Trinity United Church – Bowmanville | Worship Service Archive
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2015 | 180th ANNIVERSARY WORSHIP SERVICE
Special Guest Speaker
Dr. Marguerite Van Die | Author & Professor Emerita, Department of History, Queen’s University
Reflection | Entering a Strange, New World
Scriptures| Deuteronomy 6:1-9; Romans 8: 1-3, 12-21; Matthew 22: 34-40
Hymns | The Church’s One Foundation (VU 331); Know That God is Good (MV 104); Love Divine, All Loves Excelling (VU 333); Great is Thy Faithfulness (VU 288)
Minister & Worship Leader| Reverend Jennifer Broomhead
Music Director | Mr. Carmine Lappano
Audio excerpt #1 | On the importance of events of remembrance
Events of remembrance such as this one are not simply sentimental and nostalgic. They form an important role in telling us who we are.
Ours is a consumerist market-driven society where increasingly our identity is shaped by our job, how we look, by what we buy, by the kind of technology we use to communicate, the vacations we take, in short by matters of individual choice and preference.
Church anniversaries are an important reminder that we are not just isolated individuals or congregations struggling to survive in the secular Canada of 2015, but we are part of a tradition, part of a community whose roots lie deep in the past.
Daniele Hervieu-Leger, a French sociologist of religion, she argues that this is precisely what religion offers people in contemporary secular society. Religions, in her words, provide a “chain of memory…a chain that has links.” Religions do this in a world where there are very few collective depositories or custodians of memory to show the continuity between past and present.
Symbols of continuity are essential for humankind to move forward in hope. So for religion to continue to be meaningful, we need to look at the existing links in that chain, but also to add new links.
Audio excerpt #2 | On loving God and loving your neighbour as yourself
What does it really mean to love God?
The answer is simple, says Jesus, it means to love your neighbour as yourself.
Now how do we love ourselves? How do you love yourself, how do I love myself? Well, usually, quietly, without fanfare or sentimentality, we simply look after our needs, we do what is necessary for our well-being.
That, says Jesus, is exactly the way you should be concerned about the welfare of others, and that is also precisely the way you go about loving God.
Audio excerpt #3 | On spiritual renewal, and places where strangers gather
Methodists passionately believed the kingdom of God was not something only for the hereafter. Because God was Lord of the universe, the kingdom of God began already here, within their own physical world and so they set about to change that world so that it reflected God’s kingdom. They did that by setting up educational institutions, houses of worship, temperance movements, settlement houses.
It was not a straightforward path to victory and triumph, but when the Spirit seemed most absent, it would suddenly break forth. In fact, in the church’s chain of memory renewal seems to break forth especially in times that seem uncertain, when we’re no longer as clear as we were 30 or maybe 180 years ago, about what it means to be Christian, to belong to a church, when we wonder if the church has any future.
The spirit of revival does not usually break out in safe and comfortable churches, but in unpredictable and new places, places where strangers gather. The wilderness of Upper Canada was one such place, and so is the multicultural secular Canada of 2015.
And therefore, even though our world today is very different, we can take courage from those who came to a strange and new land, and who like us did not know what the future would bring. What they did have was something we also have today, not just here but within society generally. What they had was a longing for religious experience.
Audio excerpt #4 | On how we all live in God’s world
When the world becomes the City of God it becomes a place where we try to love our neighbour as ourselves, and where we realize that our neighbour includes not only the people who are like us, but includes the marginalized in our cities, and today it includes the countless refugees whose lives have in the last few years been torn apart by chaos and war. They, like our own ancestors, now seek welcome in a new and strange land.
When our global society is seen as the City of God, we work together to ensure that the poor, the hungry, and the stateless are fed and given the dignity of being children of God.
Where those who suffer and grieve know that they are not alone – that they are in God’s world, and that through our small efforts God in Christ stands beside them in their pain and sorrow.
Audio of Reflection in full | Entering a Strange, New World