Do you miss church services? Do you want to see familiar faces, enjoy the camaraderie of friends, keep in touch with current church issues? Why not  zoom to St. John's spirituality and faith discussion group in English on Sundays?

   What is it? It is more than a forum for bandying Christian challenges about. We enjoy a social half hour and switch to discussing church news and sharing details of upcoming events, developments at Kristus Darzs, Saulaine, and the Padome.
  Our discussion format has volunteers taking turns reading aloud from the selected passage. Then anyone who wishes may comment or ask questions. No one is required or challenged to speak. We are grateful to Pastor Grietiņš for his guidance, authoritative and gentle. The rest of us are all beginners, learning together. It is a safe and welcoming place, and we love having new members join. We have participants from both congregations and guests.
  We find that the group goes some distance toward filling the gap opened by this severe lockdown. Do join us for a virtual cup of coffee and a chat on Sundays. Technical support is available from Laura Johnson for anyone needing help accessing through Zoom. To join write to larryandinta@gmail.com

Everyone is invited to join our Zoom Bible discussion group on Sundays. To participate please write to Larry Gifford larryandinta@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good Friday reflection by pastor Ģirts Grietins

 

Christian apologist and pastor Timothy Keller talks about “costly forgiveness”.

Why did Jesus have to die? Couldn’t God just forgive us? This is what many ask, but now we can see that no one “just” forgives,

if the evil is serious. Forgiveness means bearing the cost instead of making the wrongdoer do it, so you can reach out in love to

seek your enemy’s renewal and change.

Forgiveness means absorbing the debt of the sin yourself. Everyone who forgives great evil goes through a death into

resurrection, and experiences nails, blood, sweat, and tears.

Should it surprise us, then, that when God determined to forgive us rather than punish us for all the ways we have wronged him

and one another, that he went to the Cross in the person of Jesus Christ and died there? As German theologian Dietrich

Bonhoeffer says, everyone who forgives someone bears the other ’s sins.

On the Cross we see God doing visibly and cosmically what every human being must do to forgive someone, though on an

infinitely greater scale. Human  forgiveness works this way because we unavoidably reflect the image of our Creator. That is why

we should not be surprised that if we  sense that the only way to triumph over evil is to go through  the suffering of forgiveness,

that this would be far more true of God, whose just passion to defeat evil and loving desire to forgive others are both infinitely

greater than ours.

It is crucial at this point to remember that the Christian faith has always understood that Jesus Christ is God. God did not, then,

inflict pain on someone else, but rather on the Cross absorbed the pain, violence, and evil of the world into himself. Therefore

the God of the Bible is not like the primitive deities who demanded our blood for their wrath to be appeased. Rather, this is a God

who becomes human and offers his own lifeblood in order to honor moral justice and merciful love so that someday he can

destroy all evil without destroying us.

That is why He has died for us.