Emily’s Weekday Wonderings – April 17th, 2018

I didn’t sleep well Saturday night. I kept waking up with the wind whistling around our house. It seemed to sweep those night time spaces bare, and even though I was cosy under blankets, it felt exposed. When I woke up Sunday morning, one of my colleagues sent a text saying he was cancelling their service, and I briefly considered doing the same – but I knew that not everyone would get a message, and I couldn’t imagine how terrible it would be to trek through ice, snow, and wind only to find the church closed. So I made the long trip to the church by transit (watching as we passed someone out for a jog), and worked on coordinating messages encouraging people to stay home safe, and to cancel different things that would have been happening.

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Soup, Salad and Song!

The Abundant Hospitality Committee invites you to “Soup, Salad and Song” on Sunday, April 22nd from 12:00-2:00pm in the Gymnasium.

Come and enjoy homemade soup, great music and good fellowship.  Featuring the musical talents of Martin and Frank (of Give & Go Beatle Ballads) and Miss Lily opening with acoustic guitar.

Free will offering at the door.  Leaside United Church, 822 Millwood Road, East York (416) 425-1253 | www.leasideunited.org

All Welcome!

Emily’s Weekday Wondering – Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday April 1, 2018 –  Easter People

What a wonderful Easter celebration! We had somewhere between 250 and 300 people of all ages (from 4 months to 97 years) attend our Sunday service, which was bright with flowers and alive with music. Once again, I’d like to thank everyone who worked to make this busy weekend possible, including everyone in the choir who offered musical leadership on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, after a choir practice Thursday! There were so many people whose time, efforts, and energy made this weekend meaningful.

On Sunday, I talked about our human tendency to focus on what is missing, on what is going wrong rather than what is going right, and what is actually there. In the Easter story, the resurrection hope is represented by an empty tomb. It takes a long time for Mary of Magdala, and Peter and the other disciple, to notice anything besides the absence, what seems to be missing. Peter and the other disciple leave without really understanding what is happening, while Mary not only needs to see Jesus but also to hear him speak her name before she can move past her grief and her assumptions about what is happening and actually recognize Jesus standing in front of her. Each of the gospel writers tells a different version of this story, but for each the process of figuring out what is happening takes time.

It’s not easy for us to see the good that seems to lie hidden beneath the bare earth like a seed that has not yet begun to sprout. We can become so caught up in our grief, in our busyness, in our fear, that we miss paying attention to the hope, the good news that exists already. Often this is true as individuals, and it is certainly true as a society. It is part of the reason that despite falling crime rates, we continue to have news stories filled with crime. Despite lower rates of child abductions, our children are increasingly encouraged to fear being with strangers and not taught independence.  It is the reason we are disproportionately affected by people acting inconsiderately on the roads or on transit, because those who follow the rules, who act kindly, who take part in small acts of generosity are taken for granted, not worth noticing.

If you are scanning a typical newspaper or news site, you might find it hard to find a story of good news. There are actually a few websites or organizations specifically created to address this imbalance, by sharing good news stories from around the world. They might help us hear what else is already happening, so that our own perception of the world is not imbalanced.

Easter is not about ignoring the absences that exist in our lives – the losses, the suffering, the uncertainty… but it is about saying that these absences are not the final word. God’s love is present in the midst of these seeming absences. Hope and new life are breaking forth in unexpected places. As “Easter people” we have the task of paying attention to all of life, and nurturing the seeds of possibility that are already taking root.

Blessings, Rev. Emily Gordon

Holy Week at Leaside United Church

Here is a look back on Holy Week at Leaside United Church. Thank you to everyone who contributed to the hope and transformation Easter promises. From Communion on Palm Sunday to a Blue Moon rising mid-week capping off with an Easter Egg Hunt on Easter Celebration Sunday, the week provided many moments for contemplative reflection.

Photographs by: Michele Petick, Webmaster

 

Like to sing?

 

The Chancel Choir will
present Théodore Dubois’

Seven Last Words of Christ

on Good Friday
at the 10:30 am service

The seven last words of Christ or seven sayings of
Jesus on the cross are a traditional collection of
short phrases uttered by Jesus at his crucifixion
immediately before he died, and are gathered from
the four Gospels.

This selection by the French
composer was written in 1867 and is quite
romantic in its musical styling. Any singers who
would like to join the choir for this oratorio are
welcome to come to rehearsals on Thursdays from
7:30-8:15 pm starting February 8th, 2018.

Contact Sharon Beckstead for more information.