• bigredchurch

Greetings to you each and all. It is nice to have you in my thoughts as I write these words. Hopefully they will bring you a sense of peace. That is the heart of my prayer for you. We are passing through a dark valley. Thanks be to God for the light of the Holy Spirit, by which each of us and all of us are led forward.

Our service preparation is pretty much unsteady. Each week there is a new restriction regarding our health and safety. So we are more and more confined to our homes. With this in view the video below is offered as an encouragement, and incentive to the practice of peace.

Here is the video:

These are the texts in which the service is rooted:

Isaiah 40:1-5 - Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins. A voice cries out: "In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken."

2 Peter 3:9-13 - The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed. Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire? But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.

Mark 1:1-8 - The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, "See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,'" John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, "The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."

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  • bigredchurch

Hello one and all. A few of us gathered in the Big Red Church on Saturday to record a Sunday service. We have also included a small clip featuring two young men and their mum. These three recorded a reading related to the first Sunday of Advent. The reading introduces the theme of hope and includes the lighting of a candle, symbolizing the light of God's presence within and among us.

I am aware that the recordings posted are in no way like our regular Sunday gatherings. Even so, they offer a means for our community to gather in the spirit. It is my trust that each of you will find some aspect of the service that is encouraging as we go through these dark days. I will also encourage you to contact me should these days be hard for you or someone you care about.

Here is the video:

These are the scripture readings in which the service is rooted:

Isaiah 64:6-9 - We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. There is no one who calls on your name, or attempts to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity. Yet, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. Do not be exceedingly angry, O LORD, and do not remember iniquity forever. Now consider, we are all your people.

Psalm 80:3-7 - Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved. O LORD God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people's prayers? You have fed them with the bread of tears, and given them tears to drink in full measure. You make us the scorn of our neighbors; our enemies laugh among themselves. Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.

Mark 13:24-27 - "But in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see 'the Son of Man coming in clouds' with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

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  • bigredchurch

Each of us makes manifest a particular aspect of the one life that is in all human beings. That one life is also present in all animals, plants and the whole natural order. Sad to say, somewhere in the past we humans got lost. We wandered away from the influence of God. This has brought all kinds of problems into our world. It is my hope that your imagination is securely grounded in the spirit of God, which is the source and substance of our lives in creation.

My talk this week notices our relationship with indigenous peoples on all continents. We came from Europe and sought to impose our ideas on peoples who had lived in a right relationship with nature from the beginning of time. This agenda has produced much trouble for the earth and for all of its peoples. The remedy for such troubles is found in our determination to cooperate with all persons met along our way.

The texts in which this short service is grounded are:

Ezekiel 34:11-16, Psalm 95:1-7a, Matthew 25:31-40

Looking forward to Advent

Advent is a time of anticipation. We look at our world and realize it is coming apart at the seams. Many persons are anxious and fearful concerning what is to come. There are also many people of faith who trust that God will bring forward a remedy. That remedy is rooted in the Holy Spirit which resides at the very heart of our being. Listening to the voice of the Spirit, we are led forward one day at a time.

The first Sunday of Advent is focused on hope. Hope is the key to walking into the future with confidence. As hopeful persons we look forward to the revelation of God's way in the earth as it is in heaven. Our hope inspires us to caring and compassionate action.

The second Sunday of Advent is focused on peace. Peace is the true treasure of life. Those of us who live in peace are blessed by the grace of God. This makes us signs of God's presence in the world, inspiring others to seek the straight and narrow way that leads to life which is life indeed.

The third Sunday of Advent is focused on Joy. Joy is the expression of our deep trust in the goodness of God. Following the way of God may lead us through hard times. Even so, the grace of God inspires us to celebrate the goodness present at the heart of every day.

The fourth Sunday of Advent is focused on Love. Love flows from the heart of God to fill our human experience. Receiving it as a gift, we are made able to share Love in and through all of our relations. This love is fully accepting of others, no matter what their difference. We love others just as God loves us.

The times are uncertain and we are not able to predict exactly how each of our coming Sundays will take form. Our trust is in the Holy Spirit of God revealed in Jesus Christ. This brings to mind a phrase from the Lord's Prayer - "Give us this day our daily bread." We are confident that God will lead us forward one step at a time, and bring forward blessing beyond measure.

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Winnipeg, Manitoba     R2L 0H4

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