Sermon by the Rev. Amanda Currie Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10 Psalm 19 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a Luke 4:14-21 In the middle of our bible reading challenge here at St. Andrew’s, the lectionary has provided us with a wonderful set of readings on which to reflect and pray. The overarching theme in Nehemiah 8, in Psalm 19, and in our reading from Luke’s Gospel is the scriptures themselves — and in particular, the question of how we use and interpret the scriptures. The psalmist begins by making it clear that the scriptures are of utmost importance for God’s people. Of course, from the psalmist’s perspective, at least 500 to maybe 1000 years before the birth of Jesus, the scriptures consisted of the Law of Moses, perhaps as gathered together into the Torah — the rough equivalent of the first five books of our bibles today. The psalmist declares that the Law of the Lord is perfect. God’s decrees and precepts and ordinances are sure, and right, and true altogether. He thinks very highly of these texts and speaks of them with utmost respect and admiration and praise. And it’s not only that God’s commandments are true and right from the perspective of a wise and powerful God. The psalmist is arguing that they are actually useful for those who might read and pay attention to them. God’s laws revives the soul, the psalmist claims. God’s decrees make the reader wise. Paying attention to God’s precepts and commandments brings joy to your heart … Read more »
Acts 2:1-21 1 Corinthians 12:3b-13 The wind was blowing yesterday. It was slamming the screen door and rattling the blinds of my house. It was pushing my little red car as I drove along the freeway so that I had to hang on tight to the steering wheel. It was rustling through the branches of the trees and sending out showers of seeds through the air. And up above, it was streaking its way across the sky, playing with the clouds and creating an ever-changing display of God’s glory. It makes a lot of sense to me that the Spirit of God should be compared to a rushing wind… an invisible force that seems to come out of nowhere, but that makes its presence and power seen and heard by its effect on whatever it blows upon. I remember a friend in my church membership class years ago trying to describe what the Holy Spirit was. She said the Spirit is the “umph” I need to do and be what God is calling me to do and be. The Spirit is like the “divine shove” that disturbs us out of our resting places and moves us to start doing God’s work in the world. That definition fits pretty well when you think about the Spirit being poured out on the gathered disciples on that first Pentecost day after Jesus’ death and resurrection. They described the Spirit as a rushing wind swirling around them, as tongues of fire resting upon them. … Read more »
1 Corinthians 12:4-11 Hebrews 10:19-25 This morning’s “Gems of Encouragement” theme comes from the Christian Education Committee, with special thanks to Mary Jane Hanson for the idea and for taking care of many of the details. The committee decided that a focus on the spiritual gift of “encouragement” would be a wonderful way to start another educational year, as well as a good way to build up supportive relationships between the people in our church community. But when we first talked about doing this encouragement theme in September, I didn’t realize how many things would be coming together on this day. We are beginning a new year in the Church School, and we have a number of new teachers coming on board. We are ordaining three new elders who will join our session and serve in the leadership of our church. And we are announcing that we have hired a Pastoral Care Nurse for the congregation for the very first time. And simultaneous with all of these joyful and exciting beginnings, we are aware of the fact that today is the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States. In so many ways, “encouragement” seems like the right thing for us to be doing today. And so, setting aside the lectionary readings for today, I selected the passage from the book of Hebrews that Logan read for us this morning. I thought that the final verses (24-25) – originally written (or perhaps preached) to one of the … Read more »
Isaiah 62:1-5 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 John 2:1-11 “One Family of Faith” I’ve been looking forward to this week with great anticipation. Some people count down the days until Christmas. Some people count down the days until their birthdays. But I’ve been counting down the days until the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, and I am so pleased that it has finally arrived once again. It’s a typical third week of January in Saskatchewan, bitterly cold outside. But inside the churches of Saskatoon there is a great warmth, not only because the furnaces and boilers are working overtime, but because Christians of all backgrounds and denominations are gathering to pray, to sing, to share food and fellowship, and to celebrate together as one family of God. Some of you come from large families and know what it’s like to go to a big family reunion. Family reunions can be great celebrations, and they can be tricky to plan. As the family has grown, people have moved in different directions. They’ve spread out across the country or even the world. They’ve left behind some family traditions and created new ones. They’ve joined together with other families and blended cultures and ways of life. So when you get the family back together again there can be tensions. People have changed and grown while they’ve been apart, and may have different ideas about what it means to be a part of the family. But at the same time, there is something that binds … Read more »
Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a “Gather Around God’s Word” On Friday evening I attended the Ecumenical Jazz Service at St. Francis Xavier Parish. It was one of the special services planned for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity here in Saskatoon. It was a lovely service, with musical leadership provided by an excellent jazz trio of piano, double bass, and drums. Under the leadership of Pastor David Hunter from Augustana Lutheran Church, the Churches of the Broadway-Nutana area worked together to lead the worship. Before the Gospel reading, the congregation was invited to stand and sing a jazzy Alleluia in preparation for hearing the Gospel proclaimed. But when the song ended, the congregation waited, and no one stepped forward to do the reading. Something had fallen through the cracks in the planning, and there was no one ready to read. Realizing what had happened, David scrambled to solve the problem. And after glancing around, he asked the question of us all, “Does anyone have a Bible?” The Catholic Parish in which we were worshipping only had hymn books and prayer books in the pews and David didn’t have one on hand either. As I was just realizing that I could access the reading using the Bible App on my phone, another Lutheran pastor came forward with a bible in hand, looked up the text, and read it aloud for all to hear. I do carry a little bible around with me most of the time, and it … Read more »
Nehemiah 3:1-3, 5-6, 8-10 Psalm 19 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a “Interpreting the Scriptures Together” The overarching theme in most of this morning’s scripture readings is the scriptures themselves. In particular, it is the question of how we use and interpret the scriptures. The psalmist begins by making it clear that the scriptures are of utmost importance for God’s people. Of course, from the psalmist’s perspective, at least 500 to maybe 1000 years before the birth of Jesus, the scriptures consisted of the Law of Moses, perhaps as gathered together into the Torah — the rough equivalent of the first five books of our Bibles today. The psalmist declares that the Law of the Lord is perfect. God’s decrees and precepts and ordinances are sure, and right, and true altogether. He thinks very highly of these texts and speaks of them with utmost respect and admiration and praise. And it’s not only that God’s commandments are true and right from the perspective of a wise and powerful God. The psalmist is arguing that they are actually useful for those who might read and pay attention to them. God’s laws revive the soul, the psalmist claims. God’s decrees make the reader wise. Paying attention to God’s precepts and commandments brings joy to your heart and light (or understanding) to your eyes. The writer of this psalm feels so strongly about God’s Word that he hungers for it more than rich food or great wealth. It is the greatest gift of all. It was … Read more »
Listen to the 2016 Program Presentation This year the Session decided to include the Annual Program Meeting in Sunday worship. The convenors of the Program Committees (Christian Education, Outreach, Pastoral Care, Stewardship, and Worship) presented a skit to share about their activities over the past year and to present their program goals for 2016-2017. The skit was inspired by 1 Corinthians 12:12-31, in which Paul encourages the Corinthian Christians not to argue over who has the best spiritual gifts, but to value all the variety of members and their spiritual gifts that make up the Body of Christ.
Sermon by the Rev. Amanda Currie Deuteronomy 6:1-9 1 Corinthians 12:12-21 Listen to this Sermon: “Welcoming All Ages” This morning we continue to reflect on some of the wonderful qualities that are present in many congregations, including ours… acknowledging the gifts of “being the church” that we need to preserve so that we can continue to serve in the communities where we live. Today’s quality is “Welcoming All Ages” – a very appropriate one for this special day on which we have baptized baby Fraser, welcoming one of our youngest members to the church family, both of this congregation and of the whole church of which we are a part. I want to acknowledge the Rev. Emily Bisset, who wrote the study guide on the theme of “Being the Church” and whose sermon on “Welcoming All Ages” I adapted for today. Deuteronomy is a sort of guide for the Israelites as they finish their forty-year journey in the wilderness and get ready to inhabit the Promised Land. While they journeyed from slavery in Egypt to freedom, God was with them in visible and tangible ways. God provided manna to eat every morning and quails for their supper every evening. God went before the people as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Now that the people are about to enter the Promised Land, Moses tells them that there is a new way to remember God’s saving acts and also to sense God’s presence in … Read more »