God Calls Us (5) Into Hope

Folk Village, by Karla Gerard,  link

In Isaiah 40, the prophet shares with his community a vision of God: a God who is incomparably vast and creative, a God of agency and authority, a God who comes close to those who are weary, who remembers the weak, and who is with and for those who are exiled.

Sandwiched in between all this is a question: ‘Why do you say “my way is hidden from God? My cause is disregarded from God?”’ And underneath this question is a different image of God. An image that is grounded in their experience of exile, an image that reflects the deepest fear and distress of the people:  “God must not see us. God must not care about us.”

As I read this passage, I cannot help thinking of our LGBTQ siblings who have been exiled from their families and church families. I think of the erasure of queer youth happening in traditional churches right now—the assumption that they simply do not exist within the pews—while really they feel too unsafe to speak out. I wonder how many of them, having felt the sting of exile, assumed that God had forgotten them, or did not care about their cause, or even worse, that God wanted to erase their sexual identity.

To our queer exiled siblings: know that you are seen, cherished, and valued by a God who is both mighty and gentle, powerful and compassionate. God’s strength is already in you, giving you resilience as you journey towards homes and communities and spiritual spaces where you are safe and beloved.

Southpoint: we are also seen, cherished, and valued by God. We have known the radical embrace of the expansive love of Jesus Christ. God’s love is our shelter and strength. Looking back on our church’s story, there are so many examples of resilience. God has resourced us with what we needed to keep going—finances, leaders, volunteers, rental space, stamina, strategy, patience. As we navigate change, may we find comfort in the promise that God is continuing to renew our strength.

Not only has God been a source of resilience for us, perhaps our community is an expression of the incomparably creative, advocating power of God? Perhaps God created us and called all of us here together? Perhaps God is forming us into a safe refuge where spiritual exiles can come and find themselves home? Perhaps God wants us to flourish so that they might know that God remembers them—so that they might experience God as one who sees them and has not disregarded their cause.

If indeed we are God’s handiwork, then we need not be afraid when we, too, find ourselves in a position of exile. We need not be afraid when we find ourselves in a position where our budget is short, and we aren’t sure how we will keep on. God will continue to use God’s incomparable agency and creativity to strengthen us all on our journeys out of captivity and into circles of belonging, safety and security.

Deep peace and blessing, 

—Anne

Rev. Anne Baxter Smith
Pastor, The Church at Southpoint 

Excerpt from Ruth Elwood Martin’s prayer on Sunday

Lord, we pause for a moment to visualise the places where we expect to go this coming week and some of the challenges we expect to encounter. …

Go before us, Lord, prepare the way for us. When we are afraid, fill us with courage. When we are doing mundane, boring tasks, help us to be startled by Your presence. When we are weary, give us your peace and rest. Fill us afresh each new day.

We are not forgotten;
our hope is in God.

Worship Calendar

Location & Zoom. We meet on Sundays at 15639 24 Avenue, Surrey. Zoom is offered if you cannot attend in person. Zoom link. Meeting ID: 831 1690 9977 password: 753319

Listen to Sermons
Follow “Meditations from the Church at Southpoint” on SpotifyApple and Google

Blogs
Catch up on Anne’s recent blogs under “News” on our website, southpoint.ca

Sun Feb 18 
(1) Jesus Sought Me
Rev Anne Baxter Smith
Luke 5: 1-11

Sun Feb 25  Brunches
All OUT—No service at Sunnyside

Sun Mar 3
(2) Praise the Mount
Rev Anne Baxter Smith
Matt 16:13-20

Sun Mar 10
(3) I’m Fixed Upon It
Rev Anne Baxter Smith
Matt 16: 21-23

Sun Mar 17
(4) Teach Me
Rev Anne Baxter Smith
Matt 18: 15-22

Sun Mar 24 Palm Sunday All IN
& Potluck Lunch
(5) Songs of Loudest Praise
Rev Anne Baxter Smith
John 12:12-16

Sun Mar 31 Easter
(1) And I Hope
Rev Anne Baxter Smith
Luke 24: 1-12

Sun Apr 7
(2) Here’s My Heart
Rev Anne Baxter Smith
John 21: 1-19

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). Here’s the bio of our Pastor, Rev. Anne Baxter Smith.

If you’d like to really peek inside, sign up for our weekly Southpoint News (scroll to brown footer at bottom of page). The Southpoint News is a MailChimp distributed email—you can unsubscribe anytime and will not be added to our contacts list. Email us at office@southpoint.ca. Website: southpoint.ca.

Progress Pride Flag by Daniel Quasar (link)

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