Submitted by Patrick Gossage
Worship services remain cancelled at All Saints – In response to the province’s directive to suspend group meetings, the Provincial House of Anglican hi Bishops has decided that all public Anglican worship in the Diocese of Toronto will be cancelled until further notice. The communication to all parishes from the Bishop of Toronto the Right Rev. Andrew Asbil included this paragraph: “Although we cannot gather for corporate worship, it has never been more important that we exercise care and charity for ourselves and our neighbours. Please continue in your personal devotions, privately and with your family, particularly on Sunday. Pray for this situation and for those most affected by it, especially the sick. Check in by telephone or email with others, particularly the isolated and vulnerable.” Our priest and Wardens are checking in with parishioners and making sure they know the church is there for them. The telephone at the church office at 905 833 5432 is being constantly monitored if any have special needs.
Words to live by – Rev. Dr. Elizabeth writes on Last Sunday’s Gospel from John 9, the story of Jesus and the Man Born Blind: “The disciples ask, “Who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind?” The belief then was that God punishes those who sin. Jesus goes against that belief: “Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.” Jesus performs a miracle in a most basic way. He spits on the ground, makes clay with the saliva, and smears it on his eyes, and says, “Go wash in the Pool of Siloam” This miracle is so “every day” that its very ordinariness seems part of the lesson Jesus wants to teach us. Jesus comes into our life without the thunder and lightning. Jesus comes to us as a living, loving presence in order that through him, we might see God in all things and in all people.
“The blind man went to the Pool of Siloam” —which means the one who is Sent—. washed, and came back able to see. We who have been baptized, have washed in the pool of Siloam. We too have been sent by God. Each one of our lives has holy meaning and a God-given purpose. ‘I went. I washed. I saw.’ Four times the man born blind says that. What will we say this Lent?
“While we are all doing our best to guard against the spread of COVID-19, the fear, isolation, the confusion, negatively impact our faith. We might think that by way of COVID-19, we are being punished for our sins. But Jesus calls us wants us to see God no other way than as a God who loves and who heals. We should not be touching one another, but we can still approach Jesus – the spirit of the living God – and invite him to come and touch our hearts. Then we might see and understand as never before, that God is sending us to love one another.
Lent is about re-forming our seeing. Sometimes we despair and say, “I can’t understand what God is doing. I don’t see any way out of this!”Lent’s answer to our dilemma, is, wash in the One sent by God – Jesus Christ our Lord. “I washed; I see; I hope; I desire.” The story about Jesus healing the blind man is a story of how Jesus has the power to give us a sign today, when we are blind to so much that is going on around us. We all have blindness in our lives – and we can pray in the simplest of words:
“Jesus, heal my blindness. I lose sight of your love when I think there is no hope, when people hurt, or turn against me, when all I see in the world is suffering. I lose sight of your love when I am overwhelmed with grief and despair. I lose sight of your love when I fail to see your presence in my life; when all I see are my own selfish needs and wants. Holy God, restore my sight, not just for today, but in all those ways I live every day without seeing you. Amen.”