Rector’s Update – April 23

Dear sisters and brothers Christ,

I pray that this day finds you all healthy and in a good state of mind as we continue to live under these restrictive measures.  It seems to me that there is a strong sense of family and neighbour during these times as we are all in this together and doing our best to look out for each other. 

If you are feeling particularly lonely or would just like someone to chat with for bit please don’t hesitate to call me.  I can be reached at 204-453-5655. 

As you now know Shirlee Anne Smith has died.  This was a difficult death for many of us.  Shirlee Anne had a particular wit and a keen ability to cut though to the heart of matters.  She would routinely come into my office and we’d chat about just about anything.  I, as you, will miss her.  There is a very nice article about Shirlee Anne here https://www.canadashistory.ca/explore/museums-galleries-archives/remembering-shirlee-anne-smith

In last Sunday’s service I mentioned a book I am encouraging everyone to read.  It will help the parish prepare for the future.  It is called ‘How To Lead When You Don’t Know Where You’re Going – Leading in a Liminal Season’ by Susan Beaumont.  The ISBN is 9781538127681. 

Below you’ll find this week’s readings from ‘For All The Saints’ which includes our patron saint.

Please be well, care for one another and I pray that it is God’s wishes that we soon gather as a community to worship once again.

In Christ,

Simon+

George 23 April Patron Saint of England, Martyr, 4th century — Commemoration 23 April

Few saints have been as widely popular as the martyr named George, a Roman soldier who suffered for the faith in the early fourth century. The circumstances of his martyrdom are obscure, but we know that the Roman authorities were worried by the number of soldiers who were secret Christians and took harsh measures against them. The situation was all the more remarkable because at that time soldiering was still one of the careers which the Church did not allow its members to follow — so that George was not baptized when he died. It was not unusual for people in his circumstances to delay baptism until they had retired from active service. But the Church believed that, by his martyrdom, George had (if anything) a better kind of baptism, because he shared in the suffering and death of Christ himself. In later centuries, as his cult spread westwards, George became the model of a perfect Christian warrior — just the sort of figure that appealed to medieval English kings when they placed their wars of conquest under his protection. That is how St. George came to be invoked as the patron saint of England. But another and far more widespread tradition has seen him as the pattern of what it means to be a Christian in the world — as an image of every Christian’s daily warfare against the forces of sin, ignorance, fear, and injustice.

Martyrs of the Twentieth Century 24 April Memorial

Martyrs are Christians who have been put to death because they chose to remain faithful to the gospel and counted “the truth as it is in Jesus” dearer than life itself. In the twentieth century more Christians suffered for this reason than at any other time in the Church’s history — there are the three million Armenian Christians who died under Turkish brutality during the first World War; the million Orthodox who perished in the Soviet Union in the 1920’s and 30’s; the unknown number of Albanians who disappeared in their government’s efforts to suppress Christianity; the hundreds of Germans, both Protestants and Catholics, who died because they resisted Hitler and his Nazi regime; the Burmese Christians who were killed simply because they believed in Christ; the hundreds of African Christians who suffered because they condemned the terrorism of colonial authorities and black nationalists alike; and the many who were killed because their Christian witness made them oppose racism or social and economic injustices. If we were not careful, the sheer number of martyrs might stagger our efforts to remember them, and why and how they died. So, today’s memorial is meant to be a small act of resistance, a refusal to be silent in the face of terror and injustice. We collect our intentions around a thankful remembrance of the Christian Martyrs of the Twentieth Century and learn anew the ancient truth, that “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.”

Saint Mark the Evangelist 25 April Holy Day 25 April

References to a person named Mark — or John Mark — appear quite frequently in the New Testament. Saint Paul mentioned him among his companions in the Letter to Phile’mon. In the Book of Acts Mark is described as the cousin of Barnabas the Apostle and the son of a wealthy woman of Jerusalem, whose house was a meeting-place for the disciples of Jesus. The Book of Acts also says that Mark accompanied Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey, but then decided to turn back. Paul and Barnabas fell out over Mark’s decision; they parted, and Barnabas took Mark with him when he went to preach the gospel in Cyprus. In the First Letter of Peter, the author called Mark “my son”; and even if this letter was not written by Peter himself, it bears witness to a close association between the Apostle and Mark. Tradition identifies the Mark mentioned in these New Testament passages with the author of the Gospel. It is generally agreed that Mark’s is the earliest of the four gospels; scholars say that it was written around the year 68, probably at Rome. It was contemporary with the Church’s first experience of persecution by the pagan authorities of the Roman empire. This may explain why, of the four Gospels, Mark’s version has the sharpest edge and offers the least comfort. He was addressing a Church confused by the gap between the promise of “the good news” and the reality of persecution. In his account, the disciples are just as blind and uncomprehending about Jesus as the pharisees and rulers; they confess that he is “the Son of God” but refuse to understand the still greater truth, that the Son of God must suffer and die. Mark therefore takes great pains to let his readers in on the secret, so that Christians experiencing persecution would not make the same mistake. His “good news” is demanding news. It is designed to show that Christians can only share in the glory of the resurrection by imitating the same heroic obedience to God which led Jesus to accept death on the cross.

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