Welcome to the Rev. Robin Wardlaw who joined us July 1st as our new minister.
Farewell and thank you to Rev. Jong Bok Kim who was our Intentional Interim Minister leading us through our transition journey over the past two years.
Rev. Malcolm Spenser, our Voluntary Associate Minister conducted the service on Sunday July 1st. Here is his homile...
July 1 2012 5th Sunday After Pentecost
REV. MALCOLM SPENCER
The times of a holiday always reminds me of my mother’s generosity. In the small prairie town where we lived, she enacted what her mother taught her in the centre of London. It started even before the Second World War that they began to take in people they met to their home even though they had little and apparently my grandmother ran programs for kids in the neighbourhood. So when we came to Canada we found out that was a rural practice by some. When we left the farm to live in a small village my mother took up her practices of hospitality right away. Kids in a small village know everyone and so when she invited men who were known as the town drunks and non-relatives that had nowhere to go on a holiday we kids had to accept that attitude. Generosity is often learned at home.
Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, spoke of the generosity of Jesus who became poor that we might become rich; He reminded the new believers in the city of Corinth that all the eagerness and excitement they had for their new faith had to result in something.
In our nation Canada this debate goes on. We are a rich nation they why are there food banks, high tuition fees, lack of action on the environment and why so much measly aid for the poor here or abroad? Most of us know the reason for this and that is that we love our country but don’t ask us to give too much.
Paul addressed this question and said he did not stress deprivation “relief for others and pressure on you” There is a fair balance that can be set. Do we set a fair balance? Does the Country? This is the real question for Christian love, is it real, does it strike the fair balance. Perhaps many of us need to start in ourselves and see how much balance there is between care of self and care of others. Often in congregations there is little room for self-care as we work often for others. So balance is important in our Christian life.
I would hesitate to ask the country to dwell on self-care because the balance is often way off in another direction.
I was first aware of the role of healing in faith as I looked at the history of medicine. There was no other medicine and healing arts in the ancient world that those tied in with religion. Whether it was the priestesses who were in the Greek temples who welcomed and prayed and sang with the sick or the women in earlier time who sought in nature the wonders of berries and leaves that could cure and relieve pain. Or the men who were shamans or priests who practiced healing as part of the religious life. What was left for the church in the modern world was to either set up hospitals or hire others to run them or tend the sick through visits and support.
As a chaplain I soon became aware that there is a healing in listening and caring and taking another seriously. I remember one visit I made on an elderly woman who asked me to see here in the nursing home when she went home. Since it was close to the hospital I agreed. She was quite ill and concerned she had lost contact with the united church. She was sure God was not looking out for her. I asked her to take my hand if she wished and she took my hand and said There we are you are reconnected. After that we had a prayer and I stayed awhile longer and later he brother thanked me. This was a simple act which any of us could do to reassure others. We can heal others. We can often practice our own healing ministries with those we know or come to know. We know healing is not necessarily the same as cure but it is very important part of the health of any of us.
Jesus was often besieged by persons wishing healing, our story in Mark showed one mother who called him to come to her daughter who was at the point of death and when he was on his way another woman saw him and courageous made up mind to touch his cloak and found her hemorrhage stopped. He felt power leave him and asked who it was. The woman told him the story and he said, “ Daughter, your faith has made you well –go in peace” For Jesus he was only the opportunity the decision is ours to take to seek a wholeness in our lives.
When he finally got to the house they had started the mourning for the dead but he went up to the 12 years of girl and asked her to get up and she did and walked about.
The simplicity of our saviour and his warm human touch is for us today even now for our country.
Today let me offer all of you a happy and joyous Canada day and festive and celebrative Pride Day.
Loving and God we pray for the ways of a love that makes us more fully human and caring. We ask this in the name of Jesus our Saviour Amen