I still remember the first time I read the words that Moses gave to Aaron the High Priest with the instruction that they were to be spoken over the people of Israel as a means of assuring them of God’s presence and approval in their lives.  I was amazed at God’s posture toward His people given the fact that they were often wayward and rebellious.  Still, God wanted “the apple of His eye” to know that He was ready, willing and able to fill them with SHALOM by the promise He made to them. 

His blessing to His people is recorded in Numbers chapter 6. 

Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, ‘Thus you shall bless the sons of Israel. You shall say to them: The LORD bless you, and keep you; The LORD make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.’ “So they shall invoke My name on the sons of Israel, and I then will bless them.” (NASB)

Hear what He is saying to you.

1. The LORD’s attitude toward you is one of blessing.  That word “bless” simply means to speak words of encouragement, hope and peace.  We are kept safe in knowing that He extends His favour over our lives. 
2. The LORD’s posture toward you is one of favour and kindness. Notice that there are two descriptions for God’s “face” in the text.  One explains that “His face shines on you” and the other is that “He lifts up His countenance on you.”  Both are meant to show you that He Himself is watching over you with a smile, in fact, a beaming smile. 
3.The LORD’s attitude and posture is the basis for giving us SHALOM, i.e. peace.
I treasure the story about Jesus recorded in the Gospel according to Luke, chapter.  Remember that Jesus went to the synagogue in Nazareth, His hometown, on the Sabbath. At the appropriate time He stood to read from the scroll of Isaiah, chapter 61 which says,
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” 
Luke writes “that he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”    He is the fulfillment of the “acceptable year of the Lord.”  With Him and through Him came the “favour of the Lord.”  In Jesus, we receive the blessing of the ancient Aaronic blessing given through Moses.  God’s beaming smile is upon every one of His children and His favour gives us SHALOM.
For this time of upheaval in the world, for every personal crisis we face and for all the unknowns that lie ahead, we, the children of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, have SHALOM.


SHALOM church family, 

Pastor Deric

It’s Still HOLY WEEK

This is certainly NOT how Christians would have envisioned honouring Good Friday and celebrating Easter Sunday.  For sure it is NOT how our congregation imagined Easter week-end.  It’s no exaggeration to say that Easter has been the highlight of our worship calendar for the last ten years because we vacate our church building and inhabit the Living Arts Centre in the heart of our city for one of our most treasured worship experiences.  We normally hold three services on a Sunday morning out of necessity, but on Easter Sunday morning for the last ten years we have been one church celebrating the Resurrection in the middle of Mississauga.  The moment I realized that wasn’t going to happen this year, to say nothing of the fact that we are not together at all, I sat on the edge of my bed, let out a deep sigh, and wept. 

As I worked through the sadness that Christians everywhere are feeling about their Easter plans it dawned on me “it’s still HOLY WEEK!”  The cross and the resurrection are not limited to our traditions, programs and buildings.   In fact, this may be the best Easter week-end since the first one!  If we take the time to go deeper in our understanding of the cross and the resurrection.

I’m going to look at this Friday as a chance to experience the “isolation and loneliness” that Jesus did on that “good Friday” perhaps in a way I’ve not been able before now.  On a recent trip to Israel our group squeezed into the “dungeon” beneath what is believed to be the home of Caiaphas, where Jesus was held on the night before His trial.  I read Psalm 88 to our little flock.  Why don’t you take this Good Friday to be alone with God and your thoughts to reflect on what it means to share in His suffering of rejection, isolation and loneliness? 

To read Psalm 88 now just click on the following link:

Oh!! I have to say it!  I’m going to miss the collective worship of our church family on Easter Sunday morning.   Without the great Easter celebrations that we have come to love and enjoy, let’s ask the Lord to release the hope of Easter in the sanctuary of our hearts in unprecedented ways.  After all, that has been His target all along.  He didn’t plan Easter to be a big program for us to spectate.  He planned to invade the human heart with a new and living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 

Most Christian visitors to Israel want the “classic” picture of themselves walking out of the Garden Tomb because of the rich symbolism it holds.  Jesus died, was buried, but three days later He walked out of the grave, conquering death and giving eternal life to all who come to Him by faith. As Jesus Himself said, “Because I live, you also will live.”  (John 14:19)  

No amount of isolation, anxiety or uncertainty in our world can change our hope in Christ.  This year will be very different than any of us expected.  But it’s still “holy week.”  By which I mean to say, our hope and peace in Jesus are firmly intact.  So, I pray that you will be able to cherish every moment of reflecting on the death and resurrection of Jesus, perhaps as never before.

Please check out our service times posted on our church website and plan to join us for a virtual communion service on Friday morning and a unique Easter service on Sunday.