For Good Friday this year, we held a funeral for Jesus, and invited everyone to offer a tribute in his memory and place it on the cross at the front of the church. There were so many wonderful and heartfelt tributes! Below are a few that I shared on Easter Sunday as part of my sermon.
“Jesus teaches me what it means to love others.”
“A time in which I felt the friendship of Jesus was shortly after devastating news about the health of a close family member. In a time in which I was uncertain of the future, the possibility of harsh medical treatments and the possible death of my father, I turned to the Bible for comfort. I was reminded that God would not forget his faithful servants. My Dad is a very faithful servant, I felt the peace and comfort of Jesus knowing that he would stand by my family’s side.”
“Jesus means not having to worry about what’s to come. He means that we are able to find joy and hope in every situation.”
“Jesus means everything to me. He walks beside me every day—protects me and loves me. I thank Him for it.”
From one of the children in our congregation: “O Lord I thank you for dying on the cross for our sins. You make me happy, and give me love. Thank you for being my friend” [followed by an exclamation mark and a smiley face, and the paper was carefully folded and placed in an offering envelope with a beautiful offering of 5 cents of Canadian Tire money].
“Jesus, the only Friend who is always there for me, the only friend I can trust completely. He has made all the difference in my life.”
“Thank you for always being with me even when I am not consciously aware of your presence, you are loving me.”
“I cannot imagine life without Jesus. He has promised to never leave me and I have experienced His presence and love through sickness and health. What a treasure and joy to be a follower of Jesus.”
“Jesus, today I’m wearing a very old cross from Ethiopia, and you’re here, as close as skin, and somehow in you all that suffering—the girl who walks three hours for water, and is harmed along the way—all that suffering is gathered up with my own tears, and the agony of my friend who is dying of cancer—and you’re THERE, right in the midst of it—a voice, a hand of compassion. Jesus, give me the courage and the strength to recognize your presence in the suffering of the world, and to do your work, your cross around my neck, close as my next breath. Signed from your friend and follower.”
We don’t often talk this way about Jesus, but wouldn’t it be an amazing testimony and encouragement if we would?Read More
For Palm Sunday (this Sunday, April 13), we focus on Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem with a palm branch processional by the children, congregational singing, and a sermon by Gareth Brandt, who is a member of Emmanuel and Professor of Practical Theology at Columbia Bible College
You are warmly invited to continue the journey with Jesus throughout this coming Holy Week:
Maundy Thursday, 7:30pm, Lord’s Supper – the word “Maundy” comes from a Latin word that means “commandment,” and in church history it was used to describe the night of Jesus’ arrest and the “new” commandment he gave them to love one another. This night is also called “Holy Thursday.” Be present as we re-experience the night of Jesus’ arrest with special music by the Vietnamese Church, Scripture, congregational readings, prayer, candlelight, and the Lord’s Supper.
Good Friday, 10:30am, A Funeral for Jesus – have you ever wondered what Jesus’ eulogy could have been? Who would offer tributes? You are invited to this memorial service for Jesus.
Easter Sunday, 9:30am-10:20am, Breakfast – let’s celebrate together! If your last name begins with A to E, could you please bring a plate of fruit; F to K, please bring a plate of stuffed eggs or a platter of cheese. Everyone else is invited to please bring your choice of paska, hot cross buns, or other breakfast baking. We would also appreciate help with the clean up before our worship time.
Easter Sunday, 10:30am, Worship, Christ is Risen! – As a symbol of the resurrection, you are invited to bring a flower to place on the cross during our worship time, or to bring an Easter lily in memory of a loved one. Easter lilies may be placed at the front of the church before the service begins and taken away afterward. Flowers on the cross and any Easter lilies left afterward are generally taken to those who are shut in as an Easter greeting from the church. Easter is for Everyone! – sermon by Pastor April YamasakiRead More
I had the privilege to interview Darnell Barkman, and his friends Regina and Jon a few days ago. Darnell, his wife Christina and 2 boys Cody and Makai are a missionary family with Mennonite Church Canada Witness in Metro Manila in the Philippines, and we are supporting them in this ministry as members of our church. It was a beautiful conversation full of stories about what Anabaptists are doing in the Philippines. The video of the interview is below, and the link gives the bio’s of the others involved in this hopeful conversation. Be sure to check it out.
This year two of our Connection Groups have been using Sacred Pauses, and they’ve each humoured me with a group photo:
If you have a Connection Group or other ministry photo you’d like to post on our church blog, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
We had a wonderful weekend of learning recently with Gerald Gerbrandt (President Emeritus of Canadian Mennonite University) who continues to teach part-time with a particular focus on Scripture. The following few choice quotes don’t do justice to all that he shared with us, but here at least is a taste of his presentations Friday and Saturday (Feb 14-15) for those of you who missed it.
A Few Nuggets:
Scripture is one continuous story.
Jesus is the lens through which the whole story is to be read.
It is deliberately multi-voiced, making use of complex dialogue.
The truth (or the essence) of the story is in the story, not in some moral or teaching or doctrine derived from the story.
The art of reading Scripture is a creative discipline that requires engagement and imagination, not detached objectivity.
Scripture is an unfinished drama. (N.T.Wright)
We are invited to improvise the last act in a manner consistent with the characterization, plot lines and themes given us in the first acts.
Reading Scripture necessarily requires engagement. The goal is transformation and faithful living, not information or even theology.
An Outline of the Drama:
Act I – God, World, and Chosen People (Old Testament)
Act II – Unleashing the Kingdom (Gospels)
Act III – Citizens of the Kingdom
Scene I – from Jerusalem to Rome (Acts to Revelation)
Scene II – from then until now (Church HIstory)
Scene III – continuing the drama todayRead More