A few days ago a fellow blogger emailed me that he noticed I hadn’t blogged for awhile and hoped that I was not sick, hurt, or lonely; because he cared. It touched my heart.
Over two thousand years ago, a Child, Jesus, came to be with us because we were sick, hurt and lonely. It still touches my heart.
Because He cared we have hope for healing, peace, and love.
Because He cared, we are celebrating His birthday; Christmas.
Because He cared.
On Sunday, June 10th, St. Andrew’s Scarborough celebrated its 200th anniversary. We had a new anthem commissioned for the occasion…We Will Share Your Love, O Lord, written by Don Besig and Nancy Price. Happy Sunday. (While on “pause’ forward to 37:07 for anthem only)
For those who do not know the Easter story here is a brief synopsis of Palm Sunday taken from the internet. Be blessed and enjoy this holy week.
Palm Sunday is the start of Holy Week, which is the week before Easter, commemorating events in the last days of Jesus Christ’s life. According to Christian belief, Jesus rode into Jerusalem where people gave him a hero’s welcome during the Jewish Passover celebration. They heard about his miracles and regarded him as the leader who would deliver them from the Roman Empire’s domination. They carried palm branches, which is a traditional symbol of victory, and spread them throughout the streets before him.
Many western churches have observed palm blessings and distributions to the congregation on Palm Sunday since the middle ages. Early references to Palm Sunday observations, including a procession and blessing of palms, go as far back as the fourth and eighth centuries. Many modern Christian churches, including the Catholic and eastern churches, as well as the Lutheran, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches celebrate Palm Sunday as part of Holy Week.
The reason…and there are many of them…that we celebrate Christmas on December 25th is secondary. Celebrating the birthday of Jesus every year is really what Christmas is all about. It is remembering that he was born, lived an exemplary life, for approximately thirty-three years, and died an agonizing death. It is remembering not that he lived and died, but that he died and lives…lives in the hearts of those of us who believe, lives to reach out to those who do not believe, and lives to give real meaning to the event that is the most widely celebrated on our planet…Christmas. Let me share a poem I wrote in 1995 while pondering the idea that Santa Claus seemed to be the the reason for the season in many minds.
THE WONDER OF CHRISTMAS
The wonder of Christmas,
The birth of a Child,
The angels are singing His praises,
The people rejoice
At the sound of His voice
Echoing down through the ages.
Hope, love and laughter,
Peace and goodwill,
The message resounds loud and clear,
The birth of God’s Son,
His gift to us all,
This is the wonder of Christmas.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good life.
I was delighted to hear that one of our church members recently celebrated his one hundredth birthday with not one, but two celebrations. This delightful gentleman is of tall, straight stature and occupies a third from the front row pew every Sunday. He continues to drive, and up until a few years ago, drove “old” people to their appointments. He keeps fit by doing “the bicycle” every morning, walking every day, except for icy weather, and climbing up and down stairs during television commercials. He belongs to a community center where he enjoys shuffleboard and other activities. He is pleasant to look at, pleasant to speak with, and travels a few miles out of town every weekend to visit his daughter.
Because of being “under the weather”, I missed the church celebration of his Big Day, which I hear was a huge success with lots of food, two giant cakes, and a pile of birthday cards. I hope I’m well for his one hundred and twentieth!
So the Lord said, “My spirit won’t remain with human beings forever because they are truly mortal. Their lifespan will be one hundred and twenty years.” (Genesis 6:3 ISV)
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; (Ecclesiastes 3:4)
Weeping and mourning go hand in hand at any funeral service, and laughing and dancing are a sure thing at weddings.
But have you noticed how weeping sometimes gives way to laughter after a funeral service, when the mourned one is remembered lovingly, with humorous traits being recalled? A time to weep, and a time to laugh.
Some cultures even celebrate their deceased with dancing. Nelson Mandela’s funeral was one of those, as mourners danced through the funeral home prior to the service. A time to mourn, and a time to dance.
We have all had our times of weeping, mourning, laughing and dancing…it’s part of life…in Solomon’s time and in ours. The way I see it, these are all a celebration of life, one way or another.
Monday: A Time to Embrace
The sole purpose of going to church is to worship, right? Yes. But, when the last hymn has been sung, the last “amen” uttered, and the last person has exited the sanctuary, the fun begins.
God has been served and will continue to be served as his people enjoy one another’s company in the C.E.H. (Christian Education Hall) after each morning service. It’s called fellowship.
This Sunday I had more fun than usual because I was on “coffee duty” in the kitchen with several other people. There was chatter and laughter as light-hearted conversation accompanied the preparation of ninety cups of coffee and sixty cups of tea. Even more fun was serving each person who came to the counter for their choice of beverage. “Just a half cup, please” or “Three quarters of a cup will be fine” or “Could you top that up a little more?” A young lad of perhaps twelve, smiling through his braces, said, “Coffee, please”. No fruit juice and cookies for him at the kid’s table!
It was even more fun because two of our members happily celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary, and two giant strawberry shortcakes were a tasty addition to the tea and coffee.
Yes, we go to church to worship God, but I know he likes his children to have fun, too. Proverbs 17:22 says a cheerful heart is like good medicine, and for me that is a prescription for church fun.