This Sunday – Third Sunday in Lent
We have now progressed in our Lenten journey to the Third Sunday in Lent, and the focus is the Law, but not in what might be considered the usual way. The reading from Exodus, one of the books of the Law, the first five books of the Bible, is probably familiar to many people, though this familiarity might come from the title of a movie starring Charlton Heston, “The Ten Commandments.” Sunday’s reading is the Ten Commandments. Everyone has heard of them, and most people figure that they haven’t broken any of them. In the United States, people of a certain political leaning want to put up monuments to the Ten Commandments outside court houses. But the problem for me is that so many people do not actually know what the ten commandments are. If you were asked, could you name all ten without googling “ten commandments?” To paraphrase what someone said about the Bible, the ten commandments are like a software licence, we don’t read them, we just skip to the bottom and click “I Agree.” At the heart of the Ten Commandments is a set of “rules” that focus on our relationship with God, and our relationship with each other in a community. So it seems that using the Ten Commandments as a tool to put down others, or to assert some sort of moral superiority over others misses the point of the commandments completely. And this brings me to the Gospel reading from John. This is the story of the angry Jesus, yes the angry Jesus. The story is often called then “Cleansing of the Temple,” or “Jesus Cleanses the Temple.” But Jesus was not there to sanitize a public space, wiping things down with the 1st century equivalent of Lysol wipes. Jesus used a whip that he made of cords. “In the temple Jesus found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip out of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.” Now all of these activities were completely legal. The cattle, sheep, and doves were for purchase for sacrifice. If you bought your sacrifice at the temple, you could be guaranteed that the animals were of the required quality for sacrifice. And since the Temple did not accept Roman money for offering, you had to get your money changed to Temple money. All legal. But, if you think of the times you have had to buy a meal at a tourist attraction with a “closed shop” policy (no outside food allowed) and paid fifteen dollars for a hamburger, you might understand the problems that had arisen at the Temple by Jesus’ time. Legal but, from Jesus’ point of view, immoral. And so we see an angry Jesus who shouts at the crowd, “Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” Is following the law more than just not breaking the rules?
The Scripture readings for Sunday are Exodus 20: 1-17 and John 2: 13-22. My story in Time for All Ages is called, “So many rules.” I am calling my sermon, “WWJD”
Communion this Sunday
This Sunday, we will celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Communion, and as I announced last week, this will be not be on ZOOM. It will be pre-reocorded The celebration at the Church will involve only three people from the congregation and me, but I would like you to be able to participate as fully as you can. So I would suggest that, if you can, watch the video at our usual church time of 10:30 on Sunday morning and that you have some bread and grape juice (or wine) for each member of your household. Follow the service and share together at your table, be it the kitchen table, dining table, coffee table or the TV table you have put in front of your television. And as you share the bread and cup in your home, know that others are sharing at the Table of Christ in their homes and around the world.
ZOOM COFFEE HOUR CONTINUES THIS SUNDAY
Join Zoom Coffee on Sunday at 11:30
Meeting ID: 875 1820 7479
A REQUEST FROM THOSE WHO CREAT THE WORSHIP VIDEOS
The folks who create the Worship Videos are asking for everyone's help on Thursday afternoons and Friday mornings when we record the various portion of the Sunday service. The music team is in the building starting at 12 noon every Thursday to practice, prepare, and record music. As well, those who have volunteered to read scripture and want to record at the church come in on Thursday after the music has been completed. On Friday morning, the “talking bits” of the service are recorded.
All of these activities require a great amount of attention on behalf of the music team, the scripture readers, the minister and our technician Paul.. It would be very helpful if other business that requires a drop in at the church could be done at times other than Thursday afternoon or Friday morning.
NEWS FROM THE BOARD
Annual Congregational Meeting
There will be an Annual Congregational Meeting of Spirit West United Church on March 14, 2021 at 11:30. This will take place on ZOOM and here is the link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87082908960?pwd=Z09mamZRRmlTeTdsYktSWGxPanNvUT09
Meeting ID: 870 8290 8960 Passcode: 361704
Pastoral Relations – (Finding a New Minister)
Establishing a Search Committeee – Members sought
At its Meeting on February 24, Spirit West Board, passed the necessary motions to establish a Search Committee to find a new minister for this community. The committee’s tasks include finding suitable candidates, interviewing the candidates, preparing a short list, interviewing those on the short list, and ultimately deciding on a candidate whose name will be presented at a congregational meeting for the congregation’s final decision.
Being on the committee will require a high level of commitment to see the process through for the benefit of the congregation.
Information received by the Board from the Region suggests a Committee of four to six people and membership on the Search Committee is not restricted to members of the Board. If you would consider serving on the Search Committee please contact Colleen Fox, Board Chair at 780-487-5178 or email@example.com.
Reviewing the Minister’s Job Description
A important document in the search for a new minister is the Job Description. What are the duties and responsibilities of the minister who serves Spirit West United Church? The current job description needs to be reviewed, and will be by the board. However, the input from members of the Spirit West community is also important. If you would like to review the Minister’s Job Description and provide input to the Board, a copy of the document will be sent to you. Just call or email Norma at the church.
SPIRIT WEST WORSHIP VIDEOS
You may have gotten (or will get) a call from Diane H. our new “Greeter Co-ordinator,” asking you if you would record a greeting for our Sunday Worship videos. If at all possible, please say yes. Recorded greetings should be sent to our “Recording technician” (Paul W.) at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can come into the church and we will record your greeting. Video greetings need to be sent in or recorded by the Friday before “your” Sunday.
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. Your reading can also be recorded at the church between 2:30 and 4:30 on Thursday afternoons.
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 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