Well, 2016 has begun. A couple of days ago I was reading the blog of a friend of mine who is a rabbi in Tokyo. (Rabbi David Kunin, who used to be at Beth Shalom in Edmonton). He was reflecting on the various customs around Japan associated with the New Year. Many of the practices involve rituals designed to ensure that anything negative from the previous year is not carried over to the new year, and that the new year starts in the most auspicious way possible. David, of course, picked up on the idea of clearing away the bad to make way for the good. In Judaism, as well as in Christianity, we know this process as repentance, turning from the bad/evil/negative towards the good/holy/positive. New Year, as the start of a new calendar year gives the opportunity and perhaps the motivation to consider what else could start at this moment, hence the New Year’s Resolution. But in his blog, David also pointed out that there are four “new years” in Judaism, the most widely know being Rosh Hashanah, the Head of the Year which marks the change in Jewish calendar years. But there are others which mark the start of various cycles. We have these as well in our society; the beginning of September is the start of the School Year; in November the first Sunday in Advent marks the start of the Christian Year. Even the day you get back from a holiday can seem like the start of another cycle of your life. All these opportunities point to something that our faith tells us, we can start of re-start at anytime.
This Sunday we hear the story of the Baptism of Jesus, as it appears in the Gospel of Luke. We’ve skipped about thirty years in a week. The story of Jesus baptism is told by Matthew, Mark and Luke. John’s gospel alludes to the event. In Mark’s gospel, it is at the very start. For Mark there are no nativity stories, the story of Jesus’ life and ministry starts with Jesus’ baptism. All of the gospels see the story as both the start of Jesus’ ministry and confirmation of his unique identity as the “beloved Son of God.” And so we are back to beginnings.
The readings for Sunday are Isaiah 43: 1-7 and Luke 3: 15-17, 21-22. With the children I am going to focus on the declaration of love by God for Jesus as his child, “You are...” For the Sermon, I am asking the question, “Where do we begin?” The Service will also include the Asperges, as a reminder of Baptism.
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?
Join us in using cunning stealth and covert organization to surprise our phenomenal Spirit West chefs. Only at the ring of their doorbell should the discover who will join them for dinner on their chosen night of gastronomical delights!! This fund-raiser for the church will take place during the months of February and March! It is a terrific time to enjoy a fabulous meal and fellowship. Those who wish to host a dinner are asked to contact Bill C. at 780-481-2662. Hosts need to indicate the date and time of their dinner and the number of guests they are able to host. If there is a theme for the evening, this should be provided. Guests will have the opportunity to select where they will dine. Diners should provide the conveners with information on allergies and dietary restrictions (this information will be discreetly passed to the hosts) Diners will be provided ahead of time with directions to their chosen dinner and with an offering envelope for a free-will offering which will be collected by the hosts and returned to the church. A minimum donation of $25 per person is suggested. Please plan on attending one of these sensational dinners and generously supporting the ongoing work of Spirit West. See the display board at the back of the church for a list of dinner opportunities.
MESSY LENT / EASTER
I would like to celebrate a Messy Church – Lent/Easter in early March (Lent starts on February 10 and Easter is March 27) If you are interested in becoming involve or have any questions please call me at the church office as soon as possible. It’s work, but it is also so much fun. For those of you who were involved with or attended Messy Advent in November, we will have not have the problems with the dinner timing. Give me a call!
Spirit West Prayer Chain
The Spirit West Prayer Chain is a group of people who have committed to continue our prayers of concern from Sunday through the week. To be part of this ministry, email your request to email@example.com . You may also email a request for prayer to the same email address. If you would prefer to talk to someone, you can call Shannon F. at 780-481-5262, Marian T. at 780-487-2851 or Bonnie C. at 780-444-2230.
SPIRIT WEST ONLINE!
Our Website is at www.spiritwest.org .
Our Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/SpirtWestUnitedChurch
- Monday to Friday 9:30 – 2:30
- Norma => 9:30 am to 2:30 pm, Monday to Thursday
- Larry => 9:30 am to 2:30 pm, Tuesday to Friday
(Rev.) Larry K. Wright, CD, BA, MDiv
Spirit West United Church