Coming from Evening Church (1830) by Samuel Palmer (1805-1881)

Samuel Palmer was deeply moved by the seven years he spent as a young man living and painting in rural Kent, England. His canvases were not critically appreciated at the time, and at his death his son burned those that remained to save the family name from ‘humiliation’. 

But since the middle of the twentieth century, Palmer’s early works that survived have begun to be treasured. Their sepia tones speak of a mysterious realm of earth infused with the divine. I like this painting in particular – the people leaving one sanctuary of brick to return to life in another, that of creation. It all speaks of grace, which is the theme of the sermons this Epiphany.

We may not be able to gather together in the sanctuary this Sunday, but we will begin this week together in worship! The service will be available online just after 10:15 a.m. at https://youtu.be/3GkCs0Swoug

Recordings of previous services can be found at our Youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzEy41z3sqfRm8X_lLfKGUA 

Our service of worship will be available Sunday morning by 10:15 a.m. at a link that you will find here.

You are invited to have a look at the printed Order of Service below, and the announcements, including several online opportunities for Christian growth.

May the grace of Christ be with you!

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Have a look at the minister’s monthly newsletter, and join in Christian worship, study and fellowship as you are able.

The format is for printing, double-sided, so feel free to stick a copy on your fridge door!

While the sanctuary is not available for worship right now, services continue to be available online each Sunday morning by 10:30 a.m., and the Church Office is open Tuesday-Thursday 9 a.m.-noon.

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And now for something different!
Tuesday Evenings February 16 – March 23, 7 p.m.

You are invited to explore the gospel known in Jesus Christ and the Bible … as developed in the themes and characters of Victor Hugo’s masterpiece.

Grace – Valjean
Justice – Javert
Poverty – Fantine
Revolution – ‘Les Amis’
Love – Marius and Cosette
Hope – The Garden

It is not necessary to read the novel (considered one of the greatest, and longest!) or see a film rendition or the musical, but if you do wish to fill a quiet winter day before the study begins on Tuesday February 16, here are some options …

Tuesday Evenings February 16 – March 23, 7 p.m.
Contact Andrew for a link to the Zoom Sessions a.johnston@standrewskingston.org

We will be following a study outline prepared by Matt Rawle, a United Methodist Church minister and international speaker ‘who loves to tell an old story in a new way’.

Sawai Chinnawong (Thailand) – The Glory of the Cross

Last Sunday I found myself referring several times to ‘a new year of grace’. It is a classic phrase, and though it slipped off my tongue easily, it is very full. As I pondered this, I thought that ‘grace’ may be a great theme to explore during these weeks of Epiphany. And as this week unfolded, with all its turbulence and uncertainty, I needed the assurance of ‘grace’ all the more.

As Christians we focus our understanding of grace upon what we know of God in Jesus Christ. Grace is God loving the unlovable, God coming to us as one of us in Christ, extending healing and leading us in the ways of life through Christ, embracing us with a love that will not let us go by the death and resurrection of Christ. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace (John 1).

As I was pondering my words for this coming Sunday, I was introduced to this painting by the Thai artist Sawai Chinnawong. Sawai was introduced to art when he saw some men painting a local Buddhist temple. When he became a Christian in his 20’s, he heard a lecture about how effective art could be in communicating the Gospel. ‘I believe Jesus Christ is present in every culture, and I have chosen to celebrate his presence in our lives through Thai traditional cultural forms.’  https://www.omsc.org/sawai-chinnawong

In this painting you might identify a palm branch, some grapes and a cup, some die, a crown of thorns around a chi rho, and so much moreBut two things pop out for me. One is the great heart of God’s love in the top left corner. The other is the exuberance of line and colour across the canvas, highlighting the joy of knowing the grace of God in Christ through every season and circumstance of the human lot.

We may not be able to gather together in the sanctuary this Sunday, but we will begin this week of grace together in worship! The service will be available online just after 10:15 a.m. at https://youtu.be/qeUzTCPVb10

Recordings of previous services can be found at our Youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzEy41z3sqfRm8X_lLfKGUA 

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Adoration of the Shepherds (fresco) by Giotto di Bondone, 1303

Notice the ‘star’ in this wonderful piece by Giotto? It is not a stationary orb but is shooting across the night sky, full of movement. This morning we will hear again about how the magi (representing the peoples of humanity beyond the Jewish nation) were led to worship God-come-to-us … by a star. But we will also consider how today we are led to the side of Christ by the movements of the Holy Spirit, inviting us to journey further into life and faith.

Last Epiphany, members received a paper star with a word written upon it, and were challenged to remain open to hearing that word through the year ahead and how it was used and what new understandings were given to them about life and faith by that word. One year later, three members of St. Andrew’s will share some of those reflections.

And as is our custom on the first Sunday of each month, we will celebrate the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. You are invited to prepare some bread and a cup for this service.

We may not be able to gather together in the sanctuary, but we will begin this week of grace together in worship! The service will be available online just after 10:20 a.m. at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQ14yTeblNY

Recordings of previous services can be found at our Youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzEy41z3sqfRm8X_lLfKGUA 

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Epiphany Prayer

God of grace, thank you for every epiphany that will happen today
for every one who drops a weapon because there are no enemies
for every one who breathes in the scent of cedar and is cleansed
for every one who drops that heavy bundle of resentment
for every one who is guided by generations yet unborn
for every one who is contented at the end of a journey
for every one who falls on their knees before a baby
for every one who senses the webs that connect us
for every one who follows a sign from heaven 
for every one who remembers to give gifts 
for every one who is bowled over by love 
for every one who recognizes the holy 
for every one who dances with joy
for every one who says a prayer
for all with stars in their eyes
For Jesus’ sake
We pray
Amen

by Carol Penner of Conrad Grebel University Waterloo ON www.leadinginworship.com copyright

Mystic Nativity (Alessandro Botticelli) c.1500

The First Sunday after Christmas. Our joy is extended with help of two passages of scripture (Luke 2: 22-40, Colossians 1:15-20), a painting (Mystic Nativity by Alessandro Botticelli) and a carol (Tomorrow is my Dancing Day). We will close this year with special prayers of thanksgiving and intercession.

We may not be able to gather together in the sanctuary, but we WILL gather together in worship! The service will be available online just after 10:20 a.m. at https://youtu.be/FlNMjfvG4js

Recordings of previous services can be found at our Youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzEy41z3sqfRm8X_lLfKGUA 

Prayer for the Road Ahead

I seek you, God, in the spaces of my life.
The spaces between what I’ve done
and what I’ve left undone.
The spaces between my convictions
and my actions,
the spaces between all that I hoped to do,
and what I’ve actually done.
I come with humility,
knowing that I can’t always see
the way I’ve disappointed you,
nor can I always see
the long-term effects of the good I’ve done.
This is a prayer for the road ahead,
which is an empty space stretching before me.
Fill me with a burning compassion
for my brothers and sisters,
a love that will not let me go.
Give me courage to to give boldly,
love simply,
hope deeply,
risk greatly.
My light is small,
my time is short,
but let it shine for you,
always, ever, all for you.
Amen.

Copyright Carol Penner www.leadinginworship.com
Conrad Grebel College, Waterloo ON

This evening we gather for an hour together online, of readings and carols and special music from the sanctuary of St. Andrew’s as we celebrate the birth of our Lord among us, ‘for us and our salvation’The service will be available December 24, 6 p.m. at https://youtu.be/qNpx0q95Zec

Please note that the outdoor carol sing has been cancelled.

Instead, perhaps you might consider joining with others in something closer to home. Yesterday I received an update from the World Council of Churches sharing that the Lutheran Church of Germany has invited all their members to go to their balcony or front door at 8 p.m. and sing a verse or two of ‘Silent Night’. What a great idea to connect with others and share some of our joy and faith! Will you join me this evening?

‘Services that bring everyone together are not possible this year, but it is still possible to do something that could bring everyone together. Singing ‘Silent Night’ together, perhaps with a burning candle in hand as light in all the darkness that weighs down and threatens life, could be a comforting sign on Christmas Eve. Because this particular hymn fits like no other this night, which will be quieter this year than the Christmas nights we are used to.’

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
‘Round yon virgin mother and child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace
 
Silent night, holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight!
Glories stream from heaven afar;
Heavenly hosts sing Al-le-lu-ia!
Christ the Savior is born!
Christ the Savior is born!
Christ the Savior is born!
 
Silent night, holy night
Son of God, oh, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth