October 5, 2008

Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 11-20Matthew 21:33-46 A few weeks ago, I caught an episode of The Simpsons on TV. Some of you likely watch The Simpsons (an animated program for adults), and others of you may find the show annoying or even rude. But those of you who do enjoy The Simpsons probably appreciate it as a humorous social commentary. If you want to have a good discussion about politics, education, the environment, family life, or religion, an episode of The Simpsons can often be a good discussion starter. Anyway, the episode that I watched a few weeks ago began with a scene about the Hebrews camping out in the wilderness. While Moses is up on the mountain talking to God, we meet some of the Hebrew men down below. First, there is an artist — a sculptor. He’s working on his latest creation (a beautiful golden calf) and he’s already praising it as if it were a god. Then there’s his friend who’s obviously a player. He just isn’t a “one woman man,” you might say. And then there’s the character represented by Homer Simpson. His pockets are full of other people’s stuff. He’s a pick pocket and a thief, and he’s pretty good at what he does. But all of a sudden Moses shows up. He’s just down from his latest conversation with God, and God has given him some rules for the people to follow. Moses says, “You shall not make for yourself an idol… you shall not … Read more »

March 15, 2009

Sermon by the Rev. Amanda Currie Exodus 20:1-17 Psalm 19 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 John 2:13-22 Has anyone ever scoffed at your faith or laughed at your religion? Have you ever gotten into a debate over the existence of God or the usefulness of practicing your faith? Many of us Christians have engaged in those kinds of conversations or debates many times over the years. And sometimes we’ve left them feeling frustrated because we couldn’t think of many great arguments in favour of Christianity. Or we’ve left them feeling guilty because we got angry with a person who couldn’t seem to accept our perspective. Or perhaps, once in a while, we’ve finished those conversations feeling good about the experience because we got a chance to share our faith – not to defend it or to justify it, but simply to tell our neighbour what we believe about God and how our beliefs affect our lives. I don’t know very many Presbyterians who aren’t scared to death of sharing their faith with their neighbours, co-workers, and friends. And one reason for that may be because of past negative experiences — when they seemed to lose the debate, when they left the conversation feeling angry, hurt, guilty, or like a failure. It’s like how I tend to avoid getting into debates about controversial topics like religion with my brothers-in-law. I know those conversations never end well, so I figure it’s better to avoid them altogether and to stay on good terms. I think … Read more »

March 8, 2015

Exodus 20:1-17 “Commandments” Cast your mind back, if you will, to your school days. And see if you can remember the strictest teacher you had. Remember a teacher who ruled his/her classroom with an iron fist, where the students behaved and got their work done because they knew that if they didn’t, there would be consequences. I can’t help but think of Madame Méchin, my grade eight French teacher. We called her Madame Méchant when she wasn’t around – the French word for “mean, nasty, or miserable.” I remember her with her hair pulled very tightly back in a bun, and I don’t remember her smiling. Like the other students, I was pretty scared of Madame Méchin, though I’m not sure what I thought she would to us. But I worked really hard to make sure that my homework was done, and that I was ready to answer her questions (though I hoped she wouldn’t call on me). And I definitely wasn’t going to get caught speaking English in her class. I certainly had other teachers over the years who chose different methods and styles of teaching (some of whom I liked very much), but Madame Méchin’s strict method definitely worked. And even though we thought she was “mean” and “nasty” she taught us well so that even those of us who didn’t keep at it and become bilingual can still “comprendre quel qu’un qui parle en francais, et souvenir assez de mots pour communiqué avec un francophone.” At times … Read more »

January 22, 2017

Sermon by the Rev. Amanda Currie Exodus 20:18-20 Psalm 111 Matthew 10:26-33 Listen to this Sermon “The Fear of the Lord” One of the significant themes in the Book of Proverbs is the “Fear of the Lord,” so I thought it would be a good topic for a sermon during our series on “Pondering Proverbs.” As you pondered some proverbs over the last week, perhaps you came across some of the ones that argue that a healthy fear of God is the proper attitude for human beings. Of course, there is the famous one from Proverbs 9:10 that is matched by the final line in this morning’s Psalm 111: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” In a book absolutely brimming with wise words and insightful advice, it suggests that the first place to start in growing in wisdom in our lives is with a proper attitude towards God and God’s commands. From other verses in the book we learn that fearing God means hating evil, pride, and arrogance (Pr. 8:13). Indeed, fearing God will help us to avoid evil (Pr. 16:6). We are told that the fear of the Lord prolongs life (Pr. 10:27), that it is a fountain of life (Pr. 14:27) that it gives us strong confidence (Pr. 14:26), and allows us to rest secure and suffer no harm (Pr. 19:23). And in another verse, we learn that the reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honour and life (Pr. … Read more »

March 4, 2018

Exodus 20:1-17 John 2:13-22 “The Gift of the Commandments” Cast your mind back, if you will, to your school days. And see if you can remember the strictest teacher you had. Remember a teacher who ruled his/her classroom with an iron fist, where the students behaved and got their work done because they knew that if they didn’t, there would be consequences. I can’t help but think of Madame Méchin, my grade eight French teacher. We called her Madame Méchant when she wasn’t around – the French word for “mean, nasty, or miserable.” I remember her with her hair pulled very tightly back in a bun, and I don’t remember her smiling. Like the other students, I was pretty scared of Madame Méchin, though I’m not sure what I thought she would to us. But I worked really hard to make sure that my homework was done, and that I was ready to answer her questions (though I hoped she wouldn’t call on me). And I definitely wasn’t going to get caught speaking English in her class. I certainly had other teachers over the years who chose different methods and styles of teaching (some of whom I liked very much), but Madame Méchin’s strict method definitely worked. And even though we thought she was “mean” and “nasty” she taught us well so that even those of us who didn’t keep at it and become bilingual can still “comprendre quel qu’un qui parle en francais, et souvenir assez de mots pour … Read more »