May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be always with you!
And may the fourth be with you! (Sorry - I couldn't resist, since today is Star Wars Day... Around church circles, the debate is always whether you should respond to this greeting with, "And also with you" or "And with thy spirit.")
It is May now, and to me this is the month when we really see spring starting to arrive in Canada. At the beginning of the month, the leaves are no more than buds on the trees, the grass hasn't really started to grow yet, and the rivers are still high. By the end of May, flowers will be blooming everywhere you look, most of us will be thinking about cutting the grass (but not before the end of the month if you are participating in No Mow May), and the blackflies will have launched their annual quest for world domination.
Here in the Canada, we celebrate Easter in March or April, just when we are on the threshold of the month of new life and abundance. This is the moment that we trust is coming in the winter-times of our lives. Even when the nights are at their longest and it snows for weeks on end, we trust that May is coming. This is the season that sustains our hope the rest of the year. (I also can't help wondering what it would be like to celebrate Easter in the southern hemisphere at the beginning of winter. How does the meteorological season impact how we experience the church season?)
In terms of announcements this week:
Long Reach Cemetery Clean-up - is happening this Friday beginning at 4pm (or whenever you can get there). Bring your work gloves and a rake if you have one. We will end with a pizza party once the work is done - feel free to bring a dessert to share if you are so inclined. Hopefully we will be ahead of the blackflies this year!
Church in the World Book Study - We have been reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver (there are a couple of copies circulating in each church, with more copies available through the library, or you are welcome to order your own copy for your bookstore of choice). Ida and I have set the date for our discussion - Sunday June 5 at 7pm in the River Room at Long Reach United Church. Carpooling is encouraged!
Session and Official Board - mark your calendars as our next meeting is coming up later this month - Wednesday May 18 at Summerville United Church - Session at 6:30 followed by the Official Board at 7:30. (We will likely meet in the Sanctuary as there is a bit more space for us to maintain physical distance than there is in the basement.) Committee Chairs - I suspect that Ross or Josie will be contacting you next week for your reports, so this is your head's up to start thinking about what you want to report.
Sunday Worship - this week we will be worshipping at Summerville at 9:15 and Westfield at 11:15 with livestreaming of the Westfield Service on Facebook. In this season of Easter, we are focusing on stories from the book of the Acts of the Apostles - the stories of the very earliest church who were figuring out how to BE the church after Jesus had both been resurrected and had ascended into heaven. How could the early disciples carry on the work of Jesus even though Jesus himself was no longer with them. This week we are going to read the story of Tabitha and how Peter brought her back to life after she died (Acts 9:36-43). I hear strong echoes between this story and the time when Jesus brought a young girl back to life after she died (Matthew 9:18-26, Mark 5:21-43, Luke 8:40-56).
Finally, I wanted to say thank you to all of you for your efforts in keeping everyone safe in this time when there is still so much Covid in our communities. A couple of people have asked me in the past week how much longer we will need to wear masks for. I wish that I had a crystal ball so that I could see the future and know when the world will be safe for everyone, but I don't know when that is going to be. And until then, we can keep on caring for and loving our more vulnerable neighbours by doing our part to help keep them safe. Jesus tended to go out of his way to care for the most vulnerable people in his world - people with leprosy, people who were blind or deaf, people who were excluded from the community. When we care for the more vulnerable people in our world, we are walking the way of Jesus.
As a closing thought today, let me share with you a (more than slightly irreverent) preview of this Sunday's opening hymn. It has been my earworm this week, so now I share it with (inflict it on?) you! You can listen to 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) 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."