Christmas Memorial Sermon – November 28, 2007

The following sermon was preached at the annual Christmas Memorial Service for St. John’s Columbarium on November 28, 2007. The service took place at St. John’s Cathedral in Saskatoon, SK. Isaiah 9:2-7Psalm 139:1-18John 1:1-14 I have a vivid memory of a school trip to the Maritimes when I was nine years old. We were visiting a small town in Acadia, and we were billeted with local families. The room I slept in those few nights was in the basement of my billet’s home. It had a small window, but being on the edge of town there wasn’t much light outside to come in through the window at night. In the middle of the first night, I woke up because I needed to go to the bathroom. The room was so dark that I couldn’t see my own hand in front of my face, and it took me a moment to remember where I was — that I wasn’t at home in my own bed. Once I realized where I was, I also realized that finding my way to the bathroom was not going to be easy. But I couldn’t wait till morning, so I got up and started feeling my way towards where I thought I’d find the light switch. I found a wall. I found a corner. But I didn’t find a switch. Frantically, I started searching for the door. Where was it? I was starting to feel trapped. I strained my eyes, opening them as wide as I … Read more »

January 27, 2008

Isaiah 9:1-4Psalm 27:1-61 Corinthians 1:10-18Matthew 4:12-23 Today’s Gospel reading is about the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry in Galilee. The author of Matthew’s Gospel tells us that Jesus left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum in order to fulfil the words of the prophet Isaiah:“Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali,on the road by the sea, across the Jordan,Galilee of the Gentiles —the people who sat in darknesshave seen a great light,and for those who sat in the region and shadow of deathlight has dawned.” Later, John’s Gospel will have Jesus identify himself as “the light of the world.” And here, Matthew describes the work that Jesus is about to begin in Galilee as like a light shining into darkness, as like the sun rising for those who are in danger of death. Jesus begins his proclamation of the reign of God, and it’s like a light has been switched on. The things Jesus says, and the way Jesus acts, and the person Jesus is in the world, help the people he encounters to start seeing things differently. He both pronounces God’s high expectations of each of us, and embodies God’s amazing love and forgiveness for even the least among us. Jesus is the light that reveals who God is, how God loves us, and how God calls us to live in loving relationship with God and with one another. The Gospel tells us that from that time Jesus began to proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come … Read more »

December 24, 2009

Sermon by the Rev. Amanda Currie Isaiah 9:2-7 Titus 2:11-14 Gwen: Well, it’s Christmas Eve tonight, and just like every year, we’re celebrating… blah, blah, blah… Jesus was born… blah, blah, blah… I’m sure you’ve all heard the story a million times before. Maybe we should just skip to the Christmas prayers so we can get out of here. Amanda: Um, Gwen, is something wrong? Don’t you want to preach about the wonder of Jesus’ birth into our world? Gwen: I don’t know, Amanda… what would I say? We’ve all heard the story before about how Jesus was born, and the angels sang, and the shepherds came all excited to visit the baby. Babies are nice and all… but how can we keep getting excited about a baby that was born more than 2000 years ago? Amanda: Don’t you think Jesus’ birth has relevance for us today? Gwen: I can see how Jesus’ birth would have been exciting back then. I mean, Jesus came into a time and place when people really needed his help. His own people, the Jews, were living under Roman rule and things were really tough for them. The pax Romana was supposed to be good for everyone in the Empire, but the reality was that it was only good for the rich and the elite, and it required everyone to give allegiance to and even to worship the Emperor. The Jews, who believed in one God only had a lot of trouble with this kind … Read more »

December 24, 2013

Isaiah 9:2-7 “Lighting Up the World” On Christmas Day 1531, the Reformation theologian Martin Luther, preached from the Christmas story at the morning service and from Isaiah 9 at the afternoon service. He began the afternoon sermon by quickly recalling that the congregation had heard the Christmas story earlier in the day. He told them that they would not hear it again; rather, they would learn how to make use of it. And then Luther turned to the words of the prophet Isaiah, “For a child has been born for us, a son given to us.” Well, here at St. Andrew’s I only get one Christmas Eve service, you only get one sermon, and I thought it might be a nice change to preach from the prophet’s words. You also have heard the Christmas story before… many times over the years, probably a few times in this season, and even once tonight as Ryan and Matthew read the account from the Gospel of Luke. Most of you have likely heard the text from Isaiah 9 a few times before also. Every Christmas, it is matched up with the Gospel stories about Jesus’ birth, and usually read without further comment. If you’re like me, the sound of Handel’s Messiah rings in your ears as the prophet’s words are proclaimed: “For unto us a child is born. Unto us a son is given. Unto us a son is given…” And as we sing or listen to those words, we are thinking of … Read more »

June 26, 2016

Listen to this Sermon Isaiah 9:1-7 Galatians 5:16-25 1 Peter 1:3-9 Luke 15:1-10 “The Fruit of the Spirit is JOY” In Paul’s letter to the Galatian Church, he tells one of the first communities of Christians not to gratify the desires of the flesh, but to “live by the Spirit” and “be guided by the Spirit.” I think what he’s talking about is how we make decisions. I think he’s talking about little decisions and big decisions… decisions about what to do on a particular day, and decisions about what to do with our wholes lives… decisions about relationships and decisions about behaviours. Paul explains that we can either let our flesh guide our decisions, or we can let the Spirit guide our decisions. We can go for whatever will produce immediate pleasure, or we can let God guide us to what is right and good. Paul says that “the works of the flesh are obvious.” These are the negative things that will show up in our lives if our decisions are directed by our flesh: “fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these.” And he warns them, as he has done before, that “those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Sunday after Sunday, we acknowledge that some of the things on that list, and perhaps other negative attitudes and behaviours, continue to be a part of each of our lives and the life … Read more »

December 24, 2016

Sermon by the Rev. Amanda Currie Isaiah 9:2-7 Titus 2:11-14 John 1:1-14 Listen to this Sermon “Being Lights” The other day I was reading an attempt at a historical account of Jesus’ birth. It was the kind of piece in which the researcher tries to match up the events described in the Gospels with the history of the nations and kings of the era in order to “place” the birth narratives in their historical context. And similar to other scholars, this one estimated that Jesus was likely born in September of the year 5 BCE. So, for centuries, we’ve been celebrating Christmas at the wrong time of year! Oops! Well, it’s not exactly an “oops.” It’s not that anyone actually sat down and figured that Jesus was born in late December before setting our celebrations at this time of year. When the date was decided, I don’t imagine that anyone was particularly worried about determining an accurate birthday for Jesus. The point was to mark his coming into our world and its life-changing, world-transforming significance. You’ve probably heard that the earliest Christmas celebrations were held in conjunction with pagan festivals marking the Winter Solstice. The idea was to provide Christians with a festive celebration rooted in the faith so that they wouldn’t be tempted to join in the fun and frivolity of the pagan parties. Contemporary Christmas celebrations show marks of those other religious influences… Christmas trees covered with lights, Christmas wreaths, Yule logs, and more. The date for the … Read more »

November 5, 2017

Isaiah 9:2-7 Romans 12:9-21 John 14:15-18, 25-27 “As far as it depends on you…” This sermon was prepared by the Rev. Amanda Currie with input from the Saskatchewan Presbyterian Youth who were reflecting on the theme of peace during their weekend retreat at First Presbyterian Church November 3-5, 2017. This weekend First Church was pleased to host the Saskatchewan Presbyterian Youth event which was all about PEACE. And we are pleased this morning to have the SPY youth participating in worship leadership on this Remembrance Sunday. When we began to discuss PEACE this weekend, we came up with the following definitions of PEACE… What is Peace? A state in which there is no war or fighting A quiet and calm state A state in which a person is not bothered by thoughts or feelings of doubt, guilt, or worry. Tranquility A feeling of being safe, protected, and relaxed A sense of purpose and direction in life Being alone, but not lonely An end to violence and conflict Understanding and respect between people Very difficult to achieve Unfortunately, peace is not something that we notice happening in our world very much. If we watch the news, we are much more aware of war and conflict and violence, and rarely do we hear about “peace breaking out.” When we talked about war and violence in the world today, these are some of the places and situations that came to our minds. These are some of the people that are in our prayers … Read more »