August 29, 2010

Jeremiah 2:4-13 Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16 Luke 14:1, 7-14 Earlier this year, when the Olympic Torch Relay came through Saskatoon, I stood in the middle of the crowd gathered on the street outside the church (at Spadina & 20th) to watch the show and prepare to welcome the torch runners into our community. I enjoyed the first part of the presentation very much. There were local choirs singing, and Native groups sharing traditional drumming and singing as well. It was nice to be able to host these groups, as they were using our church basement to put on their costumes and get ready. And it was remarkably warm for a Monday in January, so being outside in the crowd of Saskatoon citizens was surprisingly comfortable. But my reaction changed as the presentation went on – as the Olympic sponsors RBC and Coca-Cola took over the show. They certainly had some spectacular things to share… There was an artist who spun his canvas round and round as he painted with his hands, and created a beautiful picture within only a few minutes. And there were some very talented dancers and acrobats, who jumped and flipped and balanced and flew across the stage in some truly amazing ways. But while the dancers dazzled the crowd, a huge bottle of coke flitted across the stage too, and the music and lyrics encouraged us all to buy the product (Coke) and “open happiness!” The bubbly, sugary drink was being touted as a source of happiness. … Read more »

September 1, 2013

“I am For You” Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16 This morning’s passage from the Book of Hebrews consists of short admonitions for Christian living. The specific topics include mutual love, hospitality, solidarity with prisoners, sexual morality, wealth, community leaders, and generosity. Similar instructions can be found in many of the other letters of the New Testament, comparable lists of things for Christians to do and to avoid doing. Reading these admonitions sometimes makes me think of something Jesus said according to the Gospel of Matthew: “Be perfect therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” These are the high standards that God upholds for those who would follow the way of Jesus: We must strive to be generous, kind, hospitable, pure, and humble. When we decided to follow Jesus, this is what we were signing up for – a life of turning again and again towards his way, of becoming more and more like him – of serving, and giving, and being for others. Earlier this summer, I preached on the Parable of the Good Samaritan. You remember the story Jesus told about the man who fell into the hands of robbers, and the three others who came along the road, saw him lying there nearly dead, and how each of them responded. Interestingly, it was the religious ones – the priest and the Levite – who saw the man in his need and passed by on the other side of the road. It was the Samaritan, an outsider and rejected person himself, … Read more »