Sunday, 17 September 2017
Duration: 17 mins 40 secs
This week, our readings address the basis of Christian forgiveness. Why do we forgive, when do we forgive, how many times do we forgive? It is easy to think of forgiveness as a side benefit of being a Christian, or as a gift of generosity we may give someone from the goodness of our soul, or as something we withhold until our sense of fairness is appeased. But forgiveness is not a side issue, it is at the core of our life in Christ, in all our relationships, and it flows not from us in our goodness, but from God, and an awareness of our need for it in our own lives. We have mercy because He had mercy and it is to God that we and our brothers and sisters in Christ are accountable, not to our own corrupted and insufficient sense of justice.
Sunday, 10 September 2017
Duration: 10 mins 24 secs
This week’s readings address issues of community, love, reconciliation and accountability in our lives and in our church. Again Jesus speaks of the authority of loosing and binding given to the church He also speaks of the power of having two of us agree on anything and the promise to be present whenever two or three of us gathered in His name. It is a heady responsibility, and one that has been misused in many times and places. In the name of this doctrine, the church has at times slid into being unloving, and destructive. The only way for a community to safely wield this authority without wounding others, is by incarnating the love of the Father, by the power of the Spirit, in the Name of the Son.
Sunday, 03 September 2017
Duration: 16 mins 52 secs
Last Sunday, we got to hear Simon, by the grace of God, answer the question of, “who do you say I am?” and get it right. In response, Jesus gives him a new name, Peter, and a new responsibility to loose and bind. This week, we hear Peter try to use his new authority to correct Jesus, to release him from the path He’s on and tempt Jesus to sidestep the cross. In his less than infinite wisdom, Peter wants Jesus to sidestep the most important event in human history. As the church, we are given authority to bind and release sins, but not to thwart the purpose and will of God. Likewise, as people, we do not have a choice about in what moment in history we are born and live; we only have a choice of how we will live in that moment. I encourage you to read Romans 12 (last week, we read the first half, and this week we’ll read the second half) as a description of how we should live in times like these, both as individuals, and even more so, as the Body of Christ in this place.
Sunday, 13 August 2017
Duration: 16 mins 47 secs
This week, we read of Elijah trying explain to God his very reasonable plan of hiding in a cave indefinitely due to really difficult circumstances; and the Lord shows him more extreme circumstances and sends him on his way with a new plan. Peter is in a boat with the other disciples and sees Jesus walking past them on water in a storm, and his reasonable plan is to demand that Jesus prove that he is the Lord. Jesus does so by ordering Peter to get out the boat, into the storm, and also to walk on water. Peter gets it partly right, but is not actually ready to follow through on the plan he started. There is a saying: “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. Sometimes, it is hard to hear God and it feels like we are thwarted on all sides. Other times, the word of God is on our very lips, in our hearts and in our lives as we proclaim Jesus as Lord and Savior. Sometimes is it His plans which we are following and all the pieces come together to call and equip us to do more than we can by ourselves.
Sunday, 06 August 2017
Duration: 14 mins 50 secs
The Lord’s provision is not skimpy or thin. It is not for only a small select few, or only for certain groups of people. God first made a covenant with Israel, that they would be his people; but he also made them to be light to nations they didn’t even know. In our Gospel reading, Jesus has compassion on the crowds and heals when he wants to be alone. And when they are hungry, he takes what is small and insufficient, and multiplies it until the whole crowd is fed. The compassion and provision of the Lord is indeed great. Like the disciples, like the Israelites, as the people of God, we are the instrument of his grace, compassion and provision for people that we don’t yet know.
Sunday, 30 July 2017
Duration: 20 mins 34 secs
This week, we have an amazing collection of readings, from the wisdom of Solomon, to the psalmist’s love of God’s word, to the Spirit interceding for us according to the will of God, to the parables that describe the Kingdom of God as precious, hidden and growing, in stories of mustard seeds, pearls, and leaven hidden in flour. What we have and what we seek and what we grow into in this new life in Christ is absolutely amazing. God provides what we need to accomplish His will, even shaping us into instruments of his grace and love. Come join us this Sunday as we worship and learn and find healing and fellowship in the Body of Christ.
In the meantime, I invite you to read and dwell on our scriptures appointed for this week:
1 Kings 3:5-12
Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52
Sunday, 09 July 2017
Duration: 13 mins 27 secs
In this week's Gospel, Jesus compares the religious leaders of the day to children in the market shouting and complaining that other people won't care and respond the way they want them to. It reminds me of some of the threads I've read on social media. Most people want to be good moral people, but in a sea of competing, conflicting, inconsistent world views, pleasing everyone is a hopeless endeavor. Someone will always be disappointed in you, someone will always be judging you. In response, Jesus invites us to be yoked with him... to hear and follow one voice, one heart, one love.
Sunday, 25 June 2017
When we become a Christian, we accept the forgiveness and the lordship of Jesus Christ. The forgiveness frees us to live a life of joy and peace and to experience the love of God. Accepting the lordship of Christ means choosing to follow him; allowing God to reshape our hearts, our minds, our priorities, passions, and dreams. We choose to use our life and our voice for the Kingdom of God, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, amazing things are accomplished. But the mighty works of God do come at a cost.
This week we have dramatic readings about the cost of following the Lord: Jeremiah for whom the word of God becomes a fire in his bones if he does not speak it… The Psalmist recounting how he has been rejected by all for his worship of God… Paul, teaching about how our old self is crucified with Jesus, so the we may no longer be slave to sin… and the challenging words of Jesus to his disciples:
Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.
Sunday, 11 June 2017
Duration: 15 mins 23 secs
After the excitement of Pentecost, and the coming of the Holy Spirit poured out on all the disciples, with wind and flame, and in our case, baptism… this week we turn to the complexity of the Trinity. This is one of the most difficult and yet most central doctrines of Christianity. Trying to understand it fully is like trying to carry the ocean in a bucket. There are some who would like to diminish by calling it a post-canonical innovation, but this week we look at three of the readings which support this complex but important revelation of God. We also hear the Great Commission in this week’s Gospel reading, and it is all the more important to know the triune God in whom we baptize and make disciples.
Sunday, 21 May 2017
Duration: 13 mins 31 secs
God is not shaped by our desires and plans. He is not a pocket god, a small god, that we can carry around as part of our plans. At the same time, God is not unknown to us, unknowable, or inaccessible. To know the Father, we need to know and love the Son, to love the Son is to follow His commandments, to follow His commandments requires allowing the deepest parts of us to be transformed; to live a life that reflects the wholeness, beauty, grace and love of God Himself. But by ourselves we are helpless to change the fundamental shape and desires of our soul. So our efforts at keeping His commandments either fail and fade away or fall into the legalism of fixing only the most visible parts of our life. This is where the Holy Spirit, the apparently elusive Third Person of the Trinity saves us. After our creation, after our redemption, we are invited to be transformed by the abiding presence of the Spirit of Truth into the likeness of Christ.