This Sunday is Pentecost Sunday as well as our Sunday School Celebration to mark the end of our Sunday school year. Join us as we give thanks for another terrific year of learning and growth in the words and ways of Jesus, and as we share communion together at the Lord’s Table. Then join us afterward at about noon for a church-wide picnic in Rampton (Nelson) Park to the north of the church. Please note that the service is in the sanctuary, and that the picnic is bring-your-own, with dessert and children’s games provided.
As we head into the summer, often a time of travel and rest, sometimes of endings and new beginnings into the unknown, may you know the blessing of this Celtic prayer, a prayer fit for Pentecost:
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you
wherever he may send you;
may he guide you through the wilderness,
protect you through the storm;
may he bring you home rejoicing
at the wonders he has shown you;
may he bring you home rejoicing
once again into our doors.
We also read about Miriam and Deborah, prophets and leaders even in ancient Israel (that’s Exodus 15 and Judges 4-5). We read about Phoebe and Junia, patrons and deacons and apostles (that’s Romans 16). We read about Lois and Eunice, Timothy’s grandmother and mother who first taught him the faith (that’s 2 Timothy 1). We read about “the chosen lady” in 2 John, an anonymous woman who was the leader of her house church.
We also read about the Pentecost Spirit coming down on all flesh, so that God’s “sons and daughters” all prophesy, both “men and women” sharing in the same Spirit that gives insight into the gospel of Jesus Christ and courage to proclaim and live out this gospel in the world (Acts 2). We read that in Christ “there is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, ‘male and female’”—we are all adopted and gifted by the same Spirit of Christ, regardless of ethnicity, class, or gender (Galatians 3).
Most of all, we look to Jesus. In the Gospels we read about Jesus describing Mary of Bethany as the ideal disciple, learning from her Rabbi what is most needful (Luke 10:38-42). We read about Jesus repeatedly commending women for their faith and piety, often in contrast to the over-zealous religious men around them. We read about the resurrected Jesus commissioning Mary Magdalene with the task of an apostle: the first to bear witness to his resurrection (John 20:17-18).
We don’t pull specific statements and commands out from the Bible and build a wall with them to keep a whole class of people from fully participating in the life of the church.
Rather, we read the Bible to follow Jesus. And, in following Jesus together, we learn to read the Bible better.
And as we do this, we find ourselves not building walls to keep people out, but building longer tables to invite more people in, to feast in God’s kingdom.
And what a feast it is! The church has been enriched immeasurably by the fullness of God’s presence in the lives of women—as mothers, as grandmothers, as wives, as sisters, as daughters, as nurses and doctors, as teachers at home or in school, as pastors and theologians, as scientists and singers, as quilters and crafters and potters and painters, as professors and gardeners and homemakers and more.
A sermon by Michael Pahl on May 5, 2019, called “Breakfast with Jesus.” It is a reflection on John 21:1-19.
Here is a written excerpt:
Earlier I asked the question, “What if I had been Simon Peter?” How would I feel then about this breakfast with Jesus?
It turns out, though, that we’re all Simon Peter in this story. Me. You. Each one of us.
We all have our times of triumphant faithfulness, but we also have our moments of bitter failure. We all have gifts and strengths, but we also have our flaws and weaknesses. We are good people, most of the time, but we sometimes sin, and even sin badly, deeply wounding others in the process.
We may not deny Jesus as literally and directly as Peter, but we all in different ways deny Jesus’ claim on our lives.
And Jesus calls to us across the water, he calls us out from the familiar, the comfortable, the secure, and draws us to himself. He invites us into the warmth and light of his love, and he feeds us, he forgives us, he restores us, he takes up our gifts and transforms them into purpose, he says to us, to each one of us, to me, to you: “Follow me.”
I wonder: What would your breakfast with Jesus look like?
What memories would Jesus evoke for you—beautiful memories, painful memories?
What hidden wounds would Jesus heal? What haunting sins would he forgive?
What words would you most need to hear from Jesus, repeated until they are implanted deep in your soul?
What everyday and ordinary gifts do you have, what loaves or fishes would you bring, to give to Jesus for him to feed others?
What purpose would Jesus set before you, what particular path for you to follow, walking in his footsteps?
We are pleased to have two of the Pembina Trails Voices choirs joining us this Sunday, May 5, 10:40 am, during our morning Worship Service. The PTV Boys choir and the Chorale girls choir will be sharing some of their music with us in worship. Join us as we continue in the season of Easter, encountering the resurrected Jesus among us!
This Sunday, April 28, is our church’s Mission Sunday, and we are delighted to have Russ and Christina Dyck sharing with us about their life and work with Jubilee Partners. They will join us for our Adult Sunday Study time at 9:30am, and then Russ will be bringing the message for us during our Worship Service at 10:40am.
It’s also our annual Spring Fundraising Dinner after church at noon (chicken dinner plus cream puffs!). Proceeds from the dinner go toward our Mennonite Church Canada Witness partners Mike & Cheryl Nimz, our MCC blanket-making ministry called “Blankets for Jesus,” and our summer camp sponsorships.