August 1, 2010

Colossians 3:1-11 Luke 12:13-21 Yesterday I was conducting a funeral for the mother of one of our church members. I didn’t know Eileen personally, but after listening to her family’s stories and recollections, this is one of the things that I said in my sermon: “I am told that Eileen never had a lot of money in her life, but I get the impression that her life was very, very rich.” You see, she was the kind of person who, when she had some money, spread it around. And when she needed money, she didn’t hesitate to ask her family for help. As I reflected on Eileen’s life, the rich man from Jesus’ story came to mind. Not that the two were alike. They were nearly opposites! But I thought about the richness of Eileen’s life (a richness that had nothing to do with possessions or wealth) and I wondered about how much the rich man must have missed out on in life. Yes, he seems to have acquired a lot of stuff and he’s stored it up in big barns, but there’s no mention of him having a family, or any friends, or belonging to a community. I kind of wonder who he was going to “eat, drink, and be merry” with… just his own self and all his stuff?! It doesn’t sound like much of a party to me. The simple message of today’s Gospel is the warning not to let our lives become like that of the … Read more »

December 30, 2012

Colossians 3:12-17 Psalm 148 Luke 2:41-52 On the back of this morning’s bulletin, Rev. Hans Kouwenberg describes this first Sunday after Christmas as “low Sunday.” And compared to the full church that we experienced here the last couple of Sundays and on Christmas Eve, today does feel a little low. The crowds are gone, just like the nearly-deserted temple in Jerusalem after the big pilgrimage festival was over. But like Jesus, who would spend his life in and out of the temple and the synagogues, learning more and more about God and the will of God for human people, we will continue to gather here week by week, and learn day by day about God and God’s will for our lives. Even though the crowds have dispersed somewhat, the scriptures today “won’t let us get away with any lowering of our praise,” as Kouwenberg put it. Whether or not we have with us a well-rehearsed choir or a huge congregation, we must continue to join with the whole of creation in praising God as today’s psalm encourages us: “Young men and women alike, old and young together! Let us praise the name of the Lord, for he alone is exalted; his glory is above earth and heaven. He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his faithful, for the people… who are close to him.” On this first Sunday after Christmas, we continue to praise God for the wonder of the incarnation, for the amazing gift … Read more »

August 4, 2013

Hosea 11:1-11 Colossians 3:1-11 Luke 12:12-21 “A Roar of Warning” The Bible is full of great metaphors. Last Sunday we had the metaphor of God as a faithful, loving, and forgiving husband to God’s people who are like an unfaithful spouse. But this week, as we continue with another passage from the prophet Hosea, the metaphor changes. God is now a parent – an adoptive parent – and God’s People Israel, is the child. As we listen, God is recalling God’s relationship with this beloved child: “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son… I taught him to walk, and took them up in my arms… I led them with cords of human kindness, with bands of love. I was to them like those who lift infants to their cheeks. I bent down to them and fed them.” God sounds just like any parent reminiscing about the wonderful moments of child-rearing. Like so many parents, God remembers being present with God’s children, helping them along the way, rejoicing in their successes, comforting them in trouble, and working so hard to make sure that they have everything they need. But God’s reminiscences come out of an experience of despair and anguish because the child that God loved and nurtured has now turned away. Like a teenager who has run away, or a young adult who has cut herself off from continuing relationship with her parents, Israel has turned away from God, and God … Read more »

December 27, 2015

Luke 2:41-52 Colossians 3:12-17 “We Belong to God’s Family” It often happens when I am preparing to conduct a funeral. I am thinking about what I should say in order to proclaim the Gospel in the context of the life of one individual follower of Jesus. I am reflecting on what I know about that person’s life, and the stories I have heard from the family, and the stories that will be shared as part of the eulogy or tribute. I sometimes begin to wonder about what stories might be told and shared at the end of my life. And if there was only one story, what would it be? And what would it reveal about the meaning and purpose of my life? We are blessed to be able to share more than one story to remember and celebrate the complexity of our lives in this world, and we are blessed to have many, many stories passed on to us about the life of Jesus – the One whose way we seek to follow with our lives. But we only have one story about Jesus as a child. One story, carefully chosen… that reveals a great deal about who he was and the person he was becoming as he moved into adulthood. One story that can teach us a great deal about the way of Christ that we are called to follow. Both at funerals and at Christmas, we hear very often that “family” is the most important thing. Our … Read more »

July 17, 2016

Listen to this Sermon Colossians 3:12-17 Psalm 103:1-14 Matthew 18:21-35 “The Fruit of the Spirit is PATIENCE” Preaching on the Fruit of the Spirit this summer is turning out to be an interesting adventure. Instead of being tied to the lectionary readings, I have been set free to explore a different theme each Sunday… always beginning with some pondering about which Scripture passages to select that will speak to that theme most appropriately. On the subject of PATIENCE, the fourth fruit of the Spirit, I began by just exploring the definitions. I found that phrase that I shared with the children this morning – “waiting without complaining,” and I found much more. The Greek word used in Galatians 5:22 about the Fruit of the Spirit is μακροθυμία (macrothumia) which can be translated either as “patience” or “long-suffering.” Just that alternate translation highlights something about what patience is all about, doesn’t it? Long-suffering. How about this definition? “The quality of being willing to bear adversities, calm endurance of misfortune.” Or how about this one? “Patience requires endurance, constancy, steadfastness, and perseverance; especially as shown in bearing troubles.” As I read more, I found that many commentators wanted to separate out different kinds of patience – patience with the circumstances of life (like the patience of someone stuck in traffic, or more seriously, living with a chronic illness); patience with God (like the patience of someone waiting for an answer to prayer, or waiting for some direction in life); or patience with … Read more »

January 29, 2017

Sermon by the Rev. Amanda Currie 1 Samuel 18:1-5 Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Colossians 3:12-17 John 15:12-17 Listen to this Sermon “Wisdom for Friendship” In this mini-series on the Book of Proverbs, it has been interesting to take a look at one of the wisdom books of the Hebrew Scriptures to which we don’t often pay a lot of attention. Two weeks ago, we reflected on the book in a general sense, exploring its purpose and potential usefulness for us today. Rather than trying to read whole chapters of the book in a single sitting, I suggested taking individual proverbs (just a verse or two in length) and reflecting first on how we may have experienced the proverb to be true, followed by asking ourselves what the proverb may be calling us to do, change, or focus on in our daily lives in response to its wisdom. Last week, I chose a particular theme that comes up frequently in Proverbs – “the fear of the Lord” that is described as the beginning of wisdom. We remembered God’s holiness and Jesus’ call to us to be perfect as God is perfect. Although we can be realistic and admit that we won’t reach perfection in this life, we were challenged by the reminder that God does have great expectations of us, and that God will judge us. Yes, forgiving us too, but continuing to work on us until we begin to reflect the goodness and love of God-self in the world. This morning’s theme … Read more »