"Love God ... Love Neighbor ... Love Yourself"

Mark's Midweek Musings
Feb. 11 2021

This week, things have changed around our house. Eleven months ago when the pandemic first started, Nathaniel came to live with us; in April his girlfriend Gillian joined us; at the end of May Patrick and his girlfriend Jordyn join us; in June Gillian went back home; in July Nathaniel went back home; in August Nathaniel broke his ankle and moved back home and Patrick went back to school. This past Monday Nathaniel moved back to Toronto leaving us empty nesters again. It sure is quieter. Beth and I give thanks for the time to spend with our adult children that we wouldn't have otherwise had. 

As I'm writing this week's musings, I'm listening to hymns of praise. What a gift to have such access through the internet to so much inspiring music. If you're having a down day or feeling blue, I suggest you look up some inspirational music that can lift your soul and remind you of God's grace and mercy whatever we are experiencing.
Stuart has recorded a
short Epiphany organ recital
based on "How Brightly Shines The Morning Star"
which he offers us as a gift
as we come to the end of the season of Epiphany.\

Thank you Stuart.

Here is the link ...

This past Sunday in our parish cycle of prayer
we remembered and gave thanks for ...

Gail, Nellie, John, Brian and Cathie
and Gail and their families

Thursday February 18, 2021
7:30 pm using "Zoom"

Please register if you are planning to attend.
You can do this either using the link 
or by leaving a message
on the church telephone system (905-852-7016).

A copy of the vestry report
is available on the church website.
Here is the link ...

If you would like to receive a printed copy,
please leave a message on the church telephone system
(905-852-7016) and we will be sure you receive one.

This is the link you will need
to access zoom for the meeting on February 18
both by computer and telephone

By computer and the internet …

By telephone ...
Phone 647 374 4685
You will be prompted to enter the meeting Id #
829 6155 6265 [press pound "#"]
You will hear a prompt to enter your participant id
just [press pound "#"]
You will be prompted to enter the meeting password
900261 [press pound "#"]

We hope you will join in
either through your computer or the telephone
as we share together in this time
of reflecting on the past year
and planning for the year to come.
This week ...
  • Tues Connections email
  • Zoom Prayer Group ... Tues at 7:30 pm
  • Zoom Coffee & Chat ... Wed at 11:15 am
  • Mark's Midweek Musings ... Thurs
  • Conference Call Bible Study ... Thurs at 11 am 
  • Online Hymn Sing ... Thurs 
  • On line worship links will be emailed on Saturday for Sunday 
I have been asked to share
some scripture passages
that people can read over the week
and reflect in their own personal times
of prayer and bible reading.

These are the appointed lectionary readings
from the psalm and the gospel
for celebrations of the Eucharist
  • Tuesday ... Ps 8; Mk 7:1-13
  • Wednesday ... Ps 104:25, 28-31; Mk 7:14-23
  • Thursday ... Ps 128; Mk 7:24-30
  • Friday ...  Ps 32:1-8; Mk 7:31-37
  • Saturday ... Ps 90:1-12; Mk 8:1-10
  • Sunday ... Transfiguration ... Ps 50:1-6; Mk 9:2-9
  • Monday ... Ps 50:7-24; Mk 8:11-13

Thurs Feb 11 ... Mark's Midweek Musings
Thurs Feb 11 ... 11 am; Conference Call Bible Study
Thurs Feb 11 ... Online Hymn Sing 
Sun Feb 14 ... Transfiguration... an email will be sent with a link to the worship video
Mon Feb 15 ... 7:30 pm; Zoom Choir Practice
Tues Feb 16 ... Tuesday Connections
Tues Feb 16 ... 7:30 pm; Zoom Compline
Wed Feb 17 ... Ash Wednesday ... an email will be sent with a link to the worship video
Thurs Feb 18 ... Mark's Midweek Musings
Thurs Feb 18 ... 11 am; Conference Call Bible Study
Thurs Feb 18 ... Online Hymn Sing
Thurs Feb 18 ... 7:30 pm; Zoom Vestry Meeting
Sun Feb 21 ... 1st. Sunday of Lent ... an email will be sent with a link to the worship video
Mon Feb 22 ... 7:30 pm; Zoom Choir practice
Tues Feb 23 ... Tuesday Connections
Tues Feb 23 ... 7:30 pm; Zoom Prayer Group
Wed Feb 24 ... Online Video Lenten Reflection
Wed Feb 24 ... 7:30 pm; Zoom Lenten Reflection Series
Thurs Feb 25 ... Mark's Midweek Musings
Thurs Feb 25 ... 11 am; Conference Call Bible Study
Thurs Feb 25 ... Online Hymn Sing 
Sun Feb 28 ... 2nd Sunday of Lent... an email will be sent with a link to the worship video

Lent is a holy and sacred time in our church year
from Ash Wednesday to Easter.

Lent is a time to intentionally
enter into a rhythm of prayer and self examination
to renew us in the gift of our faith
as we reclaim the hope and promise
God offers us through Jesus Christ.

Although compromised due to Covid 19 restrictious
we will endeavor to observe a holy Lent at St. Paul's.

Wed Feb 17 ... Online Ash Wednesday Worship Video
Wed Feb 17 to Mar 24 ... a short weekly online Video reflecting on "Invitation To A Holy Lent"
Wed Feb 24 to Mar 24 ... Online Zoom Lenten Series in partnership with Trinity United and St. Andrew's Chalmers Presbyterian ... "What does God want for us? Ted Talks Meet the Bible: A Lenten Journey" 
Sun Feb 21 to Mar 21 ... Online Sunday Video worship will include a Penitential Liturgy acknowledging our need for God's healing, reconciliation and forgiveness

Reading Scripture ... use the weekly readings list to engage with God's Word and allow God to speak to you
Compline ... join in the online zoom compline on the 1st and 3rd Tues at 7:30 pm
Prayer ... I will provide some resources for daily prayer through the internet that you can choose to engage with

An option to make your St. Paul's donations
which is easy and convenient

we have online banking available for e-transfers.

If this is helpful as you support the ministries of St. Paul's
the email address you need is

Please use the security question
"What town is the church located in?"
If you or someone you know
is in need of pastoral support
during this time

please leave a message
at the church office or email me.

Trust me when I say
it is no bother!!

This is what I'm here to do!!
Love God ... Love Neighbor ... Love Yourself"

This Sunday is Valentine's Day. Although not a feast day or festival in the church calendar, it is a day to reflect on the gift of love that we receive from God and from others in our lives. As well it is an opportunity to reflect on how we are called to share genuine love as God's love is lived out through us and our ministries. As such Valentine's day can be more than nostalgia and feeling sentimental; we can enter into it spiritually and recognize the holy and sacred gift of love that is ours through faith, hope and trust.

The most inspiring witness of what love is about comes from our relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Remember that God sent His son to the world because He loved the world and all of His creation. God loved and continues to love all of us, including you and me, more than we can imagine and likely more than we deserve. What a gift that God so freely offers us with no strings attached.

Scripture provides us with so many passages that speak of love ...
  • John 3: 16 ... "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
  • 1 John 4:9-11 ... "This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."
  • Isaiah 54:10 ... "Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed," says the Lord, who has compassion on you."
  • Psalm 136:26 ... "Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever."
God's promise has always been that He would love us with unconditional love. And because of that love, God would always work to redeem and save his people and all of creation especially when we have strayed and not been faithful. That's what His sending Jesus was about and for ... to redeem and save us. What an incredible sacrifice; that's how much God loves us!!

Through that witness of love from God, we are called to love God with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind and all our strength. In other words, we are to love God completely with all of our being, from the depths of our souls. In our human condition, with our human inadequacies, we obviously can't love God to the level that God loves us. But we can commit ourselves and have committed ourselves through our baptisms, to do all we can to be faithful to God as God is faithful to us. In so doing, we are loving God and living out that loving relationship that is at the core of our lives as children of God.

But, it doesn't end there; God also calls us to love our neighbors. And in some cases, I suspect that's more difficult to do than it is to love God. But in scripture, that is part of our calling as followers of Jesus.
  • John 13:34 ... "Jesus said, A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another."
  • 1 John 4:11 ... "Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another."
  • John 13:35 ... "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
  • Colossians 3:14 ... "And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony."
The very essence of our baptismal identity is God's desire that we will love one another just as He has loved us. One of the best descriptions of Christian love that is faithful comes from 1 Corinthians 13 where Paul writes ... 

Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t  have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always  “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when  others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end. 

Taken from Eugene Peterson's "The Message", I hear from Paul a calling of how we can most faithfully love one another with respect and a spirit of genuine compassion. In some ways what he expresses is counter cultural in the world we live in. But it is our calling none the less and what we are called to strive for in our lives and in every relationship we have.

And finally, as we love God and our neighbor, we are equally called to love ourselves. To be sure this isn't about our ego or raising ourselves above others in any way. Rather, it is about a healthy love for ourselves and what we have to offer that inspires us to be who we are as a gift from God. We all deserve to be loved as God uniquely created us. Loving ourselves with enough respect for our value is the place to begin in loving others. We are called to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Implicit in that is the calling to indeed have a healthy love and respect for ourselves that inspires us in all we do and say in our relationships with others.

As we enter into the secular observance of Valentine's Day, a celebration of love and intimacy, may we know the love and intimate relationship God desires to have with us. May we return to God the love we have received and equally live out that love in our relationships with each other and in how we view ourselves.

Love God ... love neighbor ... love yourself!!
A prayer to love faithfully ...

Abba, Father, You love us so wonderfully;
may we reflect Your love in our relationships with others.
Help us love well, dear God.
Help us to be good listeners
and to be encouragers.
Help us to give of our time
and attention and assistance freely.
Help us to be empathetic
and able to perceive other's feelings and needs.
Help me to treat others as we would like to be treated.
In the name of the one who loves us
more than we can ever imagine,
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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St. Paul's Anglican Church, Uxbridge · 59 Toronto Street · Uxbridge, On L9P1H1 · Canada

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