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The Mystery of Christ's Passion


St. Matthew the Apostle, Oriole, Anglican Church           ~    80 George Henry Blvd, Toronto, M2J 1E7           ~    March, 2012

                                The Mystery of Christ’s Passion
 By The Rev. Canon Brad Lennon
 Incumbent Priest
                                                                          Palm Procession to the upset and disarray of Christ’s
 In one sense, all that is about to happen in Holy Week this
                                                                          betrayal and the death that this betrayal will bring. It
 year is well known to us. The events that unfolded during that
                                                                          may well bring us recollections of those times when
 week after triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem took place
                                                                          our own experiences have seemed to intersect,
 long ago, and yet they are a part of our common story as
                                                                          however briefly, with that of our Lord’s. There have
 members of the Church. The solemn account of Christ’s
                                                                          been times too when we have felt betrayed or when
 betrayal, crucifixion, death, and resurrection are part of the
                                                                          our own cross has loomed ahead of us.
 fabric of our lives as Christians.
                                                                          The time of the Christian year that we now enter is all
 Some of us will recall family celebrations of this week from
 the distant and not-so-distant past: simple, ceremonial meals                                                        continued on page 2
 shared at home or in the church, the folding of the palm
 crosses, and shopping, cleaning, cooking and the other myriad
 preparations for the Feast to come. For others of us, these
 accounts of the last days of Jesus’ life with his disciples will
 trigger memories of the great liturgies of the Church. We
 recall the haunting service of Holy Thursday with the solemn
 recitation of the Psalm of Lamentation and the gradual
 extinguishing of the lights in the Church. What had seemed
 brilliance on Palm Sunday turns to confusion and perplexity of
 Good Friday
 The movement of Holy Week takes us from the majesty of

  1 The Mystery of Christ’s Passion
  3 Where is the Kingdom of God?
  4 From the Wardens’ Desk
  5 What Does “Missional” Mean?
  7 Toronto Anglican
        Missional Transformation Project
   9    Lansing Food Bank – Spring 2012
   9    Holy Week Services

                                                     March 2012 - Spotlight 1
continued from page 1

about this profound connection between Christ and you and           say or think about it. Whatever we might assert about God,
me. As we prepare for Easter, precisely what we are now             however correct it first appears, always only approximates
about as God’s people is our remembering, letting our own           the full, complex truth about God.
personal stories be drawn in as part of this greater story,         God’s entirety resides in Jesus Christ, and yet Jesus suffered
celebrating in what we share in these moments of salvation          and died. We can declare that Jesus is God’s Son, but we
history. We intertwine what Jesus’ story with our own.              cannot say that in the unequivocal way that we would apply
We start out with our affirmation of all that we encounter as       such terms as “parent” and “child” within our own personal
God’s fullness – God’s goodness, mercifulness, lovingness,          families. God’s relationship to Jesus’ death was precisely
wisdom, absolute justice. Then a week like the last one that        that of a parent grieving the loss of the child, and yet God
Jesus has in his ministry undercuts the adequacy of these           does not suffer as an Afghani mother might when her
terms that we had once applied unreservedly to the Almighty.        daughter becomes a casualty of war. Just the same God
A depth of hidden movements that continue to unfold into            has joined the divine self to our tears.
our present day widen outward into a baffling and tangled           God in Jesus Christ became directly involved in all that
series of connections that emerge as the Church to which we         creation undergoes. As the great 14th century author of The
belong.                                                             Cloud of Unknowing puts it: “[God] may well be loved, but
We confront in this legacy a host of challenges that                not thought: by love can he be thought and held, but by
contradict what had once seemed accomplishment. Our                 thinking never.” Through the cross Jesus has given to us
company has set off on holy wars against non-Christians, and        God personally as a loving being to whom we can relate in
we have engaged in factional fighting among ourselves. We           reciprocating love. Though we cannot comprehend how
permitted abusive structures and individuals within our body        this love can be, because God loved us so much as to come
to manipulate our Church organization to their own                  to us fully in Jesus’ death. Thus we love in return.
advantage. Such contradictions cause us to question what we         Our most fulfilling way of entering into Jesus’ death and
thought we knew about God.                                          God’s relationship to it is for us to let the events of Holy
We come to recognize that our venturing forth in faith is not       Week draw us into stillness. That is why we spend so much
the simple progression from the darkness of our ignorance           of the time in the Easter Vigil, as we await the gospel
into the light of greater knowledge that we had once thought        announcement of Jesus’ resurrection, in silence. Not any of
it to be. Instead, we seem to move forward from partially           us can extend our thoughts so far as to fully encompass
knowing into knowing that we do not know. We are used to            what happens with Jesus’ death and thereafter. Instead, we
building up our sense of what something is by adding to our         wait upon God’s love coming to us as we let the
root experiences of it all those new observations that qualify      incomprehensibility of Jesus’ dying on the cross silence any
our original ones. That usual process for developing our            intellectual attempt on our part to grasp its significance.
understanding does not function when we try to apply it to          These events remain always a mystery to us. A “mystery”
advance our understanding of God.                                   means that something remains unexplained, inexplicable,
Instead, what we might affirm of God, even in the most              unknowable. The events we celebrate and we recollect
positive terms, by affirming God’s goodness or justice, seem        during Holy Week comprise the greatest mystery
to cancel out with our realization that God’s capacities lie        humankind has ever encountered. Who can imagine a God
beyond the measure of our human standards. For us to say            become human? Who would have guessed at the depth of
even that God exists, we have to hedge with our reservation         betray that God experienced? Who can conceive of a God
that God is uniquely existent, never having been brought into       who surrenders to death? Who can believe that death was –
existence as has happened with the rest of creation.                and is always – overcome by the power of God? We
Therefore, we have no unqualified way of thinking about             cannot understand such mystery, and yet God still has
God, and we come to appreciate more fully the ultimacy with         invited us to be participants in it!
which God transcends our human conceptions.
We come more and more to wonder at God’s profound
mystery. God’s lies incomparably beyond anything we might

                                                   March 2012 - Spotlight 2
                              Where is “the Kingdom of God?”
By Deacon Kyn Barker
In Luke 4:18-19 it says, in part that we are:

                “to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me
    to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to
    the blind, to let the oppressed go free,”

...and that’s what the Kingdom of God resembles. Now we
are not going to do that, but HE does that…but…..HE
does that through us and our actions.
This year I am finishing two years as the Co-chair of the
Fairview Interagency Network and collaboration of more
than 20 social service agencies and faith groups all serving
the area around Don Mills and Sheppard. The people who
meet are all keen to improve conditions in our
neighbourhood including increased accessibility to decent                been able to assist in forming and supporting the Residents
food, more employment opportunities and ways and means                   Association, in which people have been able to voice
to help newcomers find their places here in Toronto. Few                 concerns about buildings and development and
of the agency representatives are overtly Christian…what                 TOGETHER work towards solutions.
does that mean then that they are driven to do what seems                Community Information Fairview is an outpost, I could say
to me like bringing about the Kingdom of God?                            of the Kingdom right up the hill in Fairview Mall. I’m
I do believe that God in Jesus is way out ahead of us….and               usually there as a volunteer Weds afternoons and Friday
we need to catch up. We will find HIM here inside St.                    mornings…do come by…next to the TD Bank.
Matthews…but He is much bigger than that.                                Food Space for Don Mills/Sheppard. Here is another
“Parkway Forest” has been going on for nearly three years                example of Kingdom building that is not overtly Christian.
now. It is encouraging that, through our collective activities           Led by North York Harvest Food Bank, Working Women
some people have been made welcome at St. Matthews, but                  Community Centre and Fairview Community Health, a
what is also important is that some from St. Matthews have               below-market-rent space at Oriole Community Centre has
                                                                         been secured with the support of our City Councillor. After
                                                                         renovations there will be cooking classes, meetings about
                                                                         community gardens and an emergency hamper (or “Food
                                                                         bank”) programme.
                                                                         Justice Camp ( is a Diocesan
                                                                         sponsored even in Petwrborough in late August.
                                                                         Theological reflection and workship before and after but in
                                                                         the middle an opportunity to be in an “Immersion Group”
                                                                         which will have hands on experience with a specifc issue or
                                                                         concern such as Refugees or Food Security.
                                                                         Good Friday afternoon? There is an opportunity for us to
                                                                         walk the “Stations of the Cross” along Sheppard Avenue,
                                                                         starting at the corner of Don Mills Rd starting at 2 pm.
                                                                         Deacon Kyn Barker among those looking to follow Jesus.

                                                         March 2012 - Spotlight 3
From The Wardens’ Desk
By Bruce LaRue, Dennis Chalmers, Virendra Singh, Ajitha Gunawardana
Spring is finally in the air but it seemed like we had no winter this year.
As part of our Parish Case for the Our Faith - Our Hope Campaign it was identified that our Church energy consumption
needed to be addressed and improved. The caulking and sealing of all doors, windows and other air entry points was completed
late last year. The second phase was to retrofit our electrical heating in all locations of the facility.
Dalton Engineering and Naylor Electrical Contractors have been hired to advise us on how we should proceed. Both of these
contractors have extensive experience in dealing with the Diocese. Naylor have produced a report on how we can retrofit the
facility and this report has been reviewed by the Wardens and other members of the Parish.
At present we are negotiating a Scope of Work and determining the best method to “Project Manage” this initiative going
forward. It is our plan to significantly reduce our energy consumption in the years ahead.
We are also pleased to have Dennis Chalmers come on board with us as Peoples Warden and Virendra Singh and Ajitha
Gunawardana join us as Deputy Wardens. Thanks gentlemen.

                                    Clothing Sale Men’s Department Volunteers

                                                March 2012 - Spotlight 4
WHAT DOES                                   fundamental issue to be addressed by       “The missional language emphasizes
                                            the church. The challenge facing the       the fact that we are confronted with a
“MISSIONAL”                                 Western churches was the                   radically new challenge in the West.
MEAN?                                       reconversion of its own people… Out        The basic stance of denominations
                                            of these stirrings, a small, but growing   and local churches must be
                                            network began more intentional             transformed to that of missionaries in
                                            conversations with one another,            their own culture. This requires more
                                            eventually, forming what became The        than adjustment; it calls for a new kind
                                            Gospel in Our Culture Network.             of church.”
                                            Through its consultations and writing
                                            projects, it became clear there was        2. Mission Is about
                                                                                          the Missio Dei
                                            significant work to be done to address
                                            issues of Gospel faithfulness in North     “The focus of this mission is the God
                                            American culture. Against this             who has encountered us in Jesus
                                            background, developed the concepts         Christ – the One whom we confess in
                                            shared in Missional Church.”               the Trinitarian confession of Father,
                                                                                       Son and Spirit...The biblical narratives
                                            Rather than giving a simplistic two or
                                                                                       revolve around God’s mission in,
   The Rev. Canon Brad Lennon               three word definition of what
                                                                                       through, and for the sake of the world.
                                            “missional” means, Alan urges us
                                                                                       The focus of attention is toward God
Our consultant for our Missional            rather to consider what is at stake
                                                                                       not the other way around. The missio
Action Project, Alan Roxburgh, offers       here. He would have us consider
                                                                                       dei is about a God-centered rather than
this short introduction to the missional    these themes and characteristics about
                                                                                       a meeting-personal-need centered
church:                                     what being “missional” might mean:
                                                                                       understanding of Jesus’ life, death and
“In 1998, a small network completed                                                    resurrection. The focus of the church
                                            1. Western Society
writing the book Missional Church: A                                                   is mission and worship.
                                               as Mission Field
Vision for the Sending of the Church in
                                                                                       “Craig Van Gelder uses two questions
North America…We were labouring             “Missional church recognizes that
                                                                                       to help people grapple with this: The
on a journey of learning and discovery.     Western societies are now, themselves,
                                                                                       first is: What is God doing in this
Our work coalesced around the               mission fields. This fact calls for more
                                                                                       world? This requires discernment to
writings of Lesslie Newbigin. In the        than new evangelism tactics. Modern
                                                                                       recognize what God is doing in our
mid 70s, Newbigin returned to               evangelism developed in a time when
                                                                                       neighborhoods, schools, businesses,
England to encounter the fact that the      people assumed the Christian story
                                                                                       etc. The second is: What does God
Christian culture he had left some          was a normal, regulative part of the
                                                                                       want to do in our world? To answer
thirty years earlier had all but            culture within which they lived. Most
                                                                                       this question, the church needs
disappeared. Newbigin recognized that       folk knew the basic Gospel story in
                                                                                       wisdom and a Spirit-led imagination to
the greatest challenge to Christian         one form or another. Evangelism
                                                                                       envision what the power of the
mission was now within the very             fulfilled the role of presenting an
                                                                                       Gospel might reveal if a people were
nations that had once sent                  apologetic, which pressed for
                                                                                       willing to listen.”
missionaries out around the world.          commitment. It worked in a world
The peoples of Europe, shaped by the        where the culture-at-large understood      3. Missional Church Is
Western tradition, had all but lost their   the basic Christian story. This is no         about the Church Being
                                            longer the case. The vast majority of         a Contrast Society
identity as Christian.
                                            the emerging generations has, literally,    “The church is an ecclesia, which
“In one memorable epithet, Newbigin
                                            no memory of the Christian narrative.      means an assembly that has been
had been asked by an Asian leader the
                                            Only twenty-five years ago, this was       called out in a public way as a sign,
question: ‘Can the West be converted’?
                                            not the case. The shift has been           witness, and foretaste of where God is
That question represented the
                                            dramatic and swift.
                                                                                                                continued on page 6

                                                 March 2012 - Spotlight 5
What Does Missioanl Mean?
continued from page 5

inviting all creation in Jesus Christ. The church, in its life      revealed in Scripture, and the surrounding culture. In
together and witness in the world, proclaims the destiny            every location and at every point in time this three-
and future of all creation. Local congregations are                 way conversation is required if the Gospel is to be
embodiments of where God is calling all creation to be              revealed to the world.
through the power of the Spirit. The God we meet in Jesus
                                                                    “This triangle helps to understand how the three
calls the church to be a community of people who no
                                                                    characteristics of the missional church relate to one
longer live for themselves and their own needs but as a
                                                                    another. In other words, being a missional church is
contrast society whose life together manifests God’s future
                                                                    not about doing church in a better way so that more
for the whole of creation.
                                                                    self-seeking individualists might get their private
“As a contrast society, the church is formed around beliefs         needs met. Being missional church is not just about
and practices, which continually school and form it in a way        the church corner of the triangle. There is much
of life, which cannot be derived from the particular culture        more to the missionary encounter than the church.
in which it is found. The culture in which we find ourselves        The conversation can only occur as there is a true
is now designated as late-modern or postmodern. It is a             encounter among all three corners. We can no longer
context where the explicit story is that everyone lives within      assume that we possess a valid understanding of the
his or her own expressive rights. We live in a context where        culture or even of the nature of the gospel.”
it is simply assumed that the appropriate means of living …
is to create environments, which do not step on or over any
specific set of personal rights, feelings or wants…                        TODAY’S CHUCKLE
[Therefore] We want to affirm everyone’s need for personal
autonomy to such a degree that we have lost the resources             A little girl, dressed in her Sunday best, was
provided by Scripture and great tradition to shape, form              running as fast as she could, trying not to be late
and create a people as a contrast society.                            for Bible class. As she ran she prayed, “Dear Lord,
                                                                      please don't let me be late! Dear Lord, please don't
Putting it Together
                                                                      let me be late!” While she was running and praying,
                                                                      she tripped on a curb and fell, getting her clothes
                                                                      dirty and tearing her dress. She got up, brushed
                                                                      herself off, and started running again! As she ran
                                                                      she once again began to pray, “Dear Lord, please
                                                                      don't let me be late...But please don't shove me

                                                                      A police recruit was asked during the exam, “What
                                                                      would you do if you had to arrest your own
                                                                      mother?” He answered, “Call for backup.”

“Lesslie Newbigin talked of a three-way conversation
between the gospel, the church and the culture in which               Courtesy
the church finds itself. The missionary encounter requires            Minoli Gunawardana
interaction among the people of God, the Gospel as it is              Flowers

                                               March 2012 - Spotlight 6
Toronto Anglican Missional Transformation Project
By The Rev. Canon Brad Lennon
Incumbent Priest

In September, 2010, the Advisory Board of St. Matthew’s approved the participation of our parish in a project involving seven
parishes in the Diocese of Toronto. We are collaborating as congregations in a two-year Missional Transformation Process (MTP)
with the help of The Missional Network with Al Roxburgh, John McLaverty and our local missional coach, the Rev.Duke
Vipperman. We together recognize that Our world is changing rapidly in discontinuous, confusing ways.

People generally no longer look to the church as they once did. Making a significant impact on our neighbours and
neighbourhoods remains a constant challenge for our local parishes. Yet we are coming to realize more and more that, as always,
God sends us in into the world – that is what it means to be missional. The key to missional living is having eyes and ears for what
God is up to and then joining in.

Here is what we have come to recognize with our MTP:

             - Missional transformation occurs when genuine innovation comes from among the people.
             - The Spirit of God is among the people of God, so God’s future is among God’s people.
             - Mission-shaped transformation can’t be led by pastors, clergy or those staff identified as the key leaders.
             - Leaders still have a pivotal role to play but not through the usual, expected forms of leadership.
             - To the extent that transformation is leader-driven, it will generate a lot of energy and hope in the short-term
               but fail over the long haul.
             - A bottom-up, diffuse, non-linear process of transformation can create new missional DNA in church.
             - We have found this comes best as we practice our way into new ways of thinking.

Therefore, we as parishioners have worked over the past year to listen to each other as a first step in our trying to become better at
listening for what God may be at work among our neighbours. We have told each other our faith stories and how St. Matthew’s,
Oriole, became important to us. We participated together in a 360 survey that we completed online on the internet so that we
could assess for ourselves our readiness to become more missional in reaching out to our surrounding community. Then we held
listening groups so that we
might hear from each other
our reactions to our discoveries           Where We Are Now
in the survey.

Out of the reports of the
listening groups, our Advisory
Board gathered in January to
develop      some    suggested
projects or experiments that
                                                                               WE ARE HERE
we might try in order to take
some first steps in missional
outreach. Over forty ideas
came forth from our gathering,
and we have set in place a
Missional Action Team who
have now narrowed these ideas
down to two or three.
continued on page 8

                                                     March 2012 - Spotlight 7
continued from page 7

Toronto Anglican Missional Transformation Project
The Missional Action Team’s members are Val Seales, Ray James, Solomon Edwards, Joy Alloway, Dennis Chalmers, and
Ajitha Gunawardana. They will refine these ideas over the next couple of months to bring forward by the end of spring
developed proposals to our Advisory Board for next steps.

                                    GIANT GARAGE SALE

                                 80 GEORGE HENRY BOULEVARD

                                              SATURDAY, MAY 26TH
                                                   9:00 A.M. – 1:00 P.M.

                                     OUR GREAT BIG GARAGE SALE
                                      IS BACK AGAIN THIS YEAR

                                    Thousands of household items
                        and gently used clothing, small furniture, seasonal fare.

                                Guaranteed rock bottom recession prices!

                           Coffe, bakery and barbecue are part of the event.
                                         An Annual Community Happening
                                           Come and bring your family and friends.
                                                 We value your company.

                        Donations that fit any of the above categories would be appreciated if you are:
                                                         → Moving,
                                                         → Cleaning House,
                                                         → Downsizing or
                                                         → De-cluttering
                                             Free pickup of items can be arranged.

                          For any inquiries concerning the event or donations, please contact after May 1st

                                            Coordinator, Bonnie LaRue at 416-495-7212

                                                  March 2012 - Spotlight 8
By David Johnson, Jane and Hamilton Slessor

The first quarter of 2012 is almost over and it’s time to         We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of
report on Lansing’s very successful move last October to          you for your support in donating unused Christmas
temporary space in the blue portables behind The Peoples          cards, tags and new 2012 calendars. Over 150 sets of 12
Church on Sheppard Avenue East at Wilfred. By the                 cards and more than 100 calendars were distributed to
second week, the volunteers were well into the new                the delight of the clients. The upside was that the paper
routine and had worked out any of the problems that had           involved was used and saved from the recycle bin.
arisen. The clients seemed pleased with the new facilities        Lansing United Church very much appreciates St.
and had found us without much trouble spotting the large          Matthew’s ongoing support of this community service
signage placed outside on Wednesday and Thursday                  through donations received from our parish both in kind
mornings.                                                         and monetary.

                                        Holy Week Services – April 1 – 8, 2012
 Sun. 01, ~ PALM SUNDAY
                               8:00 a.m.      Reading of the Passion Gospel, and said Eucharist
                                10: a.m.      Procession of the Palms and Sung Eucharist
 Mon. Apr. 02, ~ HOLY MONDAY
                         7:30 p.m.            Said Eucharist
 Tue. Apr. 03, ~ HOLY TUESDAY
                         7:30 p.m.            Said Eucharist
 Wed. Apr. 04 ~ HOLY WEDNESDAY
                         7:30 p.m.            Said Eucharist
 Thurs. Apr. 05 ~ MAUNDY
 THURSDAY                7:30 p.m.            Commemoration of the Lord's Supper, Foot Washing, Stripping of the
 Fri. Apr. 06 ~ GOOD FRIDAY
                         10:00 a.m.           Liturgy of the Passion
 Sat. Apr. 7, 2012
                          8:00 p.m.           Great Vigil of Easter
 Sun. Apr. 8 ~ EASTER DAY
                          8:00 a.m.           Said Eucharist
                         10:00 a.m.           Choral Procession and Sung Eucharist

                                                  March 2012 - Spotlight 9

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