Sunday, 12 November 2017
Duration: 17 mins 14 secs
This week’s Gospel is about how the Kingdom of God is like …
A waiting game…
Ten bridesmaids who fall asleep waiting for the party to start and then scramble up hurriedly when the call comes. We are the bridesmaids entrusted with lamps to keep ready for the moment when the trumpets blast, the bridegroom arrives, and the great feast begins.
But what does it mean and what does it take to keep our lamps sufficiently full of oil so as to be ready at a moment’s notice and to endure as long as needed?
Sunday, 05 November 2017
Duration: 12 mins 45 secs
This Sunday, we celebrate All Saints Day: that uncomfortable day when we celebrate those who are numbered among the saints and consider that we are also called to be in their midst. What does it take to be so pure in heart such that we shall see God as He is?
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,
… “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb ~ Revelations 7
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God… Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. ~ 1st John 3
Sunday, 22 October 2017
Every Sunday after the passing of the peace, before the Eucharistic prayers, we offer ourselves, represented by a portion of our time and resources, to the Lord. The liturgy of our nine o’clock service expresses it with the words:
All things come of thee O Lord
And of thine own have we given thee
This idea, that all that we have and all that we are is given to us by the Lord, so that whatever we give to the Lord is given out what He first gave us, is the basis of Christian stewardship. In our Gospel this week, Jesus evades a trap set by his opponents by saying, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.” This Sunday, we will consider this answer and how it fits into a life of responding to the mercy and grace of God.
Sunday, 08 October 2017
Duration: 14 mins 45 secs
This week, our readings center on baptism: on being born again by water and spirit; on new hearts and new spirit; on new creations and new ministries; on new access to the presence and peace of God. In baptism we share in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We repent of our sins and leave behind the false idols and identities we have collected, and receive instead our new identity as member of Christ, beloved of God and redeemed. Each week we proclaim the creed to refresh our memory of who we are, by proclaiming the God who defines our new identity.
Sunday, 24 September 2017
Duration: 15 mins 17 secs
Since the Fall, there is a sense of futility involved in any work, even work done for the kingdom of God. A house cleaned, gets messy the next day (or sometimes the next hour), software breaks, new bugs are found, children need feeding, customers and patients need help again and again, everyday there is new paperwork to do, and it wears on us. Sometimes the work we do and the results we get don’t seem to line up and we don’t like the feeling that our work is for nothing, not appreciated, or never ending. In our readings this week, we find three accounts of people, Jonah, Paul and the vineyard day workers, wrestling with whether the work they are doing for God matters, is fair, or should continue. Fortunately, there is an answer.
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.