-3°C & My Van Parts Were In

Twice in one week the van is visiting the neighbour’s, giving me opportunity to exercise and enjoy the sky and the way the fresh fallen snow clung to the branches.

The warmer winter temperatures were a pleasant treat. How I wish the warm weather would last.

We happened to meet other neighbors along the way home. Happy to catch up and see them doing so well.

The heavens seemed to be dancing with the steeple of the church. Unfortunately the speed of my walk on the unaccomidating footing and the power lines stole my best shots.

Loved having Maggy to watch out for traffic as her crazy momma tried to find the angle for the best shot.

I wonder what the route will have in store for me tomorrow, when I make my way back down to retrieve my van. I am actually looking forward to the simple adventure, and dreaming of other adventures to follow.

St Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran
Looking to the light

Seems Like It’s Going To Be A Red Letter Day

According to Oxford Languages on Google, a red letter day is “a day that is pleasantly noteworthy or memorable.” Of course I hope today will be pleasantly noteworthy, but that is not what I am referring to.

Lately, I have been hearing the questions deep within my soul, “have you set yourself apart, are you noticeably Mine (belonging to the Lord)?” “Is your temple in order?” “Do the work!

In case you haven’t noticed the world is a bit of a mess right now. There is turmoil, division, fear and hate. Many have shut themselves up in their homes like dark caves, quaking in fear. Others are rioting in the streets. It has become taboo to speak of God, and to hold onto morals and ethics.

This is not Christian! We walk humbly and boldly. We fearlessly speak the name of Jesus. We love, but call a spade, a spade. Or do we?

I mentioned Jesus in a discussion yesterday with someone I did not know if they were Christian or not. His face lit up. Ended up being a long conversation.

How can it be, that in a society built on Christianity that we don’t hear the name of Jesus? That we don’t talk about the greatness of God?

How is it that our morals and ethics are being trampled on, and we sit quietly by, not warning of the impending danger?

Today is a red letter day, in the book of John 5 there is a familiar story (for anyone that went to Sunday school) of a healing at Bethesada. Jesus asks a man who had been lame for a long time “Do you wish to get well?” Of course he did, so Jesus told him “get up, pick up your pallet and walk”. The man was healed, but he did not know Jesus. Later on Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “look, you are made well, do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse happens to you” @NASB (Jesus words in my Bible are red.)

I find myself contemplating those red letters deeply today. I know the salvation is a free gift from God. Free meaning we can not earn it, it was VERY expensive to God to give it to us, it cost a precious life, but free for us to receive.

What has my mind churning is Jesus’ warning, “do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse happens to you.” Can salvation be snatched away?

In my opinion North American Christianity looks for a great number of “Christians ” just like secular living, in many ways, myself included. We accept the gift of grace and mercy, without the dedication to the relationship and discipleship. The Bible warns in Paul’s letters that our sins add to the punishment of Jesus. Do we want to add another stripe to His back? (Don’t get me wrong, I do not expect perfection, we are not God, only God is perfect.)

I believe God is becoming weary of the uncircumcised hearts of His “believers”. I believe our testimony is being compromised. I believe the Lord is calling us to repent, to weep for the brokenness of the world. I believe if we do not change our paths, we may relearn what it is to “fear the Lord” in our time.

I do have hope though, a story from 2 Chronicles 20. If we repent. If we stand firm. The Lord will direct our paths even unto war, so we can live in peace.

Today I ponder my red letters, as I ask the Lord to cleanse my own temple. 1 John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive them and to cleanse us from unrighteousness.”

Will you make today into a “red letter day” ? Has the Lord stirred your soul with deep questions? Are you willing to respond to Him?

What is a church anyway?

When we think of the word church how did we allow it (for some) to become this?

photos by: Barb Harwood-Gendron

Please don’t get me wrong. I think these buildings are beautiful, and absolutely useful and necessary for shelter, especially in Canada, where our climate in not very forgiving sometimes. ( We sometimes joke about the two main seasons in Canada: 1.”winter” and 2.”black fly/ mosquito” season.)

When I ask people what church is, especially “non-church” people, a lot of the time I get the response that church is the place down the street (Like above.). Alternatively it’s a service on Sunday were people gather. Sometimes very judgey people (but that is a discussion for another day). Others would say a place to go and meet with God.

So is a church just a place that you go to meet God? If that is all it is, then isn’t this the perfect church?

thanks Barb for this photo also from somewhere in Northern Ontario

In my opinion, I believe that we need to think much deeper about what church is and how we display it to others.

I do believe in the Creator God.

I believe that He loves us, He wants our acknowledgement, and praise and worship.

I also think that in His creation of us that He made us for community! “It is not good for the man to be alone!” Genesis 2:18 God intended us to live in families, tribes, communities.

What then do I believe that a church should be more than anything else?

A church should be a group of individuals that “love God, and love each other”, but NOT only on Sunday’s for an hour.

It is good to gather together to praise and worship together but it should not stop there. I believe as a church we need to be involved on a daily basis in each others lives. I believe we need to help each other up, and push each other forward. I believe we need to care on a much deeper level than “How was your week? Oh that’s nice!”

Our church should be a group of “family” (not necessarily blood related), that stretches us, sometimes tells us when we are off track or loosing site of the goal. They should be encouragers. If a member is in need they should be the first one on the scene to help. They should be there to celebrate with us and mourn with us.

Our church should always be open to welcoming others in. Just wait, I know, I know, what if people join into our church, that are “takers, users, or disruptive”. Everyone deserves a chance or a few chances, but a church should encourage each other to be the very best and not allow each other to be less than there best.

We need to become a living example to what it means to “love thy neighbour” and we need to begin within the confines of the buildings in which we meet, yes, BUT, we need to then explode out and build communities that people want to be a part of because of how we interact with each other.

I want to see a church built, a living expression of the love of God, by sharing the joy of a life worth living, a community of people that are divinely brought together to grow and stretch each other, and in so doing bring thanks and praise back to the Creator.

This is church.

thanks Janna for the use of this photo

I am seeing this church being built right before my eyes, where two have gathered together, in this case, to celebrate a birthday milestone. To dream and goal set, and power through together. Or in fact to lift up and support each other as was the case in how Barb got to take the church photos and the photo of the northern Ontario sky.

So instead of the church being a place to go to, to worship, what I am saying is, let us be the church, let our lives be the worship to our Lord and Creator, by how we relate to one another by word, by action and by deed!