Message from the Minister

The Path to the Cross

The crowds that went ahead of [Jesus] and those that followed shouted,
          “Hosanna to the Son of David!”
         “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
         “Hosanna in the highest heaven!”                                    Matthew 21:9

Jesus’ trip to the cross starts with so much fanfare and excitement! People line the streets and place branches and coats on the path of his donkey as though he were a king. They shout praises recognizing him as Messiah. And less than a week later, they crucify him as a criminal. Imagine being there with the disciples as Jesus triumphantly enters Jerusalem! Imagine the thrill of knowing you have been with the promised hope for Israel from the beginning of his ministry! Now imagine the pain of knowing that all of it was in vain as Jesus dies on the cross, and your hopes die with him. As Christians, we know that the hope was not really gone, but for 3 days, the disciples truly thought they were wrong about Jesus (longer for some).

Life can be like this sometimes. Everything looks wonderful one minute and suddenly everything is going wrong. Long awaited plans fall through. Someone unexpectedly gets sick or dies. I find it so comforting to know that Jesus experienced this too and is walking with us through our greatest triumphs and our most difficult times.

March is a busy month here at St. Stephen’s! We are kicking the month off with a Family Games Night on March 2 and a visit from the executive director of Gracefield camp on March 4. Toward the end of the month, we will have many celebrations for Holy Week, including services on Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and our ecumenical service with Parkdale United on Good Friday, hosted at St. Stephen’s! I look forward to walking to the cross with you over this Lenten season.

Last year, our national church, the Presbyterian Church in Canada, instructed our Moderator,  Peter Bush, to write a letter of repentance to the LGBTQI community for acts of homophobia and hypocrisy. This is an important step in reconciliation with that community as our church tries to decide how we move forward in reaching them with the love of Jesus. The letter can be read here (directly download the letter using this link). The letter closes with a brief description of the Rainbow Communion, “a committee with the important mandate of creating a safe space where experiences of LGBTQI people will be told and heard.” If you or someone you know is interested in participating in these conversations, please contact me or your elder.