Archive for March, 2024

Encountering Resurrection: A Reflection on Easter Morning

Posted on: March 31st, 2024 by St. Stephens Downsview

Easter morning holds a special place in the hearts of many, as it symbolizes hope, renewal, and triumph over darkness. In the Gospel accounts, the story of Mary Magdalene’s encounter at Jesus’s tomb resonates deeply, offering profound insights into the transformative power of resurrection. Let’s delve into Mary’s journey and reflect on the significance of this pivotal moment in Christian faith.

Encountering the Empty Tomb:

On that first Easter morning, Mary Magdalene arrived at Jesus’s tomb, only to find the stone rolled away and the tomb empty. Her initial reaction was one of confusion and fear, assuming that someone had taken Jesus’s body. As she relayed this news to the disciples, a series of encounters unfolded that would change their lives forever.

A Revelation of Angels:

As Mary stood by the tomb, weeping and bewildered, she encountered two angels who helped her comprehend the profound significance of the empty tomb. Their presence illuminated the reality of resurrection, a concept unprecedented in human history. Mary, along with the disciples, witnessed a new chapter unfolding, challenging their understanding of reality itself.

Experiencing Resurrection:

The core message of Easter crystallized as Mary encountered the risen Jesus. What was once a theological concept became a tangible reality as she heard the words, “I am the resurrection and the life,” spoken by the living Christ. In that moment, resurrection ceased to be a distant promise and became a lived experience, transforming Mary’s perception of the world.

A New Creation Unfolding:

Through Jesus’s resurrection, a new world emerged, breaking into the familiar landscape of human existence. The boundaries of reality expanded, inviting believers to view life through a lens of divine intervention and redemption. The resurrection event signified a paradigm shift, where the old gave way to the new, and hope triumphed over despair.

Bearing Witness to Resurrection:

As followers of Christ, we are called to emulate Mary’s example and bear witness to the transformative power of resurrection. Our task is to share how we have seen God’s hand at work in our lives and the world around us. By extending love, forgiveness, and service to others, we embody the essence of resurrection living, offering a glimpse of God’s redemptive power to those in need.

Living in the Light of Resurrection:

The resurrection of Jesus invites us to live with a renewed perspective, grounded in the eternal hope of new life. In a world marked by uncertainty and fleeting pleasures, the resurrection challenges us to prioritize enduring values over material gain. By embracing the reality of resurrection, we transcend the limitations of earthly existence and participate in the unfolding story of God’s redemption.


As we reflect on Mary Magdalene’s encounter on that first Easter morning, we are reminded of the profound impact of resurrection on human consciousness. The empty tomb serves as a symbol of divine transformation, inviting us to embrace a reality where death is conquered, and new life emerges. May we, like Mary, become bearers of resurrection hope, illuminating the world with the light of Christ’s victory over darkness.

The Eucharist: A Journey of Faith

Posted on: March 24th, 2024 by St. Stephens Downsview

As I stand before the congregation on this Palm Sunday, I am reminded of the profound significance of the Eucharist in our Christian faith journey. Today, I want to share with you the reflections and insights that have been stirring in my heart as we delve into the depths of this sacred meal.

The Tradition of Receiving Holy Communion

Growing up, I eagerly awaited the moment when I would be allowed to partake in Holy Communion. I vividly remember the anticipation and awe I felt as I witnessed the older members of the congregation approach the altar. The solemnity of receiving the wafer and sipping from the communal cup left an indelible mark on my young heart.

Understanding the True Meaning

It wasn’t until later in life that I truly grasped the depth of what the Eucharist represents. Beyond the ritualistic elements of bread and wine lies a profound act of self-offering and redemption. Jesus imbued these simple elements with new meaning, symbolizing his sacrificial love for all of God’s people.

Journeying Beyond Palm Sunday

Just as the disciples journeyed with Jesus beyond the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, we too are called to move beyond the symbolic waving of palms. The Eucharist serves as a tangible reminder of God’s saving presence among us, connecting past, present, and future believers in a sacred communion.

Finding Strength and Hope

In times of trial and tribulation, the memory of the Last Supper sustains us, just as it did for the disciples in the aftermath of Jesus’s crucifixion. The Eucharist provides us with the nourishment and strength we need to endure suffering and persecution, anchoring us in the hope of God’s redemptive love.

Embracing the Journey of Faith

As we embark on the solemn services of Holy Week, let us reflect on the life and sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ. May we draw courage and inspiration from the Eucharist, allowing it to fortify us in our Christian journey and empower us to be faithful witnesses of God’s sustaining grace.

The Power of Praising God: A Reflection on Faith and Gratitude

Posted on: March 17th, 2024 by St. Stephens Downsview

As I sat down to reflect on a sermon I heard recently, the words of Pastor Peter Owadayo resonated deeply within me. The message centered on the significance of praising God, finding solace in His faithfulness, and the transformative power of gratitude. In this blog post, I want to share my thoughts and insights inspired by Canon Peter’s sermon on the profound impact of praising God even in the midst of trials and tribulations.

The Call to Praise and Worship

Reading from the book of Lamentations and Psalms, Pastor Peter emphasized the importance of praising God at all times. The call to praise is not just a mere suggestion but a command that invites us to respond with admiration and gratitude. As the congregation joined in singing praises and reading verses together, there was a palpable sense of unity and reverence in the act of worship.

Finding Strength in Adversity

Drawing parallels from the story of Paul and Silas in Acts of the Apostle, Pastor Peter highlighted how even in the darkest of times, we can find strength through prayer and praise. Despite being thrown into prison and facing adversities, Paul and Silas chose to sing and worship God, igniting a powerful force that ultimately brought them liberation.

Navigating Spiritual and Physical Midnight

Pastor Peter’s words on the concept of spiritual and physical midnight struck a chord within me. Spiritual midnight symbolizes the battles we face in the unseen realm, the struggles that only God can intervene in. On the other hand, physical midnight represents the turmoil we experience in our daily lives, the challenges that seem insurmountable.

Embracing Faith and Gratitude

In a world filled with uncertainties and hardships, the message of faith and gratitude shines brightly. By embracing faith like madness, as Pastor Peter eloquently put it, we can overcome our obstacles and witness the miraculous work of God in our lives. The act of praising and worshiping God, especially in our darkest moments, opens up avenues for blessings and breakthroughs.

Closing Thoughts

As I conclude this reflection on Pastor Peter Owadayo’s sermon, I am reminded of the profound truth that God’s faithfulness endures forever. In times of distress and despair, in moments of joy and triumph, praising God becomes a beacon of hope and a source of strength. Let us remember to lift our voices in praise, to sing melodies of gratitude, and to trust in the unwavering love of our Creator.

May we find solace in the words of Psalm 147:1, “Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, how good it is to sing praises to our God.” Let our hearts be filled with thanksgiving and our spirits be uplifted by the power of worship. In every season of life, let us choose to praise God, for His mercy endures forever.

In conclusion, I encourage you to take a moment today to reflect on the blessings in your life, to offer a prayer of gratitude, and to sing praises to the One who sustains you. Remember, there is power in praising God, and in every circumstance, His faithfulness remains constant.

As we journey through life, may we walk in faith, embrace gratitude, and find strength in the act of praise. Thank you for joining me in this reflection on the power of praising God. Let us continue to worship Him with all our hearts and souls, for He is indeed worthy of all our adoration.

(c) 2024-03-17 The Church of St Stephen, Downsview

Embrace the Light: Reflect on John 3:19-21

Posted on: March 11th, 2024 by St. Stephens Downsview

As I stand before you today, reflecting on the powerful words from John’s Gospel, I am reminded of the profound message that resonates through the verses we’ve just heard read. John chapter 3, verses 19 to 21, speak to our innate connection with the light and our struggle with darkness.

John’s words echo with truth as he writes, “And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world. And people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.” These words pierce through our hearts, revealing the powerful contrast between light and darkness, good and evil.

In a world where darkness may seem all-encompassing, the concept of light shines brightly as a beacon of hope and truth. John’s gospel challenges us to examine our own deeds and motivations, urging us to step into the light and confront our truths.

Daylight Savings Time: A Symbol of Transition

As we embark on this journey into the light, the symbolism of Daylight Savings Time could not be more fitting. The transition of time, as the clock springs forward, parallels our own spiritual awakening to the light. Just as mornings may seem darker and evenings brighter, we are called to embrace the light that guides us through every season of life.

Embracing Our Nature as Creatures of Light

Human beings, by nature, are not nocturnal creatures. We are designed to thrive in the light, to seek out the goodness and truth that illuminate our path. Like moths drawn to a flame, we are irresistibly pulled towards the light, for it is in the light that we find our true purpose and fulfillment.

The Contrast Between Light and Darkness

John’s message serves as a stark reminder of the dichotomy between light and darkness. While we are inherently drawn to the light, our human nature sometimes leads us to gravitate towards darkness, especially when our deeds are tainted with evil. It is in these moments that we must confront our own shadows and choose to step into the light.

The Call to Repentance and Transformation

Repentance is not a call to judgment or condemnation but a loving invitation to return to the light. As we expose our deeds to the light of Christ, we open ourselves up to healing, restoration, and transformation. God’s grace washes over us, offering mercy, forgiveness, and a path forward in His light.

Moving from Darkness to Light: A Journey of Faith

Our journey from darkness to light mirrors the transformative work of Christ in our lives. Each step we take towards the light ushers us into a new realm of grace and redemption. As followers of Christ, we are called to examine our thoughts, words, and actions, ensuring that they align with the light and truth of God.

Embracing the Light Within

As I conclude this reflection, I am reminded of the profound truth that “the light has come into the world.” May we, as individuals beloved by God, choose to embrace the light within us, casting aside the shadows that hinder our spiritual growth. Let us walk in the light of Christ, allowing His grace to illuminate our path and lead us to eternal life.

In Him, we find the ultimate source of salvation and grace, not only for ourselves but for the entire world. Let us heed His call to step into the light, to walk in His ways, and to be bearers of His light to a world engulfed in darkness.

May we be guided by His truth, sustained by His love, and transformed by His light, now and forevermore.

(c) The Church of St Stephen, Downsview, 2024-03-10

The Power of Christ’s Crucifixion

Posted on: March 3rd, 2024 by St. Stephens Downsview

The crucifixion of Christ is a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles. This is because Jews wanted signs to believe in God, while Gentiles desired human wisdom to understand God.

However, Jesus addressed this in Matthew’s gospel when he spoke about the sign of the prophet Jonah. Just as Jonah spent three days in the belly of a fish and emerged to proclaim a prophetic message of repentance, Jesus himself would rise from death on the third day. This resurrection would serve as the ultimate sign that Jesus was indeed the Messiah sent by God.

At the core of the gospel proclamation is Christ’s crucifixion, which necessarily precedes his resurrection. Through his crucifixion, God’s power to redeem and save humanity is displayed. It is not a human power but a divine power to save all of creation. This truth was reaffirmed for Theadore and others during their devotions at Stations of the Cross.

Consider the response during the devotions, where we say, “We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you. Because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.” This reaffirms the belief that in the cross and the crucifixion of Jesus, God’s power is revealed for the redemption and salvation of the world. This salvation extends beyond Christians and has a global impact.

In our study of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, we are reminded of the grace of God. This grace, lavished upon humanity for salvation, is not initiated or originated by humans but is a gift from God. As Paul writes, “for by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, so that no one can boast.”

This is the reason why boasting about one’s salvation is not appropriate. Salvation is a gift from God and is brought about through Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. It is not something we have earned or achieved through our own efforts. The salvation we receive is a humble and grateful response to the gift of salvation freely given by God.

Throughout history, various religious traditions have added layers upon the worship of God. The scripture readings presented in today’s script help chip away at these additional layers and bring us back to the heart of worship. The passage from Exodus reminds us of God’s teachings, given to guide our relationship with God and with one another. The gospel passage shows Jesus zealously restoring the temple to be a house of prayer rather than a place of profit.

We invite all readers, regardless of their religion or background, to reflect on what is ultimately important in their religious response to the one true and living God. Is it about specific rituals, beliefs, or external practices, or is it about prioritizing the values of Christ and recognizing him as the living God?

It is crucial to avoid dumbing down religious truth claims to fit within the wisdom of this age. Instead, Theadore encourages everyone to humbly receive with reverence and thanksgiving the gift of salvation freely lavished upon us through the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As Luke writes in the Acts of the Apostles, “there is salvation in no one else…by which we must be saved.”

No matter where we find ourselves, no matter our social location or religious affiliation, Jesus Christ has been crucified for each one of us. The only religious response that truly matters is our grateful and sincere reception of this gift. It is through our response and reception of the crucified one that we truly worship.

We conclude by stating that our relationship with God and with one another is defined by our response to this gift of salvation. Our salvation does not rely on our efforts to save ourselves but on God’s power to save us. All other ground is sinking sand.

Reflect on the power of Christ’s crucifixion teaches us the importance of accepting God’s gift of salvation with humility and gratitude. Regardless of our background or beliefs, we are invited to recognize Jesus as the living God and respond to His sacrifice with sincere worship. May we always remember the centrality of Christ’s crucifixion in the gospel message and allow it to transform our lives.

(c) The Church of St Stephen, Downsview 2024-03-03