Not All Who Wander Are Lost (2) Praise the Mount

Who Do You Say That I Am?  by Lauren Wright Pittman,
A Sanctified Art, 2024.

Matt 16: 12-20

In Sunday’s scripture passage, Jesus says to the disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter responded, “You are the Messiah.” These words of Peter are usually described as his statement of faith, or his profession of faith, or his confession. His profession of faith is supposed to  be a model for our own profession of faith.

But I find this perspective somewhat impersonal. I don’t see these words as some kind of intellectual assertion, or even a statement of trust. Rather, I see these words as a clear articulation of Peter’s deeply personal, deeply experiential knowing of Christ. “This is who I know you to be. This is what I know to be true about you, because I have experienced you to be this—you are the Messiah.” The clarity, confidence, and certitude was born out of his deep knowing of Jesus.

On Saturday, Dec 23rd, 2023, Palestinian pastor Rev. Dr. Munther Isaac gave a talk entitled “Christ in the Rubble” in Bethlehem. When I listen to his talk, I think, “Here is a man who speaks with clarity, conviction, and courage, out of the bones of his deep knowing of Christ. Here is a Peter, bearing witness to who he knows Christ to be.” What follows is excerpted from his talk: 

…In our pain, anguish, and lament, we have searched for God, and found him under the rubble in Gaza. Jesus became the victim of the very same violence of the Empire. He was tortured. Crucified. He bled out as others watched. He was killed and cried out in pain, “My God, where are you?!?” 

… In Gaza today, God is under the rubble. … As we search for Jesus, he is to be found… on our side of the wall. In a cave, with a single family. Vulnerable. Barely, and miraculously, surviving a massacre. Among a refugee family. This is where Jesus is found…

… Jesus is under the rubble. This is his manger. He is at home with the marginalized, the suffering, the oppressed, and displaced. This is the incarnation. Messy. Bloody. Poverty.

… This child is our hope and inspiration. We look and see him in every child killed and pulled from under the rubble. While the world continues to reject the children of Gaza, Jesus says: “Just as you did it to one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it to me.” “You did it to ME.” Jesus not only calls them his own, he is them!

… This manger is about resilience. The resilience of Jesus is in his meekness; weakness, and vulnerability. The majesty of the incarnation lies in its solidarity with the marginalized. Resilience because this very same child rose up from the midst of pain, destruction, darkness and death to challenge Empires; to speak truth to power. 

… This is our message to the world today. It is a gospel message, a true and authentic Christmas message, about the God who did not stay silent, but said his word, and his Word is Jesus. Born among the occupied and marginalized. He is in solidarity with us in our pain and brokenness.”

Rev. Isaac’s sermon is not an abstraction. It is NOT a “statement of faith”. It is a clear articulation of his deep knowing of who he knows Jesus to be. It is a deep knowing born out of sorrow, born out of bombs and violence and oppression and the stench of death. It is a deep knowing of Christ, a revelation of Christ, given to him by the Spirit at the very gates of Hades. 

He speaks with clarity, conviction, and courage. His words are seeds of revelation buried amidst the rubble in Gaza. He speaks the gospel that we need to hear.  From the rubble, he offers us this living Word. May we have ears and eyes to hear this revelation of Jesus. May we experience deepening conversion to the heart and mind of Christ.


Rev. Anne Baxter Smith
Pastor, Church at Southpoint

Link to entire sermon
Christ in the Rubble: A liturgy of lament
Rev. Dr Munther Isaac
Sat. 23 Dec, 2023.
Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church Bethlehem

Gaza Ceasefire Pilgrimage

Sat Mar 16
As part of a global wave of Gaza Ceasefire pilgrimages, Estuary Church invites us to journeying with them, the distance from Gaza City to Rafah—mirroring the walk Gazans are being forced to take. The same pilgrimage distances will be travelled in cities and nations all over the world.

Our walk is on the traditional territory of Musqueam, Semiahmoo, and Tsawwassen First Nations, and we will travel on the Boundary Bay Dyke Trail. One group will leave from Delta and another from Surrey, with both groups meeting in the middle for a short ceremony at 10:00 am.

Join for any length—50 m, 12 km, the whole 35 km, or simply attend the half hour ceremony at 10:00 am at Boundary Bay Dyke Trail at 104 Street (4103 104 St). Several shorter & much shorter options are proposed along the same route to accommodate different needs.

Angela will be attending and plans to start from the Mud Bay Loop at 8:30 am, journeying 6 km to the ceremony point. She’ll give more info on Sunday at church. We’re going to have you sign up in two places.The first is the organizer’s sign up form. The second is Southpoint’s… we may like to organize a one-way walk and carpool our pick up. So, let US know your intentions for the day, too! 

Please read the eight core convictions so you’re aware of what this pilgrimage is, and what it isn’t. All Gaza Ceasefire Pilgrimage Walks will be calling and praying for:
A. Enduring and Sustained Ceasefire.
B. Immediate flow of life saving food, water, aid, fuel and humanitarian assistance.
C. Release of all hostages – both the Israeli hostages held by Hamas – and the Palestinian hostages held in the Israeli prison system.
D. End of occupation so a just-peace can begin.

And, yes! You can bring signs of hope and solidarity to carry.

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
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Catch up on Anne’s recent blogs under “News” on our website,

Sun May 12   Mother’s Day
Acts 1:15-17, 21-26

Sun May 19 Pentecost
Acts 2:1-21

Sun May 26 
No service at the Sunnyside building
Brunches Together!

Sun Jun 2
Rev Rusty Edwards (CABF)
2 Cor 4:5-12

Sun Jun 9
2 Cor 4:13-5:1

Sun Jun 16
2 Cor 5:6-11, 14-17

Sun Jun 23
Baptisms, at A Rocha’s Brooksdale Environmental Centre No service at the Sunnyside building

Sun Jun 30 
Fifth Sunday Brunches Together No service at the Sunnyside building

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.

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Progress Pride Flag by Daniel Quasar (link)

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