“Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away,
yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”
2 Corinthians 4: 16
Dear Grace United Church Family & Friends,
The words of Apostle Paul written so long ago to the church of Corinth, still speaks to us today. We all know that perseverance is important, in other words, not losing heart and continuing the journey even when we are facing difficulties of life. We can all agree that life can have difficult climbs at times and when we look back, we can see the incline that we have faced.
One of the reasons I love living in Rural Ontario (Rideau Lakes Township), is because of the beautiful nature and creatures that surround us, and how almost daily I can learn lessons of life in different ways. Just today, we had a deer in our backyard, a turtle laying eggs in our front yard and the regular squirrels, chipmunks and birds keeping us company and reminding us of God’s symphony of love in different ways.
One of my favourite sighting on my drives is seeing the Red-winged blackbird, who sits at the edge of a thin reed in the marshes. Here is a picture taken by our neighbour, Brent Van Hooft, who is a wonderful photographer, and a gift to our region. Whenever I see these birds, I think, how much they rely on the power who holds that skinny twig in place.
I find, I can relate to them, the Church can relate to them, as we wait for the day for us to get back to “normal”, whatever that normal was before the pandemic. However, that does not necessarily mean that what we had pre-pandemic was a desirable way of living, but we miss that intimacy with friends and family. The freedom to travel anywhere we wanted to go, may it be a four-hour drive to see cousins in Kitchener or a flight to other places to see more family members. Did you realize, I did not say, to go places we have never been before, but to see family, friends, family, and friends, again and again, what feeds our souls and hearts. This pandemic has taught us the essence of life and that is RELATIONSHIPS. We miss the hugs, the holding hands while praying, anointing children at Baptisms, or others at the end of life. You get my drift.
Beloved, all this is being missed, but the Church is continuing on her ministries more than ever before…
Just to name a few highlights at Grace United Church:
- Live stream continues each Sunday at 10:30 a.m. on Facebook and YouTube
- Cogeco TV, broadcasts continue in Kingston and the surrounding areas every Sunday at 10:30 a.m. – this has been a wonderful addition to the ministries of this Community of Faith, as not everyone has access to the world of internet.
- The Audio-Visual Team of GUC is making every effort to have the sanctuary set up with the technical needs to make the worship celebrations accessible to all, in the church building and beyond.
- Caring and Sharing Team consists of six individuals who ensure to keep in touch with those who are isolated in and around our community.
- V.I.B.E. (Venturing In Biblical Education) meets every Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. via Zoom and explores our faith journey. At this time we are reading, “Living the Questions” – all are welcome to join from anywhere in the world, literally, because we are on Zoom. Just contact me (email@example.com) and I will add you to the e-mail distribution list.
An Average of 10-12 of us meet weekly.
- And I know, as I trust the Almighty that there is so many more ministry growth that is waiting for us, we just need to do our best, trust God and wait patiently without losing hope.
Friends, yes, we are all anxious to get to our regular activities and gatherings, but I sense that like that red-winged bird, sometimes we need to sit with the Peace of God, even when we feel that the what is holding us might be a weak twig but that twig is held by the Creator, the Rock of Our Salvation. Speaking of Birds, I just want to leave you with this image, every morning around 3:30 or 4:00 a.m. there is a choir of birds singing and I wake up with their voices and see how dark the time is. The darkest time of the day is right before Sunrise. These birds prove to me and to the world that there is still a song even in the darkest moments of life. If you have not seen our virtual worship of June 6, 2021, I highly recommend that you click on this link and watch for Grace United Church’s virtual choir. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7RSOJiEuhM) You will agree that, like the birds our songs continue to echo God’s Peace.
Beloved, I know for certain that God will not disappoint us, never has and never will, we just need to work together patiently, respectfully, and most of all faithfully – as one family. There is so much write to you about, but I want to end this short reflection by repeating the words of Apostle Paul, “Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4: 16 NIV)
Thanks be to God – Amen!
Rev. Takouhi Demirdjian-Petro
B.A., B.Th., M.Div.