May 24th 2020 Reflections

Hello, dear St. A’s Church Family and Friends … welcome back to our present pandemic version of gathering for worship! Once again, I suggest you tap into this YouTube video, and after singing “There Shall be Showers ….” , pause the tape, and read this section, including the Scriptures (do you have a Bible handy?) before continuing on. God bless you all, and it is good to hear from you. Thank you!

Scripture Readings: John 17: 1-26; Ephesians 1: 15-23

Link to YouTube service …

Reflections: Hello Everyone,

Here’s something for your funny bone…. A man went to the doctor with a swollen foot. After a careful examination, the doctor gave the man a pill big enough to choke a horse. “I’ll be right back with some water”, the doctor told him.
The doctor had been gone a while and the man lost patience. He hobbled out to the drinking fountain, forced the pill down his throat and gobbled down water until the pill cleared his throat. He hobbled back into the examining room.
Just then the doctor came back with a bucket of warm water. “Ok, after the tablet dissolves” he said, “soak that foot for about 20 minutes.”

Oops! Hopefully we can laugh at that, but maybe we can relate a little to that man by our getting short on patience regarding this pandemic. We pray plaintively like the Biblical people of old, “How long, Lord, how long?” We want a return to normal. How long, Lord, how long do we have to wear these masks? How long, Lord, how long do we have to remain socially distanced in waiting to get into a store, or talking to people? How long, Lord, how long before I can visit loved ones? How long, Lord, how long before I feel less afraid?
We’re getting weary…energy is running low…we need a boost. The concept of running a marathon came to mind, as I thought of this, when the energies part ways through a race start to flag. Stories can be told of people coming from the sidelines and running with their loved ones to help keep their spirits up, – to help them cross the line. Sports games also need their fans to cheer them on. They need encouragement and a focus to win.

This week, many in the Christian community world- wide have been mourning the passing of Rev. Ravi Zacharias to cancer. (You can see him on You tube) He had a major impact on thousands, maybe millions, of Christian and non-Christian people in universities and government circles as he brought, like St. Paul of old, the relevance of the Christian message to them. Wally Walker, Craig, Angus, and myself have all had the pleasure of being in his company. On what I suspect was one of his last presentations (The Task in a time of Crisis) before a gathering of thousands, he encouraged the listeners to keep going, saying that we are here for a reason at this specific time. If we are Christ followers, we have a calling. No work is secular work even if the world regards it as secular. He encouraged his followers to keep going to cross the finish line.
Long, long ago , as Jesus was preparing to face His greatest challenge on His time on earth, -that of going to the cross, He prayed to His Father God for the strength to do it, …He prayed for His followers at that time, … and He prayed for us. Imagine that! Jesus prayed for us! He knew back then about us here now.

Astronaut James Irwin wrote: “I tell people that God has a plan for them. I say that if God controls the universe with such infinite precision, controlling all the motions of the planets and stars, this is the working of a perfect plan for outer space. I believe that God has the perfect plan for inner space, the spirit of man. This plan was manifest when He sent His Christ to die for us, to forgive our sins, and to show us He has a plan for our lives.” This was written by a man in what would be considered ‘secular work’. How might you see God using you now in 2020?
Jesus asked His Father that His followers would see His glory. (John 17: 24) Do we, His followers, have that as our focus, our aim? St. Paul, in writing to the Ephesian believers, desired that they might know the risen Lord better, the tremendous power He has to give us, and “the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints”.
All of this to remember that even though we may not be able to see it just now, but even in this, God has not deserted us – His followers. He is continuing to go forward with His plans for His Kingdom of life and goodness and righteousness, and we are part of that plan. As someone has so wisely said, “The world at its worst needs the church at its best”. The Lord has need of us in the places where we are now.

Yesterday, (May 23rd) I officiated at the funeral service for Myrna Hall, one of God’s faithful followers. We also, to our shock, learned that Shirley Christie, another of God’s faithful followers, left for her eternal home on Friday. Both of these ladies were also here for a purpose, and they have crossed the finish line with their faith intact. We rejoice for them, although we are sad for ourselves. They will, as so many others who have also taken leave, be greatly missed by their families and us! But what an example of Christian witness they have left for us to emulate! They were here as God’s chosen witnesses at this time.
So much more could be said, but dear Sandra will be waiting to send this out! Today, let us take courage that our Lord is with us, for He has promised that He will be with us always even to the end of the world; that He will never leave us or forsake us. Thanks be to God!

Prayer: Dear Lord, often we lose our focus on You because we get distracted so easily. And then we get discouraged. Please rekindle our trust in You that You are the Way, the Truth, and the Life. There is no other superior meaning to life than in knowing You and in following You. May we never forget this, and may we accept Your offer of forgiveness and strength to continue on with what You have called us to do by way of bringing in your Kingdom. We pray in Your name and thank You. Amen

With love, prayers and computer hugs, …Rev. Alice

Announcements:

Prayer topics: Please continue to remember in prayer: our world leaders, missionaries, the local churches, Rose Nichols (Mark’s wife) and others working with the ill and grieving, those suffering from spiritual and physical hunger, loss, illness,… including John Wiwcharyk, Llew Hall, Troy Cornford, (all now seeking to grow in strength at their homes), a young man named Tanner (severe head injury), …

Media speakers: Just a reminder of the some Christian speakers you will benefit from hearing; Reverends Alistair Begg, David Jeremiah, R.C. Sproul, Ravi Zacharias, Church of the Rock, Max Lucado
rayer topics: Please continue to remember in prayer: our world leaders, missionaries, the local churches, Rose Nichols (Mark’s wife) and others working with the ill and grieving, those suffering from spiritual and physical hunger, loss, illness,… including John Wiwcharyk, Llew Hall, Troy Cornford, (all now seeking to grow in strength at their homes), a young man named Tanner (severe head injury), …

Our church family has been hard hit this month with Bruce Ryan passing away on May 3rd, Myrna Hall on May 10th, and now Shirley Christie on Friday evening, May 22nd. Their departure has left a huge hole at St.A’s, Our love and caring goes out to all these families. …
We are happy to report that Llew Hall has recovered from COVID and was able to come home on Friday May 22nd.
For those seeking to develop a daily Bible reflective time and do not know how to start, there are a number of “Upper Room” and “Our Daily Bread” devotionals at the church. Please either email or phone the church office or Rev. Alice and we will be happy to get you one or both.

Media speakers: Just a reminder of the some Christian speakers you will benefit from hearing; Reverends Alistair Begg, David Jeremiah, R.C. Sproul, Ravi Zacharias, Church of the Rock, Max Lucado