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 5, 2010

Jeremiah 18:1-11 Part 1 Right from the moment that God called Jeremiah to serve as a prophet, God made it clear that Jeremiah would often be bringing bad news to the people. The reality was that God’s People in the Northern Kingdom of Israel were not living very faithfully towards God or lovingly towards one another. And Jeremiah got the unpopular job of warning them to shape up or experience God’s power against them. The wonderful metaphor of God working on us like a potter carefully and gently transforms a lump of clay into a beautiful and useful vessel can easily lose the clear, harsh judgment that Jeremiah was announcing against an unfaithful People. It’s not just that God wants to smooth out our rough edges or give us a fresh coat of paint. Jeremiah is talking about a much deeper and greater transformation… from self-centered, selfish, self-loving people… into people who love God and want to show that love by caring for others, by putting others first, by loving our neighbours and the stranger who is in need. We’re talking about big changes here… transformation… That’s what God wants to do in our lives, and God has the power to do it too… like a potter who can not only smooth out a rough edge, but who can choose to squash the pot that isn’t turning out right… to squish it and pound it work it into useable clay, and begin again… to form it into the beautiful vessel … Read more »