BCB IN CANADA - DAY 3, 17TH APRIL 2011: MOUNTAIN CITADEL & NIAGRA FALLS
Deputy Bandmaster Mark Sharman (Principal Trombone) writes....
After a traditional canadian breakfast of pancakes with maple syrup and strawberries we made our way to Mountain Citadel for Palm Sunday worship, whilst on the journey we travelled through snow and hail but arrived at Mountain Citadel in glorious sunshine.
As people mingled around the hall prior to the service it was evident that last evening’s concert had a real impact on the congregation not just from a playing perspective, but more importantly on a spiritual level too.
Lt. Colonel Anthony Cotterill led the Palm Sunday worship in which everyone present was challenged to answer the question “Who is this?”, the same question that the people of Jerusalem were asking on the first Palm Sunday. The band’s contribution was the piece of music “Reflections in Nature” by Robert Redhead. The meeting confirmed to us that we were in for a great week of spiritual teaching from Anthony.
After a lunch of soup and a selection of sandwiches, the coach and van were loaded and we headed off to Niagara Falls, along the Queen Elizabeth Way! (as we were reliably informed by our coach driver). After a couple of sight seeing stops and souvenir buying (for some) we sat on the coach, overlooking the river, for the days bible study, again providing thought-provoking moments. As we arrived at Niagara Falls snow was falling and despite the mist the sight just made us think again of the wonder of God’s creation.
After a brief walk by the falls (due to adverse weather!!) we checked into “The Americana” hotel for some ‘well earned’ free time. Some chose to take time to relax and maybe catch up on some sleep whilst the more energetic or possibly crazier of us decided to spend a couple of hours in the hotel’s water park. This consisted of water slides, jacuzzis, a wave pool and alike, but the major attraction for us was the basketball nets where we spent the majority of our time doing some team building(!). You would be amazed at how non-competitive fun brings out the competitive side in people (mentioning no names......Mohawk Meredith in his budgie-smugglers!!!!). We are still trying to comprehend how we all came away unscathed from these ‘friendly’ games! We even managed to continue evangelising in our free time by including a Canadian teenager in our tournament, giving us chance to talk to him about who we were and why we were here.
After working up an appetite in the pool, we headed off for tea at the Mandarin Chinese Buffet. We were not disappointed as we went back for plate after plate of delightful food, and were certainly well looked after there.
A stunning climax to the day was in our return trip to Niagara Falls, this time by night. It was freezing cold, but you couldn’t help but appreciate the vastness of it. We all tried hard to get the best pictures we could despite the skyline being pitch black, but the illuminated falls proved a stunning sight.
Cleansing of the Temple
John 12 v 12-19 then 20-36
On Sunday morning at Mountain Citadel we will have an opportunity to revisit the events of Palm Sunday and the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and ask the big question about Jesus “Who is this?” (Matthew 21 v10). It is a question that is begged of us all!
In Matthew’s Gospel the ‘Cleansing of the Temple’ takes place the same day Matthew 21 verses 12-17.
Some would say that Jerusalem at the time of Jesus was more apartheid than ever South Africa was! This was especially true of the Temple and its precincts and the manner in which people were excluded through different courtyards and areas one inside another until you came to the Holy of Holies where the High Priest alone was allowed to enter but once a year.– a Gentile (ie ethnically impure could only go so far), cripples and sick people could only go so far as could women and children and then priests and then the high priest. The whole system had become exclusive rather than inclusive and this was reinforced by the money changers (Temple tax had to be paid in temple currency) and the ‘ripping off’ of pilgrims needing to buy birds and animals to offer as sacrifice (see Luke 2 v21-25). When Jesus came he literally upturned the system of religious practise and exclusivity. (Note Matt 21 vv14-16 things change).
To Ponder! Are we as an Army ever guilty of freezing people out from accessing worship and thus God?
Having turned the tables in the Temple and clearly engaged with those who were excluded (the lame and children for example) a remarkable conversation is drawn out by the appearance of some Greeks.
Read John 12 vv20-36
There are further questions about who he is (v34) but there is also a clear stating of what is going to happen to Jesus in the following days. You may see some echoes of John 11v50. There is an understanding that in his death there will be life (v24) but Jesus applies the same principle to his disciples and followers and thus to us (v25 -26).
Application Check out Paul’s testimony Galatians 5 v24,25 (read this in context from v16). Is there anything we need to nail ourselves, in other words ‘put to death’ in order that we can sing ‘It is no longer I that liveth, but Christ that liveth in me!’ We can be resurrection people now. A few weeks ago in band practice we read Ephesians chapter 3.
16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,
19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge— that you may be filled to the measure of all the fulness of God.
Prayer – you’ll know what to pray as you dwell on the above words!