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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Fifth Sunday of Lent


Have you ever fallen off your bicycle and hurt yourself so badly that you cried? Have you ever slipped and fallen while carrying a tray of food in the school cafeteria, and though you weren't hurt, you were so embarrassed that you cried? Have you ever moved to a new school where you didn't know anyone and you were so lonely that you cried? Has anyone ever said something mean and hurt your feelings so badly that you cried? Have you ever had a friend that was crying, so you just cried along with them? We all could answer, "yes" to at least one of these questions. We all cry, don't we? Young, old, man, woman and child, we all cry.

Did you know that Jesus cried? The shortest verse in the entire Bible says, "Jesus wept." The Bible tells us that Jesus cried when he saw friends who were hurting. It says that when he saw Mary weeping because her brother had died, he cried too. John 11:33-35.

I am glad that we have a Savior who weeps. I am glad that he loves us so much that he hurts when we are hurting. He sees our tears and, who knows, perhaps he keeps our tears in a bottle.

Dear Jesus, it is comforting to know that when we cry, you cry with us. But it is even more comforting to know that one day we will be in heaven with you and then there will be no more tears.

Amen.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Second Sunday of Lent- The Transfiguration


Have you ever seen a pink flamingo? Aren't they unusual looking birds? You just don't see many bright pink, tall birds with long necks.

Did you know that flamingos aren't pink all their lives? When they are hatched they are an entirely different colour. What colour do you think they are? When flamingos are very little, they are grey. By the time they are three years old, flamingos turn from grey to pink.

Can you guess why? It's because of what they eat! The type of food that flamingos put into their bodies, causes them to change color. Isn't that a strange way to change?

In todays Gospel, we learn about a really important change that takes place in Jesus' life. One day Jesus took a few of his disciples and went up on a mountain. And as Jesus was praying on the mountain, the Spirit of God came down from heaven and touched him. Then a white, glowing light came from him. When the disciples saw Jesus changed in this way, they were scared and excited. Then God spoke from heaven - from inside a dark cloud - and the voice said to the disciples, "This is my Son. Listen to him." When the disciples saw Jesus all shining white, and heard God's voice, they knew that Jesus was the son of God. When they came down from the mountain with Jesus they never quite saw Jesus in the same way again. They knew that he was special and that God was with him - and that somehow God was in Him - making Him different than anybody else.

Dear God by your power you changed Jesus so that he shone like the sun. Change us too we pray, make us more like him. Help us to listen to Him, just as you asked His first disciples. Help us to listen and to do what he tells us.

Amen

Saturday, February 24, 2007

First Sunday of Lent- Temptation


Sam walked in the back door to the scent of freshly baked cookies. There on the counter was a platter filled with chocolate chip cookies. Mom was in the kitchen preparing dinner and noticed how Sam was looking at the cookies. She said “Now don’t you eat any cookies until dinner or you will spoil your appetite.” Those cookies looked so good and the temptation was so great. Mom had left the kitchen to check on the laundry. “Surely just one cookie won’t hurt and mother will never know if I had just one,” Sam thought.

Have any of you ever had an experience like that? Here is another story which might sound familiar.

"Put away your books and take out one sheet of paper and a pencil," the teacher said. "We are going to take our weekly spelling test." Johnny had an empty feeling in the pit of his stomach. He knew that they were going to have a spelling test today, but he watched TV last night instead of studying for the spelling test and he wasn't ready for the test. As the test began, Johnny looked around the room and realized that he had a clear view of Sally's paper. "It won't hurt if I look at Sally's paper just this once," Johnny thought to himself. "I promise -- I'll never do it again and nobody will ever know."

All of us have faced temptations such as these, haven't we? Did you know that Jesus was tempted just as we are? Sometimes it is very difficult to do what is right and good. We may think that if we take just one cookie it wont hurt and besides who would know? If we cheat just this once, no one has to know.

How do we deal with temptation? Well we should firstly try and avoid being tempted. In the situation with the cookies, perhaps leaving the room and doing something to take your mind off them. With the test, we should have studied. But more importantly always pray and ask Jesus to help you do what is good and right.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Christmas Story - The Magi travel to Jerusalem


There were people who would study the stars n order to find out what was going to happen in the future. One of the names given to these people was Magi.

Three of these Magi were looking at the skies when they saw a new star and realized that it was a sign that a new King had been born to the Jews.

They set out from their country in search of the new King, they traveled with their servants and camels and the gifts that they were bringing to the baby. The trip was dangerous but they knew that the star was a sign of the birth of a very important King.

The Magi arrived in Jerusalem. They looked for information about the King. They asked many people about the King because they wanted to do him homage. No one they asked seemed to know anything about a newborn King.





Soon news of the birth of a new King and the Magi reached Herod. Herod was a very bad man and killed many people because he had thought they anted to be king. He became frightened when he heard about a newborn king.

So King Herod called the chief priests and the scribes and asked them about the promised Messiah. He wanted to know where this Messiah as to be born.

They told him that the prophets had spoken about how the Messiah would be born in the city of Bethlehem, the city of David.

King Herod called for the Magi to talk to them in secret. He asked them when they had first seen the new star and the other signs. When they had answered al his questions he sent them away. He told them to go to Bethlehem so that they could find the child. When they had found the child they were to send word to him so that he could go and do homage to the child.

However King Herod really wanted to kill the child.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Christmas Story - The Presentation


When the baby was eight days old, he was circumcised, and he was named Jesus. This name had been given by the angel before the baby began to grow inside Mary.

Then when it came time for Mary to be purified they went up to the Temple in Jerusalem. Joseph and Mary brought the two turtle doves as an offering to the Lord. This was the offering that was to be made by people who were too poor to make a larger offering.

There was an old man named Simeon in the Temple. The Holy Spirit had promised him that he would not die until he had seen the promised Messiah. As soon as Simeon saw Jesus he knew that he was the promised Messiah.

Simeon thanked God for keeping His promise. He told Mary that Jesus would be the reason for joy for many in Israel but many would reject him and that a sword would pierce her heart.

There was also an old woman worshipping in the Temple that day. Anna came forward and gave thanks to God for the child. She told everyone in Jerusalem about Him.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Christmas Story - The shepherds go to worship the baby


The shepherds went quickly to Bethlehem to see the things the angel had spoken of. When they arrived they found everything just as the angel had said.


There before them was the baby wrapped in swaddling cloths lying in a manger. Then they told Mary and Joseph what the angels had said about this child.

They were amazed when they heard what the shepherds said to them.

Mary hid these things in her heart; she continued to think about them.

Then the shepherds went back to their flock, praising God and thanking him for everything that they had seen and heard. It was just as the angel had told them. They praised Go for revealing these great things to them.

The Christmas Story - The angels appear to the shepherds

That night, some shepherds were in the fields nearby watching their sheep. Shepherds in those days were not very nice people. People did not trust them and were afraid of them. This is why the shepherds usually lived outside the cities.

Yet they were the first people to whom the new of Jesus’ birth was announced.



An angel of the Lord stood before them. The glory of the Lord was shining around them, and suddenly they became very frightened.




The angel said to them, "Don't be afraid, because I am bringing you some good news. It will be a joy to all the people. Today your Savior was born in David's town. He is Christ, the Lord. This is how you will know him: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."



Suddenly there was a great number of angels singing and praising the Lord saying “ Glory to God in the highestand on earth peace and goodwill to all people.”

The angels then vanished.

The Christmas Story - Jesus is Born


Joseph took Mary to the stable. They took some clean straw and made a bed. They made themselves as comfortable as possible, it was no their home but the great love and goodness that Joseph and Mary had was enough for them.

Mary’s time came and she gave birth to a son whom they would name Jesus, which means that Yahweh saves. This fulfilled all that the angel Gabriel had said to Mary.

Mary wrapped the baby in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, a box where animals are fed. They put fresh hay in the manger and used it as a crib for baby Jesus.

This was not the way the people believed the Messiah would be born. They expected their king to be born in a palace and not in a stable.

Joseph gathered the animals and brought them close around Mary and baby Jesus so that they could provide some warmth during the night. It seemed as if the animals realized what was happening and were praising God.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Christmas Story - Joseph and Mary travel to Bethlehem


At this time, Augustus Caesar sent an order to all people in the countries that were under Roman rule. The order said that they must list their names in a register so that he could know how much each person should pay him in taxes. Every man had to go back to the city of his birth with his whole family and register there.

So Joseph left Nazareth, a town in Gaililee. He went to to the town of Bethlehem in Judea. This town was known as the town of David. Joseph went there because he was from the family of David. Mary was in her ninth month and it was a very difficult trip for her.

No room at the Inn

While Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem, the time came for her to have the baby. There were so many people traveling that there was no room for them in any of the Inn’s. They went from house to house but no one had a place for them to stay.

One family took pity on them. There was no room for Joseph or Mary in their house but they told them that they could stay in their stable. The stable was a cave where their animals would stay when the weather was cold. At least Joseph and Mary would be warm there.