Pomp and Circumstance

Dictionary.com defines the idiom “pomp and circumstance” as “a splendid celebration with ceremony and fuss”.

This past Easter Sunday I attended an Easter Service full of pomp and circumstance at St. Luke’s Anglican Church in Burlington, Ontario with my wonderful sister-in-law and her equally wonderful hubby. They are regular parishioners of that church and have been very involved with its function. Since I don’t attend church very often in my own town, I do like to go with them on special occasions.

St. Luke’s is the oldest church in Burlington having been established in 1834 and built on land given to them by Chief Joseph Brant. It is the quintessential white clapboard church with a steeple situated on a plot of land among large, ancient trees. It truly is picture postcard pretty.

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Inside, the church is lined from floor to ceiling with thin wood planks that have turned to a deep, mellow, satiny,  rust brown over the past 183 years. Matching wooden beams gracefully arch overhead and draw your eye upwards. The dark wood walls are graced with beautiful stained glass windows depicting scenes from the Bible and some church Saints. The church is also blessed with a wonderful pipe organ whose pipes are painted red, white and blue.

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The ledges along the walls were decorated with lovely cyclamen plants in soft pastels and in one front corner there was a profusion of beautiful blooms in Spring colours. After the service, the pretty plants were going to be delivered to shut-ins in hopes of brightening up their day and letting them know that God loves them.

I am not used to attending a church where there is a lot of traditional ceremony involved in the service. There was a long processional with many people wearing different gowns with various colours and symbols. I think they are called vestments and clerical gowns. There was someone carrying a banner, another person carried a large brass (?) cross, some were carrying long candlesticks while others were carrying staffs of some sort and a young girl held aloft what looked like a fancy binder with Bible readings. It was all carried out very solemnly.

I was prepared to hear a somewhat staunch sermon but the Rector shared an amusing and down to earth message about the similarity between a roller coaster ride and the ups and downs of the events leading up to Christ’s crucifixion. The youth pastor also gave a good lesson to the little ones using chocolate eggs and helium balloons with “He Is Risen” cards attached to their strings. (Unfortunately, the helium was a little tired by then and the balloons had difficulty “rising” to the occasion – lol!)

Worship was composed of older hymns, many of which I was unfamiliar with. However, as a special part of the Easter celebration, we were treated to wonderful accompaniment by a brass band. My two favourite hymns of that day were sung to the glorious ringing of a wide assortment of hand-bells brought in by the parishioners. The church rafters truly “rang” with praise for our risen Saviour!

The service was truly a “splendid celebration with ceremony and fuss” all for the glory of the Lord.

As we were leaving the church, the sun shone through the beautiful, yellow, circular stained glass window at the peak of the roof bathing us all in a shaft of golden light. It felt like God was smiling down on us from Heaven.

I find it interesting to see how other Christians choose to worship God. While its not my personal worship style, I know that many believers find comfort in a more traditional, formal style of liturgy and litany. I don’t think that “form” matters as much to God as does how we truly relate to Him and to one another.

I believe that unity in both faith and relationship is what the apostle Paul was talking about when he wrote to the church at Ephesus:

Eph 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the calling with which you are called,
Eph 4:2 with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love,
Eph 4:3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Blessings

(Photos courtesy of Burlington Cultural Mapping)

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Fait Accompli

Cross, Religious, Christ, Sky, France

 

“Fait accompli” is a French expression meaning, an accomplished fact; a thing already done.
The Christian Easter is a celebration of a “fait accompli”  – God’s plan for salvation and redemption through faith in the sacrificial death and resurrection of God’s son, Jesus Christ.

God had this plan for salvation through faith in Jesus, from the very beginning.

Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Joh 1:2 He was in the beginning with God.

2Th 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brothers beloved of the Lord, because God has from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth,

1Jn 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of Life,

1Jn 2:14 I write to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning.

When Jesus, in obedience to God, died on the cross for us, the war against the devil, sin and death was won.

Joh 19:28 After this, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus said, I thirst.
Joh 19:29 Then a vessel full of vinegar was set. And they filled a sponge with sour wine and put it upon hyssop, and put it to His mouth.
Joh 19:30 Then when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, It is finished! And He bowed His head and gave up the spirit.

Jesus, knowing that He had accomplished God’s will and plan for salvation, said, “It is finished!” – fait accompli!

The enemy will not acknowledge that he has lost the war so he continues to fight a losing battle. The devil fights a battle whose outcome has already been decided – it is a “fait accompli”.

I find it very interesting to note that the example given in Dictionary.com for the term “fait accompli” is as follows:

“The enemy’s defeat was a fait accompli long before the formal surrender.”

Even the dictionary acknowledges the truth that our enemy will not!

I pray that you also will acknowledge God’s masterful “fait accompli”.

Wishing you all a blessed Easter.

Joh 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
Joh 17:4 I have glorified You upon the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.
Joh 17:5 And now Father, glorify Me with Yourself with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

Chocolate & Bunnies & Chicks – Oh My!

As Dorothy, Toto, Scarecrow and Tin Man made their way threw the scary forest in the Wizard of OZ, they were worried about encounters with “lions and tigers and bears – oh my!”.

At this time of year, little children are looking forward to encounters with chocolate bunnies and chicks and eggs. But as Christians, this time of year should be about so much more than sweet treats. Just as the real reason for Christmas has become over-shadowed by sparkling decorations, gaily wrapped presents and turkey dinners, so has the real meaning of Easter been overshadowed by gaily coloured baskets filled with sweet treats and images of cute bunnies and chicks.

I think that of the two celebrations, Christmas and Easter, the latter means the most to me. It means that a kind, loving and innocent man, Jesus, was betrayed, falsely charged, unjustly convicted, cruelly tortured, and put to death in an excruciating manner, to pay for the crime of sin that I committed. He willing did this so that, not only would I not have to pay the penalty and go through the punishment for my crime, but my record would be wiped clean – forever – and so that I would be able to have eternal life filled with blessing beyond my comprehension and live in the presence of my loving Heavenly Father. Jesus went through all the horrors so that I could become the glorious creation God meant me to be and have the glorious fellowship with Him that He has always wanted.

Easter is not about big family dinners and fun and games; it is about betrayal, rejection, false accusation, and injustice.

Easter is not about chocolate and candies; it is about beatings and scourging.

Easter is not about cute little bunnies and chicks; it is about a barbaric, slow, agonizing, bloody death on a wooden cross.

Easter is not about pastel pinks, blues, yellows and purples; it is about the red colour of blood, the purple of bruising, the blackness of the tomb.

While Easter is filled with these scenes of tragedy, sorrow, horror and death, it is also filled with the brightness of the glory of the resurrected Saviour, Jesus Christ. And the resurrection of Jesus fills us with the beautiful colours of joy, hope and everlasting peace. For not only did Jesus die for us so that our sins were forgiven, He also rose for us so that we also would have the hope of a resurrected life, a life eternal lived in glory with Jesus and God. OH MY!!

Isa 53:3 Men made sport of him, turning away from him; he was a man of sorrows, marked by disease; and like one from whom men’s faces are turned away, he was looked down on, and we put no value on him.
Isa 53:4 But it was our pain he took, and our diseases were put on him: while to us he seemed as one diseased, on whom God’s punishment had come.
Isa 53:5 But it was for our sins he was wounded, and for our evil doings he was crushed: he took the punishment by which we have peace, and by his wounds we are made well.
Isa 53:6 We all went wandering like sheep; going every one of us after his desire; and the Lord put on him the punishment of us all.
Isa 53:7 Men were cruel to him, but he was gentle and quiet; as a lamb taken to its death, and as a sheep before those who take her wool makes no sound, so he said not a word.
Isa 53:8 They took away from him help and right, and who gave a thought to his fate? for he was cut off from the land of the living: he came to his death for the sin of my people.
Isa 53:9 And they put his body into the earth with sinners, and his last resting-place was with the evil-doers, though he had done no wrong, and no deceit was in his mouth.

Joh 11:25 Jesus said to her, I am the Resurrection and the Life! He who believes in Me, though he die, yet he shall live.

Rom 6:5 For if we have been joined together in the likeness of His death, we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection;

THANK YOU JESUS!

I have included a link to a great music video, I hope it is okay to use it. If not, I am sorry.          For The Cross

TGIF

“Good Friday”.  At one time, I couldn’t understand why anybody would call the day, on which an innocent man was falsely accused, unfairly judged, beaten, tortured, humiliated and condemned to die a long and painful death,  “Good”?!

But now I understand that what was not “good” for Jesus was definitely “GOOD” for me. I understand that although I did the crime, Jesus did the time. He not only took on the guilt for crimes that I had committed, he took my punishment too and in doing that, he has wiped my “crime record” clean forevermore.

So now I can say “TGFGF” – THANK GOD FOR GOOD FRIDAY. I hope you can too.

Joh 3:16  For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.