Sunday, December 28, 2008

Who Is This Baby Anyway?

We hear in the gospels not one but three versions of Jesus' origins. Each gospel writer reveals who this holy child is to him. Who is he to each of us? listen view

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Heart of Christmas

Christmas message from the Christmas Eve Choral Candlelight service.
listen view Part 1: There Comes a Time
listen view Part 2: Room in the Inn
listen view Part 3: Sign of the Manger
listen view Part 4: Dawn from on High
view (all four parts)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Do Not be Afraid

The angel, Gabriel spoke to Mary, calming her fears, in a time when there was a lot to be afraid of. Her trust in God is an expression of the courage this gave her. This calming of the fear is at the heart of Christian theology -- the unconditional promise of God's presence and support. It is reassurance in the face of a frightening and threatening world.
view listen

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Voice in the Wilderness

The prophetic heritage of promise is gathered up and bestowed upon this picture of the Baptist preparing the way for the more powerful one. The people were baptized then as an affirmation of the hope and active preparation for a new era of their history. Jesus was baptized as an expression of his embracing of that promise and of the mission that was his. Our baptism represents our enrolment in that heritage of promise. And the baptism of each new child expresses our bequest to the future.
listen view

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Allegiance to Compassion

The separation of the nations is based on compassion. This is so central to the Gospel. The topic “Reign of Christ” (Christ the King Sunday) raises the question “what is it that reigns in our life, our hearts, and our world?” The answer is “compassion”. Exactly what Christ represents. listen view

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Telling Our Stories

The stories we tell each other, including what we read in the Bible, are subject to interpretation and re-interpretation. How do we navigate through the layers to claim a message that gives meaning in our day? listen view

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Keep Awake

Our choices actually do matter...empires do fall: all of them! The day of the Lord is not a good day for the Emperor! Something at the heart of Jesus teachings contains the core of Wisdom, and Wisdom does include the sense of consequence, not so much as punishment, but as simply the effect of our choices---and therefore rooted in a sense of true freedom.
listen view

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Beyond Empire

Micah, like Isaiah criticizes the empire: exposing the inner corruption. And Jesus criticizes the Jewish leaders of his day, denouncing the hypocrisy of their arrogance. This touches the deep distortion of human endeavour, the tendency for civilization always to become imperial (Crossan). So the question to explore is: "How do (can) we move beyond empire?"
listen

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Centrepoint

The gospel is rooted in the Hebrew tradition, specifically Torah. Law and gospel are not two contrary ways of life. They are alternate expressions of the same core truth. The same Spirit is moving consistently, but progressively through all these events.
listen

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Remembering Gratitude

Thanksgiving
It is so easy to get so caught up in the enjoyment of all we have received and forget to complete the cycle by "returning" thanks. Our spirits shrivel without it, yet with it, they flourish.
listen

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Righteousness

(Romans Series, conclusion)
It is so hard to grasp, this righteousness of God that sets us free to stop worrying about whether we are good enough! This is the gospel of God's universal gift of salvation to the whole human family.
listen

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Spirit of Victory

(Romans Series, part 16)
This passage gives us an opportunity to end the series on a note of victory and an affirmation of eternal life, addressing death in the context of Paul's affirmation of hope.
listen

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Spirit of Adoption

(Romans Series, part 15)
Paul presents an understanding of hope that is profoundly relational, epic in historic sweep, and deeply rooted in human experience.
listen

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Spirit of Wisdom

(Romans Series, part 14)
Here Paul draws a stark contrast between the way of the culture around them and the way of the Spirit. It has to do with the "setting of the mind", which is the difference between the way of the wise and the way of the fool.
listen

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Grace to You

(Romans Series, part 12)
In our pluralistic world we are faced with a dual challenge. We need to learn to celebrate---or at least tolerate---an increasingly broad array of cultural diversity. At the same time we want to make ethical choices in order to affirm the values to which we must adhere and expect other to as well.
listen

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Bridges or Barriers

Bridges or Barriers
It can be so easy to place barriers between people. Even Jesus initially refused to heal the daughter of the Canaanite woman because he had been sent to seek "the lost sheep of Israel." But she makes a bridge and God invites us to do the same.
listen.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Whitecaps

Whitecaps
Like Elijah running from Samaria or the disciples caught in a storm on the Sea of Galilee, we can feel overwhlemed by fear when faced with the realities of our lives. In the midst of that the Holy One comes speaking words of both comfort and challenge, inviting us to trust once again.
listen

Sunday, August 3, 2008

God of Mercy

(Romans Series, part 10)
Paul seeks to forge a way of compassion and mercy, turning away from the purist and legalistic way, celebrating the Sacred presence that brings gentleness to an increasingly brutal world.
listen

Sunday, July 27, 2008

God Here Now

(Romans Series, part 9)
Paul is addressing the fundamental mystery of God's action. We believe that God is acting in history, among the human family, to fulfill the Divine purpose we are challenged profoundly to follow and trust God, moving in a new direction.
listen

Sunday, July 20, 2008

God for All

(Romans Series, part 8)
Paul is attempting to forge a way to God for diverse people beyond the limits of Judaism. Today, we endeavour to transcend the restrictiveness of institutional religion to share the gospel in our secular world.
listen

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Engaging the Powers

(Romans Series, part 7)
As we struggle with what it means to live faithfully in the midst of Empire, we hear Paul's words about struggling with the powers that take hold of our lives. Demons or angels, we have to learn to engage the powers.
listen

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Door to Life

(Romans Series, part 6)
In Jewish terms, Jesus sacrifice fulfills, transforms and terminates the sacrificial tradition. In Jungian terms the engagement with the shadow is paradoxically the way to free ourselves from its power. In terms of empire, it is the way we step apart from the culture of domination and violence. All of this comes together in the meaning of baptism, leading us to the unity and integration celebrated in Psalm 85.
listen

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Deep Freedom

(Romans Series, part 5)
Despite our talk of freedom, we are held captive by many forces. Out true freedom comes when the whole human familyfinds freedom together.
listen

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Our True Pride

(Romans Series, part 4)
Beyond all the egotism and arrogance of the world, what is genuine human worth and true dignity? listen
The poem, The Invitation, by Oriah Mountain Dreamer, is available on her website.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Radical Trust

Abram and Sarai are called by God to a distant land. This is an act of trust on God's part as much as it is on theirs. God calls them to be bearers of blessing in the world. Jesus reaches out to those on the margins in response to the same call and invites us to do likewise. view listen

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Why Sing?

Our music director, Tammy-Jo Mortensen, on Hymn Festival Sunday. listen

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Unlimited Grace

(Romans Series, Part 3)
Paul recalls the Genesis story of Abraham's blessings and uses it to demonstrate the universality of this abundant grace, blessing, and promise we have now in Christ. Today, this universality can been seen in support of our society reclaiming a public spirituality in all dimensions of life. listen

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Law of Faith

(Romans Series, part 2)
Paul's classic statement of the righteousness of God by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ (or is it "faith in Jesus Christ"?!) for all who believe. Here to the end of the chapter represents an overture to the thesis of the entire epistle to the Romans. Thus we launch into a new look at an old doctrine, and a re-examination of the heart of Christian faith. listen

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Gifts Differing

(Romans Series, part 1)
The challenge to achieve unity in the midst of diversity was crucial for the church in Rome as it cut acros all the dividing lines in the society of that time, and is just as crucial for the church in our time, as we seek not only to tolerate diversity, but to embrace and affirm the rich diversity of gifts people bring to the fellowship of Christian faith. listen

Sunday, May 4, 2008

That All May Be One?

Was Jesus' prayer "That all may be one" a hope for unity of doctrine? This sense of unity has often led the Christian church to impose its beliefs on others. Alternatively, perhaps Jesus' prayer for unity was for all people to work together to mend the world. listen

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sacred Web of Life

God is not somehow distant from us. The Maker of all things is intimately connected to the earth, joining all that is in a sacred web of life. Protecting the earth is an act of respect and so a form of worship.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Living Water, Living Stones

Throughout history people have created sacred spaces, often with stone. Peter invites us to be living stones, to be the sacred space. Jesus invites us to not only follow him but also to lead others. Like an inukshuk we're called to guide others. listen

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Pursuit of Mercy

The shepherd is a Biblical metaphor for leaders. So we consider leadership in all its dimensions - from parenting and church leadership to political and corporate - and ask, "What is the quality of leadership followed (pursued!) by goodness and mercy?" listen

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Creative Your Word

As the disciples recognized Christ's presence in the breaking of the bread, so may our eyes be openned, through true com-union, to recognize Christ in all the human family, especially the ones who are chronically excluded. listen

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Love is Stronger

We live in an age of fear. The UN development goals set for the new millennium have taken a back seat to security issues. After his death the followers of Jesus were also gripped by fear. But through the resurrection they were lifted from fear and given courage to continue what Jesus started, calling people to build a community of shalom. We are called to do the same.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

From Womb---From Tomb

In the cross we meet the end hope and light; in the resurrection we meet the birth of the new light and new hope. Jesus emerging from the tomb is a birth, a new beginning; and our life is filled with endings (dark moments of the cross) and new beginnings, hope beyond hope, so ultimately we experience death itself as our beginning. listen

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sweet Hosannas Ring

In the energy of the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, there is at once the fulfillment of the ancient promise of "the one who comes in the name of the Lord" and the poignancy of the invitation to walk with Christ through the passion, to feel the sorrow and the darkness that lead ironically to the new light and joy. listen

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Take Away the Stone

The stone on the tomb of Lazarus is symbolic of that which blocks life---the conventional boundaries and barriers we place in the way of life, assuming they are irremovable. But there is a transformation happening here reflected in the strangely unfamilair way Jesus speaks of death and life. listen

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Look and See

God looks at the heart, not the external appearance of things and people. Our challenge is to learn to see the heart of life too---to see the world and ourselves as they truly are. What enables us to do that is the shift to looking at the world through the eyes of compassion.
Listen or download mp3 audio

Sunday, February 24, 2008

You Would Ask

When we come into the Sacred Presence, as the woman at the well, we have an opportunity to ask for what we need---living water---or to ask the deepest questions from very centre of our being. Even questions without answers become a way for us to open ourselves more deeply to the Sacred.
Listen, or download mp3 audio

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Spirit-born Trust

To be born of the Spirit is described to be like the wind that blows where it will. To be born of the Spirit leads to a life that is less controlled (by us) and requires a deeper trust in the Sacred to lead and direct.
Listen, or download mp3 audio

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Building on a Heritage

Anniversary Sunday
Reflecting on the congregation's 38th anniversary, we affirm that the rich heritage of Robertson-Wesley United Church is a foundatation upon which to build an exciting future and a real good-news offering to the world around us.
Listen, or download mp3 audio

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Follow the Lamb

Jesus is called "the lamb of God" and he calls disciples to follow. For us as the church to follow the way of the lamb is to be a gentle, compassionate, and world-mending presence in the face of growing kinds of brutality such as bullying in homes, schools, work-places, and even ciber-space.
Listen, or download mp3 audio