Saturday, 9 May 2020

COVID-19, Saturday, May 9, 2020

Dear Church Family,

This is my final daily message of this COVID-19 season, at least in Ancaster.  Tomorrow will be my final service with the Ancaster Christian Reformed Church and then on June 3 Gerald and I make the move to Cobourg. What with my birthday and Mother’s Day and my farewell, the house looks like a flower shop; there are cards on every table, and my inbox is overflowing with blessings.

Thank you for your expressions of appreciation for these daily messages; I’ve enjoyed writing them and pray that they provided some encouragement to you.  I wish that this, my 55th message, marked the end of the pandemic, but we are not there yet.

But at the same time, we know how the story ends.  God has promised that he would never forsake us. And Jesus has promised to return and make all things new.  So, I leave you my favourite biblical theme – that of hope.

Romans 5, beginning with verse 2:
“We boast in the hope of the glory of God….We also glory in our suffering, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

Pastor Rita

Friday, 8 May 2020

COVID-19, Friday, May 8

Dear Church Family,

Today is my birthday.  Birthdays are supposed to be that one day of the year where you are entitled to be spoiled a little, to eat what you want to eat, and to do some of things that you want to do.  When I was a kid, we could pick any breakfast cereal we wanted – I always chose Alpha-Bits. Gerald brought me some flowers and gave me some plants for the garden, and over the weekend, the kids are planning some distanced visits; one of the families might even provide dinner (East Side Marios maybe??).  I am spoiled and blessed!

Now, as for the things I want to do today…

This is my 54th daily message during this COVID-19 pandemic.  On April 1 I wrote this:

Today try to recall that list from years ago, the one where you had listed all those things you would do if you had the time.  Start the read-the-bible-in-one year; I’m sure there’s an app for that. Learn to play the guitar.  Take up knitting, or painting, or writing poetry, or reading philosophy.  I always wanted to write more, so that’s what I’m doing.

What have you done in the last month and a half that you always-wanted-to-do?  I’ve done a couple of jigsaw puzzles (only 2), played the guitar a bit more (not very well), and kept up my writing.
Whether you are celebrating something today, or simply facing day #54 of the COVID-19 pandemic, this day is a gift to you from God.

This is the day that the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it! (Psalm 118:24, ESV).

Pastor Rita
PS Is it just me, or do Alpha-Bits taste different than they did 50 years ago??

Thursday, 7 May 2020

COVID-19, Thursday, May 7

Dear Church Family,

Today I joined a dear friend at the graveside for the committal service of her mom.  A blue sky with a few clouds provided the backdrop. The first dandelions brightened the grass around the casket.  I could hear the birds singing.  All this, via video.

Family members read Scripture – my friend read that beautiful verse from the resurrection chapter:  “Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet…” (I Corinthians 15:51).  The family spoke the words of committal together, they placed flowers on the casket, and they sang.

Jesus my redeemer
Name above all names
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah
Oh, for sinners slain

Thank you, oh my father
For giving us Your Son
And leaving Your Spirit
'Til the work on Earth is done

When I stand in Glory
I will see His face
And there I'll serve my King forever
In that Holy Place

Thank you, Rita and Wes, for inviting us to share this precious time with you.
Jesus’ words:  “Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy” (John 16:22).

Pastor Rita

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

COVID-19, Wednesday, May 6

Dear Church Family,

Things I miss during COVID-19:  well, first of all, 12 little people – my grandkids.  But I’m going to put all people in one category – family, friends, church family.  For sure, it’s interaction with those I love that I miss the most.

I miss books too.  I’m grateful for the library app on my phone, and for the commentaries on my computer, but yesterday someone referred to a book of poems, that I’m pretty sure it’s on my shelf at church.  And to just hold a real book in my hands, I miss that.

And then there’s the list of things that I only do occasionally – eating out, going to a movie, a trip to Florida, shopping. But I wonder if I miss those things mostly because I know I can’t do them right now.

The apostle Paul says that he had “learned to be content whatever the circumstances” (Philippians 4:11). That’s an impressive statement.  We can strive for that contentment.  But read a bit further, and you’ll see that Paul is not talking about sitting on our hands and waiting for this to pass.  He goes on to say this:  “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” 

And this is God’s encouragement and promise, from Deuteronomy 31:6:  “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified… for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Pastor Rita

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

COVID-19, Tuesday, May 5

Dear Church Family,

I was reading an article in this morning’s paper about COVID-19 crime trends.  Most traffic-associated incidents have gone down.  No surprise there, as there are hardly any cars on the road.

Crimes that have increased are commercial break and enters, which are up by 131 per cent; and stunt driving, up 23 per cent.  Both of those tell me that some people have too much time on their hands.

And so, this morning, a couple of passages to caution you against wasting these days and to encourage you to make the best of the opportunities before you.

First, from Proverbs 6:16-19:
There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him:  haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

And from Ephesians 5: 15,16:
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity…

Go make the most of this new day. 
Pastor Rita

Monday, 4 May 2020

COVID-19, May 4, 2020

Dear Church Family,

Yesterday’s weather was so lovely. For one day we again enjoyed a taste of what is to come.  But here we are again, back in cooler weather with some rain, and, dare I say it, some snowflakes in the forecast for later this week. 

Feels a bit like the COVID-19 crisis.  We get one day when the numbers are in the 300s, and then it’s back into the 500s.  We hear some hopeful news about things opening up and then some else says it might go on for months. 

The all-ready/not-yet coming of God’s kingdom is like that. Is the kingdom of God a future reality to be hoped for or is it a present reality to experience now? We know how it will end, and we already catch glimpses of it.  But still we wait.

Jesus says that the “kingdom of God is in your midst” (Luke 17:21).
But in Romans 8:23 we read:  we “groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.”
Already, but not yet.

Enjoy God’s kingdom today, and remain hopeful for the fulfillment of the promise of Revelation 21:5: “I am making everything new.” Everything.
Pastor Rita

Sunday, 3 May 2020

COVID-19, Sunday, May 3

Dear Church Family,

“I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
Those are Jesus’ words; you can find them in Matthew 6:25, 26.

Apt words for this COVID-19 season, or for whatever it is that is causing you to worry this morning. Today is Sunday.  Spend time in worship- not as an escape from your troubles, but as a time to give them over to God.

May God receive your worship as a gift to him, and may time spent with God remind you of how valuable you are.  You are invited to join the Ancaster Christian Reformed Church worship service this morning at 10 a.m.  Holy Communion will be part of this service.  You can find us at
Pastor Rita