The Face-Off

The photo says it all !

These two churches on our main street are having a face-off !

They are both Christian Churches, but they have doctrinal differences, and thus , they have the need to worship on either side of the street.

I have attended both churches, while church visiting.

The white church is built to hold 1,200 worshippers. I counted 30 parishioners while I was there.

The gray church recently had part of their membership leave and form a new church, as they had some disagreements , which no one fully understood.

The members that left now share a church building with another church.This works out because one group worships on Sundays, while the other group thinks Saturdays are the best days to worship.

With so many divisions, is it any wonder if non- believers are confused about what Christianity actually teaches ?

Christ does not requires uniformity , but he requires agreement about the essentials of the faith, which are : Love God, and love your neighbour as yourself.

May we, in coming days, be blessed with greater unity. The world is watching us.

The United Christian Salvation Army

Do you enjoy thinking as a hobby ? I do too ! I enjoyed thinking of establishing a local church called ‘ The United Christian Salvation Army ‘ !

It would involve having all Christians meeting and worshipping together in one local church building. In our town , it would be the United Church , built to hold a thousand people. All local clergy could join in the worship services ! The other church buildings could be converted to affordable housing units, and community kitchens to feed the hungry. Local slumlords would be put out of business, and the food bank could move out of its present secretive location in a dungeon – like basement. Do you think Christians would approve of my plan ? Yes, I agree, probably not, but my Saviour and friend , Jesus , would be delighted with this plan ! He never intended Christians to worship separately.

Mentor Blessings

Do you have a mentor, who has encouraged your growth as a Christian ? I loved my mother-in-law , Ruth , with the same intensity as the Biblical Ruth loved her mother-in-law, Naomi.

Ruth and I were very different. She was an extrovert, she loved socializing, and in 1972 she was awarded the “Woman of the Year Award” by a large Ontario city.

I am a contemplative, and an introvert. I enjoy silence and solitude, and I’m delighted examining the detail in a flower petal. But, I longed to be just like Ruth.

She, however, told me, in her wisdom, that God creates us all differently, and places us where we can best further his Kingdom.

Ruth enjoyed wearing a strand of pearls. I wear them now, and when I touch them I thank God for the privilege and blessing of having been the daughter-in- law of Ruth.

Is Mary Your Mother ?

I had only ever heard about her at Christmas. Baptists and other Christian denominations mention her then, telling how she was led to Bethlehem by Joseph. She rode on a donkey and gave birth to Jesus , in a stable. Her name was Mary.

That was it. No more mention of Mary. After all, she isn’t mentioned in the Bible much, so she can’t be important, right ?

(Using the phrase ” right ? ” is very common in Newfoundland)

And then I became Catholic , and discovered that all of us have a spiritual mother, named Mary. For Catholics , Mary, as the mother of Jesus , is highly revered. She is the chosen Spouse of the Holy Spirit, Queen of Heaven, Queen of the World, Star of the Sea, among her many titles. We love Her, and she loves everyone, even those who do not recognize her as their mother.

Protestants are told that Catholics worship Mary ( we do not worship her, but we really like her). They are told that Catholics pray to Mary. ( We do not, but we ask her to pray for us. ) And Protestants spread the word that Catholics worship statues, especially those of Mary, and thus, they are idolators !

We do not worship statues, but we enjoy having, or seeing statues of people we love, like Mary and Jesus.

And thus the misconceptions continue, Christian Unity still seems out of reach, for now. This makes Jesus cringe, and cry.

If anyone is going to unite Christians, it will be Mary. She sees her children squabbling, and eventually she will work to unite us. Everyone can ask Mary for help. She never turns anyone away. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.