At Knox, we’ve been talking about “Light” and discovering how to best reflect the light of Jesus. God created light by merely uttering the words “let there be light” and then God revealed what light can look like through the person of Jesus, the Light of the world. And now, God calls us to live as children of light – but what does that look like?
At Knox, we believe that living in light can take on various forms but always involves illuminating the lives of others with grace, mercy, and love. Perhaps the best way to live in light is by practically sharing the gifts we have – our time, our talent, and our treasure – thus, shedding light on the lives of others in their time of challenge.
We recently learned a new worship song at Knox called “People of the Light” written by John Oldham. The lyrics state:
“We are reaching, we are reaching out in love, in the Spirit, in the Spirit of the Dove. We are living, we are living out love’s way. We are loving, we are loving, come what may.”
Perhaps THAT is how we live as Children of Light.
To be honest, the word “evangelism” can sometimes make me cringe. It brings to mind people (aka bible-thumpers!) who have been forceful, arrogant, and close-minded when sharing their faith. Unfortunately, this form of sharing has probably had the opposite effect – turning people away from God instead of drawing others toward faith. During our Light: Reflecting the Source sermon series, we’re discussing how sharing faith can be as simple as reflecting the love, compassion, and acceptance of Jesus, letting our light shine for others. Instead of forcefully reciting scripture passages and attempting to prove who’s right and who’s wrong, perhaps the best form of evangelism is listening, sharing, helping, visiting, and serving. You’re invited to join us for our Light sermon series – or any time – to discover more about how you can connect with faith, life, love, and light. I promise, there will be NO bible thumping!
You have probably noticed that, little by little, the days are getting longer. We are experiencing more and more daylight as we travel in this time between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. In the church calendar, we are still in the season of Epiphany – the season of light – which seems very fitting at this time of year.
Over the next few weeks, we will celebrate the increasing daylight by beginning a new sermon series called Light: Reflecting the Source. This Sunday, we’ll examine the “let there be light” scripture passages – Genesis 1 and John 1 – and reflect upon the immanence and transcendence of our Creator.
There have been times when we’ve been camping, canoeing, or hiking in God’s creation, when I’ve been overwhelmed by the beauty surrounding me. I remember one time when we were camping in Tobermory, we took a night-time walk away from the campsite and then looked up…the vast expanse of stars and planets that we saw was truly breathtaking. It went on and on – wave after wave of pin-pricks of light, with streaks of shooting stars adding an extra element of awe. It was SO big – and I felt so very small, and tiny, and insignificant.
These are moments when I’ve experienced the transcendence of God…the knowledge that God is vast, and powerful, and huge, and overwhelming. At times like that, God can seem very un-knowable…beyond our comprehension and understanding. Yet, God becomes knowable through the person of Jesus Christ – the One called the Light of the world who puts human flesh on the vastness of God. Making God knowable. And when we know God, we experience God’s immanence.
When we are feeling overwhelmed by the vastness of God – or the magnitude of this world – may we also experience God’s inner presence, God’s immanence, made possible through Jesus Christ.
Something very special takes place when we gather around food at a table. Think about the wonderful celebrations that you have experienced throughout your lifetime, and chances are, a table was involved: the family gathering together around the Christmas table, birthday candles being blown out after a meal around the dining room table, a wonderful meal – complete with speeches and tears – at a wedding celebration…a backyard BBQ, a church pot-luck…to take up a place at a table is to occupy sacred space.
This is sacred space because the people we love most sit with us at these tables. Meals are shared. Stories are told. Sins are confessed. Decisions are made. We laugh together and cry together. And there we experience God’s nearness, God’s kindness, and God’s love.
Sometimes the food is secondary…it’s the catalyst that draws us together…and it’s the together-ness that makes the table sacred space.
Sharing tables is one of the most uniquely human things we do. When you think about it, no other creature consumes its food at a table.
And sharing a table with others reminds us that there is more to the experience than fueling our bodies…we are also fueling our souls, our spirits, our relationships. Tables are one of the most important places of human connection. So it comes as no surprise to find that throughout the Bible, God has a way of showing up at tables.
This Sunday (Feb. 3rd) at Knox, we’ll gather around the communion table as we conclude our OPEN sermon series. An open communion table means that everyone is welcome to join in the sacrament and our message will address how an open table can facilitate new relationships and new life.
Our focus passage on Sunday comes from Matthew’s gospel and includes the words of Jesus as he institutes the Lord’s Supper. You can read the passage by clicking here: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+26%3A26-30&version=NRSV
The table is set and all are welcome to come, taste and see that the Lord is good!
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8
Well, this past year has been such a time of change – for me and my family, and for us as a congregation! For us, we said goodbye to our former congregation, which had been our spiritual home for 23 years, and we were warmly welcomed into our new church home here at Knox. On behalf of my family, I would like to thank you all for making us feel so welcome and for allowing this transition to be a time of great joy.
I would also like to thank you for your patience as I adjust to a new rhythm of ministry.
I am very much looking forward to partnering with each one of you as we go forward into the future serving God, our community, and the wider world.
Despite all the change that we have experienced over these past months, the passage above from Hebrews assures us that the love of God expressed through Jesus never changes – it is the same yesterday, today, and forever. This can give us hope as we deal with the uncertainty that often accompanies change, and it can give us courage knowing that we can go forward boldly because God is by our side.
To this end, I would like to encourage you to contact me at any time with ideas, suggestions, and dreams that you may have that could enhance our ministry at Knox.
Although we know that God’s love is constant, the way in which we share that love may change according to our context, so I’d love to hear from you. I am usually in the church office during the mornings and then head out for meetings or visits in the afternoons. It would be great to sit down with you and hear how you envision serving God and our community through our congregation.
I am looking forward to getting to know you all better in this coming year as we share together the joys and celebrations – along with the challenges and sorrows – of a life of faith. Please let me know if you’d like me to stop by for a pastoral visit. Even if we see each other most Sundays, it’s always nice to get together for a chat and get to know one another more personally.
I’d like to extend a special thanks to our Session, Board of Managers, our Minister Emeritus and retired ministers, our staff, and our Interim Moderator, Rev. Dr. Rick Horst, for easing me into life at Knox. We have set out on a new journey of faith, following the One who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and I’m so thankful to be taking this journey with you.
May the peace of Christ be with you always,
“But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.”
These words from Luke’s gospel immediately follow the story of the birth of Jesus. The baby has arrived – along with the angels and shepherds – and Mary, the exhausted and overwhelmed new mama, spends time pondering. Pondering and reflecting upon the amazing event that has just taken place; an event that will change her life, and will change the world.
I’ve spent a lot of time pondering lately; reflecting upon the ways in which our lives have changed dramatically over this past year. We are feeling extremely blessed that we’ve been called to serve Knox in Bracebridge and are excited to partner with you in this ministry. We have been warmly welcomed by the congregation and the community and are already feeling right at home. Thank you for the way in which you have embraced us. I also appreciate the patience you have extended to me as I learn the history and personality of our congregation.
All of my pondering about the events of this past year has not been completely happy and joy-filled. We have faced losses within our congregation and our family with the deaths of loved ones and friends. Within our Presbytery, we have seen churches close and congregations disperse. Globally, we have witnessed political unrest, extreme violence and natural disasters. These events, too, give us pause to ponder as we seek to see God in the midst of it all.
This Christmas, I invite you to take some time to ponder; to reflect upon the ways in which you have seen God at work in your life, within our congregation, and in the wider world. Ponder anew how God, the creator of all that is, is made visible through a tiny babe born to a poor, itinerant family in a volatile part of the world. And as you ponder, I pray that you would see how God has been very present through every day of this past year, and that you will be assured of that presence in the year ahead.
John and I extend our warmest wishes to you and your family for a very blessed Christmas, filled with joy, peace, and pondering.
Grace & Peace,
Hello, and welcome to Knox’s website! I’m glad you’ve joined us online and invite you to drop in and visit us in person as well. If you’re new to Bracebridge – or to Knox – then we have something in common! I’m the new minister at Knox and just began my new duties in early October, and we’re also new to Bracebridge, having recently moved here from Baxter (south-west of Barrie). There are many things about life in Muskoka that I truly love: the smell of pine and cedar when I step out my front door in the morning, the friendliness of those I meet while out walking our dogs, the inspiring landscape of rivers, rocks, and trees. The beauty of God’s creation is truly on display!
We are blessed to be able to worship God in the midst of all this beauty and so I invite you to join us on Sunday mornings at 9:30am. Worship is informal and I trust that you will receive a message that will relate to the challenges and joys of everyday life. If Sunday’s don’t work for you, there’s lots going on at Knox throughout the week as well. Or feel free to drop by the church or contact me by phone, email, or facebook. I’m looking forward to connecting with our new community and discovering together how we can serve God by serving our neighbour.
Peace be with you,