Mercy Triumphs Over Judgement

—Carole Rogers.

In Matthew 12, Jesus and the Pharisees face off in the temple. Jesus calls himself “Lord of the Sabbath” and breaks the sabbath rules—he heals a man. The Pharisees judge him for it, and start plotting to kill him. Jesus leaves the temple, and heads up into the wilderness to be alone. There, instead of finding solitude, people follow him, asking for help. He heals them, also.

It feels to me like we’re in the wilderness these days, too.

Maybe some of you have been in the wilderness for a long time. Once upon a time, you took a long, slow lingering look at Jesus and were captivated by him. You followed him away from the centres of power. You found a home by his side. Maybe you still feel comfortable and safe there. Maybe you feel vulnerable, as the wilderness has proven more perilous than you had hoped. But you are committed. You are staying put, by his side.

Or, maybe you are following him into the wilderness not so much because you are captivated by Jesus, but rather aware of your own captivity. You head out into the hills, longing for healing, hoping that he, indeed, can set the captives free. 

Or, maybe you stopped following Jesus. Maybe you no longer are interested in the values or vision of his life. Perhaps, for you, his presence is so entangled with the toxicity of religion that you cannot make out his form anymore. You are making sense of an unfamiliar spiritual wilderness with the absence of Jesus. 

As a pastor, my wilderness experience comes from feeling pinned between two dominant worldviews. The secular worldview questions the worth of my being a Christian pastor. The dominant Christian worldview questions my worthiness for being a Christian pastor.

One way we can help each build a sense of safety in the wilderness, wherever we find ourselves, is by holding up to each other mirrors of mercy and not judgement: Look at you, walking out here in the wilderness. You are searching for truth. You are searching for healing. You are searching for Jesus. You are searching  to make sense of your loss of Jesus. You are so brave. You are so courageous to be out here. I see you. I value you. I am here with you. You aren’t alone.

Yesterday, I got a message from a friend from my time in England from whom I haven’t heard in 17 years. She reminisced about a particular conversation we’d had together about faith, creativity, and mothering, and thanked me for my welcoming warmth. I thanked her for holding up a mirror of goodness for me, which began an honest little human exchange about both the presence and absence of companionship when walking the way of the wilderness. The exchange was like a sip of sweet water. All because she dared reach out in blessing.

Deep peace and blessings.


Rev. Anne Baxter Smith
Pastor of The Church at Southpoint

Worship Calendar

If you’re planning to join us for an in-person service, please read our Covid policy. It’s kept up to date, here.

Location & Zoom. We meet on Sundays at 15639 24 Avenue, Surrey. Zoom is offered if you cannot attend in person. If you have trouble with the zoom link, use: meeting ID: 831 1690 9977 with password: 753319

Sermons Are Podcasted
Catch up on Southpoint sermons by finding the podcast “Meditations from the Church at Southpoint” on Spotify, Apple and Google. They’re also available on our website:

Sun. Nov 20 Angela Henze
Holding Space for Grief
John 11:1-44

Sun. Nov 27 All IN
First Sunday of Advent!

Zoom Link
Unless otherwise noted, we meet in-person in the Sunnyside church building at 15639 24 Avenue. We continue to have a zoom offering if you cannot attend in person. 

If you have trouble with the link, use:
meeting ID: 831 1690 9977
with password: 753319

New to Southpoint?

At Southpoint, it all begins with God’s love. Just as a plant grows, it receives sunshine, so we grow as we receive God’s love. At Southpoint, we are growing in our capacity to love God, ourselves, one another, and creation.

We seek to be a community of grace that is intentional yet organic, spacious yet authentic, grace-filled yet accountable. * We are fully welcoming. *

We encourage relationships rather than run programs, yet we recognize the importance of intentionality and structure as we nurture life together.

As a community, we seek to put our love in action. We value helping out on Sunday mornings, sharing food, and showing up in hard times. We keep our church life simple so folk have time to build relationships with family, friends, and neighbours. We encourage folk to serve in tangible ways within the wider community. We rent space rather than own a building, allowing us to do more with less, supporting missions at home and abroad.

Curious to know more?

These six slides express what motivates our ministry (best viewed on a monitor). Read Pastor Anne Baxter Smith’s bio here. Our website is

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