July 8, 2020
This is my last weekly email before my vacation begins Sunday afternoon. I have enjoyed connecting with you each week through these emails, offering some reflection, sharing parish announcements and the information regarding upcoming worship services. This week I have included the worship resources for the next 4 Sundays.
Earlier this summer the Ontario House of Bishops, in announcing their decision to wait until at least fall to open our buildings, referred to sabbath rest and encouraged all of us, clergy and laity to find ways to enter into this type of rest in preparation for the work of returning this fall.
Sabbath Rest is an important biblical term. In creation, after creating heaven and earth and all that is a part of them, God rested. It was not that God was tired from creating, that creation wore God out and God was needing to recharge after it, rather God resting was a sign of completeness. It was a time to step back in appreciation for all that had been created. And not only did God rest, but God called the Sabbath day, holy, sacred. The idea of pausing to reflect, and to appreciate what has been done or not done, is a sacred act. The idea of Sabbath Rest reappears in scripture as part of the 10 Commandments, first when the Israelites are in the wilderness, and then again as they are preparing to enter the Promised Land when God says, “remember the Sabbath and keep it holy,” inviting them to pattern their lives after God, of resting on the Sabbath day. Unlike creation, though it was not that the work was complete, but rather they were invited to set aside their work to focus on honouring all they received from God. It is much like a line in night prayers that I like, “What has been done is done, what has not been done has not been done, let it be.” It is a letting go or of setting aside of our everyday work and worries to enter more fully into a restorative time with God.
Honouring the Sabbath has often been challenging for human beings. There is always something else that demands our attention, or tempts us to put it off or ignore it. There were times that God chastised the Israelites for keeping the Sabbath in name only, anxious for the day to be over so they could get back to their regular lives (example, Amos 8:5). Jesus was often criticized for healing on the Sabbath, because healing was seen as work. Jesus invites his critics and listeners, including us, to re-examine our understanding of Sabbath and of God’s command not to do any work on it. It is an invitation to recapture Sabbath and rest as restorative and wholesome, rather than something we are duty bound to keep, or do so grudgingly at times.
We live in an extremely busy world, with constant demands for our time and energy. The need to pause and reflect, to step back and be, instead of always doing, is essential. When we do, whether it is Saturday (seventh day) or Sunday (first day) or another time is not as important as being intentional about setting aside time that looks different from the rest of our lives, that makes space for the in-breaking grace of God to be recognized and honoured. I remember a speaker at a conference about Sabbath, personally and as Churches, suggesting that one way of marking the Sabbath is to not do what you usually do and to do something different that is restorative. For example, if you drove every day, particularly commuters, choosing not to drive anywhere. Or if you found you were always on your computer or phone, to set them aside for a time. This letting go might not be for the whole day but for set time, perhaps half a day even, that marks Sabbath Time as different from ordinary time. This doesn’t mean we need to sit in silence or do nothing, rather we can choose to do things that feed our souls, that we find life-giving. This could be times spent with family, or doing some special activity. For example, I find cooking, particularly the creative process of bringing together different ingredients to be a spiritual experience for me. Recently it was also noted my desire to feed others extends from literally feeding to feeding others spiritually through preaching, teaching and reflections. The other benefit of Sabbath Rest, is we often discover that our passions in life, become ways in which we can serve God. This can in fact be a great way of discovering how we can individually serve God and others, to use what we are passionate about and what we enjoy, in new ways. When we do this our lives become an honouring of God with our whole being, who we are and what we do. Sabbath Rest can help us to slow down long enough to identify how our passions can lead to service.
As I embark on a time of some Sabbath Rest (and vacation), I want to encourage you to think about what Sabbath Rest looks like in your life. What are the things you need to let go of, even for a short time, to make room for God’s in-breaking grace and love that restores your soul? How can you take what you love to do, your passion, and use it to connect with God and restore your soul? How can you take your personal passions and gifts, and use them to serve God in new ways that are life-giving for you and for others?
God bless and take care. – Rev. Dana
Two Requests for Help
1) Many of you will have heard about the house fire in the Marsh on Tuesday June 30th. We have recently learned that it was Geoff Nugent’s son, Tristan and his family. Geoff, was a faithful parishioner at St. Paul’s and then here at Trinity. Geoff reached out asking for any help or information regarding a place for Tristan and family to rent. They have a child in school here, so would like to remain in the area, ideally 3 bedrooms, but a minimum of 2. If you can help or have any connections, Tristan can be reached at 905-252-0505. Thank you in advance for any assistance you can offer them.
2) A group of local organizations have been working with the town to provide lunches twice a week at the Community Centre since the Community Meal has had to shut down temporarily. They have been generously supported by various groups and individuals over the last few months and are looking for anyone who can assist them with food, baking, or financial donations to buy food until the Community Meal is able to be back up and running. If you wish to help or have any questions please contact Patti LaRose at CrossTrainers 416-697-0147 or email@example.com
Tuesday Drop-in with Wardens
Reminder that the Wardens and Deputy Wardens will be offering a drop-in opportunity on Tuesdays July 15, 22 and 29, from 11 am to noon. You can drop by to chat with them (and thank them for their leadership during this time) and drop off any offering, including those for the hymn sings in August.
Reminder that we are hosting Hymn “Sing-at-Home”on Wednesdays, August 12, 19, and 26 at 7:30 pm on our Facebook page. You can return your dedications to Margaret and your donations to the church.
Worship continues Sundays at 10 am on our Facebook page. I am not including reflection questions but encourage you to read the scripture looking for what God is saying to you.
Sunday July 12 – 6th Sunday after Pentecost
Scripture – Genesis 25:19-34; Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
Prayer: God of the earth, all creation awaits your gift of new life. Prepare our hearts to receive your Word so that it may grow within us and yield a hundredfold harvest; through Jesus Christ, the Sower. Amen. Opening Prayers (1997) alt.
Prayer Cycles: Anglican Communion: The Anglican Church in Papua New Guinea
Deanery: St. Andrew’s Alliston and the Rev. Kim McArthur
Parish: Fred and Sandra Longthorne, Terry Lotto, and Venita Lovelace
Sunday July 19 – 7th Sunday after Pentecost
Scripture – Genesis 28:1-19; Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
Prayer: O God, patient and forbearing, strengthen our spirit when we are slow and temper our zeal when we are rash, so that in your own good time you may produce in us a rich harvest from the seed you have sown and tended; through Jesus Christ, the promise of a new creation. Amen. Opening Prayers (1997) alt.
Prayer Cycles: Anglican Communion: The Episcopal Church in the Philippines
Deanery: Trinity Bradford – Rev. Dana and the leadership
Parish: Doug and Sheryl MacPhail, Lorraine Mantle, and Bill and Erica Marks
Sunday July 26 – 8th Sunday after Pentecost
Scripture – Genesis 29:15-28; Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52
Prayer: O God, you sow weeds among the crop, raise bread with impure yeast, offer treasure without price and cast a net that catches good and bad: throw down our idols of purity and possession, so that you might reveal in us your wide-branching love; through Jesus Christ, the stumbling block. Amen. Prayers for an Inclusive Church (2009) alt.
Prayer Cycles: Anglican Communion: The postponed Lambeth Conference (the gathering of Anglican Bishops from around the world, usually every 10 years, but it has not happened since 2008.)
Deanery: Parish of Mulmer, the Rev. Canon Darrell Wright
Parish: Bill and Carol McPherson, Elizabeth Milic, and Lavina Mitchell
Sunday August 2 – 9th Sunday after Pentecost
Scripture – Genesis 32:22-31; Matthew 14:13-21
Prayer: God of compassion, your heart goes out to the hungry and destitute; you take what we have and transform it into much; give us the bread that satisfies, the food without price, so that our lives may show forth your overflowing love; through Jesus Christ, the breaker of bread. Amen. Prayers for an Inclusive Church (2009) alt.
Prayer Cycles: Anglican Communion: The new Province of Alexandria (story)
Deanery: St. John’s East Orangeville, and the Ven. Elizabeth Hardy
Parish: Vi and Jenny Mizzoni, Robb and Sherry Morrow, and Ruth Novosad