Worship with us on Sunday morning at 10:30.
Sunday, April 23 - Rev. Dr. Gerald Hobbs
Sunday, April 30 - Sumarme Goble, Chaplain, St. Andrews Hall at UBC
Sunday, May 7 - Rev. Karen Hollis, UBC Campus Minister
In our household, we have a scripture reading as part of our morning routine. A couple of weeks ago a passage came up that I've been thinking about ever since. We were reading Acts 26:12-18, in which Paul tells his conversion story, one more time. This is the third time in Acts that we get the story. Perhaps because of that, I wasn't giving the reading quite the attention that it deserved. Until it took a surprising turn. Right in the middle of it, Paul tells us something this time that he hadn't mentioned before, which is so surprising and unexpected (having heard about the whole Damascus episode twice already), that we all started laughing. I'm not precisely sure why--and in fairness, I started giggling, and then I infected the rest of them.
It comes when Jesus says, "Why are you persecuting me?"--which we've heard before--and then, "It hurts you to kick against the goads." Well that's new. And as such, besides laughing, we got kind of fixated on it. When something catches us off guard in Scripture, then that's usually a good teaching moment.
First of all, we had no idea what this lovely little first-century colloquialism means.
It's an image, though not an especially flattering one. A goad was a sharpened switch, used to keep oxen heading in the right path. (Let's just note that Jesus is calling Paul an ox. So much for Jesus meek and mild.) But what would happen is that the oxen wouldn't want to go in the direction the driver wanted them to go, and they would kick back at the directing switch. And when they did, it would be more painful. Probably it wasn't really painful in the first place, just annoying; but when the animal kicked at it, sometimes it would pierce the skin. And so: it hurt to kick against the goad.
Again, this is not the most delicate image, but it got me thinking about a very real spiritual reality, which is that when we "kick" against where God wants us to go, where Jesus is leading and the Holy Spirit prompting, we invariably do ourselves more harm than good. I do not want to suggest that if things are going poorly right now, it's necessarily because of some spiritual rebellion. But I do know what it's like pushing back against what God wants me to do, what I hear in prayer and scripture that I ought to do, as a follower of Jesus. And I have yet to have the experience that I was right and God was wrong. I'm not holding my breath for that day...
I simply offer this as something for your reflection and prayer. It leads me to think about what's been called, "praying with open hands." In other words, praying open to what God wants for us (which is always and only our best), and not clinging to things that keep us in another path, or even separated from the fullness of God's love for us (which is immeasurably deep, high, wide and long [Ephesians 3]). It's a risky, but--in the end--always rewarding adventure to pray openly and honestly, asking God what you need to let go of, or what you need to take on, in order to really receive the fullness of life that Jesus came to bring (John 10:10).
In the hope, peace, joy and love of Christ,
Members of the congregation publish a series of devotions each year during the season of Lent.
Here is an introduction to the 2017 series by Rev. Aaron Miller.
There is a certain kind of intimacy and community that is created when we enter the Scriptures together. It requires trust and openness, humility and generosity to offer our response to God’s Word, and to receive the wisdom and gift of another’s work of listening for God’s voice. University Hill has engaged in and risked and been nurtured by this act of faithful community building for many years, now, in our annual Lenten Devotional.
This is the sort of trust and vulnerability that we need as we enter the season of Lent. Scripturally and traditionally, repentance—that turning from ourselves to God, which is at the heart of this season—is, much more often than not, a communal act. The Gospel is not simply a path to individual salvation, or self-help spirituality; it is the good news that we have been reconciled to God, to each other, and to all creation, by the grace and cross of Christ. By God’s love, we are made into one Body. Christianity is a relentlessly communal faith. We are blessed to have so many different voices sharing in our Lenten walk.
This devotional follows the lectionary readings through Lent and Holy Week for this year (Year A of the Revised Common Lectionary), which makes it an extension of our regular Sunday worship services. University Hill has a long tradition of working within the lectionary, as a way of participating in the worshiping life of the broader church, but also as a way of shaping our time, our worship, and ultimately our lives around the form of Jesus’ life.
You are encouraged to spend some time, each day, with the devotional for that day. Spend a few minutes in silence. Offer the time to God (light a candle, or play some music, if that helps to ready yourself). Remember that each of these offerings is a gift. Take the time to engage what has been offered by your sister or brother; join them in prayer.
My prayer is and will be that you will be richly blessed, that your faith, hope and love will be deepened, as we make our way together to the cross, and the hope beyond it.
Rev. Aaron Miller
Here are some recent messages, worship videos and sermons.
Christian Seasons Calendar
Next year's calendar is for sale. It features art from several well-known Christian artists, and will be available around the end of September. Please see the calendar website for details.
Salt of the Earth: A Christian Seasons Calendar holds an unusual depiction of the seasons. We keep time from Advent to Christmas to Epiphany to Lent to Easter to the end of the Christian year.
The art is contributed by artists from Christians in the Visial Arts. This year they are from the United States and Great Britain. The CIVA artists have supported this ministry for many years, and we thank them for this new contribution.
The calendar is for sale at $15.95, with discounts for orders of 10 or more. The calendar makes a nice gift at Advent or Christmas. Please join us in celebration of this wonderful gift of God's presence among us!
United Church Campus Ministry at UBC
This ministry is a partnership between the congregation and BC Conference of the United Church of Canada. Our campus minister is Karen Hollis. Learn more at the Food and Faith Community, the United Church campus club, which meets over dinner every Monday at 5:30 pm for food and conversation about living the Christian faith.
Where we are
The Chapel of the Epiphany is located at 6030 Chancellor Boulevard on the campus of the Vancouver School of Theology at the University of British Columbia. Here are directions to the chapel.
Reach us by phone.
Aaron Miller is at 604-822-9374; Karen Hollis is at 604-827-4301 and Marjorie Morrison Ross, our church secretary, is at 604-822-0638.
The annual meeting of University Hill Congregation wil be held after worship on n Sunday, April 2. Please have a look at our annual report.
If you would like a printed copy, please email the church office.
Please note that this report and meeting is concerned with the spiritual life of the congregation; our financial affairs are reviewed in October each year.
FAQs - answers to frequently asked questions
Rites of Passage
We welcome inquiries about baptisms, marriages and funerals . . . more.
Art for the banners on these pages is from the artists of the Christian Seasons Calendar for 2016-2017.
Thanks toLori Anderson, Robyn Sand Anderson, Lalo Garcia, Linda Henke, Janet McKenzie, Fiona Moes Pel, Elaine Roemen, Cornelia Schmitter.