Today is a last Sunday, the church season of Easter, we are entering into a Pentecost next week.
Over the last couple of days, Shining Waters Regional Council Annual meeting was held on line on Zoom. It was on Friday and Saturday afternoons, and the celebration of ministry service is this afternoon online and also in person.
Our church council gave me this Sunday off for my dedication to the reginal council annual meetings this week, however due to the difficulty finding a preacher, I decided to work this Sunday.
The theme for our Regional Annual Meeting is “For the Common Good” from 1 Corinthians 12:7. “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”
Here are a few words from Rev. Betty Lou McNabb, president.
We must align our gifts from Creator God then we can work at the common good for all.
Our gifts, our attitudes, our hearts and our efforts are steadfast when it comes to this work.
On the theme, she asks a few questions
What does it mean to say, "for the good of all; All of creation, all of Earth?" Does it mean, animals, people, plants, trees, air, soil, water? All?
It is reminder of the “all my relations” symbol which appears on our United Church of Canada crest in Mohawk. For the good of all!
Some of you have already have learned about the crest, but I would like to share the UCC’s crest and what we believe in as UCC members especially on this Reginal Council Annual Meeting week.
It is worth to learn and remind ourselves of who we are and what God requires of us in this unpredictable and hurting world that God loves.
It would be a great way of remembering and understanding the UCC ethos and values, and seeking to be Jesus’ disciples and caring for all, all our relations.
(Seeing the crest on screen)
The crest is the official signature of The United Church of Canada, designed by the Rev. Dr. Victor T. Mooney (a treasurer of the United Church), in 1944 at the 11th General Council.
Its oval shape is derived from the outline of a fish, a symbol of identity by early Christians.
The "X" at the centre, is the first letter of the Greek word for Christ, is a traditional symbol for Christ.
In the four corners of the crest are symbols, three of which are particularly associated with the three communions—Congregational, Methodist, and Presbyterian—that united to form The United Church of Canada in 1925.
The open Bible represents the Congregational Churches with their emphasis upon God's truth that makes people free.
The dove is emblematic of the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:10) whose transforming power has been a distinctive mark of Methodism.
The burning bush is the symbol of Presbyterianism.
It refers to the bush that burned and was not consumed (Exodus 3:2), and symbolizes the indestructibility of the church. From Presbyterianism we have received a heritage of high regard for the dignity in worship, the education of all people, the authority of scripture, and the church as the Body of Christ.
The symbols alpha and omega in the lower quarter are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. They symbolize the eternal living God.
The Latin words mean “That all may be one." They are a reminder that we are both a "united" and "uniting" church.
In 1980, a French translation of The United Church of Canada was added: L'Église Unie du Canada.
In August of 2012, the crest changes included incorporating the colours often associated with the Aboriginal Medicine Wheel, which reflects respect for diversity and interdependence, is often represented in the four traditional colours of yellow, red, black, and white, which incorporate important teachings from the four directions, the four stages of life, and the four seasons. The Medicine Wheel teaches us to seek balance in the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of the circle of life. The addition of the Mohawk phrase which means "All my relations."
Are you proud of your church as UCC members and believers?
A few weeks ago, I received an e-mail from one of our church members. I can share some of it with you.
Thank you YoonOk, for your amazing and so needed sermon this morning. I have truly felt that in some ways WEUC has been slowly sinking into the 1950’s and it has been hurting, just so unlike what the United Church of Canada represents. As you well know the United Church of Canada is forward thinking. We pride ourselves on being progressive. I think you touched many of those points this morning and I congratulate you for having the courage to deliver a sermon so needed. Yoon Ok, we can hire a Youth Leader for our church, but if we aren’t willing to be a modern thinking church, in my opinion, we don’t have a chance of attracting young people...
Most of us know that the UCC is progressive, justice oriented, and seeking to live and practice our faith while taking care of matters on earth and in the human race.
Sometimes, we get hurt, we blame and judge others, including our own members who have different world views.
Immigrants, including the Korean united churches have been struggling to live out our united church’s ethos and beliefs because the UCC only exists in Canada, it has a very new and progressive way of teaching about Jesus, God, the Bible and Mission that is inclusive and accepting of all.
Finding the truth is not easy and trust is hard work in faith communities striving to work for the common good of all because of the nature of the human race, and our very diverse experiences.
What should we learn from Aboriginal people about taking care of “all our relationships”?
Taking care of the earth, sky, atmosphere, trees, water, and preparing for the common good for the next seven generations to come.
In today's reading from the book of acts, it talks about a relationship between a Jailer and believers Paul and Silas. This story reminds us that we should keep on singing and praying for the common good for all even when we have our own problems and challenges.
Paul and Silas travelled to many places to tell everyone about Jesus' Good News. One day, Paul and Silas went to the city of Philippi and continued to teach about Jesus, but some people did not like hearing about it and they were angry. Finally, they took Paul and Silas to the leaders of the city, and said that “Paul and Silas are causing trouble” and they were put in jail!
They were treated badly and abused by the jailer, yet they kept spreading the Good News, praying and praising God in jail.
It’s another fascinating story about Paul and his companion Silas, in the early church. They took care of others even in jail, they even cared for the jailer. Finally the jailer and his family listened to the good news and were transformed and baptized.
Paul and Silas’s lived out what they believed, and they ended up in prison, but God was still with them and took care of their needs and answered their prayers. They opened a door for the Spirit to connect with others who were also locked up.
Paul’s teaching was “Believe in Jesus the Christ, and you will know life in all its fullness.”
We should be proud of ourselves, because we belong to a church which extends a warm, loving and just welcome to God’s world.
Let’s see how we can carry on our belief in the UCC,
We are clear that we identify with the early Christians, who live for Christ.
We are a united and "uniting" church, we belong to the circle of life, which means "All my relations."