Sunday, December 26, 2010

Joseph and Mary ... and Herod

Isaiah 63:7–9 The angel of His presence saved them
Psalm 148 Let the whole creation cry
Matthew 2:13–23 Massacre of the innocents

Imagine the joy of Mary and Joseph with their new-born child, and gifted by magi. Imagine the cruelty of Herod and Rome -- the brutal hatred of a world in darkness. Imagine fleeing to save this new-born child -- and God watching over them, even as far away as Egypt.

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Open Our Hearts

Isaiah 7:10-16 The sign of Emmanuel
Matthew 1:18-25 Joseph’s Dream

We hold the things that are most important to us deep in our hearts. God invites us to open our hearts to the unexpected, the unseen, the unheard, the untouched. There are moments in life that challenge us to embrace the unknown, embrace the unexpected, embrace our fears and open our hearts to being transformed, to finding fulfillment, to finding love. Are you open and prepared to meet Jesus, our Emmanuel?

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Open Our Hands

Isaiah 35:1-10 The desert shall rejoice
Matthew 11:2-11 Are you the one who is to come?

What is the source of our strength for mending the world?
How do we act without feeling alone?
How do we open our hands with love?

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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Opening Our Mouth

Isaiah 11:1-10 A shoot from the stump of Jesse
Matthew 3:1-12 The voice of one crying out in the wilderness

A vision of justice and a message to proclaim. Waiting in the light of promise. Ancient promise; holy light; prophetic message and Divine justice -- this is the spirit of Advent. When it is time to open our mouths, what is it we have to say to our world on God's behalf?

(this sermon was not recorded -- sorry about that)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Open Our Eyes

Isaiah 2:1-5
Romans 13:11-14
Matthew 24:36-44

It’s time! It’s time to wake up, and open our eyes and see beyond the usual mundane tasks of life. What is holding us back from seeing this new vision; a vision that holds out hope for justice, healing and peace in this world? Be prepared to look at life in a different way.

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Annointed One

Jeremiah 23:1-6 A righteous branch for David
Luke 1:68-79 Zechariah's prophecy
Luke 22:33-43 This is the King of the Jews

When they called Jesus "the King of the Jews" it was meant to challenge the brutal power of the Roman Empire. Today, we do not need Jesus to be our "King", but we still need the authority of the "Annointed One" to stand against the brutal powers of our time.

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

The End

Malachi 4:1-2a The great day of the Lord
Psalm 98 O sing a new song
Luke 21:5-19 Signs and persecutions

Stories of "the end" are metaphorical ways of describing the "purpose" of life: we live our lives "to what end"? We are tempted by simplistic explanations, but it is only in the holistic view that we see our true "end".

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Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Gordon Brown Story

Psalm 23
Psalm 103
1 Corinthians 15:1-11

Guest Speaker: The Reverend Gordon How
Rev Gordon Brown was a minister of Robertson-Wesley who went over-seas with the Canadian Armed Forces and was killed in action in 1944. Gordon How tells the story of his long and personal interest in Gordon Brown's story, including a visit to his grave in Antwerp, Belguim.

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Sunday, October 31, 2010

I Never Imagined

Isaiah 1:1-18 Yahweh condemns injustice
Luke 19:1-10 Jesus and Zacchaeus

A portrait of Zaccheus through dramatic monologue: "I never imagined that such a transformation could happen to me. I never imagined my heart could change after all these years. Then Jesus came to my house!"

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Reframing Hope

Genesis 1:1–5 · In the beginning
2 Kings 2:13–35 · Elisha succeeds Elijah

"Creating a future is different from defining a future. The difference is focused in the distinction between valuing gifts and possibility vs. Defining needs and solving problems."

Reflections shared by Rev. Lynn Maki at the Covenanting Service for Karen Bridges.

Feels Right

Sirach 35:12–17 Divine justice
Luke 18:9-14 Pharisee and the tax collector

Jesus tells a story about two people, both trying to be faithful. One goes home feeling right about what happened, but not the other. What makes the difference? What leaves us feeling right and what leaves us just not feeling right?

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What Are Your Ears Itching For?

October 17, 2010 Stewardship Sunday

2 Timothy 3:14 - 4:5 "People with itching ears will turn away"
Luke 18:1-8 "The parable of the widow and the unjust judge"

I will say it again: the body of Christ is nothing without you. You are all God's stewards called to live a life worthy of the calling. Our strength as a community is found in the diversity of people who participate here in the ministry and mission of Robertson-Wesley. I tis time to refocus, recommit, reconcile, and reclaim our faith in this secular world.


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Gratitude First

Deuteronomy 26:1–11 First fruits and tithes
Psalm 100 Make a joyful noise
Luke 17:11–19 Jesus cleanses ten lepers

Sometimes, expressing gratitude---simply giving thanks---is the last thing we think to do.That is tragic, because when we begin with gratitude, it transforms---blesses everything that follows, like a light that illuminates our way ahead in the darkness.

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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Active Hope

Habakkuk 1:1–4, 2:1–4 Complaint and reply
Psalm 37:1-9 Trust in the Lord
Luke 17:5-10 Unlimited faith and the willing servant

The prevalence of evil and apathy in the world seems to extinguish hope for our worldly existence. But hope is not so passive -- rather it is an active choice to trust in the Creator of our world, to embrace a world of truth, goodness and beauty


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Hope for a Rich Fool

Amos 6:1a, 4-7 Ignoring the ruin of Joseph
Psalm 146 Put not your trust in princes
Luke 16:19-31 The rich man and Lazarus

A story of a rich man who refuses to help a poor man and then confronts the dilema of his own salvation. What a universal story! The answer is so easy to see, but the rich man's folly renders him utterly blind. Jesus offers the wisdom to open his eyes.

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Outrageous Steward

Amos 8:4-7 Condemning injustice
Psalm 113 Praise to the Lord
Luke 16:1-13 Cannot serve two masters

This manager cheats his master to help his friends. It is outrageous behaviour that shatters our sense of decency and propriety. Why would Jesus tell a story like this? Maybe for exactly that purpose: to shatter out static view of life, thereby opening our hearts to the Sacred in a new way.

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Sunday, September 5, 2010

True Follower

Deuteronomy 30:15–20 Choose life
Psalm 1 The two ways
Luke 14:25-33 The cost of discipleship

We all want to be followers -- disciples -- of something ultimate, something wondrously true. Something to which we can give ourselves without reservation and for ever. Something that warrants allowing ourselves to be remade, reshaped and reborn.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Humble Greatness

Sirach 10:12-18 On pride
Psalm 112 Bessings of the righteous
Luke 14:1, 7-14 Humility and hospitality

How do we rightly understand humility in a world so bent on rising above the rest and cultivating an artificial self? Jesus offers a paradoxical truth. And it is just this contradictory twist that breaks us free of the dilema and liberates the soul.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Faithful Wanderers in the Global Cities

Isaiah 5: 1-7 The unfaithful vineyard
Psalm 80: 1-2, 9-19
Hebrews 11:29-12:2 Great could of witnesses

In this secular, globized city it is easy to become discourage, to go with the flow of that which marginalizes and isolates so many people. We are being called to trust in God and in what the future holds and promises. We are called to run the race of life with patience, perseverance, and steadfast endurance.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Promise of Life

Genesis 15:1-6 • Abram's trust in God
Luke 12:32-40 • Watchfulness and trust

There is so much in our world that is frightening, frustrating, discouraging; cynicism and depair are so near. Yet at the heart of our faith is a simple, vigilant trust. We are offered a way to see life differently: filled with promise and hope.

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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Wise Wealth

Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14, 2:18-23 All is vanity
Psalm 49:1-12 the foolishness of trusting wealth
Luke 12:13-21 The parable of the rich fool

Conventional wisdom directs us to get ahead and to achieve as much wealth and power as possible. But in truth there is a fatal error here. There is a very different set of virtues that lead us to the true fulfillment of life.

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Entertaining Angels

Genesis 18:1-10a • Angels' visit to Abraham & Sarah
Luke 10:38–42 • Jesus visits Mary and Martha

If we truly and deeply respect every person whom we meet, offering hospitality and listening, we will find the angel -- or the Christ -- in each one. Hospitaltiy is welcoming another safely into the space of our lives. Listening is the way we let God speak to us through others.
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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Freedom to Care

The twist in the "commandment" to love our neighbour is this: it sets us free! It takes us from being wrapped up in ourselves and bound by social conventions -- all of which separates us from others and therefore from God -- and liberates us truly to care for another human being, or for the whole human race.
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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Life for the Taking

Jesus sends the seventy out to proclaim the gospel -- to offer the gift of life to any and all. Some recognize what is being offered and receive it, others just don't get it. That is how it is today -- some get it and some don't -- and both of these are, in their own way, truly amazing.
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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Living Truth

Here are Elijah and Jesus living the truth they bear. Truth is not just a set of ideas or doctrines. It is a living expression of that which gives life -- an expression which cannot even be "translated" into ideas. Rather, it forms us, shapes us, fills us with a new spirit -- and it can be expressed only by our living.
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Sunday, May 30, 2010

All Truth

The notion of "truth" is so central to the gospel, but we live in a time when the notion of absolute truth seems naive and old-fashioned. We cannot go back, but there is a way forward, into an experience of truth that truly gives life in our time.
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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Spirited Knowing

How do we know the Holy? It is a spirited knowing -- a knowing that moves from the centre of our being. It is the experience of being known by the Holy. It is communication that uncovers life at its essence. It is knowing life in all its fullness, wonder and beauty.
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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Evolving Faith

Jesus says that the Holy Spirit will "teach you everything and remind you of all that I have said to you." So with the leading of the Holy Spirit, our tradition continues to evolve, and in each new form, rediscovering the power of Jesus' teachings for our life in our world. What are the growing edges of Christian faith today, and how do Jesus' ancient words speak truth afresh to our time?
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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Love Unleashed

Jesus speaks of love as his "new commandment" to the disciples. Is this not something of an oxymoron, to speak of love with the authoritarian language of commandment? Yet, even understood to be more freely given than commanded, love still makes a claim on our lives, makes a powerful impact on the lives of others, and gives life meaning and direction.
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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Living Unity

Jesus spoke of a unity with the Father. He also prayed "that all may be one". Three essential affirmation: it is a mystical union, not a simple identity; it is a unity in which we can share, not as a belief, but spiritual experience; and it shapes the way we live our lives, not esoteric, but practical: the practice of Sacred Unity.
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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Seashore Encounter

There are moments and places in life where we encounter the Sacred, we feel the presence of God, we enter the Holy. These can be anywhere and any time, but in the stories of Jesus, the shores of the sea have special power. The risen Christ invites each of us to a seashore moment in which the depth of our love can be called forth.
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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Walking the Way of Life

After walking the Way of the Cross on Good Friday, we continue to follow Christ, "walking the Way of Life" -- seeing the sacred and new life in the ordinary things of the world, and experiencing the "resurrection" of the ordinary to the sacred -- all of creation, fully alive!
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Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Stones Would Shout

With Passover approaching and the people singing their praises, Jesus rode into Jerusalem, knowing that if the people were silent, the very stones would shout. Perhaps, as he rode along, he contemplated the stones of history shouting their truth: the stone at Bethel, the stone tablets at Sinai, the stoning stones, the stone in David's sling, the living stones...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Already Anointed

Mary anoints Jesus. This anointing is what would happen to Jesus' body when he dies. But Mary does it now, while he is still with them. In the mystical spirituality of John's gospel, this story suggests an invitation to live beyond death -- now, not just after death. New life: flowing like a river in the desert.
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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Turning It Around

Each of us is called to consider a change of values, attitude, and perception in order for our relationship with creation to become truly respectful. This is beyond just learning to recycle. It means waking up and facing the truth of how we have squandered the inheritance. Then comes the really hard part -- to find the courage to receive God's grace!
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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Everyday Enlightenment

In this picture of Jesus, transfigured on the mountain-top, the unearthly light marks the presence of the Sacred -- and especially Sacred Wisdom. Here is a picture of who Jesus truly was -- this one who embodied the wisdom and the presence of God. Our life and world is transformed as we learn to recognize the sacred presence in our world and to embody sacred wisdom.
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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Disciples on Call

Discipleship is God's version of volunteer management. Imagine God as our volunteer recruiter. We could trust that, by making ourselves "recruitable" we will be matched with the particular part of the church's ministry that is right for us -- that gives us a fulfilling place in the "body of Christ".
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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Married to Life

Corinthians 13 is so often read at weddings, because it expresses the transformative power of love. Marriage is also a biblical metaphor for spiritual fulfilment. We are called to dedicate ourselves to life with the passion and devotion of a married couple whose love is strong enough to transform all that they are.
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Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Way of Community

Paul's metaphor of the body in Corinthians is his challenge to the church to pull together. It is about team-work, understood not as all running after the ball in a clump, but each playing their own position in complementarity and communication with each other. And this is the caring community -- a kind of caring that is life-giving. And all this taken together is the model of life that the church has to offer to the world.
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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Endless Diversity

Our gifts differ more broadly than most of us imagine. It is challenging for us as a human race -- and as a church! -- to be so diverse. The challenge of inclusion is to affirm our own gifts humbly, to affirm others gifts graciously, and to recognize the one spirit in them all.
(not recorded, our appologies)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

This Same Holy Spirit

The Spirit that cones upon us in our baptism subsequently leads us throughout our life. In so many moments of our lives, the waters of our baptism touch us, cleansing us, return us from death to life, reminding us of the presence of the Sacred, and touching our hearts with the blessings of all those who love us.
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Sunday, January 3, 2010

Blessings for a New Year

The Ephesians reading refers to the array of blessings which are ours in Christ and John refers to the ultimate blessing of the presence of God in our world and in our lives. These blessings are the spiritual equipment that we need for living well into our new year.
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