This Sunday (February 23) is the Sixth Sunday after Epiphany. The Rev Wes Denyer will be preaching a sermon entitled, “Mountaintop Experiences.” On the Mount of the Transfiguration, the disciples are drawn up out of reality into something higher and more beautiful...and they didn’t want to leave. We yearn to be connected to God on the mountaintop, but is it possible when we descend back into the reality of everyday life and circumstances, we can bring some of the light of the mountaintop into the world?
Bible readings will be from Exodus 24:12-18 and Matthew 17:1-9. The Order of Service has been posted here.
During worship we invite everyone to the Celebration of the Sacrament of Holy Communion and to experience the love and grace of God in the bread and wine.
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This Sunday's Music
PRELUDE: Allein Gott in der Höh sei Her - J.G. Walther
ANTHEM: Laudamus te (Gloria) - A. Vivaldi
ANTHEM: Go where I send thee - trad. arr Caldwell/Ivory
CHORAL AMEN: - J. Hairston
POSTLUDE: Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr (version a) - J.G. Walther
By Chris Dawes, Music Director
A theme running through today’s service at Rosedale Presbyterian Church is what is sometimes known in psychology as ‘liminality.’ The story of the Transfiguration and the sacrament of Communion share in common a holy encounter beyond the normal. The latin root ‘limen’ means “threshold” – liminal places and experiences connote crossing boundaries and barriers.
According to the rite of consecration the bread and wine of communion are ‘set aside from all ordinary uses’ in order to be symbolic of the body and blood of Jesus (indeed in some traditions they are thought to be not just symbolic, but actually transformed into the holy Body). Either way Communion is known almost universally as a sacrament, or sign of God’s direct presence in our world, and taking the elements in the Holy Eucharist is nothing less than an encounter with God Godself.
In the Transfiguration story Jesus and three of his disciples ascend an unnamed mountain, whereupon Jesus appears transfigured from his normal self: “His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.” (Matthew 17:2). Then Jesus is joined by the prophets Moses and Elijah, moving Peter to offer to build dwellings for Jesus and the prophets. Then a cloud gathers and a voice recalling that present at Jesus’ baptism years earlier issues forth: “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” (Matthew 17:5). To the disciples this remarkable series of events must have had life-changing proportions.
Music, one of worship’s most powerful and poignant voices, can offer us liminal experiences too… even singing spiritual arrangements throughout the month of February the anthem “Go where I send thee!” offers a number of remarkable departures from our more usual musical offerings. It is an exuberant gospel-style paraphrase of God’s call to us, and it is a counting song, teaching or reinforcing the number system with biblical amounts in similar fashion to meaning some attach to a Christmas song you might previously have thought was entirely secular, The Twelve Days of Christmas. From its style and character to its traditionally constant changing keys to its closing repeated ‘groove’ it leaves behind many conventions to both spirituals and sacred music writ larger. In this regard I must also mention the remarkable expansion of our usual Choral Amens tradition by Jester Hairston’s arrangement!
There is good reason to believe that liminal experiences draw us from habit, from complacency and boredom into a world of sharper relief, even if it is unfamiliar, unsettling, and perhaps even dangerous. Liminal experiences offer unquestionable value, and should be sought out, in music as well as in all parts of life – they have immense potential not just to surprise and challenge us – but indeed to teach and change – to transfigure – us.
The Globe and Faith considering current events in the light of our Christian faith will meet on Wednesday, February 26th at 10:30 am. Please feel welcome to participate in this group when you’re available, even if you’re unable to attend regularly.
You are warmly invited to a winter Manna Day at Crieff Hills on Thursday, February 27th from 10:30am to 3pm. The Rev. Amanda Currie, Moderator of the 2019 General Assembly, will speak on Interchurch Families: Uniting the Church through Love. Please register at least a week in advance by calling 1 800 884-1525 or email email@example.com. Cost is $30 and includes a hot lunch. Crieff Hills is located near the 401, just south of Guelph.
The Bridge and Scrabble Group will meet on Thursday, February 27th.. This is a casual, friendly group which welcomes newcomers. Tea and coffee will be served at 12:30 pm. Play begins at 1:00 pm. Please feel welcome to participate in this group when you’re available, even if you’re unable to attend regularly. For more information contact the church office or Pat Keith (firstname.lastname@example.org).
RPC Annual Meeting will be held on Sunday, March 1st following the Service of Worship. Reports are due into the church office by February 16th.
DUQUESNE VOICES OF SPIRIT will be here on Sunday 1 March 2020, 4pm. This fine 30-voice collegiate choir hails from the Mary Pappert School of Music, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh - Dr. Caron Daley, Director of Choral Activities is their conductor. https://duq.edu/academics/schools/ music/ensembles/choirs. Tickets: $25 general / $10 child/student (two concert subscriptions including the May 3rd Ton Beau String Quartet available at$56/$18) Tickets available after the service, or call (416) 921-1931 or e-mail email@example.com.
The World Day of Prayer Service for this area will take place in Rosedale Presbyterian Church on Friday March 6, at 11:00 P.M. This service, which brings together six churches in this neighbourhood (two Anglican, two United, one Catholic and our own) is hosted by each church in turn. It last took place in our church in 2014. The same ecumenical service takes place in 170 countries around the world; it is usually led by women, and is usually held on the first Friday of March. This year’s service was written by a women’s committee in Zimbabwe. Our own minister, Rev. Wes Denyer, will be speaking. A light lunch will follow. Please plan to attend. If you can assist in any way, please speak to Marjorie Ross.
The Anglican Foundation is publishing Children’s Prayers with Hope Bear to coincide with its 60th anniversary. This book features 24 prayers for liturgical seasons, holidays, and special moment in a child’s life (starting school, moving home, loss of a loved one), with text by Judy Rois and beautiful images by Canadian illustrator and watercolorist Michele Nidenoff. Perfect for children from preschool up to age 12. Available here. $15 each. Judy Rois is the wife of our minister, the Rev. Wes Denyer. Michele Nidenoff (www.michelenidenoff.com) is a member of our congregation.