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Mid-Week Message - May 22

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

Last night, a friend and I went to a drag show in Fredericton. (For any other fans of RuPaul's Drag Race, it was Jimbo!) It was hilarious (I laughed so hard I cried). It was bizarre (we never knew what was going to come next from a brilliant and creative mind). And most of all it was "queer," and I choose that word in every sense that it carries, but especially in an older meaning of "deviating from established norms" or "bending away from expectations."

The friend that I went with is also a United Church minister, and of course I'm now pondering if there is anything that drag can teach us about God or about our faith. There is certainly the joy that drag brings - it is a form of performance art that entertains and delights - and joy is a gift from God.  Drag can also teach us about being authentically ourselves - that we don't have to fit ourselves into the boxes that society might try to put us into - that we can be fully and authentically ourselves, just as God created us to be.

And I also think that there is a counter-cultural teaching that we can receive from drag.  Just as Jesus overturned society's expectations in the time and place where he lived (He hung out with sinners and tax collectors - gasp! He spent time not just with women but with foreign women - shame! He taught that the poor will be rich and the rich will be poor - how dare he!), drag artists have a way of overturning our society's expectations for how we should perform gender.  And as we question this, maybe we can start questioning other expectations that society holds. Should we really believe that capitalism holds all of the answers, and that you should only have what you have earned; or can we start participating in God's economy by giving food to people simply because they are hungry? Should we take at face value the finders-keepers narrative of colonialism, or should we ask how God would want land to be used and shared?  Drag can help us to question and poke at societal and cultural norms.

(If you want to go deeper into the theology of drag, one of the podcasts that I listen to, Queer Theology, interviewed a drag artist - Latrice Royale for you RuPaul fans - for a recent episode. You can find it in your favourite podcast app, or through their website by clicking here and scrolling down to find the May 12 episode. The episode is about 35 minutes long.)

Moving on from drag to announcements for this week:

  • Worship on Sunday will be at 9:15 at Long Reach and 11:15 at Westfield. This week is Trinity Sunday, the one festival in the church calendar that is dedicated to a doctrine rather than an event from the bible. Who is God? What is God like? Those of you who know me, know that I love the Trinity (right down to my Ordination Tattoo), so I promise to try and pull you into my excitement about the Trinity this week. The scripture reading will be Isaiah 6:1-8.

  • Also happening on Sunday at Long Reach is a fishing expedition for the young (and young-at-heart). After the Story for All Ages (which, at Long Reach, will be about Jesus and fishing), our Sunday School teachers will be taking the children and youth down to the wharf to go fishing with David Jack. They will come back to the church at 10:30 after the rest of us have finished worship where they will be served a brunch.  All children and youth (even if you aren't regularly part of the Long Reach congregation) are invited to join! This is a rain-or-shine event, so make sure that you are dressed for the weather. If you have your own tackle, you are welcome to bring it along, or David will have extra to lend out as needed.

  • Ida MacPherson Memorial Trail Walk - those of you who knew Ida know that she was not only passionate about helping and serving others (which is why our pantries are named after her), but she also loved all of God's creation. In her memory, this will be the second year that Summerville United Church has had a trail walk fundraiser for the church in her name. When:  Saturday May 25, 10am Where: Sea Dog Cove Nature Preserve (33 Summerville Road) Donations to the church will be accepted at the start of the walk, with receipts issued for all donations of $20 or more. There will be activities set up for the children! Don't forget to bring your water and bug spray (and, if you would like to, clippers to do minor trail maintenance along the way) You can see the full poster by clicking here.

  • Flower Services - last week Session set the dates for this year's flower services. Please help spread the word to anyone who might appreciate these services when we remember friends and family members who have died (either this year or further back) and build a bouquet of memories. Long Reach - Sunday July 7 at 11am Westfield - Sunday July 14 at 11:15 am Bayswater-Summerville - Sunday July 14 at 2pm

  • Summer Sermon Series - as many of you know, in July and August I like to do something a bit different each year with our summer worship services. (My favourite is still the year we did "Things Jesus Didn't Say" but the summer we explored the theology of our favourite hymns was also fun.) This year, we're going to be diving into the theology of movies (and we'll be tying this in with our summer movie nights - I'm planning to publicize the list of movies for the summer in advance so that you can watch or re-watch them ahead of time, and there will be an opportunity each week to come to the church to watch the coming Sunday's movie with the group). I would love to hear your suggestions for movies that would be fun to explore! Do you have a favourite movie (and I'm hoping to focus on movies that aren't explicitly "Christian" movies) that might teach us something about God or something about how we as humans should be in the world? Please send any suggestions my way - I can't promise that I will use all of your suggestions, but I'd love to get some ideas from places other than my own brain!

And that's it for this week's announcements! (I hope that I haven't forgotten anything...)

For a closing thought this week, I shared a video on Facebook earlier today, and it is a beautiful and poignant reminder that God is always present, and that God loves you more than you can ever know.  If you follow Unvirtuous Abbey on social media, you will be familiar with their "Actual Photo of the Holy Spirit" bird picture memes. For Pentecost last Sunday, a church in Seattle compiled all of the Actual Photos of the Holy Spirit into a 9-minute slide show that scrolled on the screen during the sermon. (According to the pastor, the congregation got more out of the slide show than out of the pastor's words.) So I encourage you to set aside 9 minutes to sit and watch (and fair warning - I was only planning to watch the first couple to get a sense of how it was put together, but I couldn't turn away until it was over and had tears in my eyes by the end). You can watch it 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)


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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