Coming up this weekend is Remembrance Day and because November 11 is falling on Sunday, the community should note that it has resulted in some changes to local Remembrance Day Services. This year, the service at Morrisburg Royal Canadian Legion Branch 48 is being held on Saturday, November 10, at 10 a.m. The service at Crysler’s Farm Battlefield Monument is on Sunday, November 11 at 9 a.m. Service, conducted annually by the Iroquois Legion Branch 370 at Matilda Hall in Dixon’s Corners, will be on Sunday, November 11 at 2 p.m. The Iroquois Legion service was of course this past Sunday.
A few short days ago, we celebrated Easter–one of the most glorious days of the Christian year
The resurrection of Jesus lit a flame in the hearts of men and women which has never been extinguished. It confirms forever the teachings of the man from Nazareth who said: “Because I live, you shall live also. I came that you might have life and have it more abundantly.”
Easter is a radiance, caught and passed on from believer to believer. It is the credential for that potent power which created the universe and the power by which human beings keep turning the world’s values upside down.
In this Easter season, may we indeed turn the world on its edge with the guidance of our Lord Jesus Christ and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
May we seek to do the will of God instead of conforming to the ways of the world. Let us uplift the downtrodden and care for the rejected.
As Christ’s faithful disciples, may we strive not for prestige or social status, but work for justice and mercy in our communities where so many are hungry or ill.
God has promised us resurrection, new life, new beginnings, in Jesus’ resurrection–what will we do as our part of keeping that promise/covenant?
We receive the new life God gives and asks us to share with others. We proclaim “Hallelujah–Christ is Risen. He is risen indeed.”
Jesus gives meaning to our often empty lives, and we can give thanks.
We are the blessed sons and daughters of the Saviour. We are to pass these blessings on to our sisters and brothers everywhere.
And if ever we feel drained and defeated, may we allow ourselves to be used by God.
We will then be renewed and revitalized.
Our interest and ability to create are reawakened.
We rise again!
Rev. Janet Evans,
Iroquois United Church
The Personal Problem of Evil
“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.” – Jesus (Matthew 12:33-35)
In Matthew 12:34, Jesus, calling the Pharisees “brood of vipers,” disputes their ability to say good things because they are “evil.” He further explores their predicament saying, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”
Speaking in this verse is to be understood as a representative act of the heart; in that we are to understand that all of the Pharisees’ acts (not just speaking) are expressions of their evil hearts.
The acts of these Pharisees, and their speaking, is symptomatic of the “evil” condition of their hearts. If only their symptoms where to be treated, though their condition might appear to be improved or even cured, the malady remains unchanged; in that, whatever is done or communicated is the expression of evil, being the product of an evil heart.
Consider this in the light of how Jesus addressed the crowd that was listening to the sermon on the mount in Matthew 7:11, saying, “you being … evil.” Jesus is here disclosing His understanding of the nature of mankind. It is not just Pharisees, but mankind as a whole, that was corrupted by the evil Jesus speaks of.
Again, Jesus says to a young man seeking the means to eternal life in Luke 18:18, “no one is good.” In the estimate of the Christ, mankind, excluding Himself, was evil; as in not good. (John 2:24-25)
Of course the evil spoken of, since all of mankind is comprehended in it, must be defined in contrast to the goodness of God; so in Luke 18:18, Jesus goes on to say, “no one is good but One, that is, God.”
But in Matthew 12:33, Jesus holds out hope for all who would not be evil, saying, “Either make the tree good …, or else make the tree bad …;” implying some kind of hope for those who by nature are evil; implying some means by which we may apply ourselves toward good.
In this verse the tree is representative of the heart in verse 34, and the fruit is representative of the act of speaking.
Consider the phrase in this verse, “make the tree good and its fruit good.” Notice that the quality of the fruit follows the quality of the tree. Our solution then lies in what we “make” the tree; or as it is clarified in verse 34, what we “make” the heart.
But how does one change the nature of the heart? Perhaps it is possible that people can change their behavior in some way, but how is the nature changed? Therefore Jesus says to the Pharisee Nicodemus, “you must be born again;” that is, “born of the Spirit.” (John 3:1-8)
The idea of being born again is not just a concept to mentally comprehend and accented to, but rather an actual occurrence whereby a person is given a new nature by means of the creative power of the Holy Spirit; so that the “making” of the tree (heart) must actually be the immediate work of God. (Ephesians 2:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17)
What then can man do, towards a change of nature from evil to a goodness in the likeness of God? As Nicodemus asks of Jesus, “how can a man be born again …?”
We find Jesus’ answer in John 3:14-17, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
It is in the possessing of eternal life that the heart is changed from a source of evil to a source of good; and the whole part of man is to believe in God’s “only begotten Son,” the Lord Jesus Christ.
This is Jesus’ perspective on the matter.
Responses may be posted at www.thechristianmind.org
Rev. George T. Frey, Jr.
Memories of Autumns past
Again I am sitting at my desk in the bay window of my study, watching the neighbourhood.
The house across High Street from the rectory is a beehive of activity as the people who have bought it are making the changes necessary to make it their home.
The kids across St. James’ Lane are doing their best to help their mother with the leaves – she’s raking and they’re jumping into the pile.
Life in our little corner of creation is ticking along.
I remember as a child how on nippy days like these we loved to go outside and play. We would rake the leaves into piles and jump into them, never sure if we would find another kid under the leaves when we landed.
Back in those days we were allowed – well, our parents were allowed to burn the leaves on the curbside of the road. The smell of burning leaves is one that takes me back to my childhood. Sometimes when Mum wasn’t looking we would gather a handful of chestnuts and throw them into the fire waiting for the inevitable explosion. The joy we got from watching her jump from such a loud “bang” was great. Little did we know that she had seen us throw the chestnuts into the fire and the loud “bang” was nothing more than an almost loud “pop!”
If we weren’t jumping into the piles of leaves, my friends and I loved to go “shushing” through the leaves that had filled the ditches. The sound gave me the feeling of comfort.
Another autumn season is upon us. Many of us are doing our utmost to get our bodies acclimatized to the cooler temperatures that have come our way over the past few days.
Some have been complaining about how cold it is. Others I have heard mumbling about how they have to scrape the frost from the windshields of their vehicles. I think perhaps the exceedingly hot summer has made us a bit softer. Some are longing for the days of warmth again.
I am quite happy with the season that God has given us. It reminds me of the cycle of life. I see the leaves of the trees die, dry up and drop off. I see beautiful plants struck down by killing frosts. The earth is settling into hibernation where new energy is being found by the plants and other things that are calling it quits for the winter.
It is coming to the time of year when even the humans hunker down and wait for renewed energy to go out into the world refreshed and rested.
In the story of creation we don’t read about the creation of seasons, but I’m fairly sure it might go something like this. . . and God created the cooler temperatures to remind all the creatures of the need for rejuvenation and rest – God called the season autumn, and it was good!
Rev. Sue McCullough
Anglican Parish of Morrisburg, Iroquois & Riverside Heights