ church. It means being very intentional about meeting other clergy and working with other churches in order to grow and develop in faith. It also means letting go of the way things used to be and living in the present.
                Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life, abundant and full.” Jesus was not a proponent of the established church during his time. The Pharisees felt threatened by his new ways of thinking and teaching. They tried to trip him up in the teachings of the law. And they wanted to do away with him. But Christ rose from death in order to give us life. Sometimes we get tripped up in the governance of the church and forget who we are as Christ’s followers and why we meet in churches- to worship God our creator. Maybe we need to pray about this for clarity and look to the future placing everything into God’s hands through faith. Jesus brings us life. Let us receive it with humility and love.
PRAYER

God you call us to be with you and when we face changes, transitions and challenges you guide us and love us. Help us to trust your Spirit as we face transitions in every day life not only in the church, but in what we experience in this life. We ask in Jesus’ name Amen.