Effective April 10, 2022, Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church will reopen by reservation only for Sunday worship under the limitations and guidelines set by Public Health and the Board of BLCF. In order to protect those who are vulnerable at Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship from COVID-19 Virus infection, the BLCF Board mandates that the church will be open by reservation, with the following rules:
- attendees must wear a mask while on the premises
- attendees give their contact information upon arrival
- attendees observe two meters of social distance while seated
- attendees use hand sanitizer as needed
- attendees follow any additional directions given by members of the board, while inside the church
Please be advised that both the BLCF Café Community Dinner and the BLCF Wednesday Prayer Service will continue to remain closed effective March 16, 2020, and until further notice. We pray with the administration of sufficient COVID-19 vaccinations, and following the determination of Health Canada and other Health Authorities, that the danger of the Pandemic will have subsided sufficiently, to allow BLCF to reopen safely more of our worship and outreach activities without any concern of infection to the vulnerable within our community.
– Pastor Steve
Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church Message for Sunday:
‘Treasures of a Godly Woman: Mary Mother of Jesus’
© May 14, 2023, by Steve Mickelson
Based on Messages Shared at BLCF on April 25, 2021, December 27, 2020, May 12, 2019, May 8, 2016, and May 11, 2014
Announcements and Call to Worship, Prayer,
Prayer and Tithing Hymn #572: Praise God from Whom All Blessings
Doxology (Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow) – Instrumental – https://youtu.be/Mk4p3rihONU
Music Special: Mary did you know – Rose V S & Clay Aiken *Legendado e traduzido* – https://youtu.be/7-OAo7io76w
Responsive Reading #628: The Child Jesus (– Luke 2)
Message by Steve Mickelson: ‘Treasures of a Godly Woman: Mary, Mother of Jesus’
Let us pray…
Welcome to Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship on Mother’s Day Sunday, May 14, 2023. I would like to take a moment to wish a Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms and grandmas in our congreagation, as well as to those who follow BLCF online.Today’s lesson is entitled: ‘Treasures of a Godly Woman: Mary Mother of Jesus.’
As the world continues to face the impact of a COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic, people go on, keeping both the hope and anticipation of all taking life-saving vaccinations leading to a final end to this Pandemic. This anticipation, to a lesser degree, is similar to the anticipation of the birth of God’s Savior, Jesus whose advent brought the hope of life eternal, by the removal of humanity’s judgment for its sins.Mothers Day is a very appropriate day to study as our lesson this Sunday an examination of Jesus’ arrival, its impact upon the life of one woman who the Bible indicates pondered the birth of her special son in her heart.
By the way, for those of you who wonder about the current state of COVID-19, the following was taken directly from the Government of Canada’s own web site as indicated in the links below for the latest current COVID-19 statistics. This update posted on May 9, 2023:
Latest COVID-19 numbers (Last data update May 9, 2023, 4 pm ET)
Canada.ca Health Diseases and conditions Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) For health professionals Latest COVID-19 numbers
COVID-19 epidemiology update: Summary – Last updated: 2023-05-09 Download page inPDFformat
Summary of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths, cases following vaccination, testing and variants of concern across Canada and over time. Older versions of this report are available on the archived reports page.
Latest COVID-19 numbers (Last data update May 9, 2023, 4 pm ET)
Weekly change in cases 4,992 Weekly change in cases 4,992
Total cases 4,665,486 Total cases 4,665,486
Weekly change in deaths 113 Weekly change in deaths 113
Total deaths 52,231 Total deaths 52,231
Weekly tests reported 37,889 Weekly tests reported 37,889
Weekly percent positivity 10.0% Weekly percent positivity 10.0%
On May 12, 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) advised governments that before reopening, rates of positivity in testing (ie, out of all tests conducted, how many came back positive for COVID-19) of should remain at 5% or lower for at least 14 days.There is now a growing consensus that driving the test positivity rate downwards of 3% should be a priority. The WHO initially suggested a positivity rate of around 3–12% as a general benchmark of adequate testing, and has most recently recommended that test positivity should remain at 5% or lower for 14 days before regions reopen.
So the question is why on one hand does the World Health Organization (WHO) and many levels of Government in Canada proclaim that the COVID-19 Pandemic is ended, implying we open everything up with little or no restrictions as far as masking, sanitizing, and keeping a social distance, while the current Canadian COVID-19 Positivity rate is 10.0%, which is double the WHO’s own recommended Positivity rate of 5% Positivity and 7% more than the 3% Positivity recommended by many infectious disease experts? Every recent visit I have made to a dentist, doctor, hospital or clinic, all have stipulated the wearing a mask, maintaining a social distancing, and the use of a sanitizer while on the premesis. Food for thought.
Link to PDF version of the full report for May 9, 2023:
COVID-19 epidemiology update_ Summary — Canada.ca 2
Back to today’s lesson. It is from Mary’s perspective recorded in the Scriptures, both as a parent and disciple, to her son Jesus, as recorded in the Bible, which gives us insight as to how she pondered Jesus, as her son and her Lord.Intertwined within the story and gospel of Jesus is the impact of a woman, who carried, gave birth, raised, and followed as a disciple to the beloved Son of God, also a son of a Godly woman, Mary.
There are many special things a mother may ponder in her heart with regards to the actions of her children, so I would like to begin today’s lesson by sharing a personal mother’s story from the Mickelson family.
Although our other children have their respective graduations, I would like to share with you a memory from the graduation ceremonies of our oldest child, Athena which occurred several years ago a. Presiding over the Sashing Ceremonies for graduates at the University of Guelph, was the Chancellor, the late Lincoln Alexander, who you may know, had served as lawyer, parliamentarian, public servant, and as Lieutenant-Governor for the Province of Ontario.
The sashing ceremony itinerary listed Athena’s group of Honors Bachelor of Science Degree graduates near the end of proceedings on a warm afternoon. I was impressed that Mr. Alexander did not hurry the proceedings, taking a few moments to exchange remarks with each graduate before the sashing. His conversation with our daughter brought a broad grin to Athena, lasting throughout the ceremony and even afterward. I wondered what special words of advice or wisdom were spoken to Athena by the Chancellor. When Athena walked to over to us, I asked her what Lincoln Alexander had said to her and Athena replied that Mr. Alexander had asked her: “Is your momma here today?” To which Athena replied, “Yes she is.” Then the Chancellor said, “Well give her a big smile, this is an important day for your momma!” Athena wore that smile for the remainder of the day, as Mr. Alexander’s comments were right on point.
Now for today’s lesson, I would like to examine Mary, the mother of Jesus, a special mother recorded in the Scriptures, including today’s selected Scripture verses. These verses are listed in our lesson in their chronological order.
Let us begin with reading Luke 1:26-35, where Mary received some special news from God, by way of the angel, Gabriel:
Luke 1:26-35 (ESV): Birth of Jesus Foretold
26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed[a] to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”[b]29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”[c]
35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born[d] will be called holy—the Son of God.
Footnotes: a. Luke 1:27 That is, legally pledged to be married b. Luke 1:28 Some manuscripts add Blessed are you among women! c. Luke 1:34 Greek since I do not know a man d. Luke 1:35 Some manuscripts add of you
Not only does Mary, who is betrothed or engaged to marry Joseph, find out that she will become pregnant, but she has been chosen by God, to be the mother of a holy child, the Son of God, whom she is to name “Jesus”.
Luke 2:15-20 describes the visit to Bethlehem by shepherds of the field after they were informed by God’s angels of the birth of the Christ child.
Luke 2:15-20 (ESV)
15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
After the shepherds departed, Luke indicates that Mary treasured up or pondered these things in her heart.
Our next Scripture passage gives us an idea of how Mary raised her son, Jesus, and the mother-son relationship Luke 2:41-51.
Luke 2:41-51(ESV): The Boy Jesus in the Temple
41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. 43 And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, 44 but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, 45 and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 And when his parents[a] saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” 49 And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”[b]50 And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. 51 And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.
Footnotes: a. Luke 2:48 Greek they b. Luke 2:49 Or about my Father’s business
We have in this Scripture, an indication of the love and concern Mary had for her son. In an account that sounds a little like the film, Home Alone, Jesus is left behind in Jerusalem, or should I say elected to remain in Jerusalem, following a Passover Feast. The young twelve-year-old Jesus is assumed to be with others in a group from Nazareth. However, after a day’s journey, Mary and Joseph then realize that Jesus is missing from the group. Jesus’ parents return to Jerusalem to look for their son. Three days later, Jesus who was missing for five days, was found in the temple, talking to the elders. Those present were amazed at young Jesus’ understanding of the Scripters, and his parents were astonished. This did not deter Mary, who was worried for her son’s safety, from chastising the boy, verses 48 – 50, of Luke 2:
48 And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” 49 And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” 50 And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them.
We also see that though the Son of the Most High must be in his Father’s house, Jesus did not forget his place with respect to his parents, as we read in verse 51 that:
51And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them.
And we read, again that Mary treasured up all these things in her heart. And though Jesus was raised to honor his parents, he obviously was instructed well with regard to the Scriptures, as he had demonstrated in the temple in Jerusalem.
The relationship between Mary and Jesus is described further in what I would like to refer as a Wiki bits reference, though found at the Web site, biography.com:
According to the Gospel of John 2:1-11, as Jesus was beginning his ministry, he and his disciples traveled with his mother, Mary, to a wedding at Cana in Galilee. The wedding host had run out of wine and Jesus’s mother came to him for help. At first, Jesus refused to intervene, but then he relented and asked a servant to bring him large jars filled with water. He turned the water into a wine of higher quality than any served during the wedding. John’s gospel depicts the event as the first sign of Jesus’s glory and his disciples’ belief in him.
After the wedding, Jesus, his mother Mary and his disciples traveled to Jerusalem for Passover. At the temple, they saw moneychangers and merchants selling wares. In a rare display of anger, Jesus overturned the tables and, with a whip made of cords, drove them out, declaring that his Father’s house is not a house for merchants.
We see that Mary was more than a mother traveling with her son; she was traveling with Jesus and his disciples. And isn’t it just like a mother to ask her son to help provide the host with wine? You will note that though Jesus had begun his ministry, that this time he and his disciples accompanied his mother to a wedding. This indicates the human side of Jesus, who on more than one occasion honoured his mother, by referring to himself as the “son of man” rather than the “son of God”. And not to disparage his Father, Christ honored his Godly side by chasing the money changers from the temple.
But being both the son of Mary and the Son of God did not confuse Jesus with respect to the importance of his ministry, as we see in Luke 11:27-28. (ESV):
27 As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” 28 But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
Jesus used the woman’s remark to emphasize that God’s blessings do not come by birthright, but by honoring and keeping the word of God. This statement is reinforced by Jesus’ remarks n Matthew 12:46-50.
Jesus’ Mother and Brothers
46 While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him.[a]48 But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
Footnotes: a. Matthew 12:46 Some manuscripts insert verse 47: Someone told him, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, asking to speak to you”
At first glance, it seems that Jesus disavowed his mother and siblings, indicating that the designation of a mother, brother or sister, in his view, should apply only to those who do the will of the Father in heaven.
But you may ask, “Did Mary not demonstrate obedience to God’s will by bearing and raising His Son?” For the answer to this question, let us look at John 19:5-30:
John 19:25-30 (ESV)
25 but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
The Death of Jesus
28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” 29 A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Just before giving up his spirit on the cross, Jesus saw his mother and John, who is referred to as the disciple who he loved. He then told Mary to behold her son, the disciple John. And to the disciple John, he said to behold your mother, Mary. Jesus was not talking about Mary as his birth mother. In accordance with what he had spoken to the people in Matthew 12:46-50, he was acknowledging the faith and discipleship of Mary. In this regard, Mary was his mother by birth and by Spirit.
We have confirmation of this observation, when we read in the next Scripture verse, that Mary was again with the disciples in the Upper Room, after Jesus Ascended to heaven, obediently praying and awaiting the arrival of the promised Comforter, God’s Holy Spirit.
Acts 1:6-14 (ESV): The Ascension
6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
Matthias Chosen to Replace Judas
12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. 13 And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. 14 All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.[c]
Footnotes: a. Acts 1:4 Or eating b. Acts 1:5 Or in c. Acts 1:14 Or brothers and sisters. The plural Greek word adelphoi (translated “brothers”) refers to siblings in a family. In New Testament usage, depending on the context, adelphoi may refer either to men or to both men and women who are siblings (brothers and sisters) in God’s family, the church
Mary was special, not only because God had chosen her to give birth, and to raise His only Son; unlike most woman of the day, Mary choose not to stay at home and maintain a household. We see Mary as a loving, caring parent and as a disciple of faith and obedience, to the Father in heaven.
The Scripture’s account of Mary’s journeys with Jesus and the disciples indicate how she was involved with the first miracle where Jesus turned water to wine and her presence at Jesus’ cleansing of the temple of the merchants and money changers. Mary continued to follow Jesus and demonstrated both her love for her son and obedience to her God. Mary understood that she had been favoured by God to be a mother to God’s Son, Jesus, and was present at many of the important events in the life and ministry of her son.
Mary was present at his birth, his death; witness to his resurrection; and present in the Upper Room on the day of Pentecost when God’s Holy Spirit came upon the disciples and believers that Jesus was the Messiah, the Christ, the true Son of God. To Jesus, Mary was his mother, not just because she gave birth to him, but as an obedient woman of faith who heard God’s word and kept it. Mary is an example to Christians, both as a loving parent and follower of God’s word, by taking care of Jesus, the son of man, who was also the Son of God.
As we continue through the test and trials of COVID-19, let us reflect upon the challenges of the past few years, with hope in the anticipation of getting our vaccination for COVID-19, while embracing the gift of spiritual salvation currently available by the sacrifice of Jesus, Who was both the Son God and son a woman, Mary.
Let us pray…
Benediction Music Special: In Jesus’ Name (God of Possible) – Katy Nichole – Lyric Video – https://youtu.be/R84PqRdZ7_Y
Benediction – (Galatians 1:3-5):
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen