The Rock

Many times, over the years I have heard someone say about their husband/wife/father/mother, or even a good friend that she/he is my rock. It is most often that person in their life on whom they could rely for sound advice, for strong support, for good leadership, for guidance, even for admonition when they have taken a wrong turn. It is that person they could rely on through thick and thin who cares enough to always be honest with you and never lets you down, and at the same time that person who will always be truthful in a loving and caring way. These are the very people that stand by you at all times.

I have also heard, many times, that when something happens to that rock, such as serious illness and eventual death, a person will say – I don’t know how I can keep going. There are also other reasons “the rock” is no longer considered as such. It is always a wake-up call to the fragility of life and relationships.

The poetry of Psalm 18 paints a very different picture. I suggest you read this Psalm; it will give you a picture of a David who was in deep trouble and was rescued by God. But look at the first two verses. David was a man of experience. He had been through many difficulties, some of as a result of his own doing. When David was a young shepherd boy he fought off a lion and a bear (1 Samuel 17:36), he had conquered the giant Goliath (1 Sam 17), his father-in-law, King Saul, tried to pin him to the wall with his spear (1 Sam 19), and his best friend (his rock) Jonathan was killed in battle.

There are many incidents in David’s life the average person would never experience. David wrote Psalm 18 on “the day the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul.” In David’s lifetime there had been a number of people who he could have considered as “his Rock.” He was close to Jonathan; he had his choice of wives of whom Abigail seemed one of the wiser ones; he had his strong generals; he also had the reliable prophet Nathan in whom he could confide. But none of these fit the description of David’s “rock.” For David, as a sinful, faltering human being, there was only one. Look at how he describes God. In verse 2 David says, “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” It almost sounds like David is being repetitious. But he probably wants the reader, and all those who would sing this psalm to be aware of the various connotations of all his descriptions that are only befitting the Holy God he has great affection and love for.

“The Lord is my rock and my fortress.” Living among the crags and mountains of Judea David spent much time away from the jealous hatred of Saul, and he compares his God to a place of hiding and security. “He hideth my soul in the cleft of a rock, he hideth my life in the depths of his love and covers me there with his hand,” the hymn writer Fanny Crosby would write years later. David already understood what Martin Luther wrote, “A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing.” Another word for bulwark is defense. Even as a sinful human being, David’s God never failed to defend him.

David calls the Lord “my deliverer.” David had the profound experience of the Lord rescuing him from powerful enemy hands because the hand of the Lord was always more powerful and as God had said to Moses that his arm is never too short. Then David calls his Lord “my God.” This leans more toward calling him “the Almighty.” The great preacher, Charles Spurgeon, writes that “this is all good things in one. There is a boundless wealth in this expression; it means, my perpetual, unchanging, infinite, eternal good. He who can say truly ‘my God,’ may well add, ‘my heaven, my all.’” David then immediately calls the Lord his rock. He says so in the sense of strength and immobility. He means his sure, unchanging, eternal confidence and support. David is not repeating himself when he uses the word rock for the second time. The first time the rock is his hiding place and this time the rock is for firmness and unchanging. “In whom I take refuge”, or, in other words, in whom I trust. This is totally an act of faith. It is a far cry from trusting our complete life into the hands of a human being; our God is the epitome of trustworthiness.

Then he calls the Lord his “shield.” David may at one time been the gentle shepherd, but as King of Israel he was also forced to become a warrior, dressed in armour when facing the enemy. Although he was sensible enough to go into battle fully dressed for the occasion, he knew within himself the Lord was the shield and protector of his soul. Whatever may happen to him physically would be no match for his spiritual trust in the Lord who also was, as he said, “the horn of his salvation.” Then he concludes by naming the Lord his “stronghold,” or as older versions may say “my high tower.” This is a place where the victor could go, either a high plateau, citadel, or tower from which you could view the defeated enemy below and rejoice. It seems that David has a dual use of this word. It can have both a physical and spiritual meaning. And calling the Lord his high tower can only mean he had been delivered victorious because of his dependence in God.

So, when we name a fellow human as our rock, and all that goes with it, it’s a big task to fulfil. It can only be true up to the point of human capabilities. We live in dangerous times, dangerous in many ways. We had better make sure that we have God as our rock and trust in him at all times. It is only through acknowledging Christ as Saviour and God as the rock of our salvation that we can have peace in troubled times.
Pastor Job

Easter Sunday –
Worship Service!

St. Andrew's had their first service on Easter Sunday since March 15, 2020. What a joyous occasion for everyone to share in God's word and reunite with friends.
Pastor Job provided a Good Friday and Easter Sunday message and led the church in the sacrament of Holy Communion.
Music and solo performances were provided by Jacqueline Van Hartingsveldt on the organ, Lorraine Ymker on the piano and Joel Bootsmas on the violin.

Re-opening Notice
The church will be closed again until further notice.

Happy New Year

By the time you read this we may already be into another year. I find it impossible to think about what this next year may bring and not reflect on what the last year brought. It is different for each person. Some of you are still grieving the loss of a loved one. You may be anxiously awaiting surgery or still recovering. Others struggle financially. There are those who suffer depression, loneliness, anxiety, loss, abuse, failure of sorts, family or marriage breakdown. We live in a world of addictions, of fear, of anxiety. We can fill a page with a list. Then there are those for whom the past year has been wonderful and they hope the trend continues. I think we can all agree that life is always in a state of flux, that nothing ever stays the same.
Then we ought to remember what it is that remains the constant of our lives. Every “what” has a “who” attached to it. We have just celebrated Christmas, the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Look at how the gospels relate the story. Matthew tells us about Joseph’s struggle about having to marry a young girl who was already pregnant. The situation had to be explained to Joseph by an angel to put his mind at rest. Then Matthew launches into the story of the Magi who show up in Bethlehem sometime after the birth of Christ. The gospel of Mark starts with Jesus’ baptism. Luke is the only gospel that gives a more complete narrative of that first Christmas. John tells us that “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” Perhaps the differences are because the details of Jesus’ incarnation are not as important as the reason, the “who” and the “what.” So then the Christmas message becomes less of the fairy-tale birth so often depicted on cards, in pageants, and in carols. The message is much more about purpose and John says it clearly. “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”(John 3:16) That was the message God already gave in Genesis 3:15, the message of his covenant with Abraham, the message through the prophets, the message of the birth narrative, the message of Good Friday, Easter, Ascension, and Pentecost. It is that message that will come to completion when our Lord Jesus Christ returns.
And that means, that amidst all the blessings and all the turmoil of life, salvation and Christ are the “what” and “who” that remain constant. Imagine that! Christmas is all about Jesus the Holy Son volunteering himself, in obedience to the Holy Father, in the strength of the Holy Spirit, becoming one of us in the womb of a sinful human being. That is how much God loved this dysfunctional world, the dysfunctional me, the dysfunctional you. He entered this world so that, by believing in him, we have eternal life. It is just inconceivable that Jesus would stoop that low out of love for us. To us it is unthinkable that he would remove himself from that most beautiful place of eternal glory and enter into this desert wasteland with all its sin, its greed, its hatred, its selfishness, its apathy, its abuse, its hurt, and all the resulting factors of those actions, for the simple reason that “God so loved this world.” And because Jesus said, “I and the Father are one,” it can only mean that Jesus has the same love for this world, proving it by his death on the cross. On that cross is where he felt more forsaken by his Father than we could ever experience. And then to top it off, Paul tells us in Galatians 4:6 that God sent the Spirit into our hearts, and that we have become heirs in his kingdom. That means that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all involved in their love for us. All three persons of the Trinity take an active role in God’s love and our salvation. What a support system we have behind us.
So Christmas again reminds us that, as this world convulses and heaves as the result of sin entering through humanity’s disobedience, Christ came to set things right for those who believe in him and follow God’s will. The convulsing and pain of this world won’t stop until our Lord returns. He said he would. But knowing how much he loves us gives us a peace that passes all human understanding. That doesn’t mean our lives will always be peaceful. But there is a peace that becomes the bedrock of our life, our faith, our trust. And that peace brings hope, works itself out in love, and helps us to emanate joy.
And now we go into a new year in the confidence that God so loved and continues to love. That means we can go into this next year “Living for Jesus.” That is a hymn you may be familiar with, and here is the refrain:
O Jesus, Lord and Saviour, I give myself to thee, for thou in thy atonement, didst give thyself for me; I own no other Master, my heart shall be thy throne; my life I give, henceforth to live, O Christ, for thee alone. With that in mind, and in heart, we can enter the new year with thanksgiving in our heart, with joy in our heart. Each day, as we renew that vow, we can face the day, moving forward in the name of Christ. It is a difficult world we live in. We have two options. We can either be upset, angry, troubled, anxious, following the ways the world spells out for us, following the ways the powers of darkness would like us to go. The other option is to trust and obey for there is no other way because God so loved this world.
On behalf of myself and my family we wish you a Happy and Blessed New Year

Christmas Greetings

MAY GOD Grant you always - A sunbeam to WARM you - A moonbeam to CHARM you - A sheltering ANGEL so nothing can HARM you Laughter to CHEER you, Faithful friends NEAR you And whenever you PRAY, Heaven to HEAR you MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL Ray McCoy

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to our church family, we miss all of you, hope to see you soon. Stay safe & God Bless. – Janis and Joe Drummond

I know we can’t all be together this Christmas, but we will be in each other’s thoughts. Remember to keep the “CHRIST” in CHRISTMAS.– Marie Merrill

Larry and Judy Ducommun would like to wish all their friends at St. Andrew’s a Joyful Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Remember that nothing is small in the eyes of God. Do all that you do with love this Christmas season. Merry Christmas! Blessings, Carol & Noah

Christmas is most truly Christmas when we celebrate it by giving the light of Love to those who need it the most. Kevin and I are wishing that our wonderful church family have a very Merry Christmas and a new year blessed with peace and grace in your hearts, happiness and great health. May the light of our Savior shine on you this Christmas.-Love Kevin and Laurie-Anne Hay

Wishing everyone a blessed Christmas season. We are missing our friends and family during this pandemic, but you are with us in our hearts & our prayers. Sending love & hugs. Merry Christmas, Bill, Sue, Sara & Gladys Gray xo

To my Church family: although we are unable to celebrate this wonderful Christmas season together, I would like to wish you all the peace and joy of this special time of year. May you and your families enjoy the beauty of the season during this very challenging 2020. Stay safe and God bless. See you in the New Year!-Kim McCann

Wishing all my friends and church family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Missing our Christmas celebrations and looking forward to seeing everyone in the New Year. Stay safe and healthy-Carol Merrill

This has been an extremely challenging time for each and every one of us, but we have made our way through to this most special time of the year. Since we cannot be together to celebrate as we have become accustomed to do, each of us must gather our special memories of the years past and paint a mental picture of all those wonderful times shared with our friends at St. Andrew’s. I am sending my very best wishes (and hugs) to each and everyone for a most Blessed Christmas, good health, and much happiness in the New Year. Sincerely, Jeanette Globe.

Here we are at Christmas 2020. It doesn't seem possible, since we have missed the important holidays of the year. Easter was not the same, as we were unable to celebrate due to Covid 19. The crucifixion and the rising from the tomb seemed to happen without us singing its praise. Spring turned to summer. Summer into fall and the harvest table was just a memory. Christmas is now here, and the music is starting to come on the radio. The malls are abuzz with shoppers gathering gifts for families. Some of us will not be able to share the joy with families. Thankfully some will be able to connect via the internet. My wish for all this season is for health and happiness and that the new year brings us the ability to join together in prayer and praise. I miss my Church family and friends. Blessings to all of you. Donna Johnson

Merry Christmas to all people at St. Andrew’s, especially those facing health challenges, Rev. Job and family, Bev Boyce, Bev Mott and others. Thank you to Rev. Job for the sermons and people like Carol, Judy, and Larry who keep the shop afloat. John Grebby
I would like to wish my Presbyterian friends and your families a special and blessed Christmas and holiday season. I look forward to seeing everyone in the new year. Thoughts and prayers. Shirley Noble

From the St. Andrew’s Congregation – we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year filled with Hope, Peace, Joy and Love!

Blessings from the
St. Andrew's Family

We would like to extend our blessings and comfort to the community.
Stay safe and healthy and know that God is with you.

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Worship Sundays at 10:30am
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church
67 Victoria Ave. Belleville

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St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Belleville, will share the gospel of Jesus Christ with all people through worship, teaching, and service.

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