This Sunday – the Fourth after Epiphany – Called to Prophecy
For many people in our society and probably in our church as well, the whole concept of prophet, prophecy (noun, last syllable pronounced “see.”) and to prophecy (verb, last syllable pronounce “sigh.”) usually bring to mind predictions, usually bad, for the future. We might think of names like Nostradamus or as my son Paul offered, Professor Trelawney from Harry Potter. If we are familiar with the Bible, we might think of Isaiah or Jeremiah. But again the associations tend to be about messages of doom.
But when we actually look at the work of the Biblical prophets, we do find messages of doom and destruction, but we usually also find messages of hope. What we see in the prophets of the Bible are people who are called by God to name sin and evil in a community, and to warn people of divine punishment if they continue to live as they have. But the prophets are also called to offer the possibility of redemption if there is repentance and change. In other words the message of the prophets is: “You are messing up big time (forgetting God, oppressing widows and orphans, acting unjustly…) If you continue in this way bad stuff will happen. If you change and stop messing up there will be forgiveness.
Prophecy (noun) is naming evil so that there can be change.
In the Gospel reading, Jesus calls out an “unclean” spirit that has been tormenting a man. Jesus names the evil, to drive it out. The man is healed, restored. The watching crowds are amazed by this. They wonder at Jesus’ authority.
Aren’t we all called to be prophets in some way: to call out evil that we see around us, so that it can be stopped. Of course, as we see from the reading from Deuteronomy, not all who claim to be prophets are prophets. There is an element of deep discernment. Who are the prophets in our world?
The Scripture readings for this Sunday are Deuteronomy 18: 15-20 and Mark 1: 21-28. In the Time for All Ages, I am going to talk about being “Unclean.” The title of my sermon is ““Called to Prophecy.”
ZOOM COFFEE HOUR CONTINUES THIS SUNDAY
Join Zoom Coffee on Sunday at 11:30
Meeting ID: 820 0908 9663
NO ROOM IN THE INN – Thank you!
When the designated Christmas offerings were counted and divided, we were able to send a cheque for $2,920,00 to No Room In the Inn for this year’s campaign. In his email to Norma, Julien Hammond, chair of the No Room In the Inn committee wrote, “thank you to Spirit West for supporting women/children’s shelters in a time of increased domestic violence in our community. Richest blessings to you all!”
2021 OFFERING ENVELOPES
If you have been regularly using Offering Envelopes for your offering, either mailed in to the church or dropped off, your 2021 Envelopes are now available at the Church. We would prefer if you could pick them up. Call Norma at the church, so that she can have your envelopes ready for you. If you would rather that they be delivered to you, you will also have to let Norma know.
MORE ON OUR SPIRIT WEST WORSHIP VIDEOS
Using the list of those who have volunteered to be Scripture readers, Norma has drawn up and sent out a schedule of readers for the next couple of months. If you have read scripture for one of the worship videos, you will be on the schedule and will have received a copy. Please confirm with Norma as soon as possible that you are available to do your reading. Readings can be recorded well in advance of the date required.
Sharing our Celebrations (note the submission deadline)
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 email@example.com or phone the church. (must be sent in before noon on Thursday for inclusion on the Sunday) During the opening section or our Worship Video, I will announce celebrations that have been shared with me.
Prayer Requests If you have a prayer request that you would like included in the Prayers of the People that are part of our worship videos, your request needs to be into the church by Thursday at noon for inclusion on Sunday. The best way to send in your request is to email firstname.lastname@example.org. During the Prayers of the People, only the first name of individuals will be mentioned, and the specifics of the request will not be shared. The prayer requests are also forwarded to the Prayer Chain.
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.
YOUR BOTTLES FOR THE CHURCH
You may have bottles piling up for recycling. You can 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.
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 below…
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.
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 and will form part of the Prayers of the People in our Sunday Worship.
SPIRIT WEST ONLINE!
Facebook: Spirit West United Church and Friends of Spirit West Outreach
YouTube: Spirt West United Church, Edmonton
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