Those who know him are not certain that Rick Balson ever retired; he simply transferred his considerable skills to working full-time for things be truly believes in…Knox United Church, and the broader United Church through Ottawa Presbytery and now Montreal – Ottawa Conference where he is the President. He has been instrumental in keeping our congregation informed of the activities and points of discussion taking place in the church at large. When Rick is not involved in a significant conference or committee meeting, he willingly gives of his time at Knox in a variety of ways: sitting on the M&P committee, helping out at rummage sales and of course helping with the Visioning team. He is our discussion leader for Community Kitchens, one of the most highly ranked topics in the visioning survey.
Ian Gibson is a steadfast individual who does everything in his power to encourage activities at Knox United that are relevant to the congregation. He has long been involved in Christian Education, having taught Sunday School and organized adult study groups. As a driving force behind this year’s Visioning events, it is clear that he is devoted to helping the congregation move forward in creative ways. He has just completed a long term commitment on the Worship committee where he enthusiastically introduced families and their babies at baptismal services. Most importantly, he can always be seen wielding a flipper at the annual church picnic and sharing fun with our church family! He will be encouraging the discussion about initiating interfaith interactions , another highly ranked topics in the visioning survey.
Reverend Andrew Jensen
Reverend Andrew Jensen has been at Knox United Church since August 2004. In that time, we have come to know him as a caring spiritual guide, an excellent trumpeter, a fine tenor, and a VERY good friend of Kermit the Frog! He devotes himself to our congregation, Executive Council, Worship Committee and his Presbytery committees (i.e. Executive, Affirming Ministries, and JGER: Justice, Global and Ecumenical Relations) with great enthusiasm. He has been a strong supporter of the Visioning that has taken place in 2013 and brings a well-rounded perspective to his role as a blogger for Knox Talks. Andrew will undoubtedly help us to see how our projects can assist us in living our faith and making our goals relevant to the needs of both our congregation and community. Andrew is a dog lover who enjoys long walks in the country; in fact, his appreciation of God’s world is evident in all that he does. In this blog, Andrew will initiate discussions inspired by sermons that have been particularly well received by the congregation on Sunday or on topics requested by individuals that may be of interest to others. He is keenly interested in the congregation’s perspective.
Jane Thomson has served on many committees while attending Knox United. She reports that being Sunday Superintendent many years ago was one of her most gratifying experiences! During her work as an ESL teacher at Algonquin College, she devoted a great deal of time to enhanced learning with technology. Being involved in the blog is a perfect retirement project! She counts her work experience in Tanzania in 2011 as one of those life-changing events that made her examine what is really important. The 2013 Visioning ties in naturally with this new perspective. Jane looks forward to initiating the discussion about making changes to the way we worship. It is something she has longed to see develop at Knox United. If you are looking for her at Knox, just find the group enjoying a hearty laugh!
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Knox Podcast: April 26, 2020
“Why is Jesus Called the Son of Man” and Does it Matter Today?
Rev. Jensen is to be complimented on the service podcast today 04/26/2020. Not only was the sermon interesting and provocative but the thought and detail to prepare such an integrated service was exceptional.
From the Call to Worship which acknowledges the many names and titles we have for Jesus through the Opening Hymn where we “publish abroad his wonderful name,” to the Opening Prayer that acknowledges our shaken confidence in these pandemic times of change, the structure of the service is entirely Rev. Jensen. As part of the ‘Ask Andrew’ series, there could have been little guidance from the United Church liturgical pattern.
Integration of Music:
Mention should be made of the choice of music and appreciation expressed to our Director of Music Alison Kranias for her contribution. Just the titles of the musical interludes establish the thread for the service:
Come, Christians, Join to Sing, Sunset in Rio and Voluntary in C.
Of particular relevance is the closing hymn, Crown Him with many Crowns which reiterates the many names we have for Jesus as mentioned in the question Asked of Andrew:
Lamb upon his throne
Lord of Life
Lord of Peace
Lord of Love
Choice of Scripture:
Selection of Psalm 8 sets the pattern: acknowledgement of God’s glorious name, the creative work of God’s fingers and the culmination that we have been made rulers of all creation.
In Daniel’s vision (7:14) there is the suggestion that the dominion (kingdom) of God is the world we humans rule and there is the prophecy that it will never be destroyed. The notion has a direct implication for the ‘End of the World’ interpretation that the ‘Son of man’ supposedly heralds. The pandemic may bring the “end of the world as we know it” in Rev. Jensen’s words but is more importantly the occasion for the realization of love, justice and peace which is God’s vision for this world.
Matthew chapter 24 opens up huge speculation on the coming catastrophic worldly demise. In context, there are the many signs and predictions of worldly pain and suffering which have led to fear of the eventual heaven and hell division. But the broader perspective of the chapter suggests that it is more important that we be “ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.” We need to prepare and do our part for the advent of God’s vision on earth. As Rev. Jensen observes, the isolation instilled by the pandemic today is an opportunity to reflect on our own lives and mentally prepare for what will be a changed and hopefully improved world post covid-19.
In many ways this is a challenge to us to seize the opportunity to now push for the life we wish in the relatively near future. Will the just society address the parenthetical elements of our life, care of children and elder care? Should the peaceful world address the issues of violence and gun control? Will the loving world bring equity to everyone and provide enough food, clean water and air for all?
I am reminded of a line in the Lord’s Prayer:
“Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
Perhaps too often we, in saying the prayer, pause after the word ‘done’ which can de-emphasize the location of where God’s will is to be done. In reference to a remark by John Dominic Crosson:
‘Heaven is OK, it’s earth that needs fixing.”
It is commonplace today to encourage our solutions to be ‘science based.’ Agreed. But it is also essential for our revised world to be ‘values based.’