Together, Not Apart
Sermon in writing: Together, Not Apart ~ by Pastor Jaylynn Byassee
Home Worship Sermons
Home Bible Study
For Bible Study notes please visit our content page: Home Bible Study
Please also follow our event calendar for more information on release dates and more information on upcoming series.
Recorded services and sermons, including those relevant to the COVID-19 crisis are available, via the websites of a number of churches, particularly including those below (note links).
Trinity United (Vernon)-Sermons : Rev. Robin Jacobson
Tenth Church (Vancouver)-Sermons : Rev. Jaylynn Byassee previously served in this church
Messages from the Minister
Weekly Message (9 April)
Courage for the Journey — Walking through Holy Week
Blessings and prayers to you on this Holy Thursday. This is the night that commemorates the washing of the feet and the Last Supper of Jesus with the apostles. It is the night when Jesus was betrayed.
This week has seemed harder. My own family has begun to feel a bit restless, yet we are united with those across all the world as we do our part to stay safe and stay home. This Holy Week is unlike any other, and it causes us to sit even more deeply with the weight of the week.
I have learned this week of those in our church who have lost jobs, who are worried, who are grieving a loss of a loved one, who had to postpone a special occasion to gather, those who’ve awoken in the night with anxiety, and more. This is our time to cling to Jesus—and to the cross. Jesus takes all our pain, grief, anxiety, worry, loss, and hurt, and he carries it for us. We can’t bear it alone. And Jesus never asks us to do so.
As we approach Good Friday, I encourage you to join us in our Prayer Vigil (sign up available through our Home Worship Page). I invite you, too, to read the passion story in the gospel of John.
Good Friday: John 18.1-19.42
Poet Jan Richardson shared this:
Each time we stretch out our arms in love to one another, every time we open our hearts, we find the shadow of the cross, but also a glimpse of the open tomb. We are nailed indeed. It is our keenest grief, and our deepest joy.
from: Good Friday: In Which We Get Nailed
The Painted Prayerbook, March 2008
Please remember that you are not alone! And the church is still the church, now more than ever! I miss seeing you in person, but in this meantime, let’s stay connected, and follow Jesus.
Courage for the Journey,
You have blessed us with the infinitely extravagant gift of your friendship.
You do not measure your generosity by our small cups.
You pour out peace with a heavy hand, joy splashes and soaks us, hope spills over.
Teach us to love without restraint.
By your Spirit may our unfailing kindness to others
exceed all we have received from the hands of our neighbours.
Because of Christ we come to you, who poured himself into the cup of suffering
to fill us overflowing with an abundant life. Amen.
by Mim Wickett of Vancouver
Weekly Message (2 April)
Together at Home – Supporting One Another Creatively!
I hope you are doing well! As we continue to ‘stay at home’ I am encouraged by our Province and the health care workers that continue to amaze us daily with the constant care and work for those ill with COVID-19. The more we do our part, the sooner we will indeed get through this together. I’m amazed that when I talk to my aunt in Oklahoma, or Skype my friend in England, or ZOOM chat with a friend in North Carolina, we truly are all in this together—everywhere!
I have been encouraged hearing of the weekly check-ins of those in our congregation—be it letters and notes, phone calls and emails. We are thinking of one another and remembering one another!
This coming Sunday is Palm and Passion Sunday – leading us into Holy Week in a way we’ve never been before! I encourage you to seek out a link option to worship in these next few weeks (some are provided in this update), and worship as we draw near to Jesus during this unusual time.
It has been suggested that if we can, we find a branch from our own yards or nearby walks, and hang them on our front doors, symbolizing the day of Palms when Jesus came in riding on a donkey and all who gathered waved palms crying “Hosanna!” (Matthew 21: 1-11).
Even though we can’t gather as one body, we are one body, gathered by God. Let us worship together (while at home) and remember one another in prayer, as we each take our own journey through this Holy Week.
See below some articles of hope to read, as well.
We will get through this time, together!
Weekly Message (26 March)
Together at Home – Supporting One Another Creatively!
Last night, something happened! We heard cheers all through the neighbourhood – bells were ringing, voices cheering, and across the way we could see our neighbours banging their pots and pans and jumping around! What on earth? A quick Google and we learned that travelling across the Lower Mainland was a trend: every evening at 7 pm the city residents step out on their balconies, front porches, and sidewalks, and they cheer on the front line healthcare workers who are working around the clock to save lives and to care for those most ill during this COVID-19 pandemic. My son said, “It sounds like we’re at a marathon, and everyone is cheering on the runners!” Indeed, this crisis must feel like a marathon—correction, does feel like a marathon – and none of us quite know where and when we’ll get to the end.
But we do what we do best, we support one another! We pray for one another! We cheer in solidarity for those who are standing in the gap to help every need! And we press on, in the faith of Christ Jesus who holds us, and leads us.
I doubt any of us will soon forget this 2020 season of Lent. Whether we chose to give up anything or not, we all have. And in many ways, the way that we’re supposed to adopt goes against the very nature of our beings—no handshakes, no hugs, social distancing, stay inside. But we do this, knowing it’s the very thing that could help save lives.
In reflecting on Jesus and his way of the cross, I’m reminded that it all happened in a way that went against our very nature of faith—our God, hung on a cross, to die for all of us? Did it really have to be that way? For our lives, and all lives, it did.
God give us strength, when we can’t understand and when our hearts are restless. God, give us peace, when we struggle with inner turmoil and fear. God give us you, when we can’t hold on to each other, help us hold on to you.
Weekly Message (19 March)
God is always present—even in the midst of challenges!
Dear friends and parishioners,
These are unprecedented times and it’s almost unreal how fast things are changing on a daily basis! In such times, we hold on to one another through prayer and communication in creative ways!
I want to encourage you to find ways during these days of being isolated at home to seek God’s comfort, peace, and presence in your lives. If you can, take a walk outside to soak up some fresh air. Keep up with the news updates and health best practices from government and healthcare services. In doing so, I encourage you to also find a balance and avoid consuming ‘too much’ news at one time. Take breaks! Read books, play games, watch a good movie (or a lame one—our family has watched our share of both!) Humour is good, and laughter is good for the soul. We need to find reasons to smile, too!
Try praying the Scriptures using Lectio Divina. The following page includes a guide to the process of reading Scripture in a way that repeats the same passage of scripture and invites you to listen deeply. Choose a parable of Jesus or a Psalm or a story from the Gospels and give it a try!
Pause to Facetime family members around the world and keep connected with friends through phone calls and notes.
As a congregation, we are in the midst of determining how to best keep in communication with one another, and to help one another with any needs. Please contact the church office at 604-985-4911 or email@example.com if you have or know of any needs among our community and our neighbours, or if you are able to provide assistance in whatever form that may take. For the time being, at least, the church office will be our communications ‘hub’.
Please follow the recommendations to self-distance and wash hands, etc. Take good care of yourselves and loved ones, trusting that God will be present with us most especially during our time of drawing back and slowing down. And let’s never cease from praying for those affected and caring for the sick and researching solutions for our country and world.
Lenten Blessings. Keep safe and may all stay well!