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Mid-Week Message - July 3


May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be always with you!



Now that we are into July, I hope that everyone has some plans for the summer that include time for rest, time for recreation, time for re-creation, and time to simply be.



I had a good three weeks off - the middle week of the three was a week of Study Leave, and I spent it on PEI attending (and presenting at) the L. M. Montgomery conference. (And to all of you who have asked to see my presentation - I will make it available eventually, I just need to decide whether or not I have the energy to write it up formally and submit it for publication. If I decide that I don't have the time/energy to go down that road, I will share it in the format I presented it in on my blog.)



I've had a couple of conversations in the past couple of weeks about a course that I audited last fall at AST entitled "God, Ethics, and Social Media." Through our weekly classes on Zoom, there were a couple of threads that wove together through the semester, one of which was the relationship between what we do with the technologies that we use, and what the technologies we use are doing to us as we use them.  This is true for old-school technologies as well as new technologies. Think of a fork - we use the fork to bring food to our mouths to nurture our bodies; but in the process of using a fork (especially when we are first learning to use a fork), the fork changes our brains and our muscles as we develop the coordination to use it.  We always have a two-way relationship with the tools and technologies we use.



Because the class was focused on social media, those were the tools/technologies we were focused on, and the two-way relationship becomes much more complex there. What do we do with the various social media that we use?  And how are we being shaped by the social media that we use?



As followers of Jesus, we want to be shaped by God (the Holy Spirit) into who God created us to be. How does the Holy Spirit shape us? (My answer to that is through all of our encounters with other parts of creation - human and non-human alike; but I'm sure that others would have different answers.) Can the Holy Spirit work through the tool of social media to shape us; or, when we use social media, are we being shaped solely by tech companies, algorithms, and consumerism/captialism?



Because this was an ethics class, we spent more time asking questions than giving answers!



But I encourage you to spend some time this summer pondering these questions - maybe in the car while you're on a road trip; maybe sitting on the deck with a cup of tea watching the sun rise (or set); maybe as you are digging in your garden.  Who or what is shaping and forming who you are?  Is God working to form you through the people in your lives?  Is God working to form you through how you interact with nature? Is God working to form you through how you use Facebook, Instagram, TikTok etc?  Or are you allowing yourself to be shaped or formed by things that aren't of God?



And always, always, remember that you are a beautiful and beloved child of God; and that God is always wanting and working to shape you more and more into the image and likeness of Christ (who is love-made-flesh)!



In terms of announcements this week, I have a handful:

  • Our Flower Services begin this Sunday! This is a special service that we hold every summer to remember the people in our lives and in our communities who have gone before us, and there will be an opportunity to build a bouquet of memories during the service. You can see the poster with all of the details by clicking here.

  • That means that Worship this Sunday will be: 11:00am at Long Reach United Church (Flower Service) 11:15am as Westfield United Church and on Facebook Live (regular worship with pulpit supply) (Next Sunday will be Westfield and Bayswater-Summerville's turn for the flower services!)

  • Our Movie Nights are back for another year, but this time with a twist. We will gather every Tuesday evening at 7pm in the parlour at Westfield United Church to watch a movie together; and then that movie will become the focus of the sermon the coming Sunday (paired with scripture, of course!). Because I know that not everyone will be able to make it to our Tuesday movie nights, and because I know that some of you will want to make sure that you can watch the movie before Sunday, I'll include several movies at a time in these mid-week messages so that you can watch ahead. The schedule for the next several weeks will be: Tues. July 9 (for the Flower Services):  The Way (available for streaming on Prime) Tues. July 16 (for Sunday July 21):  Rise of the Planet of the Apes (available for streaming on Disney +) Tues. July 23 (for Sunday July 28):  Turtles All the Way Down (available for streaming on Crave)

  • Next Tuesday's movie will be The Way, a 2010 movie starring Martin Sheen as a father whose son (played by Sheen's real-life son, Emilio Estevez) died on his first day walking the Camino de Santiago de Compostela; and so walks the camino carrying his son's ashes. It is a sometimes-funny, sometimes-poignant story that asks us to consider lots of questions of who we are and why we are here. The movie will start at 7, and the popcorn will be popped! (Feel free to bring your beverage of choice.)

  • Strawberry Drive-Through Dinner - a reminder that tickets are on sale at the Grand Bay Home Hardware. $15 per serving will give you a very generous dinner of ham, salads, and strawberry shortcake for dessert... and the best part is that you won't need to do dishes on July 11! To see the poster, you can click here.

  • A reminder that Amber Graham and Gordon Bonham's wedding will be this Saturday (July 6) at 3pm at Westfield United Church - everyone is invited to come help them celebrate their day!

  • Mark your Calendars - I have a couple of dates for you to mark on your calendar for things coming up later this summer (more details to follow later): Thursday August 1, 7pm - Wild Worship (together with the Anglican Parish of Kingston). We'll gather at the start of the Seadog Cove Nature Preserve in Summerville, hike in to the end of the trail overlooking the river, share a short all-ages worship service, then hike back to our cars. Sunday September 8, 11am - Church Picnic. As in previous years, we'll gather at the Sherwood's cottage at Long Reach, worship together on the beach, and then share in the "best potluck of the year" as a church family!

And that's it for announcements this week.



For my closing thought, each week I try to share something that I'm reading, watching, or listening to. On Monday, I finished a delightful book I had been reading called Steeped: The Chemistry of Tea by Michelle Francl (which sounds like a potentially very dry read, but was made delightful not only by the topic - tea - but also by the author's writing). I have read the author's blog for the past 12 years (she is both a Roman Catholic theologian and a chemistry professor and her writing often brings together science and spirituality) so I knew that the book was going to be thoughtful and well-written even before I picked it up. If you want to dip your toe into her writing about tea, her are a couple of her blog posts on the topic:


Taking Tea with a Grain of Salt (this one is more science-y, but in an accessible way)


Itadakimasu: Wearing Gratitude (this one begins with tea but ends up at gratitude)



Blessings to you and yours, today and always!


Kate.



 

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."

(Matthew 22:36-39)


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