So Why Do We Light the Christ Candle

A Reading from Luke 9:18-22

Now one day when Jesus was praying alone in the presence of the disciples, Jesus put this question to his followers, “Who do the crowds say I am?  The disciples answered, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and yet others say one of the ancient prophets come back to life.”  Jesus asked a second question, “But you, who do you say I am”.  It was Peter who spoke up and said “The Christ of God”.  Jesus gave the disciples strict orders not to tell anyone anything about this.

Listen to this story from our ancestors in the faith.

So why do we light the Christ Candle each Sunday?

Over the past week or two, I have been asking people this question and I have been fascinated with the responses.  All good and thoughtful responses, yet diverse, as people use different language to describe a sense of groundedness and connectedness, that connection with sacred mystery, that connectedness with something “bigger” than us as well as the wonder of the connection that happens when we say “we are not alone”.  

For some this is their favourite part of the service

I have been fascinated by the commonality of experience as well as fascinated by the diversity in describing the experience.

This Easter season, we are doing a series of services where we are taking time to reflect on “why we do what we do”.  Most of us understand intuitively “why we do what we do”, but over the past few months our church leadership heard about a longing, a desire for some language that would help us deepen our understanding and deepen the experience of our spirit practices.  So we are going to try to do that.

 

Read more: So Why Do We Light The Christ Candle Each Sunday?

So Why Do We Involve Ourselves in Refugee Work?

The following is a preamble to the "covenants" and "memorandums of understanding" we have with our own First United Refugee Committees as well as Community Sponsorship Groups that we are partnering with.

First United is called to be faithful to God’s vision for humanity and creation as revealed in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  This is reflected in three commitments that are included in the “Living Ministry of First United”.

  • A commitment to spiritual nurture in community
  • A commitment to healing
  • A commitment to social and ecological justice.

The mission statement of First United identifies that We are a concerned and daring people, proclaiming God's presence and love in our action for social and human justice.  This is rooted in our core faith story received from the Scriptures, a story that reminds us of the teaching in James 1:14-17, which says my friends what is it for one of you to say that you have faith if your actions do not prove it?...Suppose there are brothers or sisters who need clothes and don’t have enough to eat.  What good is there in your saying to them “God bless you, keep warm and eat well” if you don’t give them the necessities of life?  So it is witg faith.  If faith stands alone and does not include actions then it is dead.

Our commitments, mission statement, and faithful action include the sponsoring of global refugees to be settled within our own city of Ottawa.   These efforts are an integral part of the ministry of First United that involves our members, staff, and others associated with our faith community.

I going to have to disappoint him. I'm better than the person he thinks I am.  These were the words that Omar Khadr spoke when responding to government efforts to keep him imprisoned.  The “him” is particular to the Prime Minister. I going to have to disappoint him. I'm better than the person he thinks I am.  When I heard those words on Thursday evening, they lodged deeply in me and they have haunted me, in a good way, since Omar uttered them.

It reminds us about a person.  Wars are never about persons.  The Christian gospel is about persons.

They also help me understand a key dynamic established by the emerging Christian community in the wake of the life and death of Jesus.  We read about this dynamic in our Biblical story this week, a story found in chapter eight of the Acts of the Apostles

Read more: Emerging Church: Ethiopian Eunuch