Matthew 8: 5-7 “When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Roman officer came and pleaded with him, “Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.” Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.”
In the Bible, the healing stories of Jesus were one way of teaching people who Jesus was. They show a world where all people are included and welcomed because Jesus meant for anyone and everyone to be part of the community.
This past year, we’ve had to re-think what it means to be a community. The definition of community is a social unit that has things in common, but we know it’s a lot more than that. Our communities are made up of the people who we connect with, who support us, and who we support. Our communities are the places where we live, work, go to school, and make safe for all people. In these days of social isolation, our communities have extended online, and we’ve had to be creative in the ways we support and care for each other.
The Coldest Night of the Year Walk in support of the Alliston Out of the Cold program happened last weekend, sort of. Instead of everyone walking together in a group on one night, as we did just before the pandemic began last year, walkers chose when to walk in smaller, safely distanced groups or as individuals. But, no matter how people participated, it was a community effort. People worked together to support a very worthy cause; the care of the most vulnerable in our community. Christians are, as we all are, called to ensure the safe keeping of our whole community, which is a lot wider than we think.
Knox Presbyterian Church will continue to offer ONLINE worship services only. Please join us this Sunday as we gather virtually for a time of prayer, music, and worship.
This week begins the season of Lent, the time in the Christian year leading up to the celebration of Easter. Traditionally, people give up something for Lent in remembrance and thanksgiving for the gift of Jesus’ sacrifice. I don’t know about you, but I think this past year, we have already given up so much. We’ve given up time with loved ones, celebrating special days together, our regular routines, worshiping in our church buildings, and so much more. We know it has been necessary to keep us safe, but that doesn’t take away the reality of how much we have lost.
This Lenten season, we need to recover from loneliness, isolation, fear and anxiety. Over the next 6 weeks, we will study the healing stories of Jesus as we see how God can take what is broken and make it whole again. We will consider our physical, mental, community, economic, and environmental health as Jesus reaches out to touch and remind us that we are all worthy of new life in the midst of hopelessness.
Knox Presbyterian Church will continue to offer ONLINE worship services only. Please join us this Sunday as we gather here virtually for a time of prayer, music, and worship.
Psalm 50: 1 “From the rising of the sun to where it sets, God, the Lord God, speaks, calling out to the earth.”
There is a fascinating story in the Bible about Jesus called the Transfiguration. Transfiguration means “the experience of momentary divine radiance”. Jesus and a few of his followers climbed up a mountain where Jesus shone like a bright light and God spoke from above, calling Jesus his Beloved Son. The story has been told and retold over the centuries because it teaches us something about the power of God and it names Jesus as the One who brings light and life to the world. Even now, God, through Jesus Christ, shines light upon the world and calls for peace, justice, and love. Christians respond with faith as they seek to answer God’s call.
This weekend we celebrate Valentine’s Day, a day that highlights the love we share in all our relationships. It will be a different holiday this year without romantic dinners out and gatherings. However, even in this time, we can still let our love for others shine forth by connecting in safely-distanced ways, looking forward to the day when we can be together again.
Knox Presbyterian Church will continue to offer ONLINE worship services only. Please join us this Sunday as we complete the series “God is Holding Your Life” and virtually gather for a time of prayer, music, and worship.
Psalm 147: 1 “Praise the Lord! How good it is to sing praises to our God; for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting.”
‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words matter.’ I know that’s not the way that childhood saying goes, but I think it’s more truthful. Words do matter. In this day and age of social media, where opinions and reactions are made public instantly, what we say and how we say it, matters. In our series “God is Holding Your Life”, we’ve been hearing words from the book of Psalms spoken about God and to God. The Psalms contain words that describe God’s power and majesty, words about God’s intimate knowledge and care for each of us, and words that help and encourage us in life’s challenges.
For centuries, Christians have declared who God is and what that means for their lives with words and music. We sing hymns and songs of praise that tell the stories of our faith and what we believe. The lyrics of “Amazing Grace”, “How Great Thou Art”, “The Old Rugged Cross”, and “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” are just a few of the hymns of praise with words that matter. Even though we can’t safely sing together these days, we can still raise our voices in praise to God with words that have meaning and power. Thanks be to God.
Knox Presbyterian Church will continue to offer ONLINE worship services only. Please join us here for a time of prayer, music, and worship.
Psalm 111: 1 “Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart.”
Do you ever notice it’s a lot easier to find what’s bad in a situation rather than what’s good? Does a list of complaints come to mind a lot quicker than compliments? Is it simpler to just give in to the negative instead of celebrating the positive? These days, it seems the answer to all those questions could be ‘Yes’. Here we are a year after the first cases of Covid 19 were diagnosed in Canada and we are still living in a dangerous pandemic. While I believe we have the resilience to get through these difficult times, for now, we may need to try a little harder to find the good, to give compliments, and to celebrate the positive as we wait.
In the Bible, Psalm 111 gives a vivid description of a good God who Christians turn to in hard times. Hundreds of years ago, the first people who heard the characteristics of God in this Psalm, experienced their own troubles and challenges. Yet, to hear of God’s faithfulness, justice, mercy, and love, would have given them hope to carry on, just as I pray it does for us today. Instead of giving in to the negative, we can sing, like those before us, ‘Whole Heart Hallelujahs” to God.
Knox Presbyterian Church will offer ONLINE worship services only in the coming weeks. As we continue our series “God is Holding Your Life: A Journey of Assurance for a New Year”, services can be found here.
Psalm 62:8 “Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.”
Refuge is not a word we use all that often, but refuge is something we all seek. Refuge means a state of being sheltered and safe from danger and trouble. Think of refugees who seek a safe place to live and work and raise their families. In these days of isolation, disrupted routines, and concern for the vulnerable, even if we don’t know situations as dire as refugees do, we all long for stability, security, and safety.
The Bible directs people to place their trust in God alone by describing God as just what we need in times of crisis. Psalm 62 says God is our rock, our fortress, and our refuge. The church of Jesus Christ also continues to be a refuge. Our responsibility to keep each other safe means we can be creative in our faithful worship of God, fellowship, and care for each other and the world. We may have to adapt by using online technology, phone calls, and good old-fashioned letter writing, but that doesn’t mean we can’t trust in God our refuge and strength.
As the lockdown restrictions continue to help us to stay safe, Knox Presbyterian Church will offer ONLINE worship services only in the coming weeks. The third week of our series called “God is Holding Your Life: A Journey of Assurance for a New Year” can be found here on our website.
Psalm 139: 14 ‘I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.’
Have you ever played hide and seek with a young child and their idea of hiding is obviously crawling under a table and closing their eyes? If they can’t see you, they think you can’t see them. But, of course, you are there, knowing exactly where they are. The Bible talks about God as all-knowing, one who created and loves each one of us, and who we can’t hide from. There is no where we can go that God is not already present.
There is something reassuring about knowing we are never truly alone, especially in these challenging days. To be known and loved gives us the strength to not only carry on, but to thrive and help others to do the same. Thanks be to God.
As we stay safe during the current lockdown, Knox Presbyterian Church will offer ONLINE worship services only in the coming weeks. We will continue our new series this week called “God is Holding Your Life: A Journey of Assurance for a New Year”.
“In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth…” Genesis 1:1
When was the last time you were in awe of something? Awe is that feeling we have when something leaves us amazed, stunned, or speechless. Maybe, it was at the beauty of nature. There was an evening sunset a month or so ago that many people across the region posted images of on Instagram and Facebook afterwards. We can’t help but be astonished, even when we’ve seen it before, by the beauty of the colours across the sky.
For Christians, the wonder of creation is attributed to God, the Creator. There is an overwhelming sense that God is present in all that gives us that sense of awe and wonder, and we can’t help but be thankful. In these colder, darker days of winter, I invite you to see glimmers of light and to be amazed by the beauty that is still all around us.
As we continue to stay safe and pray for an end to the pandemic, Knox Presbyterian Church will offer ONLINE worship services only in the coming weeks. We will begin a new series this week called “God is Holding Your Life: A Journey of Assurance for a New Year”.
Matthew 2: 10 When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy.
The story of the three wisemen following a star in search of a new king, usually gets included in the celebration of Christmas. The Bible describes their journey as happening some time after the birth of Jesus. One can’t help but wonder who these three travelers were and why they left their homeland in search of a king…in search of a saviour.
What kind of saviour did they expect to find? I think that’s a relevant question for us too. What kind of saviour do we expect Jesus to be? Someone to take control and fix all that’s wrong with the world or someone to lead us with authority into a better future or someone strong and powerful; these might be the things we think of when we think of a saviour. But, when Jesus came as a Saviour, he was an example of strength in weakness, compassion for the vulnerable, and justice for all. Being ‘saved’ means living out those same values and believing that Jesus is the kind the Saviour we need today.
“At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.” Luke 2: 38
Our series “I Believe Even When: Fill the Night with Music and Light” comes to a close this week. We have enjoyed an anthem and carols by our virtual choir, we’ve been inspired by documentaries that showcased the power of music, and we’ve acquired a new appreciation of the hymns of our faith.
This week, we look to the future after the birth of Jesus and what he meant for the world. In the after-glow of Christmas, let us be ready to share the good news that Christ is born!