Southpoint News October 29, 2016
“OPEN A DOOR OF MERCY”
Pope Francis, December 2015
This fall, we have been gazing into the open door of God’s mercy, as revealed to us through the stories of Jesus in the gospel of Luke. Before we can allow God’s mercy to flow through us, we need to receive this mercy for ourselves. The gospel texts have led us through a process of self-reflection, inviting us to courageously name our own propensity to judgement, self-righteousness, ingratitude, and pride. We have asked God for mercy. As we move into our final month on this theme, we begin to ask how we might also be an open door of God’s mercy to others. This has been our way of participating ecumenically with the Year of Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy that our Catholic brothers and sisters are celebrating. Below you will find excerpts from an article written for the Washington Times by Lawrence M. Ventline, a Catholic priest and professional counsellor. The article was written last December 29th, 2015 at the beginning of the year of Jubilee. I offer it as a way of collectively deepening our understanding of this global movement of mercy. ??“May mercy guide our steps, inspire our reforms, illuminate our decisions,” the pope urged his closest Vatican advisers on Dec. 21, reminding them of his own spiritual campaign through 2016.
The quality of mercy for the new year has been raised to a more central place by Pope Francis. The global leader is appealing to all to be “artisans of mercy,” just as his predecessor, Saint John Paul II,
urged everyone to be “artisans of peace.”
Amid increasing air sorties over Syria, and as U.S. presidential candidates urge opening national borders to Christian refugees, and with one candidate calling for them to be locked tight to Muslims, the pontiff has appealed to the better angels of our nature by a dramatic gesture. In November, he drove into a Muslim village racked by sectarian violence in Bangui, in the Central African Republic. Even armed United Nations’ military personnel reportedly feared to fight in that village. Francis announced at Bangui’s central mosque, “Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters,” the Pope then fearlessly opened the holy door of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Bangui
and opened a Jubilee Year for the first time ever outside of Rome.
The Pope wants bishops across the world symbolically to open each city’s cathedral doors and to reclaim mercy
as a hallmark in the halls of all churches and parish communities.
“Jesus is the face of the Father’s mercy,” proclaimed Francis at the start of the Holy Year for fostering forgiveness, mercy and more compassion toward all as ISIS, among others, ignites global genocides.
After decades without dialogue on crucial Catholic questions, Francis is inviting a more merciful church to be demonstrated by its leaders and pastors who often put law front and centre.
Francis seems to suggest that mercy is an encounter and experience with God.
“Be merciful as your Father is merciful,” the progressive pope proposes.
On Dec. 8, calling his formal Saint Peter’s Square start of this Jubilee Year of mercy “itself a gift of grace,” tens of thousands participated in a Mass in which the Argentinian pontiff praised the work of the spirit
of the historic ecumenical Vatican II Council.
Will mercy mark the 2016 U.S. presidential election as personal attacks and party platform divisions fill the media with tones of denigrating and derisive words? “A good political leader is one who, with the interests of all in mind, seizes the moment in a spirit of openness and pragmatism,” Francis urged Congress in his recent visit to the United States. Rising partisanship in the U.S. could be calmed by “common good conversation,” Francis has argued. “Dialogue is our method, not as a shrewd strategy but out of fidelity to the One who never wearies
of visiting the marketplace, even at the 11th hour, to propose his offer of love,” Francis told U.S. bishops.
Jubilee years have been a Christian tradition that started in the 14th century. Such years of less judgment and more mercy with holy pilgrimages across the globe stem from the Bible’s book of Leviticus, Chapter 25,
and Jesus’ call for the “Year of the Lord’s favor” in the Gospel of Saint Luke, Chapter 4.
Francis’ formal declaration announcing the Jubilee Year is a reclaiming of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy outlined in the Christian Gospel of Saint Matthew, Chapter 25. The litany list invites followers of Jesus to feed the hungry, visit the inmates in jails, shelter the homeless, to confess sins, and to absolve believers of violations
against the Ten Commandments noted in Deuteronomy, Chapter 5, and Exodus, Chapter 20.
Hearts will need opening like the doors of mercy that Pope Francis is urging
in this Jubilee Year of forgiveness and reconciliation.
Perhaps the mercy Pope Francis proposes will change the tone of Washington, D.C., and, the national election in November. A dose of mercy may help. “We have to put mercy before judgment, and in every case God’s judgment will always be in the light of mercy. Let us abandon all fear and dread, for these do not befit men and women who are loved. Instead, let us live the joy of encounter with the grace that transforms all,”
concluded Francis at the start of his Year of Mercy across the globe.
Sunday, October 30th – “Open Door of Mercy” Series, Speaker: Roxy Humphreys,11:15 @ Sunnyside
Friday, November 4th – The Compassion Experience @ Northview Community Church.
Sunday, November 6th – DAYLIGHT SAVINGS: “Open Door of Mercy” Series, Speaker: Jodi Spargur, 11:15 @ Sunnyside
Friday, November 11th – Youth group @ Jen and Andrews, 6-8 pm
Saturday, November 12th – Documentary Film: “Between a Shoe and a Roof”? Documentary film viewing
Sunday, November 13th – “Open Door of Mercy” Series, Speaker: Anne Smith, 11:15 @ Sunnyside
Sunday, November 20th – “Open Door of Mercy” Series, Speaker: Anne Smith, 11:15 @ Sunnyside
- We will have a brief Congregational Meeting after church, plus Sprouts/Sapling Teachers meeting.??
Friday, November 25th – Youth group @ Jen and Andrews, 6-8 pm
Sunday, November 27th – ALL IN – First Sunday of Advent. “PIZZA AND PEEPS” after the service
UP AND COMING….
“The Compassion Experience” Friday, November 4th @ Northview Community Church.
- Hands-on experience is often the best way to understand something new–but we can’t always travel to learn about another culture. The Compassion Experience invites us to visit another world without leaving ours! On Friday, Nov 4, our Saplings and 13+ small group will journey to Kenya (and beyond) through the Compassion Experience at Northview Church in Abbotsford. https://cts.compassion.com/events/440. We hope can join us!
Pledge Collection Sunday, November 6th
- As we approach the task of creating a new budget for 2017, the leadership team will meet to dream, pray, and vision together. Each regular attender is asked to turn in a pledge for the 2017 year to help us plan our budget. Please have all your pledges for the 2017 year turned in to our offering plate by November 6th in preparation for our November LT meeting.
Documentary Film Viewing, “Saturday, November 12th @ Jason and Christies.
- “Between a Shoe and a Roof”?Are you interested in missions? What does it mean to be a Canadian Christian? An African Christian? A Japanese Christian? A global Christian? How does our culture shape our christianity, and what does this mean for the way we engage missionally? This documentary creatively explores these questions by following a small group of Regent students and their African brothers and sisters during a trip to Africa.
Brief Congregational Meeting, Sunday, November 20th
- We will have a brief Congregational Meeting after church to discuss and vote on changes to our bylaws. We will also share the pledge results with you and share our vision for the new year. Meeting for Sprouts/Sapling Teachers afterwards.
Pizza and Peeps Sunday, November 27th
- New to Southpoint? Want to know more? Stay after church for a super casual pizza and salad lunch with some people who’ve been around at Southpoint for awhile. We’ll answer any questions, listen to your stories, let you hear ours, and give you a sense of what we are about here @ Southpoint Church.
ALL THE TIME….ANYTIME…..
- Do you want to be more involved? @ Southpoint, we won’t hound you to be involved. We honour your right to enter slowly into our community. However, growth often happens through engagement, both your growth and ours! As a growing church with a part-time pastor, every small act of service and love is felt and valued! We have volunteer teams for every aspect of a Sunday service, as well as opportunities for involvement during the week.
- Do you feel the need for prayer? Life can be heavy at times, and God never intended for us to go it alone. @ Southpoint, we seek to carry one another in prayer. A prayer team is waiting every Sunday after the service to prayer with you – just come forward after the church.
- Do you want to feel more a part of our community? A gathering group is waiting for you! @ Soutpoint, we value togetherness AND separateness. We seek to create gentle structures that promote engagement and growth without filling your life up with churchy busy-ness. Our intergenerational gathering groups provide a gentle structure to help us gather together, build relationships, and care for one another in a neighbourly way. They meet on a monthly basis, and each group organizing its own meeting time, place, and activity depending on the interests of the group. Vintage fun happens in our gathering groups – carving pumpkins, going on walks, picnics on the beach, pot-luck brunches, slow conversation.
“Praise the LORD.Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.”