Sunday, December 11, 2011

Imagine John Joyful!

Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11 Announce freedom to all captives
John 1:6-8, 19-28 Thunder in the desert

John the Baptist knew Isaiah's ancient words about liberty to the captives and good news to the poor. He also knew the kind of message Jesus was about to proclaim: a light shining in the darkness. So imagine the joy of that moment -- and John, just bursting to share that news with the world!

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Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Kiss of Light

Psalm 85:1-13
Mark 1:1-8



What does it take for God to get our attention these days? Perhaps what we are longing for isn't the perfect home, the perfect Christmas, the perfect job, the perfect family. Perhaps what we are longing for is the joy and peace that comes from moving through the challenges and difficulties of life, perhaps we are longing for God to give us a swift spiritual kick in the pants, perhaps we are longing for a message that isn't expected, so that we are caught off guard, so that our emotions, thoughts and spirit are stirred. Advent is a time of waiting and anticipation, what will we hear today as we wait? Will we finally sit up and take notice that and hear what God is saying to us today?

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

We are God's ribbons

Matthew 25: 31-46 When you helped the lease of these, you helped me.


We have inherited God's Kingdom which means we are called to participate. We come to God's Kingdom as children, with a sense of openness, curiosity, hope, and a willingness to help. We will explore how God's spirit works through us and others in the world, bringing us together in one accord.

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

God's Trust in Us

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 Keep awake
Matthew 25:14-30 Parable of the talents

So much is entrusted to us. Just as the master in the story Jesus told entrusted his wealth to his servants, so God has given us hearts, minds, bodies and souls; the world and time, wisdom and love -- all entrusted to us for a purpose. What does it mean to you to be trustworthy in God's eyes?

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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Wisdom Radiant

Wisdom of Solomon 6:12-20 Wisdom is radiant and unfading
Matthew 25:1-13 Parable of the ten bridesmaids

The wholeness we seek, the freedom from care, the nearness to God -- the fulfillment of our longing: all this is there for the taking, graciously and freely given, longing for us as much as we long for her. Will you rise early, bring your deepest longings, and come into her presence?

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Occupy Basileia

1 Thessalonians 2:9-13 Lead a life worthy of God
Matthew 23:1-12 The greatest one will be the servant

Paul pleads with the people of Thessalonia to lead a life worthy of God. What does a life worthy of God look like? Have we become preoccupied with things that are not important? Are we simply preaching the gospel of God or are we living it? In our day to day decisions are we carrying the load so as not be a burden on others? Or are we like the Pharisees placing heavy burdens on others? The movement has begun are you occupied or ready to occupy? And where will you choose to occupy?

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Holy Love

Leviticus 19:1-2, 15-18 Ritual and holiness
Matthew 22:34-46 The greatest commandment

Holiness, Torah, justice and love come together in these biblical teachings from Matthew and Leviticus. Justice and love are the way to live holiness. And justice is no more that "love writ large". Love is also the focal point of torah. It is all about living according to the direction of the Spirit. All of this is so practical and rooted in real every-day life.

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

We Are Not Alone

Exodus 33:12-23 Moses' intercession
Matthew 9:35--10:4 Harvest is plentiful

The Exodus series over the past few weeks has taken us with the Hebrew people from their bondage in Egypt to the promise of a new life. It is a time of wilderness, a time of hope and promise, a time of jouneying where we have never been before. The message this moringing will be in dialogue form, with Karen Bridges and Jim Allan reflecting together on Robertson-Wesley's exodus journey: the promise and the challenge.

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Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Turn Around - Hearts Transformed

Exodus 32:1-14 The Golden Calf
Philippians 4:4-9 Rejoice in the Lord always

Today is a day to give thanks, but not simply for all that we have. The scriptures today remind us that our actions have consequences, like the Israelites there are times when we become restless and begin to doubt that God is truly with us. At times we fall victim to the allure of success and possessions, but Moses and Paul remind us that if we repent, if we turn around and walk in a different direction, if we turn back to God, our hearts and our lives will be transformed - we will experience peace. What new direction awaits you - awaits this congregation?

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

At Our Best

Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20 Ten commandments
Matthew 7:24-29 The one who hears these words and acts on them

What does it take to be at our best? And what difference does it make in our lives; in the lives of the people with whom we share life? In the life of the world? We are given the wisdom and direction that is needed -- and the choice to live it out or not -- our choice!

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Manna Management

Exodus 16:2-15 Bread from heaven
Matthew 6:25-33 The birds of the air

We live in a world that is obsessed with "security", yet our anxiousness only makes us less secure. In the wilderness, Moses' people learned a new way of security, based on trust instead of storage. Jesus taught his followers to see God's care for all creation. Today, we are still learning that we have everything we need for the fullness of life for which we all long and which is God's purpose for all.

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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Liberation Power

Exodus 14:19-31 Crossing the sea
Exodus 15:1-18 Song of Moses

The story of the Exodus defines life as emergence from captivity which can be understood in a myriad of ways. In what ways are we captive ourselves? With whom do we feel called to stand in solidarity in their freedom struggle? How is the church called to be a channel of God's liberating power in the world?

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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Soul Survivor

Exodus 12:1-14 The passover
Romans 13:8-10 Love for one another
Matthew 18:15-20 Reproving one who sins

Behind the legalistic sound of the story of the passover lies a celebration of life emerging from disaster and captivity. Even though in a different form, we live in a world of disaster and captivity still today -- emotional and spiritual, as well as physical. And so we also look to our faith for a way to cultivate true life and the strength and wisdom to follow. What brings life to fullness for you?

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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Becoming a Movement

Exodus 1:8- 2:10 Moses is adopted by Pharaoh's daughter
Romans 12:1-2 Present yourself as a living, holy sacrifice to God
Matt 16: 13-20 Jesus asks: "Who do you say that I am?"

When we proclaim out loud our belief in Jesus we are taking a chance, a chance that we will be judged, that we will be lumped in with other more fanatical Christians. We need to be reminded of why we are here, and what we are called to be. The church is not just some moral improvement society, nor is it simply some helpful volunteer organization designed to help make the city a better place. The church is about Jesus, the church is a place for reconciliation and transformation. So who is Jesus for you and what are you compelled to proclaim?

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Curses turn to Blessings


Genesis 45:1-15 Joseph is re-united with his brothers
Matthew 15:10-20, 21-28 A Canaanite mother challenges Jesus

Life is messy and there are more times then not when our actions and attitudes hurt others. The scriptures today speak to the fact that God calls us to reconciliation and forgiveness. Faith can lift the curses of life, leaving us with blessings. Where does reconciliation and forgiveness need to happen in your life and in the world?

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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Faith Beyond Faith

1 Kings 19:9-18 Elijah at Mount Horeb
Matthew 14:22-33 Jesus walks on the sea

The life of faith is not static, achieved once for all time. We never graduate. Today, we catch a glimpse of two people, Elijah and Peter, who were pushed to take the next step on their faith journey. We learn from them and, more importantly, we can draw courage from their openess to follow beyond anything they had known.

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Transformation through the Spirit of Adoption

Psalm 139: 1-12 God you have searched me and known me
Romans 8:12-25 Creation Groans with Labour Pains
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 The parable of the weeds scattered among good seed

Like creation, we are groaning with labour pains as we navigate in a world that focuses on material things, which give us a false sense of comfort and contentment in life. What will happen if we are spiritually adopted? What is the "Spirit of Adoption?" To belong, to be known, to be loved - that is what our world is groaning for and that is what the Spirit of Adoption offers.

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Be the Garden

Isaiah 55:10-13 Watering the earth
Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 Parable of the sower

Every gardener knows how to prepare the ground for seeds and water. Our spiritual life is about being the ground -- ready to receive the seeds of God's word (Matthew) and to be watered by the showers of God's love (Isaiah). So our spiritual life is about cultivating, being fertile and receptive -- and the exitement of what grows in the garden of our lives.

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Sunday, July 3, 2011

What Comfort?

Zechariah 9:1-12 Promise of restoration
Matthew 11:25-30 My yoke is easy

Jesus says, "Take my yoke upon you...for my yoke is easy..." How can it be easy to bear a yoke? Perhaps it is all based upon acceptance -- of our life circumstances, rather than wasting energy on how things should be different -- and of ourselves, as we are, adequate, loved and given the courage we need to live our lives faithfully. Imagine having this wisdom and the pain of watching others flounder without it! What would you say?

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Walking in silence-- a risky call

Genesis 22: 1-14 The sacrifice of Isaac
Matthew 10:40-42 Welcoming and offering a cup of water

We don't always know why God has called us, and we don't always know why God has asked us to make these difficult decisions but what we do know, as Abraham found out, is that God will provide. Walking together in silence is what we are being called to do as a church, both within our congregation and within the wider United Church, we are called to practice discernment. What has God provided, what have we received and what will we offer?

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Whole Family of God

So much of our story is about drawing lines of judgement and hatred between favoured ones and the rest. But throughout our tradition and in our world today, there is the thread of another story -- one about the whole human family learning to find its wholeness together. As we learn to live this story of wholeness, we discover that this is central to the Way of Christ -- and thus the church itself comes to a truer understanding of its own purpose and mission.

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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Ending Beginning

Acts 1:6-11 The ascension of Jesus
John 17:6-11 Jesus prays for his disciples

The last time Jesus was together with his disciples, he prayed for them. It is an ending moment, but it points forward to the new beginning sybolized in the ascension. Through the eyes of the soul and in the light of the Spirit, we can see beginnings in all our endings, light in every darkness, and hope in our bleakest moments. Moments when everything changes. A vision of the sacredness and the unity of life.

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

We are Not Abandoned

1 Peter 3:13-22 . Do not repay evil for evil
John 14:15-21 . The Advocate, the Spirit, will be with you

Guest preacher: Carol Loewen, LWL

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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Gate of Life

1 Peter 2:19-25 You have returned to the shepherd
John 10:1-10 The gate for the sheep

Jesus presents us with a "way" of life -- a "way" to life, lived in fullness and wellness. This points us to practical questions: "how then shall we live?". What does it mean to live in Christ? What is the "way" of true life for you?

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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Save Yourselves

Acts 2:14a, 36-41 Save yourselves from this corrupt generation
Luke 24:13-35 The walk to Emmaus

Peter enjoins the people to save themselves from the "corrupt generation". None of us has any trouble identifying the corruption of our generation. The challenge is to recognize the solution in the way of Christ. Where does the corruption take hold of you? And how does this faith in Christ set you free?

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Sunday, May 1, 2011

If Your Forgive

1 Peter 1:3-9 A new birth into a living hope
John 20:19-31 Receive the Holy Spirit

When Jesus speaks of forgiveness, he seems to give the disciples a lot of power -- the power to forgive others their sins. Forgiveness is powerful. It is also a dilema for many. Some find forgiveness too heavy, others find it too light, too trivial. How do we truly let forgiveness flow in our lives? How does it free us for life?

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Led from Beyond

Jeremiah 31:1-6 Grace in the wilderness
Matthew 28:1-10 He has been raised from the dead!

In his dying and rising -- living beyond death -- Christ goes beyond all of the limitations of this earthly life to be the one who leads the way wherever life leads. How does Christ lead you beyond the limitations of your life?

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Love Is Our Resistance

Psalm 118: 1-2, 19-29 The stone the builders rejected
Matthew 21:1-11 Jesus enters Jerusalem
Isaiah 50: 4-9a The suffering servant struck and insulted

The beginning of Holy Week is a mix of emotions - celebration, joy, a sense of fear and immanent doom, political strife, uncertainty and resistance. The week begins with Jesus entering Jerusalem and the crowds crying out "Hosanna," but who this man that they have travelled so far to greet and to honour? How do these events fire us up and inspire us to make love our resistance? Have Canadians, have Christians, have we as a congregation stood silently too long?
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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Life Happens

Ezekiel 37:1-14 Valley of dry bones
John 11:1-45 Raising of Lazarus

From the valley of dry bones and the grave of Lazarus -- life happens! Life actually is like this: it has power to renew itself. Therefore we are enjoined to trust the life-energy at the heart of Creation. These stories touch us, because they convey this power; they bring it to life in our hearts and souls and thereby bring us to life!

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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Unlikely Favour

1 Samuel 16:1-13 Annointing of David
John 9:1-41 A man born blind receives sight

Imagine being the weakest and smallest, then chosen to be King. Imagine being blind from birth, then chosen to receive sight. Imagine a God who would act so unconventionally. Imagine a world with a God like that!

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Living Water -- it will quench any thirst

Exodus 17:1-7 Water from the rock
Psalm 95
Romans 5:1-11
John 4:5-42 The Samaritan woman at the well

As each year passes our hearts tend to harden from the wear and tear of life. Things happen to us that hurt us, make us more cautious, cause us to fight back, and cause us to build up walls of protection. These things also tend to leave us thirsting for something more in life. God quenches our thirst and provides us with living water that often comes from places we'd least expect. Be prepared to experience the unexpected
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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Beginners

Genesis 12:1-4a The call of Abram
John 3:1-17 Nicodemus visits Jesus

Jesus' words to Nicodemus about being born again, like God's call to Abram, represent the offer of a beginning. It is not the beginning that is long past, nor is it starting over again; but a perception of life that awakens and enlightens. What it is in our life and world that we miss just because we are asleep?

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Karma Bending

Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-7 First sin and punishment
Matthew 4:1-11 Temptation of Jesus

Theologians have called it "Original Sin", this feeling of curse or "bad karma" that seems inevitable in human nature. Matthew Fox says that before original sin came original blessing. These thoughts are the background against which to understand Jesus' response to temptation. Together it is the story of bending human destiny. Where do you think human destiny needs some bending?

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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Now I SEE you -- Face to Face!

Exodus 24:12-18 God calls Moses up the mountain
Matthew 17: 1-9 Jesus transfigured on the mountain

Both Moses and Jesus are transformed, transfigured and changed by the presence of God. The events are spectacular, illuminating, dazzling and awe inspiring. So what do we do with this? Has your heart been set on fire? What do you want to proclaim from the highest mountains?

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Inscribed on the Hands of God

Isaiah 49:8-16 Yet I will not forget you
Matthew 6:24-34 Do not worry about your life

Envision your name inscribed on the hand of God. Envision God holding you so dearly that it would never be possible to forget you. Here is a truly relational view of the Sacred. What is the difference between feeling alone on your way through life and feeling the Holy Presence with you and accompanying you every step of the way?

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

If I had a hammer...I would make a table

Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18. Living the holy life
1 Corinthians 3:10-23. You are God's temple
Matthew 5:38-48. Turn the other cheek; give your cloak

Our foundation is solid, our foundation is Jesus Christ. We are the builders called to build upon this foundation that God has given us. I believe we need to use good materials and we need to have a good plan and together we can build a home for all people. It's time to get to work.

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

But I Say to You

Matthew 5:21-37 Anger, Adultery, Divorce and Oaths
Deuteronomy 30:15-20 The great choice
Sirach 15:15-20 Wisdom of the Lord

Why is the Old Testament important to us? Because it was Jesus' Bible: the background code against which his life and teachings are understood. He refers to the tenets of the Hebrew scriptures in a way that both affirms and transforms. His teachings are a spiritual intensification of the principles that have guided his people through ages.

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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Instruction Manual for Life

Isaiah 58:1-12 The fast that Yahweh chooses
Psalm 112 Bessings of the righteous
Matthew 5:13-20 Let your light shine

In Isaiah's words, the prophetic demand for justice, for the end of oppression, is direct and unequivocal. And the consequence is just as clear: a good life, blessed and shining as a light to the world. So there is an element of self-interest here -- it is not entirely altruistic -- it is simply the way life works. This is the instruction manual for life.

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Steven Johann

Micah 6:1–8
Matthew 5:1–12

Message presented by the Rev. Steven Johann, of Knox-Metropolitan United Church.

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Story to Live By

Isaiah 9:1-4 The people who walked in darkness
Psalm 27 God is my light and my salvation
Matthew 4:12-23 Jesus begins his ministry in Galilee

Jesus ministry begins with a declaration of the fulfillment of the ancient promise. This is the fundamental story that shapes our perception and experience of life in Christ. The call to discipleship is a call to all of us, to the church to live this promise-fulfillment story. What are the ways our world needs to hear this story?

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Waiting, I am waiting, and now I sing

Psalm 40:1-11 I waited patiently for God.
1 Corinthians 1:1-9 I thank God for you.
John 1:29-42 Simon and Andrew become disciples

In the gospel according to John, Jesus asked two of the disciples the following question: "What are you looking for?" There are times in our life when we are waiting for something special to appear, where we are looking for something, waiting for it to come to light and to provide us with new hope, new direction and new meaning in our lives. God has come to us in human form (the word made flesh) in Jesus Christ. The time has come to sing a new song, a song about how God's love for the world became incarnate and fully embodied in Jesus Christ.

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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Robertson-Wesley Anniversary: 40 Years

Psalm 27:1-6
Matthew 5:13-16
1 Corinthians 12

Our guest preacher for today's anniversary service is the Rev. Dr. Gordon J. Oaks who was a Minister of Robertson-Wesley from 1969 to 1976. Today, we warmly welcome him back to the R-W pulpit as our Anniversary guest speaker.

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Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Light Time

Sirach 24:1–12 Praise of Wisdom
John 1:1-9 Word becomes flesh

Christ takes form in the midst of the world -- the light of all people, shining in the darkness -- offering the wisdom and inspiration we need for the living of our days. What wisdom will you pray for in the coming year?

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Mia Farrow video with refugee children and John Lennon's song, "Imagine"
(referred to in the sermon)