May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be always with you!
Last week, I wrote about hope, and this week I have a story about hope to share with you (which is also a story that may out me as a "crazy cat lady"!). Last week I talked about how hope is a future-oriented thing - even when the present moment is full of pain and suffering and grief (our "Good Friday" times), hope assures us that the pain of the present moment isn't going to be forever but something better is coming. No Good Friday lasts forever, but Easter is always coming.
So... my cat story. Many of you know that I have 2 cats, and my older cat, Paka, is now 16 years old. As she ages, she is becoming much skinnier than she has ever been, and her appetite isn't as good as it used to be (though, to be fair, she has never been terribly food-motivated). She often will walk away from a half-eaten meal to go lie on her pillow in the sunshine. You also have to know that for all 16 of her years, she has never liked being picked up or held - she will sit on your lap, but it has to be on her terms. (If you were part of our daily check-ins on FB Live earlier in the pandemic, you may remember her grey tail sticking straight up beside my head!) When I try to pick her up, she struggles and fights me until she wriggles out of my arms.
Anyways, this winter I started carrying her back to her food bowl when she leaves it half-eaten, trying to persuade her to eat more. I give her a bit of time to enjoy her pillow in the sun, but then I go and pick her up and carry her back to the kitchen. And the funniest thing is that she has stopped fighting me when I carry her. Even though she doesn't enjoy being carried, she knows that at the end of the journey is going to be a meal. (And I also like to think that she trusts the one who is carrying her.)
And just this week, I realized that this is hope. Even when our journeys are uncomfortable or painful (like Paka being carried), we can remember that the pain is only temporary and something better (like Paka's meal) is waiting for us on the other side of our suffering. And always, always, we can trust in the One who is carrying us.
Cat stories aside, here are our announcements for this week!
Holy Week is almost upon us! You can download a poster (and feel free to share it on your social media) by clicking here; but here is a summary of times and places of our worship services: Palm Sunday (April 2) - 9:15 at Long Reach; 11:15 at Westfield and on FB Live Maundy Thursday (April 6) - 6:00pm at Westfield, with worship woven together with a catered meal Good Friday (April 7) - 11:00am at Long Reach and on FB Live Easter Sunrise (April 9) - 6:45am at Brundage Point River Centre, followed by a potluck breakfast at Westfield church Easter Sunday (April 9) - 9:15 at Summerville; 11:15 at Westfield and on FB Live
Thank you to everyone who made sandwiches for Romero House last week - Bette dropped off 780 sandwiches from our 3 churches; which was half of the sandwiches that the volunteers there needed for the weekend.
Mid-Week Lent Gatherings - we still have 2 Wednesdays in Lent (this evening and next week) for our gatherings at 7pm in the parlour at Westfield United Church. You are welcome to join us for a quiet time of prayer, meditation, and music.
Happy Birthday Dave MacPherson! Dave's birthday is on Saturday April 1, and his family invite you to a drop-in celebration at his house that day from 2-4pm. Best wishes only.
Broadview Magazine - we will be gathering on Monday April 3 at 10am in the parlour at Westfield United to discuss the April-May issue of Broadview. Even if you aren't a subscriber, you can read many of the articles on their website by clicking here. Everyone is welcome!
Lent Madness - this week we are into the semi-finals with only 4 stories remaining! You can see the brackets and vote for your favourite stories on our website by clicking here.
Ida's Cupboard - Thank you to everyone who has continued to donate food to our three little free pantries. Now that the coldest part of winter is behind us, I'm not worried about canned goods freezing any more (there tends to be enough salt and sugar in canned goods that a couple of hours spent at a couple of degrees below freezing at night should be OK). So many families in our community are able to access food because of your generosity.
Westfield After-Church Socials - this Sunday will be our last gathering in the season of Lent; and this week anyone who missed their week earlier in Lent, or anyone who would like to contribute to our gathering another time is invited to bring "eats and sweets" to share. Session members will have the coffee and tea on!
And I think that is it for today's announcements. For a closing thought this week, I want to thank Ross Sherwood for sharing a song on his Facebook page this week - "Thank God I Do" by Lauren Daigle. To me, this song sings the hope that I was talking about earlier - the hope that whispers into our Good Friday moments, reminding us that Easter is coming. You can listen to the song by clicking here.
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."