As we are all aware there is an emerging health crisis worldwide at the moment with the rapid transmission of the Coronavirus disease known as Covid-19. Even over the past 24 hours, the level of concern and subsequent recommended courses of action being directed towards Canadians has shifted pretty dramatically.
In response to recent developments, Guelph Vineyard will be halting Sunday gatherings for at least the next four Sundays (March 15-April 5).
Although this decision was partially made for us given the Upper Grand District School Board’s decision to cancel all public school use up to and including April 5th, even prior to this announcement it was becoming clear that this would be the best course of action in response to COVID-19.
Proceeding with an abundance of caution seems prudent in this time. We are not a fearful people… and we are also called to be wise. Forward-looking action that helps to slow down the spread of this virus will benefit those who are most vulnerable in our community. We want to be able to care well for those who are elderly or who have pre-existing health concerns. This is part of what it means to love our neighbours.
These are interesting times…. unprecedented in any of our lifetimes, actually. In times like this, the invitation to locate our peace in Christ is all the more resonant. He truly is our peace.
So, being community together will necessarily look a bit different for a little while, but it’s okay! We will find ways to connect and support one another, even inside the strange constraints of this time.
So, Sundays at 10am we’re going to have a live video stream via our Guelph Vineyard facebook group. If you’re not connected to that group, here’s the direct link for you to request to join: https://www.facebook.com/groups/GuelphVineyard/
During that time, we will have some worship, a brief word and there will also be space for us to interact with one another via the comment thread on the video. It’ll be an experiment, so hopefully it’ll work!
I’d like to leave you with this. Here’s an excerpt from a communication to Calgary’s Epic Vineyard Church community, and I want to echo it here as it contains some powerful reminders:
“Throughout history there have been serious epidemics that have impacted whole nations, and at times the known world. Historians recount how profound and noteworthy the participation of Christians has been in such times.
Even in Canadian history, famous Jesuit priest Jean deBrebeuf is remembered for his courage to lead his priests in caring sacrificially for Indigenous people who were suffering from small pox. Many became convinced of the gospel because of the love demonstrated by God’s people in times like these.
We want to encourage all of us to be people who are wise, who love well in our consideration and care of others, and to be steadfast in prayer.”
Peace to us all, in Jesus.
We are a group of people on a journey through life together towards a purpose:
Loving Jesus, one another, and the world God created. We seek to be a safe place for those who are hurting.
A dynamic place for those looking to be inspired by the purposes of God.
An empowering place for those who want join in alongside the beautiful work of God.
We know Jesus is like God – the big question on our mind is this: is God like Jesus?
Jesus let a sinful woman wash him, ate dinner with the ones considered vile, summoned little children to sit on his knee. Is God like that?
What is God the Father like?
This Sunday we will co-create a picture of the Father heart of God; a picture that will fuel our worship, invite our requests and prompt us to live questionable lives.
***Note, Brady gives an introduction and then the recording ends when folks break into smaller groups. what follows are a few images that reflect some of the ideas represented during those smaller group dialogues.
Theology might feel like an old, dusty word to some of us, but really, it’s just a word that describes what we think about when we think about God. Whatever ideas we have about God, that’s what our theology is. And here’s the thing, theology matters. Everyone has opinions about God. And those opinions and thoughts and ideas actually shape how we live our lives and not just our “spiritual life”. Theology that matters shapes the whole of life. If a person thinks that God is angry with them most of the time, that’s a theology (an unhelpful one, but a theology nonetheless).
Theology provides the framework – the skeleton – for how we flesh out the way we think, how we live, and how we love.
We’re going to take a few weeks and talk about some of the theology that is particularly vital to how we relate to God and to one another, particularly in the Vineyard. This week, we’re going to put the “Theology of the Kingdom of God” through the “Why? So that….” filter we’ve been talking about lately.
Deuteronomy 4:9-10 ” …and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God…”
Writer James K.A. Smith says this about memory: “Strung between novelty and nostalgia, a biblical imagination remembers forward. [Biblical] remembering…. looks forward to a “time to come” (Deut. 6:20). The biblical command to remember is written in the future tense.”
The week we’re going to remember together some of the powerful ways the Lord has moved in the shared story of our broader church family, the Vineyard movement. Because knowing where we’re from helps us know where we’re going.
“Why?” is an inexhaustible question. It’s a question that is never quite satisfied. It’s a question that, when asked enough times in a row, will always take us beyond what we know.
Yielded as a weapon, why will eventually makes fools and hypocrites of us all. However, why as a tool of careful excavation is a powerful enabler. It empowers both our capacity to say yes to what matters and no to what does not. Knowing our whycenters us.
Throughout the month of January we’re going to revisit some of the significant ‘Why’s that bind us together as a people, giving us a place in God’s purposes today and in His future.
Here’s a link to the document that’s referenced during the talk “Why Vineyard“
The third Sunday of advent is an invitation to reflect on Joy. Joy is kind of a big deal in the Scriptures. It’s also kind of a big deal in life. Can we get good at joy? Is there a way to practice it or is it simply an emotional response to an encounter with something good? Do you have enough joy in your life or do you think you could use some more?
The book of Nehemiah contains this often quoted phrase: “The joy of the Lord is your strength”. Some of us have heard this said with all the nuance of a bumper sticker. What does it really mean? The author of Hebrews speaks of how the joy Jesus anticipated empowered him to endure the cross. Powerful, challenging stuff.
The 7th verse of the advent hymn, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” says this:
‘O come, desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease
And be Thyself our King of peace’
Peace is woven into the very identity of Jesus. ‘Prince of Peace’ is one of the names of God that we get from the writings of Isaiah, and it’s part of the proclamation that was heard at Jesus’ birth. Yet, even though we live in “peace time” here in Canada, we seem to be short on the stuff. Our 24 hour news-feeds are rife with conflict, with outrage, with fear. This Sunday, we’re going to consider these words of Jesus from John 14:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; I do not give it to you as the world does. Do not let your hearts be distressed or lacking in courage.”
Advent is the beginning of the Christian Calendar and introduces us to the Season of Light. It is a time when we intentionally prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ. This Sunday, we will explore the first week of Advent: Hope. At the darkest time of the year, hope is the growing light we hold onto. It is the promise of what is yet to come.
“What oxygen is to the lungs, such is hope to the meaning of life.” ~Emil Bruner
If there’s one thing that has emerged thematically through our reflection on what it means to follow Jesus into questionable living (the kind of life that prompts questions), it’s that following Jesus results in a surprisinglife. An encounter with the Love of God the Father is always surprising… it is not easily overlooked or dismissed. The call of Jesus on our lives is again, full of surprising “yeses” and surprising “noes”. His call can sustain and surprise us for a lifetime.
This Sunday we’ll consider 5 practices that help to empower and sustain the surprising in-breaking of the love of God in and around us.
Mark 1:16-20 – “As (Jesus) went along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew, Simon’s brother, casting a net into the sea (for they were fishermen). Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will turn you into fishers of people!” They left their nets immediately and followed him. Going on a little farther, he saw James, the son of Zebedee, and John his brother in their boat mending nets. Immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.”
Jesus has returned from his experience in the wilderness and he is a man on fire. He has a gospel to preach; a Kingdom to proclaim. He soon encounters four men going about their business and offers them an exchange: ‘Leave everything you’re competent in and follow me into uncertainty’. This Sunday we’ll explore this: Why in the world did they say yes?
*Editors note: There was wonderful interaction and questions from the congregation throughout this talk (notably from our youth). We’ve tried to optimize the recording to allow you to hear the questions/comments… There is notable “hiss” during these portions of the recording, and some of the comments are still difficult to make out due to the constraints of our recording equipment.
Besides are some interesting links for you! Enjoy your stay :)