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Reflections, Images, and Videos from Our October 16 Services

October 18, 2016

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We celebrated the Feast of St. Luke the Evangelist at St. Paul’s on Sunday, with a special focus on healing. Embedded below are the videos we showed on our screens before our 10 a.m. Service to help prepare us for worship.

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 [Embedded below are adapted portions of my sermon at both Services.]

I’d like to begin today’s sermon with a story about a Calgarian whose name has become synonymous with giving.

The rest of Crist’s family are helping choose to whom the funds are being given. In an interview, Crist’s daughter said: “My youngest son loves animals, so he wanted to donate to the zoo, and so we donate to the Calgary zoo. There’s a lot of grief support programs that I utilized after Mom passed away, so we give to that.”

Crist’s daughter said that the family is completely supportive of his decision to give away the money, and that they’re grateful for the chance to contribute to causes that matter to them. “We support the plan 100 per cent,” she said. “It’s an amazing opportunity for us.”

Today: we’re going to continue last week’s focus on Thanksgiving and add a focus on healing as we celebrate Feast of famous doctor in Holy Scripture: Dr. Luke. As we do, we’ll see, as Tom Crist and his family are discovering, that the amazing opportunity to share from thankful hearts enables us all to find healing together.

Luke has Jesus’ public ministry begin by his opening up and reading from Isaiah 61. The entire Isaiah scroll is handed to him, but Jesus picks the passage: “‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour'” (4:18-19).

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Luke 4 then continues in electric, dramatic fashion: “And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. [People sat down to teach.] The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.  {Notice how time has slowed down to a stop.] Then he began to say to them, ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing'” (4:20-21).

This, Luke says, is what Jesus’ ministry is all about!

Luke Volume 2, which we call Acts, sets out a parallel between Jesus’ calling in Luke 4, and the calling of the Church, his Body, in Acts 2. Luke 4 says that Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit to bring healing to a broken world. Acts 2 says that the members of the Church were anointed by the Holy Spirit, to continue Jesus’ ministry as his hands and feet in the world.

Acts 2 and 4 speak of how right away the members of the fledgling Church began to live out this calling, as they shared with one another, demonstrating the turning on its head of priorities expressed in Mary’s Magnificat, so that in Acts 17, Christians are, “dragged before the city authorities by people shouting, ‘These people who have been turning the world upside down have come here also'”.

Ours is a world that desperately needs to be turned upside down! Today [October 16] over 150 countries throughout the world are observing World Food Day. Here’s a video clip about this year’s theme.

[There’s more information on World Food Day at the bottom of this posting.]

On World Food Day, we remember that, as the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization Director-General has said: “The greatest injustice of our time” is that 795 million people in the world are hungry when “There is enough food to feed all.” We live in an upside down world where people starve while there’s enough food for all to share.

In 2012, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched the Zero Hunger Challenge. The Zero Hunger vision reflects five elements from within the Sustainable Development Goals, which taken together, can end hunger, eliminate all forms of malnutrition, and build inclusive and sustainable food systems. The aim is to achieve zero hunger by 2030. Already, the number of hungry is down 167 million over the last decade, and it’s 216 million less than 1990-92.

It always strikes me to be so appropriate that World Food Day occurs always around a week after Thanksgiving, because today we’re remembering that we’re called to share the gifts God has shared with us, for which we’ve given thanks (including our creativity and ingenuity) – these gifts we’re called to share – with others; and that, if we do, there will cease to be the open wound of hunger in our planet. If, as the disciples did in Luke 9, we give our food to Jesus, so that it is his to bless and multiply, there will be more than enough for all of us to experience healing together – and help turn the world right-side up.

We are called, as members of Jesus’ Body, to be in the world – to be in the middle of life, with all its sufferings and its joys, rather than try to cloister ourselves and keep ourselves safe. To live out Luke 4 and Acts 2, will require us to push past our comfort zones and give ourselves in sacrificial love. Our Crucified Lord who told us to take up our own cross and follow him expects no less of us as we live as his Body.

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The great Hymn of Harvest Thanksgiving has the words “Come, ye thankful people, come.” But just as with Luke, there should be a second volume to this hymn: “Come, ye thankful people come, to Jesus. And then, go, ye thankful people, go” – as he fills you with the Holy Spirit and sends to be agents of healing and wholeness in a broken world! 

Because, it’s not enough to thank God for our daily bread. It’s not enough to thank God for being our daily bread. We must thank God by sharing our daily bread with others, indeed, by becoming bread for the world, broken – as Our Lord was – to share. We must have a thankfulness that moves us to be poured out, like the Lord Jesus – like Tom Crist’s lottery winnings – holding nothing back.

As we do, we shall discover that this kind of brokenness is the path of true wholeness. When we become so transformed into Our Lord’s likeness that, like Tom Crist and his family, we’re filled with amazement at our opportunity to give away all that we are and all that we have, the love and life of Jesus will truly have made their home in our hearts. And this is the deepest healing of all.

May we all share God’s love from such thankful hearts, and know God’s healing together. Amen.

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Just before our Offertory Hymn at both Services, we watched the following video, the second of 10 stewardship videos we’ll be showing in October, November, and January. [The first video is included in my October 12 posting.]

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At announcements’ time, we invited everyone to a concert we’ll be hosting at St. Paul’s at 8 p.m. on November 4 by the husband and wife group “Infinitely More“. Here’s one of their songs.

Here’s a video of Allison Lynn’s sharing the powerful story of her discovery of her calling. [I especially love the conviction she shares at the end of the video: “We will know when we are living in God’s plan when it takes the best of us – the best of your talents, and skills, and things that are beautiful about you – and uses them in service of God and in service of God’s people.”]

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Also in announcements’ time, we showed the following image on our screens giving the website for World Food Day.

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Here is a longer version of the video that was shown as part of the sermon.

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 The following videos were shown on our screens at the end of our 10 a.m. Service, as we were sent forth with a song in our hearts to share the healing love of Our Lord.

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