May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be always with you!
Last Sunday, we had our Remembrance Sunday services, and tomorrow is Remembrance Day. This is a day each year when we can pause, and remember the pain and loss of war, and pray for peace, and give thanks for all of the people who have served and who continue to serve our country so that we might be free.
"Christian Freedom" is a phrase that we sometimes here tossed around - the Apostle Paul wrote, "For freedom Christ has set us free" (Galatians 5:1), and Jesus said to people who wanted to become his followers, "the truth will make you free" (John 8:32).
There are different kinds of freedom - we can be free from something (e.g. free from war, free from poverty, free from fear), but we can also be free for/to something (e.g. free to serve, free to worship God, free to love our neighbours). And often the two of these freedoms are connected - because Christ frees me from the need to keep up with the world's expectations (for status or wealth or fame), I am free to give to those in need and love everyone I encounter; because Christ frees me from fear, then I am free to make my heart vulnerable around the people in my life.
And so tomorrow, as we celebrate our freedom, and as we thank everyone who has served and is serving in the Armed Forces for the freedoms that they have given us; I also invite you to take a moment to consider the things that Christ has freed you from and freed you to do.
The church has begun smelling like turkey this week as our volunteers have begun preparing the dinner for tomorrow - all 225 tickets were sold, so the parking lot is going to be a busy place tomorrow afternoon! Thank you to everyone who has volunteered to make this dinner the success that it is each year, even in years when we can't gather in-person around a table.
There are a couple of other things happening around the church this week:
Our White Gifts this Sunday are still going towards Hestia House - as a reminder, they are asking for Gift Cards (Wal-Mart, Sobeys, Superstore, Subway, McDonalds, Tim Hortons); New (ie not used) items of clothing for all ages from adult women to babies (PJs, slippers, hats, winter boots, mittens).
Our next Session and Official Board Meetings will be on Wednesday November 17 at Westfield United Church - Session at 6:30 and Official Board at 7:30.
Our Advent/Christmas letters will be available to be picked up beginning this Sunday. If you are here in-person, as well as picking up your own letter, please pick up any letters for your friends and neighbours that you can deliver for us to save us on postage! (Any that are left at the churches after November 28 will be mailed.)
Broadview Magazine subscriptions are due on Monday November 15. An annual subscription is only $25 (and trust me - given the quality of the articles each month, this is good value for money if you are a magazine reader). You can pay for it by cash or a cheque payable to "Broadview," placed in an envelope addressed to Joanne Yorke and dropped off at the church or placed in the offering plate. If you want to get in touch with Joanne, you can call her at 757-8080.
This Sunday, our services will be at Long Reach (9:15) and Westfield (11:15) with livestreaming of the Westfield service on our Facebook page. This week, Jesus is talking about the end of the world (Mark 13:1-8). When you think of the "end-times," what sort of images come to mind? There's a good chance that your imagination is fueled more by Hollywood than by Jesus! We'll be diving into what Jesus has to say, to see if there is an alternative (a possibly more hopeful alternative) to the apocalyptic books and movies that are out there.
As a closing thought today, I want to leave you with my favourite of Mary Oliver's poems that I was reminded of this morning when it came across my Facebook feed. If you aren't familiar with Mary Oliver, she was an American poet who died recently in 2019. Many of her poems have spiritual themes running through them, and many of them are deeply tied to the natural world.
I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?
Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?
Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,
Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
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."