Sunday, Aug 23rd, 2020
Announcements: Look for these down at the end of the order of service
Take a moment of stillness. Light a candle and .... take a few moments before going on.
Take a moment of stillness. Light a candle and .... take a few moments before going on.
THE GATHERING OF THE CHURCH
Take a moment of stillness. Light a candle and .... take a few moments before going on.
Let us remember and be called to worship.....
May the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all.
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden.
Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Your voice burns within the depths of our being,
O God of our ancestors,
and draws us into your presence and service.
Hear the cries of your people
and speak a word of comfort,
that we may proclaim to all the earth
the glory of your name. Amen.
Opening Hymn #283: ‘By All Your Saints Still Striving’
v.1: By all your saints still striving, for all your saints at rest, your holy name, O Jesus, for evermore be blessed. You rose, our King victorious, that they may wear the crown and ever shine in splendour reflected from your throne.
v.3: Then let us praise the Father and worship God the Son, and sing to God the spirit, eternal Three-in-One, till all the ransomed number who stand before the throne, ascribe all power and glory and praise to God alone.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God--what is good and acceptable and perfect.
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.
Psalm 138: ‘Lord, Your Love is Eternal’
Refrain: Lord, your love is eternal; do not forsake the work of your hands.
v.1: I will give thanks to you, O Lord, with all my heart, for you have heard the words of my mouth.
In the presence of the angels I will sing your praise. I will worship at your holy temple. Refrain
v.2 I will give thanks to your name because of your kindness and your truth.
When I called, you answered me; you built up strength within me. Refrain
v.3: The Lord is exalted yet the lowly he sees and the proud He knows from afar.
Your kindness, O Lord, endures forever. Forsake not the work of your hands. Refrain
THE PROCLAMATION OF THE GOSPEL
The Gospel of Matthew 16:13-23
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" And they said, "Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"
Simon Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."
Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
The Gospel of Christ, praise to you Lord Jesus Christ.
Reflections for 12th Sunday of the Pentecost Season < Click here to watch David read this
How could they not see that?
“Who do people say I am?” asked Jesus.
I wonder if you ever wonder, who do people say you are?
I was concluding, last week, that I am not well equipped to really know someone without spending a great deal of time with them, and in different, and possibly difficult circumstances.
One of the great things about getting old, I am discovering, is that my need to understand things (why the weather is changing? does the economy work? who invented cork screws and how? how do you build 30 story buildings? why does my knee hurt and did I do something or should I do something? endless....!)....that need is diminishing.
I can often just look at a tower block being built, the ferry offers lots of scope for such sights, and wonder at the beauty that might emerge, and marvel that someone could actually imagine that sail of a building and design its construction, bring it into being.
I may be completely taken by someone I meet or hear interviewed, but that’s just a snapshot. I need to know more, and then perceive more deeply.
Not just knowing, but perceiving is the theme of the readings for this Sunday.
Jesus, walking along with his followers asks “Well guys (because they were largely “guys”) ... Well guys, who do people say I am?”
Perhaps Jesus is thinking “Am I communicating adequately to lead people to the truth about my mission in the world?” Maybe it was just a thought that skidded through his head and popped out of his mouth.
More likely, he wanted to know, to what extent, each of his followers had begun to grasp what he was doing, and what he was showing, and who he was, really deeply was.
"Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
These are safe answers. Go for “safe” rather than risk sounding “dumb”.
Then Jesus said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"
Simon Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."
Peter runs the risk of “foot in mouth syndrome” and the embarrassment that goes with it, but I think He has glimpsed something beyond mere sight.
What is the knack of seeing the spiritual truth in the midst of the mundanity of life?
How do you see into a person? into a situation? into the presence of God in an ordinary or even shabby situation?
Do you remember the Magic Eye pictures from quite a while back? They were early in computer time.
Someone would show you a picture, all weird and bright with a sideways pattern on it and say, “Can you see it?” “What? you would ask “Well! The elephant of course!” At which point irritation and a feeling of possible failure might arise. A kind friend might suggest, “Pretend to yourself that you are looking about 2 inches past the picture, as if you are looking through it.” Then suddenly a depth appears in the picture, and there is the elephant! A shape of an elephant floating in front of the background, and shining in the colours of the pattern. Suddenly it becomes visible. But, blink and the 3D has gone!
I think Peter had been looking at Jesus, seeing the surface, listening to the teachings, holding the hand of the person just healed, feeling the joy of those who Jesus spoke with or touched.
And then looking at the guy. Just a guy like one of us. Jesus needed sleep and food and water..... But Peter was sensing that there was more underneath. He was trying to look beyond the front picture. He was looking inside.
He glimpsed divinity. "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!” In the magic eye moment, if and when your brain and eyes to connect differently, you shout, “Oh! I see it at last!” Peter could have said that in the moment too.
We, who come to church, are members of the faith, we have the answer to “what do you see when you look at Jesus?” We know because we have been told. We know because we have glimpsed it, “the glory of the only begotten child of God” and the truth endures in memory and belief and trust. Or we know because we were told it was true. Someone else’s truth and we trust it, “take it on faith”.
My invitation to you is to look again. Imagine yourself into this passage. You might have to get your Bible out and read back a bit to get into the plot. Read it as if you were there. Take a moment.
What clothes would you be wearing? What do they feel like against your skin? What is the air like? Hot? Dry? Smelling of hot grass or dust from the road? Is the sun in your eyes? or is there shade? Is it noisey? Is there wind in the trees rustling the branches? Are you close to Jesus? Create the scene, fill in all the details. BE there! Then look... “look” with all your senses, look into Jesus, look deeply with your spiritual attention. Ask, “Who are you? Who are you really? Who is in you?”
Just like magic eye puzzling, you are trying to catch the hidden knowledge of the deep inner being of Jesus. Not just historically who was he? Not who other people say he is (clergy included) But Who do you see in Jesus?
Really, I should stop you reading now and tell you to do this, sink into it, spend half an hour on this. And if you don’t make contact, do this again a few times in the next few days. Keep trying.
Jesus only becomes your Lord when you “see” and acknowledge what you have “seen” with this inner eye of the spirit.
If this works for you (and it may take months deepening the practice) it will change you. You might find that you look deeply into other people. You might see unexpected beauty of soul, and there are times when you will see darkness, or worse, emptiness. Mostly you see great decency, kindness, grace and love struggling to get free from the junk and pain we pick up along the way. You may see the damage that has been done, and how God’s spirit, without fuss or attention-seeking, is healing there, or, being blocked.
It is the “spiritual magic eye” that you need to practice. To look at a person with love and openness of mind and heart. To look past, or through, or just 2 inches beyond, or into ( the words don’t quite cover how this works, only practice works). And then, without judgement, to accept what you see.
Sometimes you see death, or abandonment, or the poison of drugs, family violence, and rejection. And there it is, and you may not be able to do anything but offer distant love and prayer. Your attempt to be alongside may be met with rejection, anger and judgement. Back off then and pray, and let go.
Sometimes, with patience and the continued desire you can become a friend, and very rarely you can help a life change course. Exceptionally, you will see God’s Spirit there and you will get the blessing!
Sometimes you will look because you see something that draws you to the light that may be in a person.
Again you have to look, not at the person, but a few spiritual inches deeper to see who is there.
It is an art to practice this and hard work. It needs time, inner stillness and love.
If you go back and read how Paul sees his Christian friends in the Epistle to the church in Rome you can see how he has looked deeply, past clothes of poverty or wealth, past polite cultured graces and past rough and tumble characters’ crusty ways. He has the “magic eye” of faith.
With practice, so could you.
Reflection Music: ‘Ubi Caritas’
Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est. Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor. Exultemus, et in ipso iucundemur. Timeamus, et amemus Deum vivum. Et ex corde diligamus nos sincero.
Where charity and love are, God is there. Christ’s love has gathered us into one. Let us rejoice and be pleased in Him. Let us fear, and let us love the living God. And may we love each other with a sincere heart.
The text is attributed to St. Paulinus II and the setting is by Ola Gjeilo, a Norwegian composer currently living in New York City. The singers are ‘Kings Return’, a Dallas, Texas-based a capella quartet that formed in 2016.
Pentecost is the season of the Church year dedicated to the Spirit of God.
Without face or “personality’ the Spirit is sometimes hard to pray with.
Prayer in the Spirit is learning to know that the silence of God on the other end is not absence or disdain, but deep concentration, and the threads of love, through the Spirit, are being woven into your soul as you pray.
You are heard and the Spirit prays with you, amplifying, simplifying, digging for the deep truth of your prayer. Healing your heart, growing grace within you, leaving you subtly changed each time you bring yourself fully into prayer.
(Take a moment to think of all the people from church that you can remember. Think of them, with you, praying right now. Hold them before God in fondness of heart and mind.)
Let us pray for ourselves.
When I feel lost or lonely, be with me.
When I am too busy, or overwhelmed, God slow me down and give me rest.
When I am anxious, or angry, or sad, please hold and comfort me.
When I turn to you, let me know you are there.
When I am ready to step forward, hold my hands on the water.
Hear my prayers for those who need your love and help.
We pray for Justin, for Doug, for Adam and for Chris, for all those who lead us in public service.
We pray for those who must make decisions about the distribution of public money in our nation and province. We pray for social workers, people running assited living homes, for those who give time and skill to help the homeless and those with mental illness who find life too hard.
We pray for First Nations people, that they may rejoice in their dignity, their wisdom and their heritage.
We pray for peoples who have made Canada their home over the old and recent past.
Immigrants, new and old; refugees longing for home and fearful for families left behind.
We pray for those who have little money to fall back on as places of work have closed down.
Gracious God, guard their pride and support their dignity, and help all with strength to make their place in society a place of honour and equality.
We remember those who work in healthcare, and carry on their ministry of healing in spite of personal danger. For all who continue to serve in keeping our city and island safe. We uphold the the Chief Medical Officers who guide and advise us. We pray for the essential workers, for safety and peace.
We pray for the future of our police forces, that they may return to being part of our communities, to help and to serve, the least and the greatest. That they may be bringers of peace and security to the lives of the weakest, the broken and the most in need.
We pray for all who are ill, in body mind or soul, especially for those we name now, those we know personally and the names we have been asked together to pray for for Donna, Margaret, Charlotte, Rose, Penny, Kaya, Craig and Anne and family, Michael, Martin, Charles, Alizon
Please take time here to pray for those who you know personally.
We pray for Toronto Island, its people, this place of beauty and peace and security.
Pray with thankfulness for all in our church community.
Pray for Bella, Jane, Joyce, Julia & Nancy who hold responsibility as leaders in the church.
And we pray for friends in the church who we cannot see and who we miss.
And we remember those we love who have died who we hold in memory, especially, Bob, Al, Joey, Paulette, Maria, Mick, Fred, Brian, Michael, Ron that through your glorious redemption that ends all suffering, they may rest with you eternally
We pray for our Anglican community of Churches in Toronto Diocese.
Today we pray for St. Monica, and its food bank and neighbourhood advocacy;
for St. Nicholas, Birch Cliff, its weekly community lunch, its men's cooking and support group, its participation in a community Christmas dinner program, and the Churches by the Bluffs Food Bank;
and for St. Ninian, Scarborough, and its Food Bank
Here please take time now to bring to God the hopes and worries of your heart,
your thanksgivings, your fears, those you love and those who you don’t, but perhaps should.
Bring your hopes and your regrets, and ask for a blessing on all you hold in your heart........
We bring our longings and our fears, our hopes and our desires to you. Hear our prayers, gracious God. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prayers of Reconciliation
Merciful and Holy God,
We bow before You in heartfelt confession,
acknowledging that we are a broken people, living in a broken world.
This world is dark with the stain of sin.
Your design for creation has been corrupted by the abuse of power,
the appetite for lust, and the enslavement of our wills.
We allow evil to go unchallenged,
and become passive and indifferent to Your call to engage the world with the Gospel.
Forgive our sinfulness.
Our sins of commission and omission have separated us from You,
from others, and from the world You seek to redeem. Amen Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church
Almighty God, in your great mercy you promise us all forgiveness and the path into life in your love. Have mercy on me, pardon me, help and strengthen me. Deliver me from the darkness that clings, so I may step further into the light of your ever-present eternity in Peace. Amen
When we allow God’s forgiveness to enter, in heart and soul and mind, we begin to find ourselves at peace.
May the peace of Christ, which passes all understanding,
keep our hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God,
and of his son Jesus Christ, our Lord
The offering we return for the great offering to us of unconditional love.
The offering we usually think of as about money, and there are helpful notes about that at the bottom of these pages.
But more important is the offering of ourselves to God.
Take a moment and ponder what you might offer to God this week.
Perhaps 10 minutes each morning, before the day gets going, to consider what you could do today to be Christ’s secret presence for one other person.... perhaps to read this service through, or parts of it, each morning...To pray. And to ask, what is the gift of yourself you could give to Jesus?
Offering Hymn #73: ‘One Bread, One Body, One Lord of All’
Refrain: One bread, one body, one Lord of all, one cup of blessing which we bless –
And we, though many, throughout the earth, we are one body in this one Lord.
Gentile or Jew, servant or free, woman or man, no more.
Many the gifts, many the works, one in the Lord of all.
Grain for the field, scattered and grown, gathered to one for all.
A pandemic presentation of the John Foley, SJ, eucharist music written in 1978. (Father Foley intended a ‘pop-music’ setting for this hymn.)
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread
and forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial,
and deliver us from evil,
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours,
Now and for ever. Amen.
Closing Hymn #484 ‘In Christ There is No East or West’
In Christ there is no east or west, in Him no south or north, but one great fellowship of love throughout the whole wide earth.
In Him shall true hearts everywhere their high communion find, whose service is the golden cord close binding humankind.
Join hands, good people of the faith, what e’er your race may be; who serves my God in truth and love is surely kin to me.
In Christ now meet both east and west, in Him meet south and north; all faithful souls are joined in one throughout the whole wide earth.
May God’s love surround us, God’s Spirit guide us, God’s whisper cheer us, God’s peace calm us,
May God’s shield protect us, God’s wisdom arm us, wherever God may lead us.
Closing: Take a few moments, a few breaths. Try to remember when, in this worship, you felt close to God’s presence. Recall words or phrases that seemed to speak to your heart. In this pause ask again if there is anything more that you should bring to God in prayer before the service is concluded. Take as long as you need to lift these up in prayer.
We are in eternal timelessness during worship, so there is no rush.
We will depart in peace, in the name of the Lord. Amen! Alleluia!
Thank you for being the Church today!
Pray for each other during the week. Phone and email. Keep the body together!
NOTICES AND ANNOUNCEMENTS FOR THIS WEEK
Regarding Ron Gaskin
I am sad to tell you that former islander Ron Gaskin died on Tuesday evening, his son Callum and family beside him, as he peacefully took his last breath.
Ron was deeply connected to the Island community even after he left for the city a few years ago. He was the fire-keeper at the Easter Egg Hunt and for many other celebratory hearths. He produced music events at the Island church bringing all manner of performers to glorify in the acoustics of that sacred space. Ron found a soul mate in Rev. Michael Marshall who helped his family in his last days.
On the island, Ron and partner Kate Tucker, brought up their son Callum and became an integral part of life here. This is a particularly hard loss to the Barber-Harley clan as we were in and out of each other's houses for so many years as the kids grew up.
Many of Ron's colleagues and friends in Toronto and across the world have kept online vigil over the last weeks as his health declined following a fall. He survived fifteen years after a double transplant and was profoundly grateful for all the help he received throughout his health challenges.
Ron will be remembered by many as the voice of Pirate 90 radio and as a host at CKLM (in my opinion, the sexiest voice on radio). He brought an incredible array of musicians to Toronto from far and wide, and nurtured, managed, supported and showcased (often beyond any pecuniary potential), so many local musicians. A 25 hour long playlist was contributed to by his musician friends and played for him in his last days.
Ron was a stylish, handsome, humourous, thoughtful, non-judgemental person who connected to the deepest parts of life. He found treasure in the smallest things and in the strangest sounds. He opened our ears and hearts to the new and unusual, and always sought to bring people together in communal celebration.
We will miss Ron's unique take on life, the universe and everything. We will miss his distinct contoured face (visually cemented forever by Alexa Hickox' ASL sign for him), we will miss his smooth and sultry tones, his wry smile and the twinkle in his eyes. And we all will remember a piece of music we would only know about because of Ron.
Keep an eye on the parish website
www.standrewbythelake.com and your email box, for posts that try to keep us together during the week.
Please continue to contribute to St. Andrew’s! The church has ongoing monthly expenses and no collection plate while we are all unable to gather.
Due to Covid-19, please do not use cheques.
Here are several ways you can support your church:
PAR - Pre-Authorized Remittance. This is the best way we have found to help. It is secure and well recommended. For information contact Joyce Rogers at email@example.com
You can continue to use these methods of support too..
E-Transfer - Use email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Canada Helps – See the link in the announcement section or go to the website.