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Jesus On Donkey

With sweaty palms
we wave these branches,
and quivering throats
we cry Hosanna―
save us, we beg you―
for our flesh knows
what our minds
do not yet remember,
how soon and badly
we will need you,
whom even now
in our sweet,
treacherous singing,
we condemn.

We are only a few days away from Palm Sunday. It is an odd time, this Holy Week, and the service that begins it seems so contradictory.  We start with shouts of joy, waving branches and singing. Yet we end it in the somber realization that the dusty road, spotted with the tears of God, will lead to sacrifice and death. A week later, by God's grace, we will be stunned to discover that the One who was dead and gone, is alive and present.

In this holiest of weeks, we are meant to remember all that happened.  We are meant to remember not just as in "calling to mind" as we might remember an appointment or a fact.  We are meant to remember as if we were actually present. In ancient times, this was known as anamnesis - almost like reliving an event in a "flashback".

In this holiest of weeks, we are meant to think deeply about who Jesus reveals himself to be in his actions and words.  We are meant to understand that Jesus demonstrates the person and character and emotion of God to us.  And we are meant to respond to that - to Jesus' raw humanity and to his astounding display of a divinity that is so much at odds with what we expect.

In this holiest of weeks, we are meant to recall that it was on the day corresponding  to our Palm Sunday that the Jewish people of Jesus' day chose a perfect lamb (often from the flocks pastured in Bethlehem!)that would be sacrificed a week later.  For a week, that chosen lamb lived in the home with the family, fed by hand, groomed and intimately examined. The week of examination allowed time for hidden flaws to be made clear.  This was important, for the lamb that would be sacrificed needed to be perfect and without spot or stain.

In this holiest of weeks, the world examined Jesus. They asked, "Is he truly the Lamb of God?  Is he, as he claimed to be, without sin or stain? Is he truly the Son of God? Is it possible that this is the Messiah for whom we have longed?"

In this holiest of weeks, we are meant to ask these uncomfortable questions as well.  This is the week to examine the claims he made and ask whether his actions this week bear out his words.  Jesus claimed to be the exact representation of God - to do and say and be only what the Father does and says and is.

If that is so, then in this holiest of weeks, we are asked to examine our own hearts and minds as well.  What do we actually believe ABOUT God? Is what we believe consistent with what we see in this week? The lamb lived with the family, and as they cared for it and fed it and groomed it, they naturally became more and more attached to it. We are meant to ask about the intimacy of our relationship with the Lamb of God.  How well do we know this Lamb, really? And how tenderly do we care for the Body of the Lamb?

In this holiest of weeks, the people of God grew to love that little lamb, and the day, corresponding to our Good Friday, that the Father carried that little one in his bosom to be slaughtered for the sins of himself and his family was day of weeping and wrenching sorrow. Scott Hahn observes "(St. Paul's) vision of the Passion is stunning. He shows us that it is not merely about how much Jesus suffered, but how much he loves. Love transforms suffering into sacrifice".

In this holiest of weeks, we are meant to feel with God the Father as he sacrifices the Son he loves for the people He loves more than Himself.  We are meant to feel with God the Son as he shudders with the terror and the pain and the shame and the unbelievable weight of all the sin and pain and grief and illness and death and horror that ever has been and ever will be.  We are meant to feel with God the Spirit, as the aching, weeping Spirit flows back and forth between and around and with the Father and the Son in the dreadfulness of this week.  We are meant to feel with the confused disciples, stricken friends, inconsolable mother, frightened officials and angry religious authorities as they all struggle to make sense of what is careening around them.

In this holiest of weeks, we hope you will make it a priority to carve out time to allow this all to happen. We pray that the services and meditation stations offered to you will help you as you think, and ponder and feel your way through these dark days.  And we pray that the wonder of Easter will burst forth from that darkness in a victory and joy deeper than you have ever known before.  In this holiest of weeks, we pray you will indeed "See Jesus".

Yours in the journey,

Rev. Marie+

Rector, Christ Church Anglican, North Bay

 

Holy Week 2012

Sunday April 1                   10 am                                Celebration  of the Passion with Liturgy of the Palms

Monday April 2                 11am to 7 pm                     Meditation Stations open to the entire community !

Tuesday, Wednesday       7am to 7 pm                       Meditation Stations continue

Thursday April 5               7am to 4:30pm                  Meditation Stations continue

                                         7 pm                                    Maundy Thursday service

Friday April                       10 am                                  Good Friday Service

                                          5pm                                    Community Walk from Holy Name to ProCathedral

Saturday  April 7               7 pm                                   Easter Vigil with Baptisms

Sunday April 8                   8:30 and 10:00am             Easter Services 

Steve Garnaas-Holmes Unfolding Light  www.unfoldinglight.net 

Pitre, Brant (2011-02-15). Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist (Kindle Locations 103-104). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

 

In the past week, Christ Church became the first congregation in our Deanery to be visited by the Deanery Assessment team. The assessment process is part of the Diocesan strategic plan we know as "Shaped by a Living Hope". Thanks to MArcia, Maria and Jay for their great leadership.

I have to tell you, I've been through any number of such exercises in my business life, and generally they produced reports that served as great doorstops.

Thankfully, this process will not end up holding any physical door open - but I believe it will open many spiritual doors for us.

What We Are Doing

The team, led by Dr. Jay, are helping us ask important questions about whether our congregation is moving into increased viability and sustainability.

More importantly, the questions we are being asked are helping us see ourselves as being in the flow of God's great work in God's world. I believe they will help us define how we can better image the One we love in the context in which God has placed us.

What We Have Been Doing

Dr. Jay's earlier work with us was invaluable.in leading us through some interesting and insightful exercises that helped us begin to discover who we are, and in preaching that called us "back to the heart" of the church.

We have now been wrestling with such questions for some months. We have been examining our programs and activities and asking, "What is it we are so busy at - exactly?" "What are the elements of our life together that really matter - for the Kingdom of God?" "Are the activities we engage in driven by and reflective of the Great Commission and the Great Commandment of Jesus?" These are vital questions!

This process, kicked off by the able assistance of our Congregational Development officer some months ago has resulted in a core group of some 25 or 30 people who have met together numerous times to seek God's leading. Elaine Hurst, assisted by her able scribe Craig, have led this process with sensitivity and skill.

Now we are being drawn into an even deeper theological and spiritual reflection on why we are doing the things we do - and who and where we are as individuals and a community.

What's next?

Right after Easter we will begin a series of four one night book discussions based on chapters from the books "Christianity for the Rest of Us" and "Practicing Our Faith". We will be looking at the practices of Discernment (learning to listen for God's voice), Healing and Worship/Testimony (testimony being very different than "street corner witnessing" - you'll be delightfully surprised by the authors' take on this!). You can get one or the other of these books, on loan, from the church office.

You do not need to read the whole book before the discussion, but reading the appropriate chapter for each night will be a help.The discussions will be held on Wednesday nights from 5 ( or shortly after for those who work!) until 6:30 with snacks provided to stave off any hunger pains. We begin on April 11. Don't miss this important time in our life together!!!

As we continue to meet, we want to remind you that EVERYONE - and we do mean EVERYONE! is not just welcome to come along, but urged to do so.  We need to hear the voices of both longterm and newer folks in our family!

Our friend, Jesse Zink has just published his book "Grace at the Garbage Dump". Those of you who read his blog know how gifted a writer and thinker he is - and those of you who have heard him speak so passionately about his work in Itipini, South Africa, know his ability to bring to life a reality of which most of us are only dimly aware.

I am eagerly awaiting my copy of the book - you can order yours directly from the publisher by going here https://wipfandstock.com/store/Grace_at_the_Garbage_Dump_Making_Sense_of_Mission_in_the_TwentyFirst_Century

Well done, Jesse

Don't for get our annual Vestry (General) Meeting on Sunday, January 29,2012.
The usual service times apply, with a lovely Sung Morning Prayer (BCP) at 8:30 and a more contemporary service with Communion (BAS) and Sunday School at 10 am.

These services will be followed by a shared lunch about 11:30. The Vestry Meeting will take place right after lunch.

For those who wonder what kind of animal a "Vestry Meeting" is, it is a sort of yearly family gathering where we decide who will take various responsibilities for the next year, report back on the past year and generally "catch up" and look forward.

We will share some news about our finances and building (it's all good!), elect members to Advisory Board and announce direct appointments. It may sound a little dry put that way, but the reality is anything but - we laugh a great deal and visit and discuss. Your voice is very important in these discussions, whether you have been a member at Christ Church for 50 years or a very short time.

Everyone who has any interest at all is warmly invited to come and listen and speak - even if just now you are exploring the idea of joining us as a regular member. Those who consider Christ Church their home church, contribute to the life of the church with time, treasure or talent and are "Regular Attenders" are eligible to vote or to take office.

The only restrictions which apply have to do with a few ministries that are deemed "High Risk" ( like teaching Sunday School, visiting people in their homes and handling money). For these ministries it is our practice to ask folks to attend regularly for about a year and undergo the Diocesan Screening Process (which includes a police check). In reality, High Risk Ministries are pretty limited in number. There are many, many opportunities to serve whenever you feel called to do so. Just speak to Rev. Marie or one of the Wardens and we'll find a place for you to serve very quickly!

We truly believe that every baptised Christian is called by God to serve - and we want to help folks find the place they are called to do that.

See you in Church!

Rev Marie

We would like to invite you to join us for our Annual Christmas Carol Sing-a-long to be held Sunday 18 December at 7:00 pm at Christ Anglican Church [890 Vimy Street, North Bay; near the ambulance station].   This night is always very informal.  If you like to sing, listen, or if you play a musical instrument and would like to bring it along, please come along.

There will be lots of carols and some light refreshments. Thank you and blessings.  We look forward to seeing you on the 18th.

2011 Christmas Carol Sing poster colour

Everyone is welcome to come to all or some of this workshop led by Rev'd Dr. Jay Koyle.

Stirring the Waters

Living the life that flows from the Font

Momentous changes have occurred in society. As a result, many of us as Christians struggle to discern how our congregations can be faithful and flourish. We long to know how we might fruitfully welcome and incorporate others into the life we share in Christ. It is tempting to look for quick fixes, clever gimmicks or ready-made programs for help. But if individuals and faith communities alike are to thrive, a different approach is needed.  After all, the mission of the church is not simply to add numbers, but rather to make disciples...

Come gather with your sisters and brothers of Christ Church and discover an ancient yet new process that can promote such transformation in our congregation! Our time together will be highly experiential, including worship, discussion, presentations and demonstrations.

Friday, November 4, 2011

7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

&

Saturday, November 5, 2011

9:30 am to 3:30 pm

at

Christ Church Anglican

890 Vimy Street North Bay