November 11, 2012

Mark 12:38-44 After criticizing the religious leaders of his time for both a lack of humility and taking advantage of the poor, Jesus sits down near one of the offering boxes at the temple to observe as the worshippers come to make their gifts for the temple. Having watched both the rich and the poor placing their gifts in the treasury, Jesus comments that a poor widow has contributed more than anyone else because the rich people “have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” In practical terms for the temple budget, Jesus’ statement simply isn’t true. The widow’s two coins wouldn’t have made much difference at all for the institution’s ministry. They would have represented the tiniest of drops in the biggest of buckets. The small copper coins (Greek: lepta) were the smallest coins circulated, and sixty-four “pennies” equalled one denarius, or a day’s wage. The rich people had the resources to give more without much of a thought. They might have given a whole denarius, or maybe even more than one, and those larger offerings would have sustained religious life at the temple, feeding and clothing the religious leaders and maintaining the central place of worship for the Jewish People. But Jesus says that the widow’s offering is greater, not because it has a larger impact on the temple’s ministry, but because it requires a larger sacrifice on her part. Perhaps it’s … Read more »

November 15, 2015

2 Corinthians 9:6-15 Psalm 91 Mark 12:41-44 “Free From the Uncertainty of Riches” I bought a new car this week. Actually, Nick and I signed the paper work a couple of weeks ago before he went out of town for work, but it arrived on Thursday and I handed over our old car and picked up the new one on my own. It felt like a strange thing to be doing in the middle of this Stewardship series. You see, there was all this fuss about a new car. The sales people, in particular, seemed to want me to be SO EXCITED! It made me think of old game shows like “The Price is Right” where a curtain opens to reveal a shiny new vehicle, the announcer proclaims, “A New Car!” and the studio audience erupts in cheers of joy. Nick and I thought carefully about this large purchase, decided it was time to get ourselves a more reliable and larger car, and agreed that we would trade in the old one and remain a one-vehicle family to keep our expenses down and make sure that we didn’t lose precious time spent together. I love driving, and it is kind of fun to be driving a new car, but the scriptures and the theme of today’s service remind me that our material possessions (our riches) provide us neither security, nor true joy and peace. These things are uncertain. These circumstances of our lives are precarious. Imagine if you were to … Read more »

November 4, 2018

Ruth 1:1-18 Psalm 146 Hebrews 9:11-14 Mark 12:28-34 “Love Your Neighbour” Plenty good room in the kingdom of heaven. Plenty good room for you and me. Plenty good room in the kingdom of heaven, so choose your seat and sit down. The choir’s anthem for this morning has been running through my mind all week. It’s got one of those tunes that easily gets stuck in your head after a choir practice. But also, it’s been there because we’ve had more than our share of church members moving from this world into the kingdom of heaven over the last week or so. Don Frew died a week ago Friday, and then Olga Wolfe died on Tuesday morning, and finally Jack Boan died in his sleep early on Wednesday. Each one of these Christian disciples died after a good, long, and meaningful life, but each one will be dearly missed by family, friends, and this community of faith. “Plenty good room” has been a good song for this week, as we’ve been thinking about their welcome into the Kingdom of heaven. But when we selected it a couple of months ago, we had no idea that so many of our members would be making the journey to God at this time. So, as I began to prepare for this morning’s service, I looked at the Scripture readings assigned for this day and tried to remember why I thought the song would be fitting back when the Music Team did our pre-planning … Read more »