Worship Start Time: 10:30am
Theme: A Very Merry Unbirthday Party
Worship begins at 10:30 and the coffee is hot at 10am, come early and gather in community.
Come to Scarboro for an intergenerational service celebrating the beginning of summer and the end of the year for our children's & youth programs. This is an opportunity for confirmation as well.
Stay after church for A Very Merry Unbirthday Party in the Marilyn Perkins - Memorial Hall, which will be transformed for this very special event. Enjoy food, fun and games!
Scaredy Squirrel and a Rocky Boat
June 24, 2018
Rev. Lee Spice
A couple of years ago, my husband, Ron, and I were hiking up a place called Forget-Me-Not Ridge. Ron spotted a squirrel, which quickly ran off the trail, but it didn’t look like an ordinary squirrel. The colouring was different. We heard the sound it makes – kind of a peeping or chirping – and that, too, didn’t sound like the red squirrels we’re used to hearing.
Turns out, according to our friend Google, this was a flying squirrel. Their range is very wide over North America, but because they usually don’t come out in the daytime. They are rarely seen.
He was taking a big risk, like Scaredy Squirrel did. Scaredy Squirrel was, apparently, a daytime flying squirrel, and his life was dramatically changed when he sailed into the Unknown.
He took a risk – accidentally, at first – but then, when he realized that there were blessings in risk, it became his daily routine.
The sacred story we read from the Bible also talks about a risk. Perhaps the disciples didn’t know it, when they first clamoured into that boat, but they were taking a risk when they climbed into that boat with Jesus. And they began their trip into the Unknown.
Recently, I was driving by the Moravian Church, and their church sign said something like, “Ships are safe in the harbour, but that’s not what ships are for.”
No – ships are for journeys. Ships are for exploring. Ships are for taking people and things somewhere.
The little ship in which Jesus and the disciples were sailing was going somewhere – the story says they were crossing to the other side, but, really, they were heading into the Unknown. They were tossed and turned, and the journey was not exactly safe. Someone could have gone overboard at any time – they were afraid. Of course, we know the story – Jesus calms the storm, and they are safe. With Jesus in your boat, you will be OK.
Or, maybe, what we can learn is that the Unknown does have big waves and storm clouds, but, with Jesus in the boat, you will get through it to your next big adventure.
This is a challenge to us, as Scarboro United Church, and to the United Church in general. We could play it safe, like Scaredy Squirrel, at the beginning of the story, having our own routine and knowing exactly what’s going to happen at 6:45 AM, or we could take a chance, and let the happy accidents – the God-sent coincidences - like killer bees - propel us into new territory.
In the story of the disciples in the boat, I found myself wondering if there was anyone left standing on the shore, all safe and sound, but totally missing the excitement of the journey, the fear of the wind and waves, the sure presence of Jesus, and the crossing into new adventures and new tomorrows.
It’s our challenge, as people and as church. Do we stick with exactly what we know? – 7 am, eat a nut – or go where God is trying to propel us?
Don’t get me wrong – church should be a safe place – a safe place to be community, a safe place to be yourself, a safe place to be in relationship. But if church becomes a commodity to be consumed, just so we can stay the same, then we will be left on the shore, wondering if we should have taken the chance.
So, let’s take the chance.
Let’s take the chance, and name that we are following the way of Jesus.
Let’s take the chance, and watch the horizon for God-sent coincidences.
Let’s take the chance, and step out where we might not have been before.
Let’s take the chance, and let the presence of Christ remind us that God is also out there in the scary world, in the great Unknown.
On this day, when we celebrate new beginnings and new adventures, I hope that all of us will have the courage to set sail into whatever Unknown stretches ahead, knowing that Christ is with us, all the way. Amen.
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