Spring 2018

 

Minister’s Message Spring 2018

“Have I not commanded you?
Be strong and courageous.
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”     Joshua 1:9

If strength is defined as the quality or state of being strong and courage is defined as the ability to do something that frightens one what happens when you put the two together?  It would seem to me that you would find someone who is able to acknowledge their fear, to face it and push through it even in the midst of grief or pain. It’s someone who doesn’t say things aren’t hard but rather fights through the tough stuff knowing that they will get through it.

Strength comes from somewhere, a reserve deep inside that allows you to push through, to continue on in the midst of stress and strain.  As Christians we believe our strength comes from the Lord.  This belief comes straight from Scripture.  We can read countless passages which speak to God’s strength lifting us and moving with us.

Isaiah reminds us “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31). 

Likewise Paul speaks of Christ’s faith in our lives when he writes to the Philippians “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)

These passages remind us that God goes with us through all things, in good times and in bad.  It’s hard to see this sometimes, especially when living in difficult seasons.  It’s been tough lately in this world.  I sit writing this in the shadow of the great loss felt in the city of Toronto.  The memory of Humboldt is still present and alive in our country.  When we look beyond our borders we see asylum seekers struggling to make a new start in unknown countries. Terror still haunts citizens world wide.  It’s no wonder the people of this planet feel unsettled, unsure and frightened.
It’s tempting to think of hiding, isn’t it?  To huddle close with those we love and take comfort in the people and things we hold most dear.  This though is not the life to which we have been called.  As Christ Followers, God draws us in and sends us out to be beacons of light in the world.  We have been called in and sent out to live a different way of life, a transformative servant people who make a difference in the world with how we live, with how we serve.

As St. Giles we see that way of life lived out daily.  With our many mission projects active outreach into the community we are living out a different way of life.  When we feed the hungry, visit the shut in, reach out to the lost and seek to share the Good News we can impact and change the world around us.  This work is only part of the picture though.  As we do this work we must remember to build strength, to fuel our reserves.  As with our body, so too does the soul require training.  We build strength in faith through community involvement.  We build strength in studying the Word, worshiping together and be present here with the Spirit each week.  As we gain strength to live our own lives we will be equipped with the strength to serve others.

This world needs Christ. Needs the transformative life-giving way of living that Christ calls us to. These are uncertain times where hope feels lost and nothing sure.  As Christians there is one thing we are certain of and that is this, God is with us. God goes with us always, wherever we are. This truth is our certain hope and that hope is something we can share.

Melting Hearts in February

We welcomed our new minister, Rev. Rebecca Roushorne-Lau in the Fall of 2017.  The groundhog has predicted 6 more weeks of Winter but Spring promises new beginnings again.  Here are some Winter words from Becky.  For more updates, check out her blog here   http://www.ministrytomotherhood.com/
“It is winter in Narnia,” said Mr. Tumnus, “and has been for ever so long…. always winter, but never Christmas.”
The famous imagery from the book The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe really resonates with me at this time of year. Of course we’ve just experienced Christmas but after the lights go off and decorations go away there’s just winter. Some winter days are beautiful. There is sunlight which beams onto the snow that falls gently, creating a beautiful carpet of clean freshness. Other days are harder. The cold is wet, damp, sinking into our bones.
The winter brings with it both darkness and challenge but also wonder as well. It’s the mid- point, a waiting period as we know what is to come. Soon the world will burst forth into life. Winter in many ways is like the time before Christ. There was both darkness and wonder. The challenge of waiting in hope for new life was real and true. And then Christ came.In The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, Father Christmas comes along as Aslan moves in bringing the celebration with him as the world begins to thaw. Christmas in Narnia is the starting point for what is to come. This is true also for us. Christmas is our starting point.
A Saviour was born. A baby given who would grow and change the world. But this Saviour saves in an unexpected way. He thaws the icy wall between God and man. He embraces relationship and connection like never before. He seeks to redeem, not destroy. This Saviour whom we celebrate at Christmas matters because of what he became. He sought to melt the icy hearts of people and really connect with them. Do we follow in his footsteps?
We can believe in Jesus, even be fans of Jesus without being true followers. Do we follow in his footsteps?
Springtime will come. The season of transformation in the world which is symbolic in many ways of our own redemption. But springtime in our own lives? That comes at different points and in different ways for all people. Where are you in your life? Are you in the winter of faith or bursting forth with new life, feeling as thought spring has already arrived? Wherever we are in this community we come together in love and support. May the coming weeks and months be filled with passion and fire as we seek to lift each other up as we serve in this world.
– Rev. Becky

Blessings to Barry, Peggy, Sarah and Jonathan

We wish our minister and his family a joyful retirement!  We ask for blessings upon the VanDusen Family as they venture into a new stage of life – to Jonathan, our IT Einstein, to Sarah and John – the “newlyweds”, to Peggy, a true servant of the Lord and to “Reverend” Barry, our minister and friend.  Deep peace of Christ, the Light of the world to you.

vandusens

retirement-cake-oct-2016