Christ’s Prayer in Gethsemane

This week, in our series The Messiah of Peace, we’re looking at Mark’s account of Jesus’ prayer in the garden of Gethsemane and his subsequent arrest.  As we talk about storytelling and imagining how an audience would receive this story, check out this clip from Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ and how he portrays the agonized prayer of Jesus and the falling asleep of the disciples in this story.

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Singleness and the Church

Valentine’s Day is coming up fast; and so this Sunday, we’re going to celebrate by talking about…singleness!

Over the next few days, stores and different organizations are going to find ways to make us feel incomplete for being alone and convince us that if we can just purchase the right things then we can find a partner and we will be complete.

And the church has a very funny and interesting history when it comes to dealing with marriage versus singleness.

Many Christians in the first few centuries of the church embraced the idea that sex is bad, and celibacy was the way to go. Some philosophical movements that influenced many Christians in the 1st century, like the Stoics and the Cynics, taught that abstinence leads to wisdom. The Essenes, a sort of uber-spiritual Jewish movement, encouraged abstinence.

Early church leaders like Tertullian, Jerome, and Augustine pursued celibacy; sometimes to the tune of some very misogynistic language.

Since the 4th century, Roman Catholic clergy have been required to take vows of celibacy.

On the other side of the spectrum, Michael and Margaretha Sattler, two early leaders in the Anabaptist movement, left their respective religious orders and vows of celibacy to become married to one another.

In much of Evangelical Christianity, there has been a large focus on “family values” that, in practice, seem to esteem marriage and denounce singleness.

In our North American culture, sexual activity is assumed to be a human right and essential to well-being. If you are celibate or not having sex, our culture looks on this with a lot of scorn and pity.

And although there has been a lot of going back and forth on marriage and singleness throughout the history of the church, I do think we have to ask ourselves today, are we equipping people in our churches who are single? And are we honouring and respecting their status as single people?

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The Rallying Call of The Kingdom

Back during our Christmas series of Let It Be, we looked at the opening lines of Mark’s gospel, and we talked about how Mark’s Gospel gets circulated around the time of the First Jewish-Roman War, sometime around 50-70 AD.

Interestingly, Mark’s Gospel shows Jesus starting his ministry in the northern region of Galilee in what is now modern-day Israel. This is where many residents were actually strongly resistant to Roman rule during the First Jewish-Roman War. Mark begins his gospel in a region where many people were anxious to participate in the First Jewish-Roman war.

Galilee was known for its farming and its fishing. Its population was largely a community of peasants that enjoyed none of the benefits that Rome would often bestow on Jewish religious and political elites in the south of Judea. Their labour would fuel an economy that largely kept them in the lowest strata of Palestinian Jewish society.

So Mark’s Gospel begins in an area that felt the pain and oppression of Roman occupation (a pain that fuelled a lot of recruitment into the first Jewish-Roman War) and it begins in an area of low importance. Jesus’ movement begins amongst a place and a people of nobodies.

This is where Jesus makes the declaration At last the time has come!..The Kingdom of God is near! Turn from your sins and believe this Good News!

Drop in at our service this Sunday to hear more!

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Relief Kits!

Or Sunday school classes recently joined for an intergenerational event, and assembled relief kits for school and hygiene use.

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Praise and Worship Evening at Church

Praise and Worship evening at church

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September 14, 17 · 16:06

Pilgrimage for Indigenous Rights

From April to May of this year, several Mennonites, and individuals of various spiritual and personal persuasions, marched from Kitchener to Ottawa to raise awareness and draw attention to the well-being of our Indigenous brothers and sisters.  Among them was Brad Leitch, who you might recall from our viewing of Reserve 107, also back in May.  Brad chronicled and produced a short film to tell the story of this Pilgrimage for Indigenous Rights.  And you can check it out for free below!

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Dr. Katharine Hayhoe: Talking Climate: Why Facts are Not Enough

As we move into Week 2 of our current series Every Creature Singing, here is a talk given by Dr. Katharine Hayhoe recently at Canadian Mennonite University.  Katherine Hayhoe is an atmospheric scientist and associate professor of political science at Texas Tech University who is particularly known for her efforts to educate Christians on issues such as climate change.  In this talk, Katharine outlines some of the ideas that we will look at this upcoming Sunday; namely, how climate change and other environmental crises disproportionately affect the poor and the powerless.  How do followers of Jesus respond to the stories and the science that Katharine presents here?

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