I’m back! My family had a good break. Our worship video production team had some time off. And now we are ready to go again.
This Sunday – Tenth Sunday after Pentecost
The Scripture Readings are Romans 10: 5-13, and Matthew 14: 22-33. In the Time for All Ages, I will be talking about learning to ride a bike. My sermon is titled, “Jesus reached out his hand.”
The Gospel passage for this Sunday features my favourite disciple, Peter. Now to give this story a bit of context, Jesus has been through a lot. His friend and cousin John (the Baptist) had been beheaded by Herod. He tried to get some time away, but ended up feeding at least 5000 people. Jesus, in Sunday’s story, gets some time by himself. His disciples have been sent on ahead. It’s good to get away. By evening, Jesus is alone. The disciples’ boat is stuck offshore, because the wind has come up and is against them. Matthew tells us that early in the morning Jesus came walking toward the disciples’ boat on the sea. Of course, the disciples were terrified. Only a ghost walks on water. But Jesus tries to calm them by identifying himself. And here’s where Peter comes in. He’s still not sure about this “person” walking on water, so he offers a sort of challenge. Peter says to Jesus, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” Jesus says, “Come.” So Peter gets out of the boat and starts to walk toward Jesus on the water. But then Peter notices that the wind is still blowing and he is actually walking on water. Peter panics, starts to sink, and cries out to Jesus for help. Matthew says that Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught Peter, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
As with also of the miracle stories in the Gospels there has been much discussion about what actually happened. The story of Jesus walking on water occurs only in Matthew and Mark, and only Matthew has the incident with Peter. But what can we learn from the story? Peter, in an effort to be certain of Jesus’ identity challenges him to “do the impossible,” by giving Peter the power to do the impossible, walk on water. But Jesus does give Peter the ability to do just that, to do the apparently impossible. And Peter starts out walking on water, until he panics. But Jesus does not let Peter sink, even if it is Peter’s own fault. Jesus’ response is immediate. And all Jesus says to Peter is “Why did you doubt?” And Peter isn’t “fired” as a disciple, and we never hear this incident referred to again. In fact Peter is given opportunity after opportunity to grow as a disciple. Sometimes in our lives we may feel that God is calling us to something. Perhaps it is something that seems impossible. We may just say, nope, can’t do it. Or we may risk it, try, and not succeed, like Peter. But God is still with us, ready to reach out a hand.
SPIRIT WEST ONLINE!
Facebook: Spirit West United Church and Friends of Spirit West Outreach
YouTube: Spirt West United Church, Edmonton
SPIRIT WEST WORSHIP VIDEOS
We are looking for people to read the scriptures for our videos! To volunteer to be a scripture reader, send an email to Norma at firstname.lastname@example.org We will include you in the schedule and we will send you all the information you need about the options you have for recording your segment.
We are continuing to invite members of the congregations to share virtual greetings as part of our Sunday Worship Video. It is a way for us to see each other. Bonnie C. is spearheading this program, and has been doing the recording. You may get a call from her asking if you want to be a “Greeter.” If you have not heard from Bonnie and want to be a greeter, you can call the church and your name will be given to Bonnie, or you can record you own greeting. Record a 10-30 second greeting on your phone (record in “landscape,” hold your phone horizontally, this way ‘---,’ not this way ‘I’) and email your video to email@example.com . We will only be using three each week, so your greetings might not appear, the Sunday after you send them.
Sharing our Celebrations
In this time when it is important for us to look for signs of hope and joy, opportunity is being given for you to share your celebrations (birthdays, anniversaries, new grandchildren etc) with the wider community. If you have a celebration you want to share please email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone the church. (must be sent in before 10:00 am on Friday for inclusion on the Sunday) During the opening section or our Worship Video, I will announce celebrations that have been shared with me.
I appreciate all the positive feedback that we have received about the Worship Videos. We (Margaret, Bonnie, Glenn, Paul W. and I) are trying our best to provide you with something that will assist you in your faith journey during this “crazy” time. We would also like to hear from you if you have suggestions on how we could make the videos better or more helpful (like Scripture readers, Greeters, music with the hymns …). Email your comments to me email@example.com or post them on our Facebook page.
FINANCIAL SUPPORT (and this is not a Scam)
We can now accept donations by eTransfer. The contact name for the eTransfer is Spirit West United Church, and the email address is firstname.lastname@example.org . If you include a security question with your eTransfer, please notify Norma at the church office by phone or email. And remember that if you are not on PAR(Pre-Authorized Remittance), you can also mail in cheques to the church office (Spirit West United Church, 7003 – 199 St. Edmonton, AB T5T 3A8, 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 just inside the front doors. You can also donate online, see ANOTHER WAY TO CONTRIBUTE… below.
OUTREACH – Underwear and Face Masks Needed at Bissell Centre
There is still a need at Bissell for UNDERWEAR. Ladies and Men’s - sizes Medium and Large.
If any of you would like to shop and deliver undies to the church, Lori will pick them up and deliver them to the Bissell Centre. If you would rather have your donation picked up, call the church office to arrange it.
They are also taking donations of FABRIC FACE MASKS. So any of you crafty people out there - We know there are a few quilters out there with a good stash of fabric - if you would like a little project to do in your self-isolation (patterns can be found online) ..... Again - these can be dropped at the church (or call the church office to arrange pick-up) and Lori will deliver them to the Bissell Centre.
YOUR BOTTLES FOR THE CHURCH (with an update)
Now that you are spending more time at home, and perhaps (though I hope not) drinking more, you may have bottles piling up for recycling. You can still bring them to the church (or you can call for pick up). If you want to bring your bottles (and any other recyclable beverage containers) in during our office hours and put them directly in the Bottle Shed (by the garage), give us a call, and we can have the shed open for you. All money raised from the return of bottles goes towards paying down the principal on our mortgage. The latest run to the Bottle Depot resulted in $181.00 for the church.
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 email@example.com. These requests will be shared regularly with the prayer chain.
ANOTHER WAY TO CONTRIBUTE FINANCIALLY TO SPIRIT WEST DURING A GLOBAL PANDEMIC
You are stuck home, Spirit West is not holding services, you are not on PAR, but you want to make a financial contribution to the work of Spirit West, because the church has bills to pay even when we are not gathering on Sunday. Check out the online donation option on our website spiritwest.org and click on the Donate tab in the navigation bar.
The Spirit West Church office remains open.
- Norma => Noon to 5:00 pm, Monday to Thursday (vacation August 13, 17, 24, 31)
- Larry => 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Tuesday to Friday
(Rev.) Larry K. Wright, CD, BA, MDiv
Spirit West United Church