May 3, 2015

Acts 8:26-40 1 John 4:7-21 “Mission as Evangelism” Have you ever wondered what happened to the Ethiopian man after Philip baptized him beside the road and then disappeared from sight? The story in the Book of Acts doesn’t tell us, but the tradition is that he carried the gospel back home to Ethiopia and founded the church there. I’ve always liked this little story in Acts 8 because it’s very personal – it’s the story of how one person heard and began to understand the good news about Jesus Christ because a believer took the time to listen, to share, and to discuss it with him. But it’s also the story of the gospel going out into all the earth. Once the disciples had received the gift of the Holy Spirit and the power to proclaim the gospel in all the languages of the world, it began to spread… throughout countries and cultures, crossing borders, and being shared from one person to another, from one community to another – the fulfillment of the mission that Jesus gave to his disciples. Even as we gather here to worship nearly two thousand years later, we might pause and give thanks for those first evangelists like Philip, and like the Ethiopian man whose name we don’t even know. Because it was through their witness, through their courage, and through their listening to the Spirit’s guiding that the gospel spread, and eventually that each of us came to know that we are God’s children, … Read more »

April 29, 2018

Acts 8:26-40 John 15:1-8 “The Source” Oh, my goodness! This is a difficult time in which to live. Perhaps every generation says that, as we experience the challenges of life and the troubles of the world around us. But right now, it just seems that we are faced with one tragedy after another, so much senseless violence, and no end in sight! The Rev. Matthew Sams, who serves at Willowdale Presbyterian Church, just around the corner from the van attack in Toronto that killed 10 people last week, wrote and shared this prayer last Monday: Mangled Crumpled Twisted Bloody Screeching Silent weeping Hands clasping Hearts racing… Knees bent in service to comfort the wounded Knees bent in prayer to summon peace Sitting on my couch, the news is on, a curtain torn in the temple of my heart admitting the world’s pain. Death has its own schedule A withered hand reaching in to steal away life But you, you are the giver of life Therefore, we lift up to you those who have died on this day when violence erupted. There is no making sense of their death, there is no justice available in this moment. Yet may those who love them be comforted. There will be no raising today as for the sons of the widows of Zarephath and of Nain. Yet we are a people who know about Death. All our hope rests in Christ, the first fruits of the Resurrection. We lift up to you those whose … Read more »