March 14, 2010

Psalm 32 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 Luke 15:1-3, 11-32 The big churchy word that I didn’t use with the children this morning is RECONCILIATION – but that is the over-arching theme in the scripture readings today. Reconciliation with God is longed for by the psalmist. It is celebrated in Luke’s parable. And in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, reconciliation is the word of the day! Paul writes to the Church at Corinth, proclaiming the good news that God has reconciled us to himself through Christ. And he goes on to tell them that God has given us the ministry of reconciliation. And so, this sermon will be something of an exploration of the word “reconciliation” and what it might mean for us, both as something that God has done for us, and something that God is inviting us to do for others. Within the practices of the Roman Catholic Church, reconciliation is the official name of one of the seven sacraments. It is seen as something that Jesus did, and something that he instructed his followers to keep on doing in the same way. You may know about this sacrament simply by the name “confession” – when a person confesses their sins to a priest, and the priest offers absolution – an assurance of God’s forgiveness offered freely to the one who confesses their sin and turns back to God. “Reconciliation” is the name of the sacrament, in which God acts to reconcile the person to God, to restore relationship, and … Read more »

September 12, 2010

Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28 Psalm 14 1 Timothy 1:12-17 Luke 15:1-10 Where do you place yourself in the story? Which character can you relate to today? Perhaps you can relate to the lost sheep… wandering alone and scared?… hoping for some help, some hope, for a strong and faithful shepherd to find you and carry you home to safety? Do you feel like the lost coin?… obviously useful and valuable, but forgotten, hidden, over-looked, being passed by over and over? Or do you relate most easily to the tax collectors and sinners who were coming near to listen to Jesus? You know that you’ve made some mistakes in your life. You’ve been far from perfect, and those close to you know it too… but you’ve been invited to listen to Jesus, to eat with him, and to learn from him. You feel accepted in his presence, and your history disappears into the background. You have discovered that to Jesus your life is as precious as a lost sheep to a shepherd or a lost silver coin to a woman who needs it. If you can place yourself in the role of the lost sheep, or the lost coin, or the sinner at Jesus’ feet, then I trust that you will hear the good news of the Gospel today. In Jesus Christ, God has shown us that God cares for each one of us enough that he came searching for us… searching the hills, sweeping out the house, inviting us into a … Read more »

March 13, 2011

Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-7 Psalm 32 Luke 15:11-32 The liturgical season of Lent is typically a time set aside for penitence. On Ash Wednesday, a group of us gathered here at the church, just as Christians gathered around the world, and we were invited to enter a period of self-examination, repentance, prayer, and fasting. Indeed, we are called to use these forty days (between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday) as a time of particular reflection on our sins, the ways that we separate ourselves from God and from one another. Thus, it is easy to characterize Lent as the sombre, solemn period of the church year. The fact that Psalm 32 is set for the first Sunday of Lent in our lectionary suggests that there seems to be more to this season than solemnity. The title given to this psalm in the NRSV translation says a lot. It’s titled, “The Joy of Forgiveness.” The psalmist offers a “before” and an “after” picture of his experience of confessing his sins to God. Here’s what things were like BEFORE he made his confession. He laments: “While I kept silence, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.” But then he acknowledges his sins to God: “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” he says. And AFTER the confession, he comes to know God’s forgiveness, an experience of relief and … Read more »

September 15, 2013

Luke 15:1-10 “Rejoice With Me!” On the back of this morning’s bulletin cover, Aubrey Botha points out that in today’s Gospel reading Jesus talks about things that are lost: “The sheep is lost, vulnerable, hungry and confused and can’t do a thing about it; he has to be saved by someone other than himself. The same is true for the coin; once it lands in a dark corner, it is gone unless someone finds it. “In both parables we find this strange, relentless search for the lost, even when the search goes beyond all logic and reason. What an image of God’s persistent love for us, searching relentlessly in the dark places of need and brokenness.” This is the good news of the gospel – that God loves every single one of us that much – so much that God’s mercy and love reaches out to find us no matter where we have wandered to, no matter what mistakes we have made, no matter how many times we have turned away from God or doubted God’s presence and love. And as Aubrey notes, “Every time the lost is found, there is a call for celebration. When God looks at us, when God sees us, there is one reaction: “Rejoice with me!” When we can identify ourselves with the lost coin, the lost sheep, or perhaps the lost son of the prodigal son parable which comes next in Luke’s account, these parables can be heard as a simple proclamation of God’s … Read more »

March 6, 2016

Joshua 5:9-12 Psalm 32 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32 “Everything Has Become New!” We have some great scripture readings today, for this fourth Sunday in Lent, on the theme of reconciliation. As a season in which we are invited to prayer, confession, and returning to God, these are wonderful readings. In Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son, we are reminded that no matter what our history, no matter how many poor decisions we have made, no matter how irresponsible we have been, no matter how far we have run from God, God welcomes us home. God runs to us, embraces us, and treats us like precious children once again. Psalm 32 also encourages us to come back to God when we have strayed. It points out the peace and joy that we can experience when we are forgiven, noting the gnawing guilt and shame we often feel before we admit our mistakes, and the relief that comes from being honest and getting things off our chest. In his second letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul explains that God does not count our sins against us, but freely invites us to be reconciled through Christ. Paul himself has experienced the joy of being forgiven, turning his life away from persecuting Christians towards a new mission of bringing the good news of Jesus to Jews and Gentiles alike. And now God has given him a ministry of reconciliation – encouraging others to turn to God as well, and to experience … 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 »

September 11, 2016

Sermon by the Rev. Amanda Currie Listen to this Sermon Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28 Psalm 14:1-7 1 Timothy 1:12-17 Luke 15:1-10 “Where do you place yourself in the story” Where do you place yourself in the story? Which character can you relate to today? Perhaps you can relate to the lost sheep… wandering alone and scared?… hoping for some help, some hope, for a strong and faithful shepherd to find you and carry you home to safety? Do you feel like the lost coin?… obviously useful and valuable, but forgotten, hidden, over-looked, being passed by over and over? Or do you relate most easily to the tax collectors and sinners who were coming near to listen to Jesus? You know that you’ve made some mistakes in your life. You’ve been far from perfect, and those close to you know it too… but you’ve been invited to listen to Jesus, to eat with him, and to learn from him. You feel accepted in his presence, and your history disappears into the background. You have discovered that to Jesus your life is as precious as a lost sheep to a shepherd or a lost silver coin to a woman who needs it. If you can place yourself in the role of the lost sheep, or the lost coin, or the sinner at Jesus’ feet, then I trust that you will hear the good news of the Gospel today. In Jesus Christ, God has shown us that God cares for each one of us … Read more »