United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands

CIRMC Weekly

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Lead Us Not Into Temptation But Deliver Us From Evil - by Mr Michael Bowerman

Wednesday Mar 02, 2022
 
Please read Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13)
One reality that everyone faces is the evil in the world and the
resulting hardships of life. Christians are not immune to them.
Scripture tells us over and over about the conflicts, the
struggles, the challenges we will encounter. We are warned by
Jesus and the New Testament writers that living as Christians
in this world is spiritual warfare. Paul, for example, tells us that
“our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the
rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of
this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the
heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). Peter tells us that there is a
devil out there who is our great enemy, prowling around like a
lion “looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 1:8).
We live in a fallen world. As Christians, there is often the
temptation to give in to it, to take a shortcut, to compromise.
Not only are there these pressures from the world, but we have
fallen, sinful natures, too, and further, our enemy, the devil is
alive and well.

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The Transfiguration by Rev. Dr Yvette Noble- Bloomfield

Wednesday Feb 23, 2022
 
Please read Luke 9:28-36, [37-43a]
In this passage, we read of God’s affirming presence and voice
as Jesus entered the final phase of His life on earth. The
affirmation of Jesus as the chosen Son of God, deserving of our
attention can be heard in the words, “This is my Son, my
Chosen; listen to him!"
This same voice of God affirmed Jesus at His Baptism. The
Baptism marked the beginning of His ministry, and the words
were almost similar, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am
well pleased" (Matthew 3:17.)
The glory of God at the Baptism descended in the form of the
dove, alighting on the shoulder of Jesus. It was witnessed by
John the Baptizer and those who gathered to hear his preaching.
At the Transfiguration, Jesus was glorified. His entire being
appeared to have undergone a metamorphosis, which resulted
in the change of His face and his clothes became dazzling white.
Indeed, this glorification provided further proof that Jesus was
the Son of God, and the inner circle of Disciples, as sleepy as
they were, became the witnesses of the Christophany.

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Charge Realignment and the Sustainability of the Ministry and Mission in the CIRMC

Wednesday Feb 16, 2022
 
Theological and Ecclesiological Rationale
Our Reformed ethos constantly calls us to discern the direction
of the Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit for the sake
of ministry and mission.
At the 42nd Synod to the United Church in Jamaica and the
Cayman Islands, held in April 2021, Regional Mission Councils
accepted the mandate to examine the Charge alignments and the
effectiveness of ministry and mission.
Strategic Direction for Mission in the Region
In the last five years, there was minimal growth in the
membership of some of our Congregations. While three of the
nine Congregations were experiencing dynamic growth, the
others were either stagnant or in decline, the latter being due in
part to the constant change in personnel between 2015 to 2020.

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Rooted in Christ and Called to Flourish and Bear Fruit

Wednesday Feb 09, 2022
 
The reading from Psalm 1, is a powerful analogy and reminder
of the need to be rooted and grounded in a fertile and well-watered place to flourish and bear fruit.
It is said that the Book of Psalms contains instruction and
information for the whole of human life. The Psalmist clearly
understood the complexities of human nature and the need for
divine presence and the blessed assurance of grace and pardon.
The Psalms provide the basic guidelines for our spiritual
conduct, our relationship with God and others, our relationship
with nature and they also provide solace and consolation for the
darkest hours of human existence. 

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Called for a Closer Walk by Rev Otto Menko

Thursday Feb 03, 2022
 
Please read Isaiah 6:1-8 (Isaiah’s vision and call) and
Luke 5:1-11 (The miraculous catch of fish)

According to the liturgical calendar of the Church, we are
halfway through the Season of Epiphany. One of the meanings
of the word epiphany is ‘manifestation’ or ‘appearance’. This
meaning is clearly expressed through the presentation of the
newborn Jesus as the Savior to both Jews (represented by the
shepherds) and to the Gentiles (represented by the Magi) in the
nativity narrative.
But Epiphany has another meaning, too. Epiphany is also an
experience of a sudden and striking realization. We may be
familiar with what is known in psychology as an ‘Aha! moment,
when we unexpectedly realize or fully comprehend something.
However, having an epiphany is more profound and much
deeper. Our lectionary readings touch upon this aspect of
Epiphany.

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Rooted and Called to Respond without Fear by Pastor Ormond Williams

Wednesday Jan 26, 2022
 
Please read Jeremiah 1:4-10
The call of Jeremiah to be a prophet to the Southern Kingdom
of Judah occurred at a time in his life when he was still of
youthful years. Some researchers believe that Jeremiah was
either a teenager or in his early twenties when God called him.
Jeremiah himself confessed that he was young, without
knowledge of what to speak to Judah.
The message to Judah was a warning of impending captivity by
the Babylonians because Judah had been disobedient to God.
They had been warned to be faithful to God with a loyalty that
was singular and not shared with other gods. They were to teach
their children about the faithfulness and goodness of God. They
were to live in such a righteous manner that their lives will be
the perfect example for other nations to emulate. In all these
requirements from God, Judah failed to be the people God
demanded them to be.
Their hard hearts and stiff necks were ripe for the balm of
forgiveness from their loving God. They were heading
steadfastly to 70 years of Babylonian slavery, but the people of
Judah remained blinkered against God’s demands to move in
the right direction

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Rooted and Anointed by Mrs Katherine Jackson

Wednesday Jan 19, 2022
 
I invite you to reflect with me on the theme, “Rooted and
Anointed”, with our scriptural focus coming from Luke 4: 14-
21.
‘Rooted’ is a great word to associate with the Christian faith,
and I believe that each one of us at some point in time must take
some time to reflect on our standing in the faith. Where are we?
Are we still on the edge of the pool or are we enjoying the deep
fellowship and relationship with our Jesus in the middle of the
pool? Are we still on the surface or are we digging deeper into
this relationship? We must know where we are!
I grew up on Elizabeth Street in West Bay in the days when
every home had a white sand yard and every Saturday you could
see the ladies of the homes brushing their yards with a new
rosemary broom. What a beautiful sight – and no one dared to
walk through that yard after she was finished – not even dog
tracks were allowed! That yard was ready for Sunday!
However, every other week or so, Mama would tell me early on
Saturday morning, or maybe even on Friday evening, that I had
to come out with her and help to pull up the weeds that had
sprung up – that was called “pulling bush” and I loved it
because you got to be outside in the sunshine and cool breeze
and work along with your mother. I truly didn’t like to be in the
house that much!

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Rooted and called by a New Name – ‘Transformed’

Wednesday Jan 12, 2022
 
It is unfortunate that sometimes we reduce people to a
challenge, a mistake, an experience, or a particular time of their
lives. It is as if they are only identifiable by whatever disability
they have or by the one negative story that we know about them.
So, we end up using incomplete, inaccurate, and hurtful labels
to describe them. Like “Blind Sally” or “jailbird Tom”, and so
on. The truth is, we are not fully known by one quality, one
action, or one thing that might even be true about us.
Regrettably, persons often believe that they are named by their
circumstances and over time ‘buy into’ whatever that name
represents. An example of this can be seen in the story of a
disabled woman whom Jesus healed while she was in the
synagogue on the Sabbath.

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Being Rooted: Called to Remember God’s Reassurance by Rev Euthman Wray

Wednesday Jan 05, 2022
 
Please read Isaiah 43: 1-7
A reading of the Deutero-Isaiah text of Isaiah 43, gives one a
sense of a nation in urgent need of consolation, assurance, and
hope. They have been in a tough place, in a state of ambivalence
or even hopelessness. The previous chapter (42) ended with the
prophet giving warnings of a condition that wasn’t favorable
nor appealing. While Israel, God’s chosen nation was … “His
servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight…”
(42: 1), by the end of that chapter, they were described as a
people plundered and looted; trapped in pits, or hidden away in
prisons (42: 22f); Hope was waning. Encouragement sadly
lacking.
The prophet, here in Chapter 43, in seeking to bring that sense
of reassurance, first highlights even further their perilous plight,
using the images of waters and rivers; fire and flame. Verse 2
reads: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over
you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze”. Waters, rivers, fire and
flame are harsh depictions of greatest difficulties and dangers
which are very imminent and threatening. Later in verses 5 &
6, he also describes God’s people as being scattered in the east,
west, north and south (43 vs. 5 &6).

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In Everything...with Thanksgiving by Rev Dr Yvette Noble-Bloomfield

Wednesday Dec 29, 2021
 
In a few days, the curtain will close on 2021 and
the dawn of the new year will begin. Although
the challenges during 2021 were many and
varied, because of God’s divine providence we
were resilient and persisted in accomplishing all
the undertakings. We can therefore enter 2022
with a deep sense of gratitude because of all that God allowed
us to achieve by God’s grace in 2021.
However, we need to take note of the fact that in our personal
lives, in the community and the Church, the start of a new year
is always an opportune time for reflection and recommitment.
Despite God’s faithfulness and our faith, some persons will
enter 2022 being particularly and completely worn out by the
gruelling nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially with the
realities of the last four months in the Cayman Islands. With the
upsurge in the COVID-19 positive cases, the deaths that have
occurred, the new Omicron variant and the seeming never end
insight to the vicissitudes of the pandemic, some persons are
challenged to remain hopeful.

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United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands