May 18, 2008

Genesis 1:1 — 2:4a As I was planning our worship for today, I was thinking that we could simply have a wonderful celebration of God’s creation. It’s not very often that we read the whole of the Genesis 1 creation story in worship, and that setting of the reading that Adam read and sang for us today lifts my spirits in joy. When we practiced today’s choir anthem (The Lord of Everything) for the first time, it made me want to jump up and run outside — not because we didn’t sound great the first time through, but because it made me want to experience the beautiful creation that we were singing about. This theme in the lectionary, it seems, has arrived just in time for spring – when Saskatonians are finally getting outdoors again where we can see and appreciate the natural world. We’re reading and singing about God’s creation just at the time when many of us are starting to think about and plan for summer holidays. Personally, I’m looking forward to a trip through the mountains to BC later this summer. I can hardly wait to experience those wonderful mountain views and to really enjoy the natural environment that God made. But as I pointed out in the children’s story, God’s creation (which we gather to celebrate today) is severely distorted, extremely endangered, and ultimately at risk of being destroyed. And there’s no getting around the fact that the cause of the problem is us — humans. … Read more »

March 18, 2009 – Nutana Ecumenical Worship

The following sermon was preached by the Rev. Amanda Currie at Nutana Park Mennonite Church on the fourth Wednesday in Lent, 2009. It was part of a series of ecumenical worship services in the Nutana neighbourhood. Each service focused on a daily theme from the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, 2009. This day’s theme was from Day 4: “Christians face to face with ecological crisis”. Genesis 1:31 – 2:3 Matthew 13:31-32 I was at an ecumenical gathering on Monday evening, and we were talking about the renewal of the churches’ liturgy over the last 50 years or so. The question was asked, “What has changed in your church’s worship over the last 50 years?” Of course, there were lots of things that had changed. For some it was Latin to English. For others it was more frequent communion. For many it was the regular use of a common lectionary. But one person answered by saying that we don’t hear so much preaching about SIN anymore. You know, the kind of “Watch out! You’re going to hell if you don’t change your ways” kind of preaching that was heard from many Presbyterian and other pulpits not so many years ago. More recent students of preaching have been taught to emphasize God’s grace and love for us. Even in the midst of a sermon that challenges us to repent, to turn around our hearts and our lives to God’s ways, still we musn’t forget to proclaim the Good News of Jesus … Read more »

April 26, 2009

Genesis 1:26-31a Psalm 8 1 John 4:7-21 John 13:12-15, 34-35 I’ve never had a guitar lesson, per se. I learned to play a few basic chords on the guitar and to strum along to the beat of the music when I was 17 and I was working in the kitchen at the Presbyterian camp. The first song that I learned to play on the guitar was this one… sing along if you know it… Lead me, Jesus; I will follow,down the dusty pathways, all along the sea. Teach me, Jesus, to be loving: your disciple I will be. I’ve sung that song so many times over the years since then. And whenever I sing it, I wonder about what it might have been like to be one of Jesus’ disciples… one of his first disciples who travelled with him along the dusty roads, beside seashores and through little villages… shuffling through the crowds, and stopping to touch and to pray for the sick, listening and questioning, wondering about home and family, anticipating the next day’s adventure, sharing food & wine among friends and strangers, and meeting all kinds of unusual people. I imagine what it must have been like for his disciples not to know what would happen the next day, where they would end up, who they would meet along the way, what Jesus would ask them to do, or what surprising things he might teach them. In this season of Easter, I think about the unbelievable choices and … Read more »

June 19, 2011

Genesis 1:1 – 2:4a Psalm 8 2 Corinthians 13:11-13 Matthew 28:16-20 Today is Trinity Sunday, the only Sunday in the church year that calls us to ponder a teaching of the church rather than a teaching of Jesus. The scripture readings, of course, are carefully chosen to reflect the Three-in-One doctrine: God as Creator, Christ, and Holy Spirit. And the readings provide biblical backup for a non-scriptural word: Trinity. Although this mystery of God revealed in three ways is a core belief of Christianity, we struggle to explain it. Monotheistic Christians do back flips explaining why such a belief doesn’t make us polytheists. It sure sounds like we worship three Gods, while we claim that God is One. A reflection on water has often been used to provide insight into this baffling doctrine. At different temperatures, water exists as a gas, as a liquid, or as a solid. Water is one substance, but it has three very different forms. Is that helpful for wrapping our heads around our one God – Father, Son, and Spirit? Perhaps. A Lutheran pastor, Mary Anderson, in a reflection on the Trinity, describes a memorable experience of the Three-in-One. She was watching her grandmother sleep during her afternoon nap. As she contemplated the old woman’s existence, she thought wisely, “That’s Grandmamma, Mamma, and Odelle.” Mary’s grandmother smiled in her sleep as Mary called her by the names used for her by her grandchildren, her daughter, and her husband. Three names, three relationships – and yet … Read more »

June 15, 2014

Genesis 1:1 – 2:4a Psalm 8 Matthew 28:16-20 “Entrusted to Us” As many of you know, I spent the last two weeks in Toronto taking a course as part of my doctoral program. The topic of the course was “Theology of Ministry,” and its overall purpose was to assist each of us as students to develop our own theology of ministry as we understand it in our particular contexts and roles in Christian ministry. I titled my preliminary draft paper for the course, “Partners in the Ministry of Christ: A Presbyterian and Ecumenical Theology of Ministry.” My theology of ministry is rooted in a conviction that all Christian ministry is the ministry of Christ. The members of the church – the Body of Christ – all receive different gifts from the Holy Spirit, and are called and equipped to serve God in a variety of ways. Some are called to the Ministry of Word and Sacraments, to Ruling Eldership, or to Diaconal Ministry, and others are called to use their gifts and serve as lay people in a whole host of different ways – through music, teaching, evangelism, hospitality, generosity, healing, and many other ministries of leadership and service. Whenever Christians minister to one another or to the wider world we do so in the name of Christ, and our ministry is a part of Christ’s ministry. Towards the end of my course, we were beginning the morning with prayer and singing, and the scripture that morning was the one … Read more »