Sunday at Scarboro – July 29, 2018

Worship Start Time: 10:30am
Theme: Summer Church

It's summertime in Calgary! Come to Scarboro as we worship together every Sunday at 10:30am. We will have the coffee on at 10, so come early and catch up with your community. There will be more time for coffee, tea and conversation after the service in the Memorial Hall.

The children's theme this summer is "Exploring Spirituality through Science & Play" - so come and explore at Scarboro!

This week we will be celebrating communion - all are welcome to participate.


July 29, 2018: Ephesians 3.14-21

Rev. Erin Klassen

 

I spent this past week in St. Louis. I was at the annual conference for Young Clergy Women International. That is a network for those who are ordained as Christian clergy, and identify as women who are also under the age of 40. We have 1600 plus members worldwide, and 1100 plus in our facebook group. For the past few years, I have been a member of Board and the Conference Planning Team. It has been a blessing and a joy. Every time I attend a conference, I like to preach on what I experienced or learned, because I think it is important to share that, and also I come back so inspired. These conferences give me ideas, like preaching without notes, or telling the scripture from memory, or writing articles, worship resources, and hopefully one day, a book.

 

Theme: WE: Embodied Ministry, Justice and Reconciliation

Speaker: the Rev. Karoline Lewis

  • Incarnation - any religion that has incarnation at its center has to be interested in our bodies
  • Jesus as fully human and fully divine
  • Empathy - to feel with, root Patheos - passion
  • paraclete - called alongside

 

These are the people that have lived out the meaning of our Scripture today. They are the church incarnate for me. From the very beginning.This was my sixth time attending, and just as in years past, there was someone who said: I remember praying for you.

 

They have shown me the power of prayer, the care and intimacy to which the Epistle writer alludes. Consider what it means to have someone pray for you? How does that feel? Or to pray for someone?

 

Nashville… https://youngclergywomen.org/a-conference-story/

  • Hot
  • 7 months pregnant
  • Not feeling well
  • Called doc - do you have good travel health insurance?
  • Totally freaked out
  • Any questions about conference?
    • Someone else probably has the same questions
    • Raised my hand
  • Offered to pray for me
    • 66 women I had never met before, gathered around and laid on hands
    • while I ugly cried
  • One of the most moving and formational experiences of my life
  • I would even go so far as to say that it is where I learned the power of prayer, which is not what I thought it was. I make sure to pray for folks when I am so moved and I also try to let them know that as well.

 

This past conference was my last, my term as a board member is over and I will graduate from the organization this fall. I had the strangest experience of one of my fellow board members thank me for that experience. Nashville was her first conference too, and she said that experience of praying for me was what showed her that this organization was different. That this was a group of people that she could trust. That we are committed to being in community, we are in this together.

 

Which, is what our Epistle tells us as well. We all take our names, our family, our connectedness is rooted in God who brings us together with all of Creation. This God, of glory and abundance, gives us inner strength through the power of the working of the Spirit. It feels important to note here, that it is not the power of the Spirit. It is the power of the working of the Spirit. The power is in what the Spirit does, not who we think She is.

 

With Spirit at work in us, what follows is a prayer for us:

May Christ dwell in your hearts through faith, so that you, being rooted and grounded in love, will be able to grasp fully the breadth, length, height and depth of Christ’s love and all God’s holy ones, experience this love that surpasses all understanding, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (From The Inclusive Bible)

 

I don’t think that it was until this week that I realized just how much I love this verse. I love everything about it  -

  • The imagery - christ dwelling in our hearts, being rooted and grounded in faith
  • The abundance - the words that we hear again and again - love, all, fullness
  • The size of it - depth, breadth, length, height
  • The imagination that it asks s to have - to try to comprehend the incomprehensible, to understand that which is beyond knowing

 

That is the act of faith, is it not? To worship a God that we cannot see, that no one has been able to look upon the face of and live. To follow a Saviour that we have not met in real life, about whom we have only heard the stories, written down well after the fact by people who were not there either. How do we ground such a faith?

 

The answer is here in these verses. And for me, at the conference.

In community. This passage begins and ends with relationship. For it is in the community of faith that we experience the love and grace and abundance of God. Faith takes shape in lived experiences.

 

Experience of Abundance:

  • Lost luggage
  • Including worship bulletins
  • Offers of clothing
  • Someone nearby brought me an entire week of clothing from her own closet
  • Isaiah 58 ministries - second hand store finds
  • Target run
  • Arrived wet
    • Conference team took over responsibilities
    • Phyl and Lesley created an itemized list

 

So it is that these women literally tended to my body, on more than one occasion. At the beginning and until the end. It is through them that Christ dwells within me, I feel it in their love for me and mine for them. Because of their gifts of compassion and companionship, the Spirit works within us all. Their abundance expands my vision and gives me greater ability to love.

 

Young Clergy Women International has shown me what it means to be in Christian community. How to be church, called alongside and caring for one another. I am so blessed and eager to share that blessing with the wider church.

 

So it is that I pray the same prayer as our Epistle writer:

14-19 My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.

 

20-21 God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

 

Glory to God in the church!

Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus!

Glory down all the generations!

Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes! (From The Message)

 

Opening Prayer (Ephesians 3)

https://www.ministrymatters.com/worship/entry/6159/worship-elements-july-29-2018

From “The Abingdon Worship Annual” edited by Mary J. Scifres and B.J. Beu, Copyright © Abingdon Press.

 

Holy One, we bow our hearts before you this day.
Strengthen us in our innermost being
and dwell in our hearts through faith.
May we be rooted and grounded in Christ,
whose love is beyond all knowledge.
Help us comprehend even the smallest part
of the beautiful mystery of your grace.
Grant that we may experience the fullness
of your presence with us. Amen.

 

Benediction (Ephesians 3)
May you know the richness and fullness of God’s grace.
May you experience every dimension of the love of Christ.
May the Spirit dwell within you through faith.
To the Holy One, whose power works within us
to accomplish more than we could ask or imagine or comprehend,
be glory forever and ever! Amen.

 

Approach

http://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/50688/29_July_Grant_Barclay_10_after_Pentecost_formatted.pdf

From Starters for Sunday at The Church of Scotland, Tenth Sunday after Pentecost – 29 July 2018 by the Rev. Grant Barclay

 

You relate to us as person to person,

God who is our Parent, Protector and Friend.

Not for You an ten digit number which starts ‘403’,

nor a string of characters with an ‘at’ sign somewhere in the middle.

In our world of insurance codes, tax references, payroll IDs and benefit numbers,

You come to us and You call us by our name.

But there again, You are the God to whom names have always mattered:

You invited our forebear Adam to name the creatures of the earth.

And today You call us to recognise that those whom we meet are each named.

You encourage us to establish genuine relationships,

to discover individual richness beneath too-quickly clutched stereotypes,

and unearth something of the spiritual depths

of those with whom we share homes and cafeterias and classrooms.

Let us open our hearts to one another, even as we open them to you,

God our Companion; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Sunday at Scarboro – July 22, 2018

Worship Start Time: 10:30am
Theme: Summer Church

It's summertime in Calgary! Come to Scarboro as we worship together every Sunday at 10:30am. We will have the coffee on at 10, so come early and catch up with your community. There will be more time for coffee, tea and conversation after the service in the Memorial Hall.

The children's theme this summer is "Exploring Spirituality through Science & Play" - so come and explore at Scarboro!


Past, Present and Future
July 22, 2018
Rev. Lee Spice

 There seems to be a collective fatigue, these days.  Perhaps it’s the anxiety that many people feel – knowing the economic benefit of moving our non-sustainable resources, while at the same time knowing that we have to work towards environmental sustainability, and getting tired of the tension that ensues. Perhaps it’s the endless stories of inhumanity – from human trafficking to poisonings to violence against women and children…the list goes on.

Or, perhaps it’s the constant barrage of political, internet-based weirdness that assaults the world from south of the 49th Parallel.  One Facebook post, allegedly from the satirical not-news site called The Onion says, “Onion on the verge of collapse after not being able to make up enough, um, ‘stuff,’ that is more idiotic than current reality.”

It can feel, sometimes, like it’s all up to us.  I admit, this is often a message that comes from the church, and from me.  That’s because I totally believe that we are Christ’s hands and feet.  I believe that God gives us work to do – that God’s dream for justice in the world does rely on us to embrace God’s dream and get to work.

But, it’s not always up to us. It’s not all about us.

It’s possible, that at the beginning of this story of David, he is starting to believe that it IS all about him.  As you recall from the story, David looks around and notices that, while he, himself is all settled in a cedar house, the Sacred Chest – or the Ark of the Covenant, which represents the actual presence of God – the chest is still housed in a tent.

I can’t decide whether it is devotion and gratitude that compels David to suggest that he build a house for God, or whether it’s his ego talking. Is he saying, “God has done all of this for me, and I want to build God a house,” or “Look at me! I’ve done all of this, and now I’m going to build a house for God!”

It appears that God thinks it’s the latter – and instructs Nathan to bring David a message that doesn’t sound like good news.

In short, God says that God has done just fine hanging out in a tent, thank you very much.  God says, “Have I EVER asked ANYONE to build me a house? No.  I’ve been with the people this whole time, and I have been with you.

“So, yes, a temple will be built for me, but it’s not going to be built by YOU.”

That may have brought David down a few notches.

God is simply reasserting what David should already know – that is, that God has been there with the people the whole time; God is with them now; and God will be there in the future.

This is a story about faith.

Here is the part where God reminds it that it is not US that is carrying God around – it is God carrying us.

God promises that God will still be around, long after any person’s life, to be with the people, to guide.  This is, after all, God’s world.

And this is good news, when it feels like the weight of the world is on our slim shoulders.

So I wondered, what would God’s message sound like, if it came to us in 2018?  Maybe, a little like this:

“People of faith, you are my faithful servants, so listen to what I say.

“Why should you try to pin me down and claim me for your very own selves?

“Since time began, I have not been pinned down – I am wild and free.

“My spirit blew when I brought my people out of Egypt, and it blew when slaves were freed, and women gained rights and when the Indigenous voices of North America began to be heard.

“My spirit continues to blow – wild and powerful and free, and I still cannot be pinned or claimed for any one people.

“I have always been itinerant, travelling from place to place, and making my home among the people.

“I chose leaders and instructed them how to love and care for the people.

“But did I ever say anything to even one of them about building a place for me to reside forever?

“My people, this is what I, The Holy One, say to you.

“You are created in my image – I have brought you to life with my own breath.  I have known you since before you were born.  I have carried you as a mother carries her baby.

“Wherever you went, I was there to whisper in your ears the mysteries of the universe, and show you the beauty of the world.  I sent you teachers and companions that helped get your feet on the path, and to lead you back when you strayed.  I’ve been with you all the time.

“I have opened this spinning blue planet to you, so that you can dwell in peace, without fear.

“This is my promise:  I will raise you to your highest good.  And even after your life is over, there will be someone to carry on.

“Have faith in the people that follow you – I will be with them, too, loving them, as I love you, and carrying them, as I have carried you.”

 

In our family, my husband Ron is the gardener.  I can’t help but think how much faith it takes to plant a garden.  Sure, it’s a bit of a pain in the springtime when the tomato plants take more room in the kitchen than our kitchen table, but we are now eating sweet and juicy cherry tomatoes, and swiss chard, and carrots, and lettuce… A gardener puts in the time – planting, weeding, watering…and then there are the nail-biting times when the storms bring the threat of hail.  It’s heartbreaking to see the corn plants toppled over or the beans bashed to bits…but every year, there is harvest – and even when there’s hardly anything left, there’s always next year.

It takes faith to plant a garden, because you have to believe that from the past will come the future, and there’s good in the future, too.

There’s a legend that’s attributed to Martin Luther, one of the fathers of the Reformation.  We’re not really sure he said it, but it’s the kind of thing he might have said.  It goes like this, “If I knew the world would end tomorrow, I would still plant a tree.”

And so, in this weary world, where we don’t know what comes next, we are called to plant our trees.  Plant it, and know that it’s not completely up to us to keep it growing. But plant. Plant peace. Plant justice.  Plant love.

This is God’s promise:  God will raise you to your highest good.  And even after your life is over, there will be someone to carry on.

 

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Sunday at Scarboro – July 1, 2018

Worship Start Time: 10:30 am
Theme: Summer Church

Come to Scarboro this summer to worship together! Service stays at 10:30 am this year. Come and grab a coffee at 10 and catch up with your friends and neighbours. There will be more coffee, tea, and conversation in the Marilyn Perkins - Memorial Hall following the service.

The children's theme this summer is "Exploring Spirituality through Science & Play" - come explore!

SAVE THE DATE: Pancakes will be served next Sunday at 9:30 am, with worship to follow at about 10:15. Be there or be square!

Have you filled out your survey yet? No? Well, get to it! You can read all about it below. Really. Just scroll down a tiny bit, it's right there. Yep, there it is, you found it!


July 1, 2018: Psalm 130 & Mark 5.21-43

Rev. Erin Klassen

 

Are you all familiar with the term “compassion fatigue”?

It is that feeling of being overwhelmed with the hurt that is going on around you.

People who experience compassion fatigue might have a sense of hopelessness, or a decrease in happiness, stress and anxiety, sleeplessness or nightmares, and a negativity that you just can’t shake. It can make you feel like you can’t focus, or you just can do anything right, or that will make a difference.

 

It is sometimes also call the “cost of caring” for folks facing emotional pain.

It can make us seem like we don’t know what to do about what is happening in the world around us. Like we don’t even know how to talk about it. Thankfully, the Scripture gives us the those tools. Jesus knows the cost of compassion, and he shows us the way. The psalmist knows our pain, and gives us the words.

 

Out of the depths, I cry to you, O God.

I chose to use the Psalm as well as the Gospel today, because it felt so very relevant to what is happening in the world around us. We are, like many folks, deeply saddened by the level of fear-fuelled hatred in the world. We are in the depths. So, we cry out to God.

But, what is our cry?

Is it for justice?

For healing?

For peace?

 

In our passage from the Gospel today, we have two people who cry out from the depths. And they cry out for restoration, for healing.

 

What we have here is sometimes referred to as a Markan sandwich. It is a story within a story. It is a story about status, and power, and people, specifically women, on the margins.

 

Jesus has calmed the storm and gone across to the other side. There he is met by Jairus. This is significant, because as a leader of the synagogue, Jairus was someone with status who throws himself at Jesus’ feet and begs for help. Jairus is someone with status, enough status to have a name in this story. He would have had access to resources, he could have hired doctors, and yet he seeks out a common faith healer, Jesus. He falls at Jesus’ feet in an act of humility, to do this in front of a crowd would signify that he is placing himself as inferior to Jesus. He is a frantic father, desperate for his child, and willing to give it all up if only to receive Christ’s mercy. He does the extraordinary in even asking.

From out of the depths, I cry to you, O God.

 

Also in the crowd is a woman, who at some point had status. She had enough resources to have spent them all seeking healing and restoration. She has been bleeding for as long as Jairus’ daughter has been alive. If you ever wondered how someone could hemorrhage for so long, she has essentially been menstruating for that period of time. This bleeding leaves her ritually unclean, and therefore unable to participate fully in the life of the community. She is exhausted, frustrated, and desperate for relief. She reaches out and touches Christ.

Now, touching violates the boundaries of the body, physically, and socially while this is an extraordinary act of faith on her part, it is also highly improper.

From out of the depth, I cry to you, O God.

 

In the crush and chaos of the crowd, Jesus, feels this. He feels the power, the life force go out of him. In doing so, he identifies with this woman, who has had her life force restored. He is not angry that his boundaries have been crossed. He has compassion, he calls her “daughter” indicating that she is part of his chosen family. She is made well physically, and socially, she is restored to life and to community.

 

Before he comes to Jairus’ home, word comes that the daughter has died.

 

Jesus, replies, “Do not fear, only believe.”

He sends the crowd away and continues on to the home of the leader of the synagogue.

There he finds a new crowd, deep in grief and lament.

From out of the depths, I cry to you, O God.

 

Jesus tells them that she is only sleeping.

They laugh at him. This part often gets overlooked, but I think it is important. As he puts himself out there, working for restoration and healing in his community. He is ridiculed and laughed at. We like a more sanitized version of this story, but even Christ, the one we strive to follow, did not have it easy.

 

Nevertheless, he perseveres.

He goes to the little girl and just as the woman did to him, he reaches out. He crosses the boundary of what is proper, and in doing so, does the extraordinary. He tells her to get up, and she does. Then he tells her family to give her something to eat. In doing this, he restores her to life and to community. He brings her back into her family, physically and socially.

 

What I love about our Scriptures for today, is that we come full circle. The story within a story, mirrors itself. Giving up on power and reaching, being restored to life and to community.

 

Not only that, our Gospel story mirrors our Christian story, crucifixion and resurrection. There is blood and suffering, on the journey toward the cross, then death and grief, and finally restoration to life and to community.

 

With that in mind, here’s a fun fact from my colleague the Rev. Liv Gibbons:  tradition names the hemorrhaging woman "Berenike" or Bernice, which means "bearer of victory". And she's tied to St. Veronica (the latinized version of Berenike), who is said to have wiped Christ's brow on the way to the cross. The tending of one another's bodies — an irregular bleed, the sweat of agony — is really beautiful.

 

The way in which this Gospel story illustrates our Psalm is also incredibly beautiful. It begins with a heartfelt cry from the depths of alienation and despair. In that crying and reaching out, individualism gives way to a community wide appeal for hope. We know that if God held all of our wrongdoings against us, there would be no one who could stand before God. But, we also know that this is not the case. Instead, we know that there is forgiveness, which leads us to hope in the power of redemption. Not only do we worship a God of infinite power, but as the Gospel shows us, one of immeasurable compassion and tenderness who is sensitive to our sufferings.

 

This God that we worship, has a heart for the wounded and the wounding, and longs to restore us all to community.

 

So, if you are crying out from the depths, keep doing that. Reach out.

If you are not in the depths, look around the chaos and commotion to see who is.

Who is hurting.

Who is longing for healing.

Who is longing for restoration.

 

See those on the edges, our kin: LGBTQ+, women, those who are racialized or indigenous, immigrants refugees.

 

From out of the depth, I cry to you, O God.

Let us cry out. Reach out.

For we know that there is cause for hope.

So let us work toward the redemption, restoration, and inclusion of all.

Even ourselves.

Thanks be to God.

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