Letter from Rev Dr. C. Johnson – January 8, 2021

Happy New Year!! I hope the beautiful sunshine today awakens your senses and uplifts your soul. 
What a crazy week this has been in the news!  Our provincial lockdown continues and our neighbours to the south are going through incredible unrest.  We fervently pray for a reduction in COVID cases and for a smooth running vaccination program.  We also pray for our American neighbours as they make the transition to a new President.  
All our programs are cancelled until further notice except for worship videotaping.  Our Reopening Committee is meeting Tuesday to discuss issues related to the lockdown. We will keep you posted.  
As we begin 2021, it’s important for us to take some time to do some visioning for our church, especially given all the shifts we experienced in 2020.  
Part of the way we do this is through discernment, a spiritual discipline that opens us up to the power and movement of the Holy Spirit.  If you find this idea confusing, and you’re not sure how to tap into the Spirit, you’ll find an attached prayer exercise you might find helpful, based on John the Baptist’s call for repentance.  
As we continue in our restricted lockdown, please know that I’m available for Zoom calls, phone calls, email chats, etc.  I tend to do church work from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every week day so that’s an excellent time to reach out to me.  However, I’m happy to chat anytime!  Sometimes a friendly voice is all we need to hear.  
I hope you find joy in whatever you do.  It makes all the difference.  
In the love and friendship of Christ, 
Rev. Dr. Christine Johnson

A Listening Prayer Exercise
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation.
Luke 11:4

John the Baptist came calling for confession of our sins and our repentance.
He promised us God’s forgiveness when we do this.
When we confess our sins, and accept God’s forgiveness, this opens the door to be present and at work in our lives.

We call ‘sin’ the things that have come between you and God.
We call ‘sin’ the things that have come between you and others.
We call ‘sin’ the moments when we have fallen short of the target.
We call ‘sin’ the ideas we cling to that are not true and have become unhelpful.

Here you will find a list of sins. Please take time to read over them. Be honest about what is happening in your life, because by naming the pain, you will open a door for God’s grace to enter in. You are not obligated to share anything you feel uncomfortable with. What you disclose about yourself to God is completely up to you.

Anger Apathy Argumentative Arrogance Bullying Comparing
Coveting Envy Fear Greed Gossip Hatred
Jealousy Judgemental Materialism Negativity Perfectionism Pride
Racism Revenge Sarcasm Self Pity Sexism Unbelief
Unforgiving Procrastination

The Prayer
Merciful God, I confess (name sins) as my sin. I repent of it and ask you to forgive me.

The Assurance of Pardon
God’s word promises that if we confess our sin, God is faithful and just and will forgive us
and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Do you accept God’s forgiveness? Do you forgive yourself? Do you forgive others?

A Prayer of Listening

Thank you Jesus for your gift of forgiveness. I ask you to cleanse everything in me, including the parts I can’t even name out loud. I leave my burdens with you.
As I commit myself to walk with you dear Jesus, is there anything you want to say to me?
Be still, and listen…

God, what do you like about me?
Holy Spirit, what great things do you want to reveal to me?
Be still, and listen…

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