ANNOUNCEMENTS

Church Office Hours for July - The church office will be closed all Mondays and Tuesdays. | Commencing in September, we will be returning to in-person worship! | 
DONATIONS - To make a donation to support Heart Lake United Church click here | May & June 2022 - The church office will be closed all Mondays.
 

Welcome to Heart Lake United Church

At Heart Lake United Church you will find people with diverse backgrounds and experiences all coming together to share our faith and build a caring, inclusive community. Everyone belongs!

Our Mission: To live an active faith connecting God, people and community.

These are not easy times. As we begin to ‘open up’ we may be feeling relieved or maybe even more uncertain and vulnerable. The early followers of Jesus were not living in easy times either. They faced disease, economic uncertainty, great income disparity and injustice maintained by force.

Jesus knew that standing up for justice and protecting the rights and the lives of the vulnerable during such a time is not easy. Yet Jesus encouraged his followers to do just that.  He told his first disciples “I am sending you out like sheep in the midst of wolves.” He advised them to be “wise as serpents and gentle as doves.” (Matthew 10:16)

With so much information coming at us and so many expert opinions being shared, we all need to use our own wisdom to sort through it all. We need to seek reliable sources and trust our own common sense. We need to put the care of others before our own comfort. We need to speak out for justice, but do it gently, firmly but gently, so that when we come through this time we will have built a more just and peaceful society for everyone. 

Jesus has more advice for being faithful witnesses to the gospel during challenging times. Join our online worship. 

  Heart Lake United Church is a model of diversity and living in harmony.   
  • all ages,
  • all genders,
  • all races,
  • all religious experiences

Everyone is important to Christ so everyone is important to us.

We all belong.

Heart Lake United Church reaches out through various programs and there is something for everyone.

On Sunday mornings  at 10:30 we worship with inspiring singing led by our music team, sermons that make the Bible relevant to today, and through sincere prayer.

We have a BLAST program for younger kids and SURGE program for youth. Our infants and toddlers are cared for by a trained ECE worker.

 

FAITH

Written by Super User on . Posted in Sunday Sermons

Luke 15:1-3, 11-32. March 27

Prayer: God of embrace you are always running towards us. Send us out to our neigbours to the familiar and unfamiliar with this same love. Amen

Sometimes we can confuse our thoughts about God with the reality of God. We can easily confuse our anger, which seeks vengeance without mercy, with the anger of our God, who may seek vengeance but is always merciful. When we have been wronged, we want restitution. When we do wrongs God seeks reconciliation for us. Our God offers forgiveness, pardon and everlasting joy.

There is evidence of the Creator: the birds are fed, flowers are clothed, rainfalls on the just and the unjust, the sun rises and sets. Our thoughts are our thoughts. God's thoughts are God's. And there is a great chasm between them.

At our council meetings we discuss losses we have experienced. There are a variety of losses we shared with one another, losses by death, loss of health, loss of employment, losses that come through moving from our community, and financial profit and loss. People's ability to cope came with the willingness to share their loss, pain and to gain strength through relationships.

We sing praises to God who may be high and lifted up, but it is the same God who stoops to offer mercy and abundant pardon. It takes faith to return home and be strengthened through community relationships.  

We hear the most familiar parable of all times. The prodigal son returns home to his father. We know the system of thought that says if we work and get good grades, we will get into the best colleges and get our degrees and earn big dollars. If we brush our teeth and floss them each day we will have good teeth and gums. If we please our employers, we can get a raise. And the list could goes on and on.

But God takes that system and turns it upside-down and inside-out. Jesus hands and arms of grace spread out to encompass the whole world. God says, "You cannot earn this. I'm giving it to you. Jesus is the ultimate sacrifice because God loves you this much!" The cross is a symbol of victory, of God's power, of hope and salvation, of love -- for you and for me. How beautiful is the sight of the one with open arms and hands welcoming us home?

As parents we celebrate when our children entered college and university and we hoped for their accomplishments. But we also hear stories of well-played prodigal characters after leaving home. The student who found extravagant fun who drank, took drugs, skipped classes, had rowdy parties in the dorm room -- the whole thing of an extravagant lifestyle.

Long before I became a minister I visited a college campus and the chaplain said once in a while, I'd drop a note to let the student know that I was still around, that I cared and that God cared too. I met a student who got into serious academic trouble after three months at college and her lifestyle was as low as it could get.

The chaplain said that one day a rap came on my office door, and I opened it to find my friend with tears streaming down her face. I'll never forget her words to me as she rushed into my arms: "I've come home."

The one son said; give me my share. There was an extravagant amount of resources. The father was generous as could be and he loved both sons unconditionally. The father kept his faith in God. He grieved the loss of this estranged son and he lived in hope of his return home. Saint Paul writes: “Faith is the substance of things hope for and the evidence of things not seen.”

The embrace that followed is the arms of grace, the arms of God, encircling both father and son. The college student knew she was home where love, grace and forgiveness are waiting for everyone who returns to a safe space.

At HLUC each worship service is the celebration of everlasting joy, thanking God for those arms and hands of grace. God’s arms welcome you and me many times when we have been lost and hurting, broken and downtrodden. 'Tis grace has brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home." It is reassuring to be renewed with God’s grace.

This is such a familiar story yet each time we are to bring good news. We are to learn something new and be touched by the spirit. Often we highlight issues such as sibling rivalry, greed, entitlement, poor choices, broken relationships, death, lost and more.

Today let us look at this parable through different lens. Jesus offers us a preview of living in hope and embracing Easter. It is a preview into new life, new beginning, rebirth, growth and endless possibilities with faith in God. Ponder the Father’s generosity, his faith and living in hope. Have you noticed that both sons were honourable? The Father does not seek vengeance and judgement. Aren’t you glad that God does not play fair? God will shower blessings, offer grace and welcome home whoever returns to God. God loves all!

The preview gives us a bit of Advent as the father waits in anticipation for the arrival of his son. The preparation and waiting are important for the foretaste of the heavenly banquet that follows the arrival of this son. He was lost but now found, dead but alive, returned to stay for eternity. There is no shortage of resources only an abundance of everything and this my friends is the mystery of God among us. God’s generosity is revealed.

As we reflect on our current wilderness journey this parable is about Lent too. After a long pandemic and dreary winter we count the losses. But we are reminded that we are never lost from the presence of God. Like the one son who returned to the same home and found that he has changed. He bowed in humility, emptied himself before God and was touched by the Spirit who prays for us. Hope grows where miracles blossoms with the fruit of the Spirit.

The older son is also invited to the feast. He is graciously loved and cared for by the father. The parable does not tell us the ending of the story. Our lives continue writing the ending of this story of every time and season. The mystery of God’s love and grace is for you, me and the world. Faith is a life-long journey and through the Pentecost Spirit we are empowered to new life and saving lives. Amen

Contacts

Heart Lake United Church
85 Sandalwood Pkwy East
Brampton ON L6Z 4S3
Tel: 905 846 7314
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: www.hluc.ca

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