Musings: Consider the Cross by Gene Tempelmeyer
Musings: Consider the Cross 3 Our Stories: Jane McClean 14 Observing Lent 16 Departments Discipleship Ministries 8 Information Contact Information 18 Community Corner 20 Calendar 23 Cover: Gene Tempelmeyer Design: Clement Lee Contributors: Greg Kay Suzanna Lai Sam Lee Jane McClean Gene Tempelmeyer Copy Editors: Greg Kay Suzanna Lai Gene Tempelmeyer Delve submissions are due on the LAST MONDAY of each month. To submit for the next issue of Delve, please email: email@example.com 2
“For people who are stumbling toward ruin, the message of the cross is nothing but a tale of fools by a fool. But for those of us who are already experiencing the reality of being rescued [and made right], it is nothing short of God’s power.” -1 Corinthians 1:18, “The Voice New Testament” We drive through the city. Suddenly between high rise apartment buildings we catch a glimpse of a steeply pitched roof with a cross standing on the tallest peak. Immediately we know we are seeing a Christian church and are reminded that there are followers of Jesus in the community. Nothing so readily declares the presence of Christians as a cross. If Apostle Paul is correct that the message of the cross is “nothing short of God’s power” we had better understand its meaning and significance. If we are not, in fact, “already experiencing the reality of being rescued” it may well be the cause is a too limited 3
understanding of what the cross of Jesus means and did. Like peeling an onion, there are many layers of meaning to the curious death of Jesus on a cross. We may, for example, want to ask the historical significance of the cross. We have sanitized the cross on top of our buildings to such an extent that seldom would a person pause on the sidewalk and ponder: why is that building emblazoned with an image of torture and execution? Imagine the questions that might be asked if, for example, a building were constructed in your neighbourhood featuring a large, stylized gallows and noose. Or an electric chair. Or guillotine. This is why I describe the death of Jesus on a cross as “curious”. What do you think of Nelson Mandela? I have noticed how the answer to that question shifts when the person asked happens to be white, from South Africa, and lived through the breakdown of apartheid. One person’s hero is another person’s terrorist. And, perhaps more commonly, yesterday’s terrorist becomes today’s hero. It is not only the Pharisees who build tombs and “decorate the monuments” of righteous prophets convinced that, had we lived in their day, we would not have joined our fathers in killing them (Mt 23). The cross was developed by Romans as punishment for slaves: a death so brutal the least marginalized would rather accept their lot in life than risk the consequences of fighting it. For those familiar with the “Hunger Games” trilogy, the cross served exactly the same purpose as those cruel games: to remind the powerless that they were, truly, powerless. It also became the favoured form of execution for criminals whose crime was resisting the Roman Empire. What does it say about Jesus that this is how he died? We know he wasn’t a slave. What did the Roman government of Judea think he was? What does it say about his first followers that the literal scandal of his death became their central message of hope? What does it 4
say about us that we have made our symbolic crosses so clean it is difficult to be reminded by their presence that Jesus was executed as a criminal by the religious elite and the occupying empire? Why that particular death? Why a cross? What is the historical significance of the cross to our belief and way of living? Moving beyond the purely historical meaning of the cross, what is the spiritual and theological significance of the cross? How does a cruel Roman execution continue to have an impact upon our own spiritual reality? The theological word for the answers to these questions is “atonement”. Understanding a concept often best begins by exploring the words used to describe it. In their letters, both Paul and John use Greek words that share a common root to get at the idea of atonement. These words might be translated “expiation” or “propitiation” and quite likely need definition from the English as much as from the Greek. As Paul uses the word it refers to the place and means of forgiveness. It may refer specifically to the “mercy seat” in the Old Testament Tabernacle and Temple. The cross of Jesus now becomes the mercy seat: the place we go where we know we can certainly find God’s mercy. As John uses the word in a slightly different form, the focus is on God giving His mercy, God finding a way to initiate and offer mercy. It may be important to note that John does not identify the cross in particular as the place of atonement – but Jesus in his totality as the place of atonement. The Greek root word shared by John and Paul, helios, ironically, means to be cheerful. The words used by John and Paul imply that the mercy of God is what reconciles us to God. The grief of separation and isolation are over, and both we and God can be cheerful now because a mutually loving relationship has been restored. All of this New Testament thought points back to Old Testament experiences, rituals and ideas. 5
For John atonement is not so much a doctrine as it is a way of life. The renewed relationship with God gives us a new cheerfulness in the face of our difficulties and even our sins. Freed from our sins and the principle of sin itself, we are, in the words of Paul, now able to “walk in newness of life.” What did the death of Jesus on a cross do to make this happen? How does the historical event of Jesus of Nazareth dying via public execution at the hands of Roman occupiers and his own religious leaders free us from the oppression of sin? How did the cross reach back in history to connect with and continue God’s work and covenant with the Jewish people? And how does the cross reach forward in history to connect us to that freedom and relationship with God? All of which begs the question: what is the problem that requires us to be reconciled to God in first place? We are entering the season of Lent, a time of year we are to think about the passion of Jesus: his triumphal entry, his arrest, his execution and his resurrection. We will be exploring these questions through the talks I am giving this Lenten season. I believe two things about the cross: (1) I have the utter conviction that Jesus’ death by Roman execution at the hands of his own leaders and his resurrection from the tomb three days later is THE pivot point of human history. (2) Unless that conviction moves from our heads into our hearts, spirits, and way of life we will not be able to say with Paul, “We are already experiencing the reality of being rescued.” Atonement must be more than a belief. It must become an essential part of our identity, self-understanding, and response to others. Rather than answering all these question I simply want to raise them with an encouragement to spend Lent thinking Scripturally about the cross. What does the cross mean to your beliefs? To your selfconcept? To the meaning of your life?
Discipleship Ministries Partnering with Families Spring Garden Camping Trip We are planning a tent camping trip to Pinery Provicinal Park from July 14-16. This camp is open to our whole congregation with the desire to continue in building an intergenerational community. It is also a great way for us to enjoy Godâ€™s creation together! We have rented two group campsites and are taking registrations online. You can register through our website or by heading to http://tiny.cc/springcamp
Spring Kids Summer Day Camp, July 24-July 28 Registration is live! Our theme for this summer day camp is Creation & Care. We believe that God the creator has given us a responsibility to be good stewards of the world that He has given us and that the work of Jesus on the cross is the restoration of not just who we are but rather all of creation. Our hope at this camp is to see our children grow in their knowledge of God through the world that God has created. In partnership with Youth Unlimited, we will be offering a week-long day camp. You will have the option of choosing either a half-day or a full-day camp. http://tiny.cc/sgcdaycamp
Sunday Morning Worship Gatherings: March 5th, 19th and 26th - We will be having regular worship gatherings for youth in grades 6-12, after the musical portion of worship in the main worship area. Children and youth will continue their programs and worship gathering in their classrooms following the children’s blessing. Youth will meet in the youth lounge. **Please be aware there will be no youth worship gathering on March 12th and are encouraging youth to join the upstairs gathering**
Life Groups: Life groups this month will only be on March 24th from 7pm9pm. Boys will continue to meet at Clem and Koon Lee’s house, while the girls will meet at Jim and Anja Turner’s house. For more information please email Sam or Jeremy.
March 3rd - Taco Tuesday on a Friday: We will be having our annual taco night on March 3rd at spring garden. We will be cooking together and eating together and then play some games. Time: 5:00pm-9:00pm Cost: $5 March 16th - DIY March Break Event: We will be hanging out at the church building and having a “Do It Yourself” event. We will be making our own pizza’s and sundaes and then playing games, watching movies and having a video game tournament. Time: 11:00am-5:00pm Cost: $10
March 31st - Raptors Centre Court: Centre Court is an unforgettable experience! It gives your youth a chance to do something with their friends that they don’t normally get to do. Youth can enjoy a Raptors game together with their youth group; followed by a post-game courtside rally. Featuring games, spiritual insights from a player, lots of prizes and a chance to step foot on the Toronto Raptor’s court. More information to come closer to the event. There are a limited number of tickets, so if you’re youth is interested in coming please respond with and email and pay for the ticket by March 12th. Cost: $35 Time: TBD
Willowdale Christian School Open Houses & Now Accepting Registrations for September
Staying Updated: To stay up to date on what is happening for your youth, please visit our google calendar which has all our planned events. http://tiny.cc/springyouth
Our Stories: Jane McClean by Jane McClean
In the summer of 2000, I made a decision to go on a short term mission trip with Matthew House to Camp Hermosa. Little did I know that this would be a life changing experience for me! I had agreed to be the Camp Registrar, so I attended the monthly drop-in at Yorkminster Park. As I went into the Friendship Room, a beautiful lady in a black dress came over and introduced herself to me as Lala, a refugee from Azerbaijan. She didn’t speak much English, but I found out that she had an 8 year old son and a 6 year old daughter. I invited them to come to camp. With a little encouragement, she registered. We rode to camp on the bus together and tried to make conversation. At the camp, something special happened. We just “clicked”. Everywhere I went, Lala went. Whether in games or in worship exercises, she wanted to be my partner. At the end of the week, we exchanged phone numbers. It was difficult to talk on the phone with her when she had so little English, but we persisted. Sometimes there were long silences, but, eventually, we tried again.
I agreed to move into a house with them. I had a basement apartment and they had much better living quarters upstairs. It was closer to me for work, and I lived with them for 3 1/2 years in the Danforth neighbourhood. Unfortunately, I found out that her husband was abusive. I knew then that God had brought about our friendship because I had lived in a similar situation. Since I had walked in her shoes, I was able to help and encourage her. After I moved to my own apartment, she took her children and went to a shelter. This was an incredibly courageous decision, but it all worked out. She now has a townhouse, new furniture, and a wonderful new man in her life. Lala went back to school and got her ECE. Her son is currently studying Computer Science at university and getting straight A’s. Her daughter is at university taking Nursing. I had the wonderful privilege of witnessing Lala and her kids becoming Canadian Citizens last summer! Lala has always called me her Canadian Mom. Sadly, her own mother passed away on December 23rd, just before Christmas. She and her family have been coming to my place on Christmas Eve since I met her, but, understandably, wasn’t able to this year. I have tried to support her through this difficult time by, going down to visit her. Of course, she insists on cooking for me! Our friendship is strong enough that she has agreed to be the executrix of my will. When I originally went to Camp Hermosa, I wondered if I could really be very useful. It turns out that I was sent to befriend Lala, and she has returned that friendship a hundredfold! I would encourage you to get to know newcomers to our country. You may find that you reap great rewards!
When she invited me to her home for dinner for the first time, I was very touched by the lavish spread and by their tradition of treating me as an honoured guest. Four of them were crowded into a 1 bedroom apartment. As time went by and the friendship deepened, 14
break from our fast as a reminder that the sacrifice of Jesus is a prelude to Easter.
Many followers of Jesus observe the seven weeks leading to Easter as the Season of Lent: a time to prepare for the horror and glory of Good Friday and Easter Sunday. While this has traditionally been the practise of more liturgical churches, increasingly Lent is being observed by churches in the Evangelical community. There are two basic approaches to using Lent to deepen our spiritual life.
Lent by Addition
by Gene Tempelmeyer
Lent by Subtraction Borrowing from the 40 day fasts of the Bible, many find it useful to fast from some favorite food or activity during Lent. The purpose of this fast is simply seeing benefit in self-denial: being reminded by our desire for some gift from God that it is really God, Himself, that we seek. We turn our urges and cravings into reminders to pray and connect with God. What we give up depends upon us – it might be helpful to think of some pattern that we could do without, particularly if we realize it would be spiritually beneficial to do so. Often we fast from some favorite food: chocolate, meat, dessert or alcohol, for example. But it can be equally meaningful to fast from some activity such as Facebook, television, gossip, or clothes shopping. If you are doing the math you might wonder how a seven week period produces a forty day fast. Sunday’s don’t count. Sunday is a weekly celebration of the resurrection and so on Sunday we may 16
Instead of subtracting from our pattern of daily life, many find it more helpful to add something that will nurture and deepen our spiritual awareness. Instead of giving up chocolate we might commit ourselves to read and reflect on a chapter of one of the Gospels each day, or perform a daily Random Act of Kindness, or volunteer for some activity helpful to the community. Some activities that can become part of Lent by additon would include: performing a daily examen (the five stage review of our day we have taught a number of times); canvasing our neighbourhood for a worthwhile cause and, as we walk to the next house, praying for the people in the house we just left, purchasing a Lenten devotional book to follow; sending a note or card of encouragement to someone different each day; listening to a recording of some portion of the Bible during our commute, etc. Even though we are not “giving anything up”, this commitment to service or spirituality should be an act of self-denial. It is putting aside our needs, interests, and comfort zone for the sake of going deeper into discipleship. If we are busy people who have lots to do but have difficulty setting aside time for quiet and solitude, an activity of private spirituality might be most helpful and stimulating. If, on the other hand, we are comfortable in our own spirituality but have difficulty being present in the community in the name of Jesus it might be better for us to commit to some outer activity. If you would like to learn more about how and why to observe Lent or some of the spiritual practises you might find helpful, any of our pastors would be glad to help you!
Leadership at Spring Garden Pastoral Team Gene Tempelmeyer, Pastor 416-223-4593 firstname.lastname@example.org Greg Kay, Worship and Mission Pastor email@example.com Margaret Sutton, Pastoral Care/Seniors firstname.lastname@example.org Sam Lee, Pastor of Discipleship, email@example.com Suzanna Lai, Church Office and Communications Manager firstname.lastname@example.org Jeremy Ranasinghe, Discpleship Ministries Assistant email@example.com Samantha Steeles, Discipleship Ministries Intern firstname.lastname@example.org
Ext. 222 Ext. 224 Ext. 226 Ext. 227 Ext. 221
Deacons Marion Cameron - Finance email@example.com Adora Chui - Discipleship Ministries firstname.lastname@example.org Lesley Daniels - Mission and Worship email@example.com Mary Ellen Hopkins - Chair firstname.lastname@example.org Gonzalo Librado - Adult Ministries email@example.com Peggy Moore - Membership, Property firstname.lastname@example.org Esther Penner - Community Life email@example.com Doug Willson - Pastoral Care, Board Secretary 18 firstname.lastname@example.org
Darlene Boyd email@example.com Cindie Chaise firstname.lastname@example.org Cheryl Chapman email@example.com Joanna James firstname.lastname@example.org Barrie Porter email@example.com Corinne Sutton-Smith firstname.lastname@example.org
416.385.2483 416.738.0530 416.222.6963 647.928.0862 416.829.4210 647.704.7710
Spring Garden Church 112 Spring Garden Ave. Toronto ON M2N3G3
T 416.223.4593 F 416.223.6126 www.springgardenchurch.ca email@example.com
Prayer Line 416.223.4038
416.491.8542 905.962.3897 416.806.5373 905.731.0492 416.229.2695 416.225.2406 416.227.1840 416.221.0450 19
2017 SGC Community Directory
Life around Spring Garden
Where are you called to use your hands and feet? We are all called to love God and neighbour. In Spring Garden our guiding image of living as followers of Jesus is to use our Hands and Feet: one hand to love God and one to love each other in the Church; one foot to show Godâ€™s care to and one to share Godâ€™s story with our neighbours. It is our desire to celebrate with you where He has personally called you to use your hands and feet to love God and neighbour, to share your story with others so that they may be inspired and edified, and so that you too can be inspired and edified by the stories of others. As one way of gathering our stories, we are going to be releasing a survey this March. The survey is NOT to try to get you to sign up and volunteer for something, but it is simply a method we hope will help facilitate the gathering of stories. So watch for the survey, and in the interim please visit the giant map of Toronto in the West (Main) lounge and share part of your story there!
We are updating our 2017 SGC community directory in the month of March. Please visit the lounge to update or add your contact information to the 2017 directory. If you are unable to submit your contact information in person, you can also email it to office@ springgardenchurch.ca. Thank you.
Ruth Thompson Ruth Thompson went into NORFINCH CARE COMMUNITY at 22 Norfinch Dr. On November 24th. She celebrated her 89th birthday on February 9th. This week her house goes on the market and we appreciate your prayers for her as she experiences the grief of 'letting go'. We are grateful that she has adjusted well to being in the Nursing Home. If you are ever in the west end around FINCH AND 400 Hwy, she would love a visit
Easter Celebration Dates Sunday April 9 - 10:00am: Palm Sunday Intergenerational Worship - 12:00pm: Prepare Easter meals for Ex-offenders Friday April 14 - 10:00am: Good Friday Worship with Communion (Nursery and Toddler child care provided. Large group activities for Grade Pre-K to Grade 5) Sunday April 16 - 6:00am: Easter Sunrise Liturgy with Communion - 10:00am: Easter Sunday Worship - 11:30am: Easter Community Meal (more details TBD)
Life in Spring Garden
Weekly Tuesdays 2:00 pm - Pastoral Team Meeting in Meeting Room Wednesdays 10:00 - 11:30am - Refresh Women’s Group in West Lounge (childcare provided) 7:00 - 8:30pm - ESL Cafe in East Lounge Thursdays 12:00pm - 2:00pm - Adult Bible Class in the East Lounge Sundays 9:00am - 10:00am - Morning Bible Study in Meeting Room 9:00am - 10:am - ESL Bible Study in Basement Hallway 10:00am - 11:30am - Sunday Morning Worship (communion on the first Sunday of the month) If you would like to receive a weekly email update on what’s happening in Spring Garden, please visit the SGC website (www.springgardenchurch.ca) and add your email at the bottom of our home page to subscribe to our weekly update
This Month March 3 - 5:00pm - 9:00pm - Taco Tuesday on a Friday Youth event (pg 11) March 16 - 11:00am - 5:00pm - Youth March Break Event (pg 11) March 31 - Raptors Centre Court Youth Event (pg 12) "Simon Carries Jesus' Cross" by Joanna James
Our Values We believe in a humble God who came not to be served, but to serve. Therefore we engage in sacrificial and active service to those around us. We strive to be good stewards of God’s gifts and talents by serving one another in humility. We aspire to regard others as higher than ourselves, which liberates us to creatively take risks in serving others for God’s glory. We believe in a God of grace who came to save the world, not to condemn it. Therefore, as we are continuously receiving the gift of God’s grace, we seek to grow in that grace and extend it to others. We strive to define ourselves by what we are for, not what we are against. We believe in a God who knows us, and who desires to be known. Therefore we embrace a journey of faith that requires us to constantly strive for a personal, intimate and transformative knowledge of God. We strive to be led by God’s Spirit in supporting and encouraging one another in working out our faith. We believe in a creative God. Therefore we are open to expressing our faith in new and creative ways that reflect the beauty and complexity of our creator. We are called to use our creative gifts in worship and service as we engage with our world. We take joy in the diversity of gifts that allow us to delight God and participate in His ongoing story. We believe in a triune, relational God who calls us to come together as a diverse community of believers. Therefore, we want to walk together, supporting one another physically, emotionally and spiritually. We strive to be a welcoming, inclusive family that goes through the joys and the trials of life together, acknowledging that God uses this community to deepen and mature our faith. We believe in a God who loves this broken world and wants to reconcile us to Himself. Therefore we are commissioned by Christ to go out into the world, meeting the holistic needs of the local and global community. God calls us to participate in a redemptive work that he has already initiated; in humility, we will partner with others to work alongside and chase after Him. We believe in a God who is our center. Therefore where we are on the journey is less important than that we are moving towards a deeper relationship with Christ. We believe and participate in God’s redemptive work in all people, which gives us the freedom to come as we are, and to accept others as they are. We each are on a unique journey to become who God has created us to be. 24