“Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:13-18
My dear St. Giles family,
Another week has come and gone and we are still social distancing and self-isolating. I know it seems as if it will never be over, but it will. And we will once again gather in worship together. It may not be for some time, it may not be as we have always done it, but it will happen. But for now, we worship God separately, but with a common goal…to honour and praise the Risen Lord.
We have heard this phrase a lot lately, “We are all in this together”. We are. Every city, town and country the world over has been touched by this pandemic. People all around the globe are facing the same struggles and worries that each of us are. And people the world over are working together to overcome this virus, doing our parts by staying at home, caring for each other, collecting food for the less fortunate, encouraging one another with street parties and impromptu parades of thanks. Working together, we will get through this.
The Lord created us to be in community, to be with others, to work with others, to rely on others. The Lord also intended for us to rely on Him. He is the Sovereign King of the universe, the creator of all life and he offers us his guidance, his protection and his love.
I’d like to invite you this week to pray for one another. Pray and ask God how you can work with our St. Giles family members to accomplish His work in the world. Be specific in your prayers. “What can I do to help someone else?” “Who needs some encouragement today?” “Where would my gifts be best used in this time of pandemic?” and “Use me, Lord”. We know this is the most powerful prayer we can pray, because when you put yourself in God’s hands, for His work, He will most certainly use you. So, take some time in prayer this week to do just that, ask for His guidance and listen for His answers.
Remember that I am with you in this. I’m as close as a phone call or text (905-401-7641) or an email (email@example.com). Or call your Shepherding Elder if you need some support or if you have something we can help you with. (If you don’t know who that is, call me and I can let you know) We ARE all in this together!!
This week I will be pre-recording my message to you, but it will still be on Facebook at 10. I have been appointed the Interim Moderator of Chippawa Presbyterian Church following the Rev. Doug Schonberg’s retirement, so it is necessary for me to lead worship with them today. But Lisa will be on live at 10 to start our worship time together and then you can watch my message, and you can always go to our website, stgilesstcatharines.ca or to our YouTube channel St Giles Church stgiles1954 to see this weeks message.
Be well, be safe, you are beloved,
Sharing Church, Being Church, Together
To give you a fuller experience of our Sunday morning, I am including a prayer for you, the scripture reading, some hymns to think about (I have also included links you can click on to hear and see them performed) and a devotion for your day. I will also make available my sermon available in print for anyone who wishes it or wishes to pass it on to a friend.
Here’s how we can pray together, before watching our live-stream or video message or at some point today, I invite you to pray this prayer…
Spirit of life and love, we gather together in a different way this morning, from computer screens we gather, reaching out across the wires, sharing from a safe distance, to come together as your body. From living rooms and kitchen tables we gather as we are able, ready to be of service to each other, to the world, ready to build the community of hope and of love as we face this new morning.
We are apart, but we are together, offering our love, our commitment, our hope, and our prayers, in service to one another and this world. Be with us in the places we gather from and let the love that brings us together, love for each other and love for you, be the ties that bind us tightly to one another in one Spirit. Now and forever, your church in your world. Amen.
Ecclesiastes 4:7-12 (Common English Bible)
Next, I saw under the sun something else that was pointless: There are people who are utterly alone, with no companions, not even a child or a sibling. Yet they work hard without end, never satisfied with their wealth. So for whom am I working so hard and depriving myself of enjoyment? This too is pointless and a terrible obsession.
Two are better than one because they have a good return for their hard work. If either should fall, one can pick up the other. But how miserable are those who fall and don’t have a companion to help them up! Also, if two lie down together, they can stay warm. But how can anyone stay warm alone? Also, one can be overpowered, but two together can put up resistance. A three-ply cord doesn’t easily snap.
Hymns to Ponder:
We are One in the Spirit https:
//www. youtube. com/watch?v= HV-f92IbN2U
A Mighty Fortress is Our God https:
//www. youtube. com/watch?v= bONV_YZCKdg
Strong Enough https:
//www. youtube. com/watch?v= knuHDPbE5es
You Raise Me Up https:
//www. youtube. com/watch?v= aJxrX42WcjQ
Message Title: “We are all in this together”
Devotions: From Pastor Rick Warren, author of “The Purpose Driven Life”
You know the feeling you get when you do too much work on your own. You get exhausted and burned out. Why? Because you’re trying to do your work alone, while God never meant for it to be that way.
In Ecclesiastes 4:9, God tells us, “Two people are better than one, because they get more done by working together” (NCV). When you work as a team, you get so much more done. Plus, having good teammates alongside you is a whole lot more fun and less tiring!
Picture it this way: Each of us is like a snowflake. On our own, we can’t make a big difference. However, when one fragile snowflake sticks with a lot of other snowflakes, they can stop traffic. Like snowflakes, we can make a big difference if we work together, each one of us simply doing our small part.
Did you know that when we work together here on Earth, we’re actually practicing for eternity? In Heaven, we will all have to work, but each of us will have just a small piece of work, so we’ll never get overloaded or tired. Though no one will carry a heavy burden as each one of us does our small part, all the work will still get done.
As you walk through life, remember that you’re not supposed to do everything on your own. You need other people to walk alongside you, and other people also need you. As you share the burden of your work with fellow Christians, you’ll find that you actually accomplish more for the glory of God.
Questions to consider:
Do I have trouble asking for help? Why do you think that is?
Do I have something that God wants me to accomplish?
How can I ask God to help me and point me to others to accomplish His goals?