Watch this week’s service on YouTube by clicking:
Join us for worship on Sundays at 10:00
- Please join us after the service in the Van Roon Community Hall for HeBrews Café, refreshments and fellowship after worship.
- For news and events please have a look at Life & Work on our website: Life and Work
- ADVANCE NOTICE: Our Annual Farmer’s Market in support of the Yazidi Refugee Community in Winnipeg will take place on Sunday, August 27 from 9:00 to 12:00 noon. Details will follow.
- Did you know you can support this ministry by e-transfer, automatic withdrawal (PAR), and gifted securities, in addition to weekly or monthly cheques? For Offering Information please visit: https://charleswoodunited.org/support/ Thank you for your generous support.
Welcome to worship for Sunday, August 6, 2023.
It is festival season. Let all the world be glad. Or at least our little corner of it.
The Fringe Festival ended last weekend and Folklorama is set to begin. When our kids were smaller we were often drawn to Gimli on the August long weekend in order to take in the parades, fairgrounds, and vinarterta of the Icelandic Festival. I know that many Manitoba communities have a myriad of festivals and special occasions throughout the summer which makes the season fly by. It is the marking of time which is something I often say is essential and something the church does very well.
Festivals first and foremost bring people together. To the same place at the same time. We wouldn’t enjoy festivals is they didn’t provide this innate human need to connect. As the gospel lesson for this week illustrates there is value in times of solitude and being alone with out thoughts. But balance in well-being means that we also need to be together, to be reminded that we are part of something bigger than ourselves and this connecting gives meaning to our lives.
Festivals celebrate diversity by lifting up specificity. It’s one thing for people of Icelandic descent to rejoice in all things Viking. But it is another thing to have the rest of us join in. Folklorama is a wonderful and obvious example of this. Specific communities put on the food and colour and culture and music of their heritage. But then the doors are swung open and all the rest of us come to get a literal taste of the things that bring our neighbours joy. It is an expression of loving the neighbour.
Festivals provide venues for creative expression. We went to a Fringe play last Friday and saw two women from the United States sing and act and laugh in a display of their creativity and imagination. And then share it. Sometimes festivals focus on labour such as the history of threshing grain or all the things one can do with corn and apples. What a gift to find joy and inspiration in the efforts of others.
And I suppose it is fair to say that festivals only come once a year because that’s all the people who put them on can manage. It is an amazing display of community efforts. Almost all festivals run primarily on volunteers. And like most work (again a biblical principal) it requires rest when all is said and done. Even though next year’s festival is only 364 days away.
Life in a Christian community marks time the way festivals do. We are place where people gather in the same room at the same time. We meet the human need to connect with neighbour for a common purpose. We rejoice in diversity by working on common causes for the betterment of specific issues. We are present to one another for special occasions, the ones in which we rejoice and the ones in which we lament. We provide a venue for creative expression in singing and drama, teaching and preaching. And we really enjoy offering the gift of hospitality, of throwing open the doors and extending the warmth of welcome.
Bring a friend to church. There’s a festival going on here every week.
Grace and peace,
- Michael Wilson’s book “A Pastoral Pandemic: Remaining Connected in a Time of Disconnection” is available in store and online through CommonWord Bookstore (Canadian Mennonite University). For more information visit: https://www.commonword.ca/go/3408.
- Share the service with friends by forwarding this email or using this link: https://youtu.be/ldJNQg2dN_k
- The reading for this week’s service can be found here: Matthew 14:13-21