November 27, 2011

Isaiah 64:1-9 Mark 13:24-37 If your life is perfect, then you may not be able to relate to the scripture texts this morning for the first Sunday in Advent. If you are happy and healthy and well, and you live with your beautiful family in a lovely neighbourhood, enjoying your spacious home and your comfortable income… If you’re getting ready for an absolutely wonderful holiday season of socializing and gift-giving, laughter and good times, without a care in the world… then perhaps this morning’s readings will seem a little out of place or off the wall. But, you know as well as I that the congregation here on Sunday mornings is not made up of super-duper people with perfect lives. That’s not the reason for the smiles and laughter that we share as we gather in this place. In fact, you’re not the only one here today who’s come despite the struggles, who’s come carrying heavy burdens, who’s come with pain, or disappointment, or stress, or grief beyond compare. For one, it’s the fatigue that comes from constant caregiving and the many thankless jobs still needing to be done. For another, it’s the worry and stress caused by a difficult work situation or a boss who just doesn’t seem to understand. Someone else is finding it hard to get up in the morning because of a chronic illness, while another is aching with loneliness through the night because of a loved one who is no longer present. A young person … Read more »

December 4, 2011

Isaiah 40:1-11 Psalm 85 Mark 1:1-8 Peace before us, peace behind us, peace under our feet, Peace within us, peace over us, let us around us be peace. Advent is an appropriate season to spend time in prayer for peace. In the midst of the hustle and bustle of this busy month, we might pray for moments of peace, quiet, and calm in which to experience the presence of God in our lives. And we could pray for the gift of peace for those whose schedules keep them running, or whose “to do” lists are too long to complete in these few weeks. Remembering those who are weighed down by heavy responsibilities and stressful situations, we might pray for the gift of peace that relieves stress and reduces anxiety. We could pray for those who suffer from anxiety disorders, as well as for those who are experiencing stress-inducing circumstances. It would be appropriate also, for us to pray for peace in the lives of those who are struggling with brokenness in their relationships – for couples who feel stuck in cycles of conflict, for parents and children who cannot see eye to eye, for siblings, cousins, friends, and colleagues who are mis-communicating, mis-understanding, and so desperately need God’s help for reconciliation and peace. We might also think of so many people who are longing for peace in their own minds and hearts. For those wracked with guilt, we could pray for God’s forgiveness to lead them to healing and peace. … Read more »

December 11, 2011

John 1:1-14 – “The Word Made Flesh” This reflection followed a creative presentation of the Christmas story by the children of St. Andrew’s Church School. The Christmas story was told in an imaginative way – from the perspective of the inn keeper’s family and their neighbours down the street who were actively looking for God’s Messiah to come. I went to see Handel’s Messiah on Wednesday evening last week. It was presented, as usual, by the Saskatoon Symphony Chamber Orchestra and the Saskatoon Chamber Singers – the continuation of a wonderful Christmas tradition both here and around the world. Although I’ve listened to Handel’s Messiah many times before, and even sung in performances of the choruses in my youth, I was struck once again by the amazing musical settings of some of the most powerful and meaningful words of scripture that are so dear to us as Christians. One of the things that stood out was how many of the texts Handel chose were from the Old Testament – from the prophets. In our children’s Christmas play this morning, these would have been the prophetic texts that the father was trying to teach to his children, and that his daughter, Esther, was exploring. These were the texts that explained that God would send a Saviour, a Messiah, and that he would come as a child. And Esther and her father were waiting and watching for these texts to be fulfilled, for God’s promises to be granted. Behold, a virgin shall … Read more »

December 25, 2011

Isaiah 52:7-10 Hebrews 1:1-4 John 1:1-14 Children’s Message: Good morning, and Merry Christmas to all of you! I am so glad that you are here today. It is good to see you, and to shake your hands, and to be together to praise God on this Christmas morning! I wonder… have you ever been far away from someone you loved at a special time like Christmas? Maybe you sent that person a Christmas card, which is nice. Or maybe you even got to talk on the phone, which is even better. That’s what I’ll do with my parents and sisters and brother this Christmas. I’ll talk to them on the phone. That will be good, but not quite as good as actually being there – where you can see each other, and give each other hugs, and just spend time together. This year, Nick and I are going to fly to BC. We’re leaving this afternoon to visit Nick’s parents, and we’re looking forward to being with them. I wonder if you have anyone special visiting you this year… Does anyone have any special guests with them for Christmas? (We are so glad that you are here!) Now, to those of you who are hosting guests: When did you start to get excited about your visitors? Was it just today when you got up on Christmas morning? Or was it the day your guests arrived? Or was it the day you found out they were coming? It was earlier, wasn’t … Read more »