Each Friday, Paul W. (my Paul) records the segments for the Worship Video for the coming Sunday. He then edits and puts them together, and on Saturday morning I upload the finished video to our YouTube channel, “Spirit West United Church, Edmonton.” On that channel you will find the Worship Videos and other videos made for Spirit West. If you subscribe to the channel, you will be notified by YouTube when a new video is available. I will still post a notice on our Facebook page and send out an email reminder on Saturday with the link to the video. An Order of Service will be attached to the email on Saturday.
THIS SUNDAY - THE SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER – Holy Humour Sunday
The Readings for this Sunday are Psalm 126 and John 20: 19-31. I will have a children’s story called “Does God Laugh?” I am calling my sermon, “The disciples rejoiced!”
This Sunday is the Second Sunday of Easter. In some parts of the Christian Church, this was called Low Sunday. It was a sort of break from the rigours of Lent and the celebrations of Easter Day. Okay, everybody, let’s take a breather. More recently, a number of Christian communities around the world have marked the Second Sunday of Easter as Holy Humour Sunday. This has been the case at Spirit West for a number of years, and will continue this year. The intention Holy Humour Sunday is to reinforce the thought expressed by the prophet Nehemiah, “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” Life is a serious business and, right now, with all the restrictions and social pressures put upon us in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, things seem particularly serious. I think that often we confuse serious with sad or depressing. “That’s too serious to laugh about!” In my life, I have had a couple of “serious” jobs. For a while, in Toronto, I was a groundskeeper at Mount Pleasant Cemetery. Later, as you know, I had a lengthy ministry as a military chaplain. Believe it or not, both cemetery grounds keepers and soldiers have what some call a “sick” sense of humour. “Cemetery Groundskeeper – a quiet job with lots of people under you.” I don’t think I will share any military humour here, but I will say that humour is often what can help us get through the tough stuff. Being able to see the funny, the bizarre, quirky or hopeful in our situations, can help us get through. Part of my role as a chaplain was to share stories of hope to guys in terrible situations. If that involved sharing a joke in a mud brick house north of Kandahar, that was good. It didn’t change the reality around us, but made it somewhat easier to bear. The readings for this Sunday and for the rest of the Easter Season (The Seventh and final Sunday of Easter this year is May 24), tell us stories of the Resurrection appearances of Jesus to his followers. In this Sunday’s gospel reading, the disciples are hiding in a locked room for fear of what is going on outside. They fear the local authorities. They have been told stories that Jesus has risen from the dead, but really don’t believe them. Jesus comes and stands among them (locked doors not a problem) and greets them. He says to them “Peace be with you.” The disciples rejoiced! But a week later we find them together again in the same house, with the doors locked. Nothing seems to have changed during the week. Jesus appears again, and this time has a discussion with Thomas, who missed the previous appearance. It takes the disciples a while to come out of hiding. Rejoicing and laughing in a time of difficulty probably won’t change the circumstances, but it will change our ability to cope. “The joy of the Lord is your strength”
SO REMEMBER, AS YOU CONTINUE TO WORSHIP FROM THE SANTUARY CALLED HOME, YOU HAVE OPTIONS…
- Option 1 - Set aside time on Sunday. Follow the Spirit West Services on YouTube.
- Option 2 - Set aside time on Sunday. Light a candle, read the readings for each day, read and discuss my reflections in the Thursday Message, and pray.
- Option 3- “Attend’ one of the live-streaming services from another United Church through the link at SUNDAY SERVICES LIVE-STREAMING… below.
- Also remember that if you are not on PAR(Pre-Authorized Remittance), you can still contribute to Spirit West during this time. You can mail in cheques to the church office (include your envelope number if you have one.) The church office is open and you can drop off your offering/donation in the offering plate by Norma’s office.
SUNDAY SERVICES LIVE-STREAMING ACROSS CANADA
There are a number of United Churches (and some Presbyterian) across Canada who are able to live-stream their Sunday services. At least three Edmonton churches are doing this: Millwoods, Robertson-Wesley and Southminster-Steinhauer. Check out this interactive map for livestreaming services across Canada: https://arcg.is/1TaKqS (and remember to take into account time zones for churches outside of Alberta)
OUTREACH – Bissell Bag Lunches - Thank you!
Thank you to those who were able to participate in the Bissell Lunch Sponsorship. More than enough money has come in for 100 lunches that Spirit West is to provide this weekend. Lori, Bill and Adam will do the purchasing, packing and delivering of the lunches on our behalf. The money not spent on lunches this time will be held for future lunches, or it may be put toward other projects of Spirit West Outreach. We will let you know here or on the Friends of Spirit West Outreach Facebook page of any upcoming projects that need our support.
PASTORAL CARE DURING A PANDEMIC
A team has been put together to begin a phone ministry. We will be reaching out by phone to members of Spirit West to remind ourselves that we are a community of faith, even if at the moment we have to practice social distancing, and in some cases self-isolation. The team will initially target those whom we believe are most likely to be isolated. We may not always get it right. If you get a call, and think you really didn’t need it, thank the caller anyway. If you don’t hear from anyone in the next week or so, and really would like a call, let me know. We are playing this by ear in an “interesting” time.
If you are self-isolating for whatever reason (you are not feeling well, you are in a susceptible population, or you are just not taking chances) and you cannot get out to do shopping, let us know. There are people in the congregation who will do your shopping and deliver it to your home. Mention this to the caller from the phone ministry, or call or send an email to the church to let us know.
If you would like to volunteer as a “shopper” let me know by phone or email.
David S. has started a Casserole Ministry as part of Pastoral Care. Volunteers from Pastoral Care at Spirit West will deliver a casserole to someone in isolation, recovering from illness, or grieving the loss of family members.
We would need a supply of three or four casseroles made by members of Spirit West in tin foil pans and frozen in the church freezer available for delivery. The casseroles should be dated and labelled with all ingredients and the instructions for reheating. The supply of casseroles can be replenished as needed. If you are interested in providing a casserole please call David S. so he can keep an accurate inventory of casseroles (not too many, not too few).
Spirit West Prayer Chain
Prayer is important. We know that people still face challenges and difficulties not related to Covid-19, and we cannot forget them. Our Prayer Chain will continue to be active. If you have a prayer request, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. These requests will be shared regularly with the prayer chain.
SPIRIT WEST ONLINE!
Facebook: Spirit West United Church
YouTube: Spirt West United Church, Edmonton
At the present time, the Spirit West Church office remains open.
- Norma => Noon to 5:00 pm, Monday to Thursday
- Larry => 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Tuesday to Friday
(Rev.) Larry K. Wright, CD, BA, MDiv
Spirit West United Church