Sunday Reflection, Pentecost – May 28, 2023


Coming Of The Holy Spirit

Acts  On the day of Pentecost all the Lord’s followers were together in one place. Suddenly there was a noise from heaven like the sound of a mighty wind! It filled the house where they were meeting. Then they saw what looked like fiery tongues moving in all directions, and a tongue came and settled on each person there. The Holy Spirit took control of everyone, and they began speaking whatever languages the Spirit let them speak.

Many religious Jews from every country in the world were living in Jerusalem. And when they heard this noise, a crowd gathered. But they were surprised, because they were hearing everything in their own languages. They were excited and amazed, and said:

Don’t all these who are speaking come from Galilee? Then why do we hear them speaking our very own languages? Some of us are from Parthia, Media, and Elam. Others are from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, 10 Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, parts of Libya near Cyrene, Rome, 11 Crete, and Arabia. Some of us were born Jews, and others of us have chosen to be Jews. Yet we all hear them using our own languages to tell the wonderful things God has done.

12 Everyone was excited and confused. Some of them even kept asking each other, “What does all this mean?”

13 Others made fun of the Lord’s followers and said, “They are drunk.”

14 Peter stood with the eleven apostles and spoke in a loud and clear voice to the crowd:

Friends and everyone else living in Jerusalem, listen carefully to what I have to say! 15 You are wrong to think that these people are drunk. After all, it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16 But this is what God told the prophet Joel to say,

17 “When the last days come,
I will give my Spirit
    to everyone.
Your sons and daughters
    will prophesy.
Your young men
    will see visions,
and your old men
    will have dreams.
18 In those days I will give
    my Spirit to my servants,
both men and women,
    and they will prophesy.
19 “I will work miracles
    in the sky above
and wonders
    on the earth below.
There will be blood and fire
    and clouds of smoke.
20 The sun will turn dark,
and the moon
    will be as red as blood
before the great
and wonderful day
    of the Lord appears.
21 Then the Lord
will save everyone
    who asks for his help.”

Kids Korner: The Holy Spirit (May 28th)

Read Acts 2:1-21 with your family.

Pentecost (meaning “50 days” in Greek), was a festival for the Hebrew people where they celebrated the harvest of wheat, read the whole story of Ruth, remembered King David, and recognized the anniversary of Moses getting the 10 Commandments from Mount Sinai. It was an important time and the Hebrew people were expected to travel to Jerusalem to bring their offerings to the Temple.

That was the setting for the followers of Jesus, who were also there to celebrate Shavuot, the Hebrew name for this celebration. This time was different than any Shavuot celebrations in the past. This time the Holy Spirit, the presence of God that Jesus promised, came to the followers of Jesus.

They started talking in different language so all those from foreign countries heard the message of Jesus in their own words. This was overwhelming, and it was the start of what would eventually become the Christian religion. Pentecost is the birthday of Christianity.

Sunday Reflection – Ascension Sunday, May 21, 2023


Jesus offers prayer

John 17 After Jesus had finished speaking to his disciples, he looked up toward heaven and prayed:

Father, the time has come for you to bring glory to your Son, in order that he may bring glory to you. And you gave him power over all people, so he would give eternal life to everyone you give him.  Eternal life is to know you, the only true God, and to know Jesus Christ, the one you sent. I have brought glory to you here on earth by doing everything you gave me to do. Now, Father, give me back the glory I had with you before the world was created.

You have given me some followers from this world, and I have shown them what you are like. They were yours, but you gave them to me, and they have obeyed you. They know that you gave me everything I have. I told my followers what you told me, and they accepted it. They know I came from you, and they believe you are the one who sent me. I am praying for them, but not for those who belong to this world. My followers belong to you, and I am praying for them. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine, and they will bring glory to me.

11 Holy Father, I am no longer in the world. I am coming to you, but my followers are still in the world. So keep them safe by the power of the name you have given me. Then they will be one with each other, just as you and I are one. 

Kids Korner: Jesus Leaves (May 21st)

Read Luke 24:44-53 with your family.

Remember back to Good Friday, how sad everyone was that Jesus had died? Jesus came back Easter morning and everyone was shocked. Then they started getting used to Jesus appearing to his closest followers and they were happy again.

This week we hear about Jesus leaving for good, but this time his closest followers were not sad. This time Jesus had spent 40 extra days teaching them all about how God wanted to change the world, and this time they listened.

All of Jesus’ friends and followers knew that death was not the end, that God loved them very much, and that they now had the responsibility to share that with everyone. This time the disciples were ready to say in public “We believe in Jesus Christ!”.

Sunday Reflection – May 14, 2023


Promise of the Holy Spirit

John 14 15  Jesus said to his disciples:

If you love me, you will do as I command. 16 Then I will ask the Father to send you the Holy Spirit who will help you and always be with you. 17 The Spirit will show you what is true. The people of this world cannot accept the Spirit, because they don’t see or know him. But you know the Spirit, who is with you and will keep on living in you.

18 I won’t leave you like orphans. I will come back to you. 19 In a little while the people of this world won’t be able to see me, but you will see me. And because I live, you will live. 20 Then you will know I am one with the Father. You will know you are one with me, and I am one with you. 21  If you love me, you will do what I have said, and my Father will love you. I will also love you and show you what I am like.

Performed by Margaret Whisselle

Kids Korner: Promise of the Holy Spirit (May 14th)

Read John 14:15-21 with your family.

Jesus knew he was leaving. His friends knew he was leaving, although they didn’t know the rest of the Easter story like we do. Everyone was sad.

But in the middle of all those feelings of worry and loss, Jesus gave them hope and love. He told them another would come to help them understand God. One who would make them feel better and help them really live the only commandment Jesus every gave his followers – that they love everyone. This was not romantic love or family love, but love for our neighbours and love for the world.

The promise was the Holy Spirit.

Jesus promised we would never be alone, and as long as we lived love for each other, we would always know God.

Sunday Reflection – May 7, 2023


Jesus is the way

14 Jesus said to his disciples, “Don’t be worried! Have faith in God and have faith in me. There are many rooms in my Father’s house. I wouldn’t tell you this, unless it was true. I am going there to prepare a place for each of you. After I have done this, I will come back and take you with me. Then we will be together. You know the way to where I am going.”

Thomas said, “Lord, we don’t even know where you are going! How can we know the way?”

 “I am the way, the truth, and the life!” Jesus answered. “Without me, no one can go to the Father. If you had really known me, you would have known the Father. But from now on, you do know him, and you have seen him.”

Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father. That is all we need.”

Jesus replied:

Philip, I have been with you for a long time. Don’t you know who I am? If you have seen me, you have seen the Father. How can you ask me to show you the Father? 10 Don’t you believe that I am one with the Father and that the Father is one with me? What I say isn’t said on my own. The Father who lives in me does these things.

11 Have faith in me when I say that the Father is one with me and that I am one with the Father. Or else have faith in me simply because of the things I do. 12 I tell you for certain that if you have faith in me, you will do the same things I am doing. You will do even greater things, now that I am going back to the Father. 13 Ask me, and I will do whatever you ask. This way the Son will bring honor to the Father. 14 I will do whatever you ask me to do.

Performed by Margaret Whisselle

Kids Korner: I am the way (May 7th)

Read John 14:1-14 with your family.

Did you know that the very first Christians did not call themselves “Christians”, but rather People of The Way? That name comes from this story in the Bible, where on the night before he died Jesus told his followers all sorts of important things, including that he was the way to the new world, the new kingdom, the new way to live as God’s followers. So it seemed reasonable to call their new lifestyle The Way.

These new followers were not interested in creating a religion, they wanted to change how people behaved so everyone would take care of everyone else. ‘The Way’ of Jesus means feeding the hungry and giving the homeless someplace to live.

Because it is a lifestyle, and not a belief system, people who don’t call themselves Christian could still be followers of The Way simply by doing good things for others and helping to work for a better world for everyone.

Sunday Reflection – April 30, 2023


Follow the Shepherd

John 10 Jesus said:

I tell you for certain only thieves and robbers climb over the fence instead of going in through the gate to the sheep pen. 2-3 But the gatekeeper opens the gate for the shepherd, and he goes in through it. The sheep know their shepherd’s voice. He calls each of them by name and leads them out.

When he has led out all of his sheep, he walks in front of them, and they follow, because they know his voice. The sheep will not follow strangers. They don’t recognize a stranger’s voice, and they run away.

Jesus told the people this story. But they did not understand what he was talking about.

Jesus said:

I tell you for certain that I am the gate for the sheep. Everyone who came before me was a thief or a robber, and the sheep did not listen to any of them. I am the gate. All who come in through me will be saved. Through me they will come and go and find pasture.

10 A thief comes only to rob, kill, and destroy. I came so everyone would have life, and have it fully.

Performed by Margaret Whisselle

Kids Korner: I am the doorway (April 30th)

Read John 10:1-10 with your family.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus uses a lot of “I am” statements to explain who he is and how he knows about God’s world. In today’s story the “I am” statement can either be “I am the gate” or “I am the doorway” (the Greek word is better as ‘doorway’, but since we are talking about sheep outside the term ‘gate’ makes more sense).

Often we think of a gate as the only opening in a pen or other fenced in area. Too many people before us have decided that means there is only a narrow opening to understand God’s message. The scripture doesn’t say that. The scripture says Jesus is the doorway or gate, the way out into a new world of understanding. That gate is huge, bigger than any of us can imagine. Liars and thief try to jump in and take us away from God’s love, but Jesus is confident we know better because we can all hear God’s voice.

Jesus shows us the way we are to live, and by saying “I am the doorway” Jesus is telling us living the way God wants us to live is how we get to all the great things life has to offer, like love and community.