Rev. Moon’s message for July 10, 2022

Dear Friends,

Last Sunday, we talked about the dust we collect in our hearts: the dust of meanness, disappointment, and darkness. We also talked about the importance of the ‘inner dusting’.  Referring to Luke 10:11: “Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you.”

I shared some of the ways that helped me to feel lighter. One thing I forgot to mention was listening to a song or music.

A congregation member sang God On The Mountain by Tracy Gail Dartt, memorably performed by Lynda Randle. I felt that the song’s lyrics were the inner duster I needed that day.

Life Is Easy When You’re Up On The Mountain
And You’ve Got Peace Of Mind Like You’ve Never Known
But Things Change When You’re Down In The Valley

We Talk Of Faith When We’re Up On The Mountain
But Talk Comes So Easy When Life’s At Its Best
But In The Valley Of Trials And Temptations
That’s When Faith Is Really Put To The Test.

Words and music copyright © 1975 Gaviota Music, c/o Manna Music, Inc; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.

I would love to hear from you. What are your inner dusters? How do you dust your hearts and spirits? Do you have a song that helps you to cleanse your soul? Please, share your story with us at minister@guildwoodchurch.ca.

—Rev. Chuck Moon

A version of this message first appeared in the Saturday, July 9, 2022, edition of Tidbits.

Rev. Moon’s message for July 3, 2022

Dear Friends,

There are certain sermons I wish I could go back and rewrite.

This past Sunday (June 26, 2022), I was making a point that following Christ isn’t an easy thing to do (Luke 9:57–62):
57  As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”
59  To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
60  But Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 
61  Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.”
62  Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

In the sermon, I said, “Following God is not like going on a well-paved highway, but more like going on a narrow sidewalk which is filled with many stones and rocks, wild animals, plants and trees, many ups and downs and many curves.”

“Highway 401” by Clashmaker. CC BY-SA 2.0. Full credit below.

The following Monday, I drove on Highway 401, a well-paved highway, to meet a friend in Guelph. As I was coming home, I got stuck in a traffic jam caused by an accident. I quickly realized I was wrong again.

I believe following God is a lot like going on Hwy 401. You never know what to expect. There is always a traffic jam or a collision somewhere on that highway. It will test your patience, kindness, and tolerance. In fact, I believe that there is no place where we don’t need God. Whether it is a well-paved highway or not, we need God and God’s grace!

Following God does not make our road ahead of us challenging. Following God helps us face a tough road ahead with humility and courage. Whatever route awaits us, may God give us courage, wisdom, and humility to embrace it.

—Rev. Chuck Moon

Photo credit: “Highway 401” by Clashmaker. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. Taken from the Wikimedia Commons.

A version of this message first appeared in the Saturday, July 3, 2022, edition of Tidbits.

Rev. Moon’s message for June 26, 2022

Dear Friends,

On Sunday, June 26, we would like to celebrate the faithful ministry that both Rev. Dr. Bob and Rev. Helen Smith offered our congregation as interim moderators. Due to the COVID restrictions, we briefly acknowledged their faithful ministry with us in October 2021. But we never had a chance to celebrate their time with us by sharing laughter and stories. Not to mention that there was no food! Like many of us who were unable to celebrate a significant birthday, anniversary, funeral, wedding, or party with our loved ones, we are grateful that we are starting to gather and celebrate together as a community with stories and laughter.

Headshot of the interim ministers of the church, the Revs H and B Smith
Revs Helen & Bob Smith

We are trying to celebrate the presence of God we experienced through them and each other during the challenging vacant years. We want to observe how God allowed us to work, pray, and grow as a church family. By celebrating, we would like to recognize the sacredness of our time together. It is also an opportunity to deepen our awareness and sense of gratitude in our human spirit.

I don’t know about you, but I feel I can do a far better job of allowing “thank you” to nurture my soul. Sometimes I am (and some of us are) so quick at exchanging words, “Thank you” and “You’re welcome”, but I think it is perfectly okay to hold onto our feeling and awareness of “Thank you” a bit longer and let it guide what we do and believe.

—Rev. Chuck Moon

A version of this message first appeared in the Saturday, June 25, 2022, edition of Tidbits.

Rev. Moon’s message for June 19, 2022

Dear Friends,

Our special thanks to Al, Sue, Bob Milne, Corrie, two community volunteers, two Laurier students, and their family members for helping us with intense gardening on Tuesday, June 14!

“My trusty gardening gloves & secateurs which need a good clean by the look of them”. By shrinkin’violet. CC BY 2.0 Generic. Full attribution below.

Around 8 AM on the way to the church, I stopped at a hardware store. I was shopping for a pair of gardening gloves. I laughed at myself the whole time in the store because I gave away all my gardening tools (and gloves) when I moved to Guildwood Community Presbyterian Church. I was actually pleased to give them away. I lived in a manse that was surrounded by four gigantic maple trees and seven large flower beds. If there was one minor complaint I had with my previous congregation, it was that they did not say anything about gardening in their profile under the “Pastoral Skills and Interest Inventory” section. It should have been 1) Leading Worship and Preaching, 2) Crisis Visiting, and 3) Gardening. I shouldn’t go on about it since they probably have similar complaints about me.

I’ve always felt overwhelmed with gardening because I wasn’t good at it. “Am I doing the right thing?, Am I killing this plant by cutting too much?, When is the right time to do this and that”?   I just tried to imitate what my neighbours were doing.

But I never felt I was doing it right. Plus, if I have to choose between sitting down with a book or gardening, I will always choose the former. However, one thing gardening does help me with is to feel more grateful for what I did— after a day of gardening, writing a sermon suddenly feels a whole lot easier.

After 16 years of ministry, this is what I feel we should put into a congregation’s— the kind of skills that people seek from a minister:

  1. Ability to garden.
  2. Ability to get rid of a dead mouse or a flying bat without screaming or running away.
  3. Ability to preach within 14 minutes and 59 seconds.
  4. Ability to use the word “homologate” effectively in any meeting.
  5. Ability to finish a meeting within 1 hour and 59 minutes.
  6. Ability to brew a good pot of coffee.
  7. Ability to negotiate well at a yard sale.
  8. Ability to make the best pancake.
  9. Ability to bake a communion bread without burning it or being visited by firefighters.
  10. Ability to laugh at ourselves; and 
  11. Knowing when to stop writing.

—Rev. Chuck Moon

Photo credit: “My trusty gardening gloves & secateurs which need a good clean by the look of them”. By shrinkin’violet from Bristol, UK. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Taken from the Wikimedia Commons.

A version of this message first appeared in the Friday, June 17, 2022, edition of Tidbits.

Rev. Moon’s message for June 12, 2022

Dear Friends,

I would like to thank Bruce Morrison and all who organized, participated, donated, and represented our congregation to our local Guildwood community through the pancake breakfast. Many of you expressed the joy of serving and interacting with people from our local community, although some had mentioned that they would not go near pancakes for a while.

Unfortunately, I could not be at the pancake breakfast on Guildwood Day. It was not because I slept in that day. I had to officiate a graveside memorial and burial service for an elder from my previous congregation. Sometime in April, I received a call from the elder’s husband asking if I could help bury his wife on June 4 (actually, I received two requests: one fell on Guildwood Day, and the other was whenever I was available).  I asked for a few days to consider the request and discuss it with their interim moderator and my Session. I needed time because I could not simply say yes or no.

I struggled with the request. The elder and her husband became good friends over the past 15 years. I could not help but remember how they supported my family and me over those years. I felt I owed it to them. At the same time, I also wanted to be at the breakfast interacting with the community members. I felt responsible for serving my congregation today in Guildwood and creating a safe boundary with my previous congregations for their next minister and myself. But the fact they were without their minister, and the fact I journeyed with her when she was dying intensified my inner struggles. My mind, emotion, and heart were not on the same page.

I had a lengthy, frank conversation with the interim moderator about my struggles with the request. My conversation continued with Bruce, our Clerk of Session. Both showed their support and blessings in whatever I needed to do that day.

I needed time to pause, pray and process my struggles. When I sat down and closed my eyes to pray, I saw the smiling face of the deceased elder. I felt the Spirit was showing me where I needed to be on that Saturday. 

I learned a few things from this experience. First, saying goodbye is a long, chaotic, and untidy process. I wonder if I expected it to be simple, easy, and quick. My mind, emotion, and soul need time to process it. Second, people are far more supportive and understanding of my struggles. Third, God will guide each step we need to take each day. Even if I take a wrong step, I just need to take two steps back and start again with Jesus Christ.

I would like to thank Bruce, our faithful elders, and our loving church family for their prayers, patience, support, and understanding of me and my struggles during this transition year.

—Rev. Chuck Moon

A version of this message first appeared in the Friday, June 10, 2022, edition of Tidbits.

Summer Worship Hours 2022

Summer worship hours are in effect for 2002 from June 19 to September 4 inclusive. During this period, worship services will begin one hour earlier at 10:00 AM.

A version of this message first appeared in the Friday, June 10, 2022, edition of Tidbits.

Rev. Moon’s message for June 5, 2022

Dear Friends,

On May 1, Sunday afternoon, we were driving home and suddenly heard a siren from behind us. I want to assure you that it wasn’t a police car chasing me for speeding. A fire truck was behind us. I moved my car quickly to the side and waited for the fire truck to pass. Once it passed, I started driving again. I somehow kept following the fire truck. It turned right, and I turned right. It turned left; I turned left. I had this funny feeling, “It is coming to our apartment?”

“Markham Fire Engine”. Taken from the Wikimedia Commons.

Unfortunately, it was going to our apartment building. When I got to the apartment building, there were three fire trucks, two police cars, and one ambulance. There was no fire, at least no major one people could observe. I am not sure what brought so many fire trucks that day, although I heard different rumors on why they were there that day (someone’s kitchen caught fire, or someone threw cigarette butts to a flower bed.)

Although we could not get into the apartment for another 30 minutes, meeting neighbors from the apartment building was great. I never met so many neighbors from the apartment until that day. It is hard to meet the same person again in the apartment.

I have been wondering ever since that day if there is a fire alarm (I mean a false fire alarm) that could bring everyone in our community out so that we could greet each other. Is there a way we could invite people back to the church? Then, I found that fire alarm that could bring everyone
out during the last weekend. A YARD SALE.

Everyone had a yard/garage sale during the last weekend in Guildwood. Our church, too, held a yard sale. People won’t show up to church if we say to people, “Come and worship with us,” but people will show up if we tell them, “Come and buy our junk.”

So, what do we do when we want to meet people in our community? Hold a yard sale. What do we do when we want to bring people out in our community? Hold a yard sale. I must admit that it was a lot of work. I was so busy talking to people, and I did not have enough time to write a 20-minute sermon. I will stay away from any yard sales for a few weeks.

Nonetheless, it was fun.

Our special thanks to Sandra Robertson, Bonnie Horton, Al and Sue Harris, and all who helped in organizing, donating, sorting, pricing, packing, selling, buying, delivering, setting up, and cleaning up! And to those who smiled and had fun!

—Rev. Chuck Moon

A version of this message first appeared in the Friday, June 3, 2022, edition of Tidbits.

Rev. Moon’s message for May 29, 2022

Dear Friends,

During the past Sunday worship, we said goodbye to two of our church members as they relocated themselves to Vancouver. I could not help but think about the times I said goodbye.

My recent significant goodbye was with my previous congregations in Port Elgin/Burgoyne after serving 15 years.  Then, there was the goodbye to a congregation in BC that I served as a youth pastor 16 years ago, the goodbye to my family and friends in Korea as my venture for Canada began 26 years ago, and the goodbye to my father, who died of cancer 30 years ago.

“Lake Huron Sunset” at Port Elgin. By Kevin M Klerks. CC BY 2.0. Full attribution below.

I had a chance to remember all the goodbyes I witnessed as a pastor with many loving families. I also thought about some of the future goodbyes I have to embrace. Some goodbyes came with blessings, and other goodbyes I am still struggling with.

Yet even the goodbyes I struggle with often provide the inner strength I need to go on. Our loved ones don’t stop blessing us even after their goodbyes. Thinking about goodbyes reminds me that I cannot take anything for granted in life. I know what I need to do today is to go out for dinner with my family and to call a friend. May God’s blessing be upon our goodbyes with our loved ones.

—Rev. Chuck Moon

Photo credit: “Lake Huron Sunset” by Kevin M Klerks. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Taken from the Wikimedia Commons.

A version of this message first appeared in the Friday, May 27, 2022, edition of Tidbits.

Guildwood Day Pancake Breakfast – June 4, 2022

Our church will again host a pancake breakfast as part of the Guildwood Day celebrations on Saturday, June 4, 2022.

Volunteers are needed to set up, cook, act as cashier, and tear down that day, from 7:30 AM (breakfast served starting at 8:30 AM) until approximately 12 noon. A sign up sheet is posted in the church hall, or contact Bruce Morrison.

A version of this message first appeared in the Friday, May 20, 2022, edition of Tidbits.