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Join us for worship on Sundays at 10:00
- 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.
- 2024 Stewardship Information and Pledge Cards have been sent out by letter mail and email. Please look for yours and reply by Sunday, November 26. Thank you for your ongoing and generous support.
- Super Saturday Sundae, our annual children’s Christmas craft day is going to be held on Saturday, December 2 from 2:00 to 4:30. Crafts, music, and food are all part of this festive day. Tickets are available at the church office.
- Women’s Advent Service is going to be held on Monday, December 4 at 7:00. A service of carols, communion, and candlelight will be followed by a reception in the Van Roon Community Hall. Donation of dainties will be warmly welcomed if brought to the church by Sunday, December 3.
- White Gift Sunday for Christmas Hampers is next week, December 3. Our goal this year is to provide Christmas Hampers to 55 families whose names are provided by the Winnipeg Cheer Board. In addition to a hamper of groceries, every child in the receiving household is given a wrapped gift. There are many ways to participate in this year’s hamper program and you can learn about them all by clicking here: White Gift and Hamper Program
Welcome to worship for Sunday, November 26, 2023.
The place where this Sunday, Reign of Christ on the Christian calendar, and next Sunday, White Gift, meet is in Matthew 25. As I talk about in this week’s sermon, the setting of Matthew 25 is very important for understanding its meaning.
Once again, we are looking at a piece of apocalyptic, or end times, literature. I won’t repeat what I said in each of the last two weeks except to say we can only understand apocalyptic literature if we think of it as describing ‘in-between times’, rather than ‘end times’. In between the life of Jesus and the coming of the fulfillment of his promises is where (or rather, when), you and I live.
Matthew 25 is the last chapter, the last word if you will, in the public ministry of Jesus. Matthew 26 and 27 tell of the Last Supper, the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus. Chapter 28 is the Easter story. Since Matthew intended for his gospel to be read straight through (it is a testimony taken as a whole) we can see that Matthew 25 is his last and best chance to summarize what the life and teaching of Jesus has all been about. Framed in the imagery of a final judgement, Matthew says that when all is said and done here are the things that matter most: I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you clothed me. I was sick and you cared for me. I was in prison and you came to me.
This is righteousness. This is abundant life. This is faith in action.
Acts of compassion are not merely moral, not simply good works, they are creative of community. Each of us will find ourselves in a time of need and in times of being able to offer help. The relationship that comes into being through giving and receiving is nothing less than the way we encounter the living Christ in our midst. It is how God shows the love God has for the world. And therefore, it is the meaning of the Reign of Christ.
The connection to White Gift Sunday, which we will observe next Sunday on December 3 is obvious. Our Christmas Hamper program has set a goal of 55 hampers for families whose names have been given to us by the Christmas Cheer Board. To achieve this ambitious project, it is incumbent on all of us to share in the effort. Please have a look at the list (White Gift and Hamper Program) and contribute some of the food items required for the hampers. Or make a donation as we invariably need to purchase groceries so that every hamper is filled. After all, I was hungry and you gave me food.
When all is said and done and time is at an end, there won’t be anyone hungry or thirsty, unwelcomed or naked, sick or imprisoned. In the fulfillment of God’s promises those conditions do not exist. But in the in-between times we have the opportunity to create community for those who give and those who receive compassion.
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.
- Through the United Church of Canada’s membership in the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, an appeal for donations has been issued for the Humanitarian Crisis in the Middle East. For more information and to donate please visit: Humanitarian Crisis in the Middle East Appeal
- 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/j0p8fkdA46M
- The reading for this week’s service can be found at: Matthew 25:31-40