In light of the Government announcement to open up places of worship, as a congregation we certainly want to be open as soon as possible. However, it is important that we are ready with the necessary protocols in place. The Session of Oakridge Presbyterian Church will determine the timeline to do so. The Presbytery of London will also provide guidance in preparation for resuming in-person worship in the church. At this point in time we are looking at early July. More information to follow.
July 3, 2020
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? — Psalm 121:1
In every continent on earth there are mountains. There are cold, rugged, and difficult to climb types of mountains and other mountains are favorite vacation spots. We also have mountains which are sources of water, timber, and other natural resources. Those of us whom happen to live close to a mountain range are reminded daily of God’s greatness and our smallness in comparison.
I remember officiating at a funeral in Malawi on the street where the deceased lived (These outside street services were not uncommon). The loved ones and the surrounding community were sitting on the grass on both sides. I recall looking up at the huge mountain which was directly in front of me and so close. I was preaching on Psalm 121 Verse one of the Psalm says this: I lift up my eyes to the hills—
from where will my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
When I read the scripture to those gathered, I referred to the mountain which was so close as God our help is so close. We do not need to fear.
In the context of when Psalm 121 was written, pilgrims would set out for their trip to Jerusalem for a festival, these pilgrims often sang this song (Psalms were often sung) to remind one another of the dangers of the journey ahead and of the assurances of God’s protection. God is greater than any of the so-called god of the hills or mountains—the Lord God is earth’s Creator! God is more powerful than any power of force of the sun or moon—the Lord created them too. The false gods who were worshipped by people of other nations might have to take breaks, but not the Lord God Almighty, who never slumbers or sleeps.
This summer, whenever we set off on a journey—whether it is a far trip of hundreds of miles or only a few steps—we can be reminded (as those pilgrims were) that we travel with God and we are never alone. With the uncertainty and the unknowns of Covid-19, we do not need to fear the dangers and threats from others. The Psalmist states that God is with us every step. We will have challenges and suffer in this life. However, we know through God’s love as displayed in our Lord Jesus, that God provides help through healing, strength and abundant life today and for eternity. Our God who created earth’s highest mountains and deepest valleys (and everything in between) is also the protector of our lives though we may feel so small. Thanks be to God!
Prayer: Dear Lord, We pray that you help us from all that may harm us. Keep watch over our lives, we pray. Thank you for watching over our coming and going today and always, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Due to increasing financial pressure on the church, Session approved the temporary layoffs for July and August, of all staff members with the exception of Rev. Hoekstra, Wilma Boyce, our Pastoral Care & Adult Ministries Volunteer Coordinator and Rev. Susan Lee, our Korean Ministry Coordinator. We have been in discussion with the staff about this possibility during this time of the Covid-19 Pandemic. If you have inquiries concerning Children and Youth Ministry; the music ministry; you would like information about the church; you have a matter concerning the church office; announcements; or Rental/room booking information, please send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a telephone message with Rev. Hoekstra at (519) 471-2290 extension 222 and your call will be returned shortly.
Wilma Boyce, our Pastoral Care, Adult Ministry volunteer coordinator will be away from the office until July 20th. Please feel free to call Rev. Ed if there are any pastoral needs. Please call Rev. Ed at (519) 471-2290 Extension 222, or email at email@example.com. Rev. Jim Redpath will also be available for pastoral care during this time.
The A-V and F & T teams have been busy procuring and installing equipment which will allow us to live-stream our services from the sanctuary on Sunday mornings (starting this coming Sunday, July 5th at 10:00 am) to our YouTube channel that most of us have been watching every Sunday morning. This equipment will also allow streaming to other locations within our building such as Oakridge Hall or the Upper Room in addition to recording the completed service for upload to YouTube so that we can view it at other times.
Happening this Sunday...Don't Squeeze my Chicken Trivia
Join us this Sunday to review the Armour of God in a trivia format. Bring your chickens!
With current Lay Offs in effect, Youth and Young Adult programming will be taking a break for the summer. Our hope and plan is that we will be back in September. While I (Jeff) will not be working, I am still available should any of you need to talk. Feel free to contact me through one of our Social Media platforms at Oakridge Student Ministries on Facebook and Instagram.
I look forward to seeing you all soon!
PASTORAL CARE and ADULT MINISTRIES
Feeding the 5000 Luke 9:10-17
Tonight, I heard fireworks all around me, but I could not see them. I did see fireflies… what a beautiful display of God’s creation. I am thankful to live in Canada, and we are blessed to be a blessing.
The story of the feeding of the 5000 is found in all four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It begins when the disciples return from the preaching and healing mission Jesus had sent them on, and Jesus wants some time alone with them so he takes them to what seems a quiet place… a deserted place called Bethsaida… it is where three of the disciples, Peter and Andrew and Philip are from. But the crowds follow….
What do you think made him so popular? Well, the gospel writer tells us it is his teaching and healing – everyone wants to be healed if they are sick, don’t they? But it was also the teaching – Jesus was teaching them a new way to live – one that is motivated by love, and in fact everything he did reflected the love of God.
And Jesus “… welcomed them, and spoke to them of the Kingdom of God, and he cured those who needed healing”.
The disciples are concerned for the crowds, but they are also concerned for Jesus. What if the crowd becomes an angry mob when hungry? Do you think they would?
The disciples are also concerned for themselves. In a crisis, Jesus will want them to do something—and they can’t imagine what they can do.
So, when Jesus says to them, “you feed them”, they must be standing there in shock.
Because likely the disciples have forgotten the miracles that Jesus has so recently worked: the calming of a storm (8:22-25); the healing of a demoniac (8:26-39); and the raising from the dead a young girl and the healing of a woman (8:40-56). While none of these were abundance miracles like the great catch of fish (5:4-7) or the wine at the Cana wedding feast (John 2:1-11), it doesn’t take much imagination to realize that a man who could work these miracles could also feed a great crowd.
And so, it begins, …. They do, but only because they are part of God’s mission in this miracle…the 5000 plus people are fed with five loads and two fishes….
“Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to the sky, he blessed them, and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the multitude” (v. 16). Jesus takes action once the disciples bring him the five loaves and two fish. He does more than share the crowd’s pain—he feeds them
After the miracle has taken place, the question could be asked, “Who fed these people?” The answer, of course, is that God fed them. However, Jesus challenges the disciples to give the people something to eat, thus making them his partners in the miracle. The obedience of the disciples was important to this miracle just as our obedience is important to the kingdom today. Christ takes our contribution, however modest, and makes it enough.
“You give them something to eat” continues to challenge Christians today. We live in a world full of hungry people and pray that Jesus might do something. He responds, “You give them something to eat.” The church has often risen to the challenge, providing food, clothing, shelter, and medical care to people in the far corners of the world.
Many times, we don’t think we have enough to do what God asks, but we need to remember, with God all things are possible.
In faith, hope, and love,
The staff is still working hard and wants to support you. Please call 519-471-2290 and our extensions are listed below.