March 29, 2009

Sermon by the Rev. Amanda Currie Jeremiah 31:31-34 John 12:20-33 The prophetic text from Jeremiah 31 that we heard this morning tells us about a “new covenant” – a new relationship that God makes with God’s people. This promise came at a time when Israel was in exile in Babylon, having lost all the things that made Israel God’s people and a nation. Gone was their land, their temple, and their king… all the things that had come to them on the promises of God. And Jeremiah was telling them that they had lost all these things because of their unfaithfulness to God… because they had turned away to other gods and idols. But even in this time of despair, when they came face-to-face with the fact that they had failed in their relationship with God and the result was exile… God spoke through the prophet Jeremiah to the exiles, and God announced that there would be a new covenant. God was going to establish a new relationship with God’s people. The new covenant was going to be different from the one God made with Israel at Sinai after bringing the people out of slavery in Egypt. Remember that covenant? — the one that we associate with the ten commandments? There were two essential elements in that earlier covenant: First, God chose the Hebrew People (former slaves) to be in a special relationship with God. It was on God’s initiative that the people were given this opportunity to be the … Read more »

March 21, 2010

Isaiah 43:16-21 Psalm 126 Philippians 3:4b-14 John 12:2-8 The St. Andrew’s choir, under Gill’s direction, is practicing one of my favourite anthems to share during the Good Friday service in a couple of weeks. I’ve been carrying both the melody and the words of the song around in my head recently. It goes like this: Here I am to worship. Here I am to bow down. Here I am to say that you’re my God. You’re altogether lovely,altogether worthy, altogether wonderful to me. Although Mary of Bethany didn’t sing a song to Jesus, and she didn’t express her feelings in words, I imagine that she would have been able to relate to that expression of praise. While Martha showed her devotion to Jesus by serving him a beautiful meal, and Lazarus expressed his commitment by sitting at the table and listening to Jesus, Mary decided to demonstrate her love with an extravagant act of giving, with the intimate act of anointing. “She took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” I guess I can understand Judas’ objection to what Mary did. Whether or not he had ulterior motives, he had a good point to make – that the perfume could have been sold for 300 denarii and the money given to the poor. A denarius was approximately the daily wage for an average worker in Jesus’ time. So … Read more »

October 16, 2011

Isaiah 58:6-11 Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19 John 12:1-8 Luke 6:17-31 Tomorrow – October 17th – has been designated as the “International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.” And here in our city, the Saskatoon Anti-Poverty Coalition is hosting its 8th Annual “Poverty Awareness Week,” with special events being planned throughout the week to raise consciousness about poverty in our community, as well as to encourage those who live in poverty as they continue their daily struggle. Last year was the first time (in my almost 8 years of living in Saskatoon) that I participated in the “Hands Across the Water” event during “Poverty Awareness Week.” “Hands Across the Water” is a kind of symbolic act. People gather at the bottom of the Broadway Bridge. Then we line up, and join hands as we walk up the bridge, with the goal of being able to reach to the other side. We come together as people of all socio-economic levels, and we join hands to combat poverty, to reach across the troubled waters that so many people experience because of poverty. We recognize that poverty is an issue that affects us all – both the West side and East side of Saskatoon – and that together we can overcome it. They told us last year that we managed to reach further than we had ever reached before, and there was lots of rejoicing and cars honking their horns as they drove by. But I was near the front of the line, and I … Read more »

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, 2012

Habakkuk 3:17-19 1 Corinthians 15:51-58 John 12:23-26 A sermon preached by the Rev. Amanda Currie and Nicholas Jesson at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Saskatoon and St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, Humboldt on January 29, 2012. In the introduction to the ecumenical service for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity this year, the Polish authors of the material emphasize the theme of transformation. Using the main biblical text from 1 Corinthians 15, they speak boldly and hopefully about the transformation that awaits us when our lives in this world come to an end. With the foundational conviction that Christ was raised from death to life forevermore with God, the Apostle Paul proclaims the good news that precisely because Christ is raised, those who love him and follow him will also be raised. We too will be transformed from death to life, not because of our own goodness or power, but because of the victory of our Lord Jesus Christ. “Listen, I will tell you a mystery!” Paul explains it, “We will not all die, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled: ‘Death has … Read more »

March 25, 2012

John 12:20-33 In the Lectionary Story Bible that I read from with the children this morning, there’s a note to parents and leaders just after today’s readings. “Each of the Gospels,” it explains, “tells the key story of Jesus’ crucifixion… The sixth Sunday in Lent was traditionally observed as ‘Palm Sunday” focusing on the story of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. In order that people may also hear the story of Jesus’ crucifixion, many churches focus this Sunday on the story of Jesus’ death as well.” And here’s the warning to parents and leaders: “Please read this story carefully before you share it with children. Some of them may find it upsetting.” Some of them may find it upsetting. Imagine that! It’s the story of Jesus – and they’ve heard about him often enough. He’s the one who loves children and welcomes them. He’s the one who heals people and multiplies a feast so that everyone is well fed. He’s the one that they are told loves them, and they are encouraged to love him also. And now, in this rather upsetting story, Jesus is being unjustly accused, unfairly arrested, shockingly tortured, and ultimately killed on a cross. It’s not surprising that some children might be upset. Some adults might get riled up by it too, if we’re paying attention. I think the problem is that we’ve gotten so used to the death of Jesus. We’ve come to expect it, and even to accept it. It doesn’t shock or horrify … Read more »

March 17, 2013

Philippians 3:4b-14 John 12:1-8 “Costly Love” You know, the choir has been practicing for weeks now for this special anthem for Easter Sunday. We’ve still got a couple more practices on it, and many of us are practicing our parts at home too. When Easter Sunday comes, it’ll take us about three minutes to sing it and then it will be over. What a waste! And what do you think about those grandmothers… the ones who spend all day shopping, and preparing, and cooking a fabulous meal for their kids and grandkids? Everyone shows up to the house at 5:30 on Sunday evening, and by 6:30 it’s all gone. Not a scrap left when the grandsons get up from the table. What a waste! Or think about all the planning and expense that goes towards sending a youth group on a mission trip… the fundraising, the organizing, the preparing, the packing. All that work, all that effort… and five days or ten days or two weeks later it’s all over and they’re back home again. What a waste! And then there’s Mary of Bethany… working, and saving, choosing the perfume and buying it with practically a year’s worth of wages. Yes, she could have used that money to help the poor instead. She could have bought an awful lot of bread with 300 denarii. But instead she “took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled … Read more »

March 22, 2015

Jeremiah 31:31-34 John 12:20-33 “Written on our Hearts” The prophetic text from Jeremiah 31 that we heard this morning tells us about a “new covenant” – a new relationship that God makes with God’s people. This promise came at a time when Israel was in exile in Babylon, having lost all the things that made Israel God’s people and a nation. Gone was their land, their temple, and their king… all the things that had come to them on the promises of God. And Jeremiah was telling them that they had lost all these things because of their unfaithfulness to God… because they had turned away to other gods and idols. But even in this time of despair, when the people came face-to-face with the fact that they had failed in their relationship with God and the result was exile… God spoke through the prophet Jeremiah to the exiles, and God announced that there would be a new covenant. God was going to establish a new relationship with God’s people. The new covenant was going to be different from the one God made with Israel at Sinai after bringing the people out of slavery in Egypt. Remember that covenant? — the one that we associate with the ten commandments? There were two essential elements in that earlier covenant: First, God chose the Hebrew People (former slaves) to be in a special relationship with God. It was on God’s initiative that the people were given this opportunity to be the people … Read more »

March 18, 2018

Jeremiah 31:31-34 John 12:20-33 “Written on our Hearts” The prophetic text from Jeremiah 31 that we heard this morning tells us about a “new covenant” – a new relationship that God makes with God’s people. This promise came at a time when Israel was in exile in Babylon, having lost all the things that made Israel God’s people and a nation. Gone was their land, their temple, and their king… all the things that had come to them on the promises of God. And Jeremiah was telling them that they had lost all these things because of their unfaithfulness to God… because they had turned away to other gods and idols. But even in this time of despair, when the people came face-to-face with the fact that they had failed in their relationship with God and the result was exile… God spoke through the prophet Jeremiah to the exiles, and God announced that there would be a new covenant. God was going to establish a new relationship with God’s people. The new covenant was going to be different from the one God made with Israel at Sinai after bringing the people out of slavery in Egypt. Remember that covenant? — the one that we associate with the ten commandments? We talked about it just a couple of weeks ago. There were two essential elements in that earlier covenant: First, God chose the Hebrew People (former slaves) to be in a special relationship with God. It was on God’s initiative that … Read more »