Mid-Week Message - August 10
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be always with you!
Last Saturday, a group of us from Two Rivers Pastoral Charge walked in the Saint John Pride Parade. We carried a sign that said, "God Loves You. (Yes, you!) (Just as you are!) (You beautiful human!)"; and we carried an oversized picture frame which read "Created in God's Image." And we carried rainbow flags; and we wore rainbow ribbons and rainbow socks; and we had rainbow face paint.
We know that all people are created in God's image. Our gender identity and our sexual orientation are part of who we are - it isn't all of who we are, but it is part of who we are - and when we proclaim that we are created in God's image, we are proclaiming that our whole selves are created in God's image (including our gender identity and sexual orientation). The greater diversity of people - the greater diversity of gender identities, sexual orientations, skin colour, language, religion, age, ability, socioeconomic status etc. - that we can see as being created in God's image, then the bigger and more expansive our image of God will be!
It is so important that there are churches who are willing to stand up and say this out loud (this is part of the PIE of being Affirming - we are Public, Intentional, and Explicit). Unfortunately, there are still many churches (dare I say the majority of churches?) who teach the opposite - who teach a rigid binary of gender and who teach that sexual orientation is a choice. We need to do everything we can to lovingly counteract this narrative.
Like we talked about last Sunday in connection with the hymn "My Love Colours Outside the Lines" - we are called to leave the safety of the boat, to take the risk of stepping out on the water, all for the sake of expanding love.
And one final note about Saturday - the overwhelming feeling of the parade was joy. There was so much joy in the streets of Saint John on Saturday afternoon! This was our first time walking in the Pride Parade, but from all of the discussions, I'm sure that it won't be our last! (Maggie has already talked about decorating PJ's jeep to use as a float next year...)
In terms of what is coming up this week:
We are continuing our Wednesday night movies at Westfield United Church (7pm in the Parlour each week). Tonight we will be watching "The Eyes of Tammy Faye" (a 2021 biopic about the life of televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker that surprised me when I watched it - I was prepared to despise her, but the movie presented a very nuanced view of faith.) Next week we will be watching "Dumplin'" - a 2018 comedy about the teenage daughter of a former pageant queen.
On Sunday, we will be continuing our summer exploration of our favourite hymns - this week we will be looking at "Will Your Anchor Hold." There were several bible stories involving water and storms (e.g. Jesus calms the storm; Jonah; Peter walks on water), but I haven't gone with any of these! Instead we will be pairing this hymn with Romans 8:28-39. Our services will be at 9:15 at Summerville (outside, weather permitting) and at 11:15 at Westfield and on Facebook Live. Everyone is welcome!
Vacation Bible School - For the first time since 2019, we will be holding VBS at Long Reach United Church this year! (If you are unfamiliar with VBS, think of it as day camp with church-y themes.) It will be on Thursday August 18 at the church itself (not at the Quigley's camp this year); but don't worry, we're still hoping to swim (at White's Wharf). We will spend the day exploring a couple of Old Testament stories - David and Goliath and Jonah and the Whale - through games and crafts and other activities. Watch for more details coming soon (for both children and volunteers)
Looking ahead to the fall, there are a couple of dates you may want to put on your calendar (more details to come later):
Broadview Discussion - we will gather on Monday September 12 at 10am in the Westfield Parlour to discuss the September issue.
Church Picnic - will be on Sunday September 11 at 11am at the Sherwood's cottage on Admiral Lane. We will have an outdoor church service by the river, games and activities for the children, and a fabulous potluck lunch after.
And a reminder to Session and the Official Board - our September meetings will be on Wednesday September 21 at Long Reach.
As a closing thought today, I want to share a song with you. This wasn't one of the "favourite hymns" chosen by our congregations back in the spring, but it will be our opening hymn on Sunday (though I doubt that we will be singing it to this tune). You can click here to listen to this really fun version (and feel free to sing along)!
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."