Watch this week’s service on YouTube by clicking: October 22 Worship Service Video
Join us for worship on Sundays at 10:00
- Join us on Sunday, October 22 for a special service with guest musician Keith Macpherson. We will be enjoying a theme of peace in pop music. Keith is an amazing talent and a wonderful worship leader. Here’s a taste of what you can expect: Love On by Keith Macpherson
- Please join us after the service in the Van Roon Community Hall for the HeBrews Café, refreshments and fellowship before continuing on with your day.
- A memorial service for Dave Yuill will be held on Saturday, October 28 at 11:00 AM at the church. Please remember the Yuill family in your prayers.
Welcome to worship for Sunday, October 22, 2023.
Searching for a vessel to hold the heartache and sorrow that many of us were feeling last week following the terrorist incursion into Israel, I chose to open my reflection with a lament. From Matthew 2:18 quoting Jeremiah, A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; refusing to be comforted, because they were no more. I felt that more than anything else we needed to lament. But I did not say much about what lamentation is and why it is such a valuable spiritual gift.
Lamentation is a book of the Bible but it is also a literary form that is found in many other biblical books. You can find laments abundantly in Psalms, but also in Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Job among others. Often quoting directly from the Old Testament, laments are also common in the Gospels most famously with the words of Jesus from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me”.
Lament was ancient Israel’s way of being unapologetically honest with God. When you are angry with God, you can say so. When you are frightened, broken, lost, or shaken, lament allows you to lay that on God and be reassured that God has no problem holding that for you. As it was once explained to me, laments show that God is okay when you scream at God. Nothing is going to stop God from loving you as God always does.
I suppose another way of understanding lament is that when we take our rage and sorrow to God, God holds us until we can figure out what to do with it ourselves. Lament is deep spirituality. As many of the psalms of lament demonstrate, the end result of lament is a return to praise. But it is not a quick process.
In the aftermath of horror and violence, lament comes naturally. Tears flow freely as shock wears off. But staying in lament is the difficult part. As we have seen many around us have moved past their initial lament and are now committed to violence, retribution, division, scapegoating, revenge, distrust. That people living on the other side of the world from Israel and Palestine should take to threatening their Jewish or Muslim neighbours is not just spiritual immaturity, it is an indication of discomfort with lament and a lack of willingness to let God carry this burden for us.
We can and should continue to lament. All life is sacred. All people are loved by God. Indiscriminate killing never serves God’s plan for our lives and the world that God so loves. God is not merely comfortable with our grief and sorrow but is the One able to carry it for us as long as necessary.
It was observed that at the swearing-in of the Provincial Cabinet and our country’s first First Nations Premier on Wednesday, there was ceremony. Not requirement. Not empty ritual. Not formalities. But ceremony. There was symbol and song, prayer and dance, elders and wisdom. Much of it came from people who had long lamented but who had been returned to praise.
Grace and peace,
- For news and events please have a look at Life & Work on our website: Life and Work
- 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.
- 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/fRPJIqnmq5U
- The reading for this week’s service can be found at: Matthew 22:15-22