Thank you to all who filled out our technology questionnaire yesterday. It is very useful information, and I still need to hear from several of you. You can fill out the form at https://tinyurl.com/tob7xov. It will only take a minute or so.
Now on to the important words:
29 Jesus’ disciples said, “Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. 30 Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.” 31 “Do you now believe?” Jesus replied. 32 “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. 33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:29-33).
Yesterday we looked at verses 29-31; today we will look just at verse 33. Here Jesus contrasts our existence in him vs. our existence in the world, a contrast of peace and trouble. Our conundrum is that we exist both in Christ and in the world, so we experience both. If you view this as concentric circles, it is not that the “Christ” circle is inside the “world” circle. It is actually the opposite: the “world” circle sits inside the “Christ” circle, because Christ is over all the world. This gives us great confidence to live in this world, because all is in him (Acts 17:28; Romans 11:36).
Jesus goes on to tell us to “take heart” (“don’t fear”), because he has overcome the world. If Jesus could say, even this as he faced down his greatest trouble, we can indeed take heart, in him, as we face our circumstances. John himself reflects on this in 1 John 5:1-5 when he says, “This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” We participate in Christ’s overcoming, overarching, overwhelming victory by our faith in him.
Alice VDK shared this thought from Richard Rohr:
“We are in the midst of a highly teachable moment. There’s no doubt that this period will be referred to for the rest of our lifetimes. We have a chance to go deep, and to go broad. Globally, we’re in this together. Depth is being forced on us by great suffering, which as I like to say, always leads to great love.” Then he ends with, “Love alone overcomes fear and is the true foundation that lasts" (1 Corinthians 13:13).
Yes, we will have trouble. This present season that is upon us is just one example of this. But it is not our destiny nor our final chapter. May God grant us the faith to trust in the One who has already overcome the world on our behalf, Jesus.
Our song for today is Brian Doerksen’s “You Shine”; you can find it online. Here is a great reminder from Nellie: “Sing OUT LOUD (with this and/or other songs you know and love) ) even if you feel you can't sing, or feel weird when alone - singing aloud can help to elevate the positive effects of music and sense of worship!”
Jane has sent the following information from this week’s Council meeting:
As the situation around COVID-19 continues to develop with growing uncertainty and new challenges, we will continue to update you regularly to stay connected as a church family and community.
We will not be having in-person Sunday services for the foreseeable future, in light of the recommendations made by the Public Health Agency of Canada. Fellowship Council will now be meeting once per week by conference call to assess this situation on an ongoing basis.
We are currently working on a solution to record an “online” service and send it out this coming Sunday. The use of this type of technology is new to us but Pearl, Mark, Ralph, Ed and the teams they lead are busily working on this for us! We also will continue to look at a solution for Good Friday and Easter Sunday services as we transition to an “online” experience. More information will be sent out as we get closer to Easter, but for now we can confirm that we will not be gathering in-person this Easter.
Additionally, Pastor Mark and our elders will continue to work with our Faith Group Leaders to find the best solution to help our Faith Groups connect “online”.
Lastly it is always our aim to be transparent with you when we talk about money and finances. Cancelling Sunday services will have a significant impact on the offerings we receive and the need to support our church. Thank you in advance for your continued generosity. To set up recurring giving (PAR) you can email Jan a copy of a VOID cheque and an amount that you would wish to have withdrawn on the 20th of each month from your bank account. Offerings that go through PAR are for the church budget only. We are currently exploring other ways to give to our “second collections”. We will keep you updated on this.
Thank you for your continued support and prayers as we navigate the changing circumstances. Please continue to pray for our entire church family, our neighbours and our broader community.
Chair of Council
- Let’s pray for those whose jobs are at risk
- Let’s pray for churches to continue in creative, God-honoring ways
- Let’s pray for our political leaders to make wise and caring decisions
In closing, let’s pray together as our Lord taught us to pray,
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Go with this blessing:
The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
The Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.