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 11, 2012

John 2:13-22 Today’s Gospel story is usually referred to as “the cleansing of the temple.” It’s the dramatic story, repeated in all four of the Gospels, in which Jesus enters the great temple in Jerusalem and makes a scene. He finds people in the temple selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. He makes a whip of cords and drives all of them out. He pours out the coins and topples the tables. He yells, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” You’ve probably heard the story before once or twice. Maybe you’ve thought about how strange it is to imagine Jesus getting angry, and been reminded perhaps that even God gets angry when bad things are happening. Perhaps you’ve read a bit about what these practices were all about. You’ve noticed that the story takes place at Passover, one of the great pilgrimage festivals. Jewish people would have travelled from all over Judah and Israel and sometimes even further to worship at the temple and celebrate God’s great love and protection of God’s people at the Passover. When the pilgrims arrived at the temple they would want to make sacrifices of thanksgiving to God. Since they were travelling from afar, they wouldn’t be able to bring animals along with them. They needed cattle, sheep, and doves for these offerings, so they would purchase them on their way in to the temple. And since they needed to make … Read more »

January 20, 2013

Isaiah 62:1-5 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 John 2:1-11 “One Family of Faith” I’ve been looking forward to this week with great anticipation. Some people count down the days until Christmas. Some people count down the days until their birthdays. But I’ve been counting down the days until the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, and I am so pleased that it has finally arrived once again. It’s a typical third week of January in Saskatchewan, bitterly cold outside. But inside the churches of Saskatoon there is a great warmth, not only because the furnaces and boilers are working overtime, but because Christians of all backgrounds and denominations are gathering to pray, to sing, to share food and fellowship, and to celebrate together as one family of God. Some of you come from large families and know what it’s like to go to a big family reunion. Family reunions can be great celebrations, and they can be tricky to plan. As the family has grown, people have moved in different directions. They’ve spread out across the country or even the world. They’ve left behind some family traditions and created new ones. They’ve joined together with other families and blended cultures and ways of life. So when you get the family back together again there can be tensions. People have changed and grown while they’ve been apart, and may have different ideas about what it means to be a part of the family. But at the same time, there is something that binds … Read more »

January 17, 2016

John 2:1-11 “Keep the Party Going” On Friday afternoon, the Presbytery of Northern Saskatchewan gathered for a celebration at Mistawasis Memorial Presbyterian Church on the Mistawasis First Nation. Well, first we had a meeting to do our usual work of overseeing the ministers and congregations within the bounds of our presbytery. But then members of the Mistawasis congregation joined us for a celebratory service led by the Rev. Beverley Shepansky, followed by a potluck supper and a time of fellowship. The reason for the party was to celebrate Bev’s ministry together with the elders and congregation at Mistawasis on the occasion of her retirement. And Bev preached about the Wedding at Cana, about Jesus turning water into wine, and about God saving the best for last… bringing out the best wine at the end of the party, and finally sending Jesus to be God’s loving, incarnate presence in the world. It was a good party, with abundant food, good conversation, gifts shared, thanksgiving expressed, and stories of the ministry recounted with joy. Those of us from Saskatoon didn’t stay too late since we had to drive home on the snowy roads… but it made me think that we Presbyterians ought to get together just for fun a little more often. As a denomination with a reputation for being serious and stern, we need to work a little harder at just having fun together, enjoying God’s blessings, and celebrating the goodness of God, and faith, and community. And the story of … 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 »