Sunday, 18 March 2018
During Lent this year, we have been reading and hearing the various covenants God has made with his chosen people. This Sunday we hear the Old Testament prophesy of the New Covenant, accomplished by the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ.
But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, "Know the LORD," for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.
Sunday, 04 March 2018
Duration: 15 mins 44 secs
This week, we will look at the Ten Commandments and Jesus' cleansing of the Temple: The beauty of the Law, and the completion and renewing of the law in the person and work of Jesus, Word of God Incarnate. When the Jewish leaders asked for a sign for the authority to clear the Temple, they were not expecting a crucifixion and resurrection. When the Greeks were looking for Logos, they were looking neither for a finite set of laws, nor a rabbi hanging on a tree. But as Paul in Corinthians writes:
For the Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the Power of God and the wisdom of God. For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness stronger than human strength.
Sunday, 18 February 2018
Duration: 18 mins 46 secs
There were times in church history when people chose to be baptized on their deathbeds, so that they could be sure that all their sins were forgiven, and there would be no time between baptism and heaven. No time to suffer and endure, no time to be tempted and fail, no time to live in the brokenness of our lives wondering how to live in hope. But that is not how Jesus lived and not how we are to live. Jesus was baptized, but did not immediately ascend or transfigure; instead he was driven into the wilderness to be tempted for 40 days to take any path, any shortcut, other than the one laid out before him. He withstood temptation and persevered on his path all the way to the cross and beyond. Living in hope in the face of temptation, suffering, and waiting is a struggle the church has faced for 2000 years, and one we cannot face alone.
Sunday, 11 February 2018
Duration: 11 mins 33 secs
This week’s readings are about the visible glory of God: those moments in which the reality of God’s presence intersects the reality of our material world. During the exodus, God abided by fire and cloud with Israel. Once the temple replaced the tabernacle, the temple was the place where heaven and earth met; where the glory of God could be seen; where God abided with his people. But then the glory departed; the temple was destroyed the people were exiled; and though they returned from Babylon, the glory did not. For a thousand years, Israel was waiting for the return of that glory and presence. And then Emmanuel was born and lived in their midst. The Transfiguration of Jesus, as He is travelling to the cross, is among other things, a confirmation that it now is in the person of Jesus, not in the temple where heaven and earth meet; where God abides with his people; where the glory of God is visible.
And in our Epistle, Paul speaks of that same light of glory:
“For it is the God who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness'; who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
2 Corinthians 4:6
Sunday, 04 February 2018
Duration: 11 mins 33 secs
In the breakneck speed of Mark Chapter 1 and in our Epistle reading this week, there is a sense of urgency in the ministries of both Jesus and of Paul. Paul lays aside every strength, advantage and payment for the sake of the Gospel, and Jesus walks away from a potential base camp to travel to other towns. Both of them had a short time to travel and preach the Gospel, and both of them sacrificed stability, comfort and status to accomplish their mission. In our Old Testament reading, and in our Psalm, we have a somewhat different theme; the sheer size and power and infinite understanding of our God together with his care for the small and weak. And in our Gospel there is the contrast of the gathering adoring crowds who come for healing and His retreat to a lonely place to pray. We have a God who could overwhelm us in a moment, but chooses to woo us; who could bring about His kingdom in a moment, but chooses to let us into the mission … and be transformed in the process.
Sunday, 28 January 2018
Duration: 13 mins 34 secs
What does it mean to not only know who Jesus is, but to follow him? God gives authority to prophets in the Old Testament to speak in His name, but there are consequences if they overstep and speak more than he gave them to speak. In the Gospel, Jesus amazes people by the authority with which He teaches and the surety with which He casts out unclean spirits. And in our Epistle, the early church is working out the freedom such authority gives them, but Paul warns that there are consequences if their freedom oversteps their love for fellow Christians. It is not enough for us to know who Jesus is (even the unclean spirits recognize Him), but we must follow Him. We must walk in truth and love; set free by the truth, but confined by the practice and character of the holy and loving God that we follow.
Sunday, 21 January 2018
Duration: 16 mins 35 secs
This week our readings are about following Christ, immediately, exclusively and whole-heartedly, with a sense of security and trust in God and a sense of urgency as the mission is great and the time is short. How far from this am I in my own life: distracted and pulled by so many important, urgent, anxiety-inducing needs and tasks? How do we become a people who know God, love God, hear his voice and respond to the call? By His mercy, grace, and love, and by a habit of time spent in His presence.
Sunday, 07 January 2018
Duration: 16 mins 10 secs
What an eventful week! Today is the 11th day of Christmas and this Saturday is Epiphany, which means 'revelation.' On Epiphany, we celebrate how the Magi helped reveal the significance of Jesus by coming from afar to worship Him.
This Sunday is the first Sunday after Epiphany when we can either celebrate Epiphany or celebrate a different moment of revealing: the baptism of Jesus, the moment when He came out of the waters of baptism to the voice of the Father, and the descent and presence of the Holy Spirit. Since this Sunday at the 10:30 service we also have the joy and privilege of baptizing Beth Cyrus, we will focus on the baptism of Jesus, the meaning of baptism, and the presence of the Trinity.
Monday, 25 December 2017
Duration: 14 mins 26 secs
Sunday, 24 December 2017
Duration: 10 mins 50 secs
The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us...