Mid-Week Message - April 12
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be always with you!
And Happy Easter! Christ is risen! Hallelujah! (The season of Easter lasts for 50 days, right through to Pentecost - May 28 this year - so please excuse me if I keep wishing you a Happy Easter for a few more weeks.)
In many traditions, the Sunday after Easter is celebrated as Holy Humour Sunday. Easter is a season of joy and laughter and new life. God played a practical joke on the devil by raising Jesus from the dead. Easter and resurrection are the ultimate practical joke that God plays on Death. And so it should be a season for laughter.
Jokes are funny because they are unexpected. Something is turned upside down or backwards. Humour can be a very powerful tool to undermine oppressive powers. And isn't that what Easter is all about? By recognizing Holy Humour Sunday, we rob the devil of any power by laughing at the devil.
As I said last Sunday - it's often said that the only two things that are certain in life are death and taxes, and now we can't even trust death any more. Death has lost its power over us, and so we laugh.
My favourite sorts of Holy Humour Sundays are when we turn the usual order of things upside down in unexpected ways. Remember the year when we did the whole service in reverse, beginning with "Go Now in Peace"? Of the first year of Covid when Bertis, Ross, and I changed places on the livestream for the beginning of the service?
This year, I am going to be away the first Sunday after Easter, so we have decided to move Holy Humour Sunday to the second Sunday after Easter (April 23). This is still in the season of Easter, so still the season when we get to celebrate with fun and laughter.
And so, in the tradition of turning the usual order of things upside down, this year on Holy Humour Sunday, you, the congregation, will have the opportunity to decide what we do in worship! Instead of Bertis and I deciding what hymns we will sing, you will get to choose. Instead of me deciding what I am going to talk about in the sermon, you will get to decide what I talk about.
I gave a hint in last week's Mid-Week message to start thinking about any questions that you always wanted to ask the minister but never had an opportunity to ask. Next week, you will have a chance to ask these questions! They can be theological questions, they can be questions about the bible, they can be questions about the United Church of Canada... I won't know what you want me to talk about until the question is asked! (I do reserve the right to not answer any questions that are too personal.) If you are in-person, there will be slips of paper with your bulletin for you to write you question(s) on, and someone will collect them. If you are joining us via livestream, you can put your questions in the comments section on Facebook.
(And for those of you who like telling jokes - don't worry, there will still be a chance for you to share your favourite church-appropriate jokes in the Story for All Ages!)
In terms of other announcements this week:
I am going to be on Study Leave beginning tomorrow, April 13-19 inclusive. If there are any pastoral emergencies in that time, you can call Margaret Stackhouse at 506-xxx-xxxx and she will connect you with a minister.
Worship this Sunday will be at 9:15 at Long Reach and 11:15 at Westfield and on FB Live, with Kathy Roy leading worship. I've seen her bulletin, so I know that the bible reading will be the story of Doubting Thomas - John 20:19-31.
Bible Study will resume on Wednesday April 26 at 10am in the parlour at Westfield United Church.
Westfield United Church - now that our children are starting to return to worship, we are recruiting Sunday School teachers to help Ken. Ideally will will have 3 or 4 volunteers (we already have 2!) who are willing to go on a schedule to be available to help out, since we need to have 2 adults with the children at all times. If there are 4 of you who are able to help out, your turn would only come once a month or so. Ken has a curriculum and does most of the work to prepare the lessons. If this is something you might be interested in, please let Ken know - firstname.lastname@example.org
Sue Shedd's funeral is going to be this Saturday, April 15, at 2pm at Fundy Funeral Home. You can read her full obituary by clicking here.
There isn't going to be a Mid-Week message next week, as I will be on Study Leave!
And I think that's it for announcements this week.
I have two links that I want to share with you as my closing thought.
1. I want to share this Easter reflection from Fr. Richard Rohr. It was shared as the opening devotion at a meeting on Tuesday morning, and it really resonated with me, and with the Easter message I shared on Sunday. You can read it by clicking here.
2. For those of you who were at the Easter Sunrise Service (or for those of you who weren't but are looking for a new earworm), I shared a link with Brenda the day before so that she could help to lead the song that we sang. You can listen by clicking here. ("Singing hallelu! Singing hallelu! Singing hallelu! We will rejoice and be glad!")
Blessings to you and yours, today and always!
Rev. Kate Jones Two Rivers Pastoral Charge (506) 757-2201 (office) (506) 343-1307 (mobile) www.tworiverspastoralcharge.com Pronouns: she/her/hers "Teacher, what is the greatest commandment in the law?"
Jesus replied, "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: "You must love your neighbour as you love yourself."